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Iron Chef Gauntlet, victory, redemption and Iron Chef Izard

Walking into the Gauntlet, Chef Izard faced three Iron Chefs. The Gauntlet earned her victory, redemption and the title Iron Chef Izard.

One of the most coveted culinary titles is Iron Chef. Only a few have earned the right to reign supreme in kitchen stadium. Iron Chef Gauntlet gave seven chefs the opportunity to earn the title. Stephanie Izard proved herself throughout the competition. In the finale, her dishes earned her the title Iron Chef Izard.

For many chefs, foodies, and food lovers, Iron Chef has been an iconic television show. Long before Top Chef and the many other food competitions, Iron Chef intrigued watchers with impossible and insane ingredients. Viewers tuned in to see which cuisines, the Iron Chef or the challenger, reigned supreme.

The most recently version of the show, Iron Chef Gauntlet, gave seven talented, well-known chefs the opportunity to earn the coveted culinary title. Chef Stephanie Izard enter the season finale with a large challenge ahead of her. She had to face three Iron Chefs in three epic battles. To earn the title Iron Chef, Izard had to have the best cumulative point total after all three battles.

Since the Food Network wanted to make the show an exciting one, the scores of the battle were not revealed to the end. After revealing the secret ingredient, Chef Izard could choose her opponent. Like most of Iron Chef Gauntlet, the show is part strategy and part culinary talent. Luckily, Chef Izard has both.

Battle peppers versus the spice master, Iron Chef Flay.

The first battle of the finale was battle peppers. Chef Izard choose to battle Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Chef Flay is known for his use of chilis and peppers. The battle choice showed that Chef Izard was up for the challenge. In a go big, go home scenario, Chef Izard had to out cook the master of the pepper.

Chef Flay made the ultimate pepper dish, the chili relleno. According to Flay, peppers have personality. The multi-faceted classic pepper dish used peppers in many ways. The dish balanced the spiciness with other ingredients like eggplant. The key was to bring out all the flavors of the peppers, not just heat. Chef Flay’s dish balanced sweet and heat well.

Chef Izard focused using many peppers in her dish. Focusing on Asian inspired flavors that got her to the final, Chef Izard created an Asian style taco with seven peppers. The dish is inspired by an Asian pancake. Many forms of peppers appeared in the dish, which is key to success. She achieved layers of peppers for a successful dish.

Battle cheese, seeking redemption against Iron Chef Symon.

Chef Izard has an Iron Chef battle under her belt. Previously, she entered kitchen stadium and battled Iron Chef Symon in battle bread. Now, she is looking for redemption in battle cheese against Chef Symon.

Chef Symon went for a pasta dish. His style is classic, fresh and straightforward. The stuffed pasta was paired with a brown butter sauce. With no second chances, the dish needed to be perfect. Unfortunately, the dish suffered from not putting cheese forward.

Ice cream is a classic in Iron Chef battles. Chef Izard went for a blue cheese ice cream. After grabbing all the blue cheese from the table, Chef Izard pushed the boundaries but focused on taste. Even with technical difficulties with her ice cream churning, Chef Izard produced a thoughtful, creative and risky dish. The blue cheese ice cream with chocolate cheese crumble won’t be found on many menus.

Battle tile fish, battle the giant, Iron Chef Morimoto

Saving the best for last, the final Iron Chef Gauntlet battle was against Chef Morimoto. Considered the king of kitchen stadium, Chef Morimoto is the hardest to beat. The Japanese chef is insanely talented and a master of all fish dishes. This last battle is truly a difficult task because of the chef and the ingredient, tile fish.

Chef Morimoto used the entire tile fish. From cheeks to bones, it was expected that Chef Morimoto would use it all in several preparations. He made a total of five dishes, which is good and bad. While several of the five dishes were successful, a few dishes were not. It was a slight miss from the master.

Chef Izard went for her strengths, a tile fish laska with tile fish noodles and dumplings. Reminiscent of street food, the dish represented Chef Izard. Having a knowledge of Asian street food and noodles (she has a restaurant called Duck Duck Goat), this dish balanced her layered, flavorful cuisine with a sense of approachability. Overall, the dish was successful.

The verdict announced.

To end the show, Alton Brown revealed the final scores for each three battles. Chef Izard had to achieve a total combined score higher than the Iron Chefs total combined score. Overall, Chef Izard pushed herself and stood up to the challenge. Her dishes were delicious, creative and highlighted the secret ingredient. She created Iron Chef worthy cuisine.

Chef Izard lost Chef Flay (31 to 27). But, she achieved a huge redemption victory against Chef Symon (26 to 32). She proved just superior to Chef Morimot (30 ton31). In a score of 87 to 90, Chef Izard is now Iron Chef Izard. Victory, redemption and the culinary title are hers.

Chef Izard earned her spot in the pantheon of chefs. She is the first woman Top Chef, a James Beard award winner and now an Iron Chef. Needless to say, her three restaurants in Chicago will have a longer wait list for reservations.

With a new Iron Chef, hopefully the Food Network will bring back the Iron Chef series with new episodes. The show has a legion of fans wanting to tune in to the program. People still watch the old seasons over and over.

And the winner is

A great first battle for Iron Chef Izard would be a battle against Chef Grueneberg. The two Chicago chefs shared this Iron Chef Gauntlet experience and it would be fun to watch them battle again. Other potential battles could be Chef Dale Talde (Top Chef), Shawn McClain (Green Zebra, a mentor to Chef Izard) or even Chef Lee Wolen (BOKA and fellow BOKA group chef). We will have to wait to see that Food Network has planned.

Personally, I’m thrilled that Stephanie Izard won. I have had the pleasure of eating at her restaurants and even had the opportunity to cook with her once. She is hugely talented, driven, and always engaging with patrons. Izard will be a great addition to the Iron Chef brand.

For now, kitchen stadium and the gauntlet is closed. Fans must wait till the next secret ingredient is revealed and the charge of “allez cuisine” sends the chefs into battle.