When you watch the avuncular Alton Brown wax words in reference to food, that ever most necessity in our daily lives, you first think that the guy has either A. completely lost his mind and B. has too much time on his hands. Brown may be a food author and the Food Network’s answer to Ryan Seacrest, yet he talks far too often for my taste.
Though you may think he is a bit of a blow-hard, you haven’t met his co-host Mark Dacascos. Dacascos comes off as more of a poor guy’s Jackie Chan (or worse, David Carradine in those horrific Kung Fu movies). He claims to be related to the late Takeshi Kaga, the original chairman of the series starting the whole “Iron Chef” phenomenon in Japan and who died in 2002 of fugu poisoning. However, it has been disputed that Dacascos is related to the late chairman.
The iron chefs play to Dacascos, an actor, as though they were serious martial arts students and some are (Bobby Flay is a black belt) but the whole premise of the opening scenes from this show on the Food Network is way over-the-top and utterly ridiculous. By the time Dacascos does his trademark karate chop you’re either ready to bust out laughing or jump through the TV set and bust him a good one in his chops.
But there are memorable moments to the show, such as the race to finish one’s six courses, including dessert, in a whopping one hour’s time. On stage, the challenger chooses from one of four iron chefs and prepares to do battle as the main ingredient is introduced.
What makes the show even more palatable is that ingredient, which each cook is required to use in every one of the six dishes during the 60-minute tilt and which definitely raises some eyebrows. Some of the main ingredients have ranged from lentils to lobsters to beets – and amazingly, all of the afore-mentioned ingredients have been used to even make some sort of ice cream at one point in the competition.
Possibly the most memorable of the competitions came when a Chicago challenger used dry ice and weird science to concoct some of the most over-the-top dishes the world has ever seen. In his dessert, “Rudy” actually sent what looked like paper through his printer, rolled it up and stuck it in the lentil ice cream. It turned out to be phyllo dough that was very thin, obviously. According to the judges, who have the last word during every show, the dessert was delicious.
Chow down on the weirdness and delicious contents of Iron Chef America Sundays on the Food Network. They have taken it to the next level. Food shows before, needless to say, were so boring that it would make you fall asleep and not waking your appetite up.