Iron Chef Gauntlet episode 3 recap: Sweet, savory and cephalopods


Kitchen stadium’s doors are open for the final five chefs to enter battle. In Iron Chef Gauntlet Episode 3, the chefs face sweet, savory and cephalopods.

Who will ultimately battle the gauntlet of three Iron Chefs? After Iron Chef Gauntlet episode 3, only four chefs will remain. In this week’s episode, the chefs faced a sweet and savory Chairman’s challenge. As the chefs raced to the altar to secure their mandatory ingredient, the daunting task of two dishes seemed Iron Chef worthy.

Iron Chef Gauntlet Episode 3, photo by Food Network

The sweet and savory challenge asked chefs to create one savory dish and one sweet dish using the same ingredient. The challenge with these dishes was to make the secret ingredient shine in the two different formats. Some ingredients are perfect for savory. But, the same ingredient seems an unlikely component in a sweet dish.

Included in the sweet and savory challenge were black beans, beets, sesame seeds, blue cheese and fish sauce. Some ingredients seemed more adaptive, like beets. The fish sauce seemed unlikely to be used in a sweet, dessert dish. Most of the chefs seemed to struggle with making two dishes that were knockouts.

Chef Grueneberg wins again.

After the first week’s dismal showing, Chef Grueneberg was the star of the Chairman’s Challenge, again. Her two beet dishes were creative and delicious. Her savory dish, a beet schnitzel, received high praise by Alton Brown. The beet flavor was forward, but the beet was presented in a new way.

Chef Grueneberg’s sweet dish, a beet panna cotta, was successful but had a few flaws. The panna cotta needed to set more. Still, the flavor was impressive. Chef Grueneberg won the Chairman’s Challenge for the second week in a row.

Iron Chef Gauntlet Episode 3, photo by Food Network

A few chefs had both highs and lows in their dishes. Chef Izard had some good flavors after struggling with the black bean dishes. Her ice cream tasted good, but was plated poorly. Chef Dady’s plate suffered from the yin and yang. The black sesame components were flavorful, but the white sesame brought the dishes down.

The two least successful chefs were Chef Nakajima and Chef Gulotta. Cheg Nakajima created an overly salty savory dish. While his mussels and clams were cooked perfectly, the dish was very salty with heavy handed fish sauce. Chef Gulotta’s dishes faltered with too much oil.

In the end, Chef Nakajima was sent to the elimination challenge, for the second week in a row. As the Chairman’s Challenge winner, Chef Grueneberg chose the second chef for the elimination challenge. She nominated Chef Gulotta for battle.

With the show divided between the two challenges, Iron Chef Gauntlet lacks some of the details from the original Iron Chef. Part of the fun of the original was Alton’s tips, commentary and interesting facts. The need to cover both challenges, plus the eliminations, makes the cooking component somewhat overlooked. Personally, I would have liked some discussion on what’s the difference between a red beet and a golden beet or are there different types of fish sauce? The background on the ingredients and the inspiration behind the dishes would be a welcome addition to the program.

Iron Chef Gauntlet Episode 3, photo by Food Network

Release the kraken! Battle Octopus

With the competitors set, Alton released the secret ingredient for the Iron Chef Gauntlet episode 3 elimination, octopus. The altar had three types of octopus. Chefs Nakajima and Gulotta had to create three dishes in the 60 minute challenge.

Octopus seemed like a difficult choice for such a limited time challenge. Octopus can benefit from long, slow cooking. No one wants to eat tough, chewy octopus. Still, the chefs tackled the challenge with a clear plan.

Chef Nakajima seemed to have an advantage because he is a seafood-centric chef. His dishes focused on delicate flavors and inventive plating. Chef Nakajima served a tempura octopus as his first course. But, the star of his three courses was the fried octopus suckers. After removing the suckers, Chef Nakajima quickly fried them, which created a pop and crunch. Both the judges were quite impressed with this dish.

Iron Chef Gauntlet Episode 3, photo by Food Network

Chef Gulotta’s dishes were multi-layered, complex and intricate. While using various octopus preparations, the dishes featured bold flavors and were quite impressive. Although these dishes were delicious, the octopus wasn’t the star of the plate. The other ingredients overpowered the delicate octopus.

Iron Chef Gauntlet episode 3 sent Chef Gulotta home. Since octopus wasn’t the driving force in the three dishes, the chefs scored his plates lower. Chef Nakajima lives to see another day in kitchen stadium. He has successfully won two elimination challenges and seems poised to be a formidable opponent.

Iron Chef Gauntlet, photo by Food Network

Who will enter the gauntlet?

With four chefs remaining, the pressure is heating up. Based on the results, Chefs Grueneberg and Nakajima seem to be on fire. Their back to back wins show that they are battle ready. Chef Izard has won a battle, but Chef Dady has yet to win anything. Still, previous wins mean nothing in kitchen stadium.

Personally, I’m happy that two of the remaining four chefs are women. Chicago Chefs Izard and Grueneberg continually bring innovative, creative and thoughtful dishes to the table. Hopefully one of them will make it to the final battle.

Iron Chef Gauntlet airs on the Food Network. New episodes debut Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET. Check back each week for live streams and episode recaps.

Next: Iron Chef Gauntlet: Nose to tail challenge

The kitchen is now closed until next week’s battle.