Classic Dishes...

UPN, you just Got Served….

By now I think Iron Chef, the cooking-meets-American-Gladiators import that has become a huge hit on Food Network, had become ubiquitous enough that most people know what it is, if they don’t necessarily hop to when they hear the phrase “Allez Cuisine!”

Well, a couple years ago UPN commissioned an American version of the show, with big-time American celebrity chefs like Todd English and Roy Yamaguchi as the Iron Chefs, and William Shatner as the Chairman, the mythical originator of the whole contest. And aside from Shatner, who seems to have learned in recent years that his best performances come from simply being his own overbearing self, the whole thing stunk like that science experiment that was once meatloaf in the back of your fridge.

I’m pleased to report that Food Network tried their own hand at Iron Chef America over the weekend, and they got it dead solid perfect. Putting Alton Brown behind the announcer’s desk is Jack Nicholson / Joker-style casting, the FoodTV chefs they had representing (Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, and Bobby Flay, who has appeared twice on the Japanese show) were all very capable (Puck was surprisingly good), and bringing over the Japanese Iron Chefs as combatants (Hiroyuki Sakai and Masuharu Morimoto, anyhow; Chen Kenichi was in poor health and couldn’t make the trip – get well soon, Chen!) lent a sense of familiarity to the whole thing.

All in all, I recommend them heartily, and if you didn’t get the chance to see them this weekend, FoodTV is running them every night this week at 11:00P. Fire up the TiVo. :)

3 comments to UPN, you just Got Served….

  • I watched Morimoto.
    He got fat. And where did he get all that hair?

    He lost but I could tell why while he was cooking. He was making japanese food for an american audience.

  • Shanni

    Yeah, well…some people like that stuff…apparently the judges did not. :)

  • Clay

    You’re certainly right about Alton being wonderfully cast, but I wasn’t so fond of Whatshisname on the floor. I found him not appropriately deferential to the host (Alton)–almost as if he was the co-host, which I don’t expect a field reporter to be.

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