We don’t mean to get too excited but … Iron Chef is coming back! Iron Chef is coming back!
This time the show returns in the form of Iron Chef Gauntlet, with none other than food guru Alton Brown at the helm.
And people. are. pumped!
If you’ve never bitten into a bell pepper vigorously then looked into the mist with a passionate, steely gaze, let us explain.
Iron Chef started as a Japanese cooking show in 1993 and its mix of melodrama, competition and food skyrocketed the program to worldwide fame. Its stateside adaptation Iron Chef America (not to be confused with the William Shatner-hosted, short-lived Iron Chef USA) lasted 11 seasons on The Food Network. (The show was put on hiatus in 2014 and has not yet returned to film new episodes.)
Now, the show is ready to make its comeback as Iron Chef Gauntlet. This new version pits seven chefs against each other in competition for the chance to become an Iron Chef. Each weekly episode will feature two challenges, one judged by the Chairman himself and one judged by guest judges. Then, week-by-week, chefs will be eliminated until one contestant is crowned Iron Chef.
Alton Brown, who served as host and commentator in Iron Chef America, is now back in the role of the Chairman and is excited to bring it back to the people who still love it. The Chairman is part master of ceremonies, part all-knowing food deity and in this new iteration part judge.
He tells Mashable, “I remember very well the first time I saw one of the Japanese programs [of Iron Chef]. I was transfixed by it. It wasn’t even dubbed, it was subtitled … it was like, ‘I’m watching a food show that’s like a Godzilla movie … what is it? … to this day I kind of marvel … it still has this charm …'”
He also says, “To be an Iron Chef is a big deal. I don’t think any other title that can be gleaned from a competition ever matched that … going forward, that’s what I’m concentrated on. I’m not so worried about the glam of it and the theater of it. Mostly I’m interested in maintaining an incredibly aggressive culinary competition and making it very much about the food.”
For the tone of the show, Brown’s willing to bet people are ready to focus on the real meat (pun intended) of cooking competitions. He says, “Iron Chef fans like seeing the ingredients, they like learning about the food, they like learning the techniques … there’s still plenty of personal drama but … what we’re after is the food drama.”
When he isn’t wearing his Chairman hat, Brown can probably be found this summer eating his favorite summer foods, including spicy sesame noodles during the warmer months. As the temperature and humidity rise, he gravitates towards “spicy and cold” foods and low alcohol cocktails heavily featuring celery, cucumbers and gin because “summertime drunk just doesn’t feel very good to me.” (Here, here!) When it comes to picnics, he says a star move is making homemade potato chips instead of buying a bag from the store.
Iron Chef Gauntlet’s limited run premieres on April 16 at 9 p.m.