Auros (auros) wrote,
Auros
auros

spoiler alert

ARRRGH! :-(

Elizabeth Falkner does not win Next Iron Chef. :-(

The competition between Mehta and Garces came down to a very similar call between creativity and potential, versus technique and control. They made the same call last time. I still think that one was an epically bad call.

I at least am actually really impressed with Zakarian. I find Garces boring. Zakarian doesn't take the kind of risks or come up with the kind of absolutely off-the-wall genius dishes that Elizabeth does, but he has incredible subtlety, and he can take the essence of a traditional dish and refine it into something surprising.

I do think, though, that when you hear the judges saying stuff like that Zakarian is "like an athlete at his peak", while Falkner is exceeding her reputation and still developing -- even though for this competition she was only a hair behind him -- doesn't that mean you want the person who's still growing, rather than the one who's peaked? Again, this is the same way I felt about the judgement on Mehta. OK, maybe he arguably did not deliver quite as good a meal that day; but who do you want on the show? The guy who's predictable, or the one who will maybe take a few episodes to learn to manage the time better, but ultimately will deliver things that are surprising and innovative?

Anyways. I have to respect Zakarian; the meal he delivered looked and sounded amazing. I'm at least glad Elizabeth made him work hard for that victory.

Random revelation: the brussel sprout leaves that turned up integrated into the butternut squash ravioli at our wedding? That was a flourish from Elizabeth's Next Iron Chef finale meal. Very cool.
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I wanted Falkner to win, too. I think her moments of inspired genius and stretching foodstuffs to their oddball limit are ultimately what the show should be about. Zakarian was more consistent, and his dishes pleased the judges more this time, but I'd rather see her up there for the contenders to pit themselves against.

Sweet that your wedding dish had some of her finale meal in it :)
PS - How did you know that she won before the show aired? Or were you watching it on the other coast?
The High-Def digital feed of Food Network broadcasts on east coast time across the country, while the standard version has two feeds, and east coast and a west coast feed. We watch in hi-def. To better see the tasty foods!!
We couldn't help noticing that the whole show is pretty heavily slanted toward the East Coast, and New York in particular. I heard more positive comments about Elizabeth's dishes, and one judge actually said "my beef was tough" in reference to Zakarian's main course--and he WON?!? Of course both of them are superb chefs. I think Elizabeth would be a great addition to the Iron Chefs because she does wild and crazy things that nobody else would touch with a ten-foot pole, much like Morimoto used to do on the original show.

The good side of this is that maybe we can put aside these rumors about Elizabeth moving to New York, and enjoy more of her amazingly creative cooking here in San Francisco, than if she had won.
It sounded like there was pretty strong consensus that Elizabeth's meal started out a little uneven -- several judges weren't crazy about the black garlic aioli with the brandad (salt cod and potato fritters). Morimoto outright said he thought Elizabeth did the best single dish (the sorbet salad), while Zakarian delivered the better meal; I'm assuming Morimoto voted for Z. Which is weird, b/c as you say, I think Elizabeth has more of the kind of flair that Morimoto has.

I think it was Simon Majumdar who said Z's beef wasn't cooked right; but he sounded like he was solidly for Elizabeth anyways, mostly because she'd finally won him over to the wonders of using sweet techniques (like sorbet) in savory dishes (recall that he specifically said he wasn't a fan of savory ice-creams, on both previous occasions she produced them). And apparently nobody else had that problem.

Anyways. I think the outcome was probably reasonable from the perspective of each judge... and yet, still frustrating, b/c I think Elizabeth would've added more to the show, both in terms of being more different from the current ICs, and just being willing to take more adventurous risks. I don't care whether an IC wins every battle -- I want them to show me stuff I couldn't have dreamed up myself.
:-)

Don't know if you saw, but Christa posted a link over to our photos of the cake, and it got voted one of the top comments. I think she said she'd gotten about 150 clickthroughs...
As of now I'm up to 230! Thought that includes all three photos so it's probably not 230 unique people. The top photo has 118. Flickr stats are fun :)