Good Food Blog
Iron Chef Great Britain?Posted at 11:30AM, 19 November 2008 by Andy Lynes - Food writer
"With open heart and empty stomach, I say unto you in the words of my uncle... allez cuisine!"
No, I'm not losing my marbles, that's how the Chairman on Iron Chef America gets the best culinary competition on TV underway. The show's kooky premise is that the fabulously wealthy Chairman (nephew to his counterpart on the kitch 'n' camp Japanese original) has spent his fortune building the imposing Kitchen Stadium and assembled five Iron Chefs to face the challenge of master chefs from around the world in a competition to cook the best five dishes using a secret theme ingredient.
Think Ready Steady Cook meets Gladiator
Think Ready Steady Cook meets Gladiator and you're getting close to the frenetic, gloriously over the top drama of the hour-long competitions.
Add fast moving sports-style commentary from host and uber culinary nerd Alton Brown and a trio of judges including author of The Man Who Ate Everything , Jeffrey Steingarten as the foodie's answer to Simon Cowell, and you have a terrifically entertaining hour of food television.
While the format is ever so slightly silly, the cooking is anything but. The Iron Chefs themselves are some of America's top rated cooks and the challengers (who have included Jamie Oliver) give them more than a run for their money.
The only problem is that, unless you have cable and happen to be channel surfing after midnight on a rare occasion the show is screened, you won't be able to see Iron Chef America on UK television. Thankfully, there are plenty of episodes on youtube.com with wonderful titles like Battle Melon and Battle Olive , but how many families gather round the laptop of an evening to stare at that small, low quality image?
It seems incredible that, with the US show in its seventh season and computer games based on the series about to hit the shops in America, no one has thought to replicate the format in this country.
American food writer and regular Iron Chef America judge Michael Ruhlman tells me that there are no plans as yet for that to happen. So until British TV execs some to their senses, we can at least amuse ourselves by pondering who would be the UK equivalent of larger than life Italian specialist Mario Batali; glamour puss Cat Cora; he-man Bobby Flay; Asian master Masaharu Morimoto; and wisecracking slaphead Michael Symon.
My choices would be the legend that is Marco Pierre White; the lovely Jo Pratt; gym junkie, Gary Rhodes; British Japanese chef, Jun Tanaka and everyone's favourite baldy bloke, Simon Rimmer. Who would you choose to grace the UK's very own Kitchen Stadium?