‘Iron Chef Gauntlet’ recap – ‘Nose to Tail’

Season 1, Episode 2
“Nose to Tail”
AIR DATE: April 23, 2017

Last week saw Chef Nyesha Arrington getting sent home in an upset after a fierce Lobster Battle. Six chefs remain. Also, Wo Fat is still dead, much to Alyssa’s chagrin. Let’s see what happens this week!

To remind you of who is left, let’s do the roll call:

Rom-Com Heroine #72!

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Bed Time in 10 Minutes, Young Man!Iron Chef Gauntlet

Auntie Home Cook!

Iron Chef Guantlet

Steve from I.T.!

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Chef Wing Man!

Iron Chef Gauntlet

and Young Mickey Rourke!

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Alton welcomes the remaining chefs, looking smug as always.

Chef Grueneberg says she had “no idea things would be this intense”, despite Iron Chef being on the air for about…y’know, two decades. She’s determined not to end up on the bottom today.

Chef Izard says she feels good going into today because of how she won the “Chairman’s Challenge” last week. She arbitrarily mentions that Chef Dady is her potential nemesis, recalling how he “really brought it” last week. Checking the tape from last week, Dady cooked Elk. Alton thought it was good. He didn’t win but he didn’t lose…so, yeah. “He brought it”, I guess.

Chef Sawyer just says there are winners and losers. Losers cry. He’s not a loser. He hopes he’s a winner.

Alton begins the Chairman’s Challenge: a pig cut up into sections which either means a pork showdown or this show took a sinister and Satanic turn. Alton assures us that it’s the former. Each of the chefs will get to choose a random package that contains the name of the part of the pig they will cook.

Sawyer gets the Loin, which is perfect.

Izard gets the Belly and then feels that it’s time to condescend to viewers: people love bacon and bacon comes from that part of the pig and people don’t know that, so you have explain it to those fucking people and then they suddenly go, “OMG I LOVE BACON!” Well, yeah, they loved bacon before you explained that it came from a pig’s belly, which was what they were disgusted by in the first place.

Grueneberg gets the head of the pig which the producer’s feel the need to give us a nice, juicy close-up of. Happy nightmares, kids! She’s cool with that because you can do LOTS with that pig’s head.

Dady gets the shoulder and he’s excited because he’s from Texas and he knows about the shoulder and how you can make wonderful ragout from it.

Gulotta gets a mixture: shank, feet and tail. Since he’s from Louisiana, he’s VERY familiar with all that. But it sucks he can’t braise anything because that would mean the judges might actually like something any of these guys cook.

Nakajima gets ham. He thinks ham sucks. He’s Japanese. That’s his specialty, assholes.

Alton starts his 45-minute timer and the chefs go wild, grabbing their meat from the table.

Iron Chef Gauntlet

A bunch of chefs go for the pressure cookers since you can’t really cook pork well enough in 45 minutes without one.

By the way, Gulotta’s from Louisiana. He mentions that again here. And his cooking is very Southern, as you might have guessed. Also, it’s a bit Asian, too. He’s gonna make trotter and dumplings.

Grueneberg is slicing up the pig’s head! OH DEAR GOD!!! She’s frying the cheeks which she SLICED with a GIANT KNIFE! She’s cooking up sweetbreads. Also, she’s the PASTA QUEEN OF CHICAGO (Trademark pending, held up in court by writers/producers of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”) and, so she’s making MORE PASTA. It’s gonna be little pieces of her pork inside won-ton wrappers.

Sawyer’s gonna use the loin to make a Tonnato which will contain smoked scallops. He’s creates a makeshift smoker using a colander, pot and burning, dry plant life.

Nakajima has zero idea what to do, so Alton yells at him and repeats the lame, tired line from last week: “you have to know how to cook a cardboard box to be an Iron Chef”. No, you don’t, Alton. That’s Chopped. You guys just tried to adopt their ingredient gimmick garbage by introducing bullshit like fucking fruitcake as an ingredient on the show. Nakajima does the same shit he did last week: marinating the pork in Sake and Soy Sauce and then making it into a Dashi of some sort.

Izard is doing Belly over some noodles. Izard tells Alton what she’s doing which doesn’t stop Alton from mansplaining how her “noodles cook”.

Dady’s doing a Pork Ragu. He’s dicing up a bunch of veggies and tossing all of that into a pressure cooker.

All the while, Alton streams multiple ballgames on the new NBC Sports App for iPad checks out the action from his Secret Foodie Lair of Doom.

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Gulotta can’t get his pig’s feet to cook even on the highest pressure setting. He explains the science of the cooker to Alton Brown saying that it’s not really possible to cook this shit in the time given. All Alton has is pity and I’m already rolling my eyes. So, Gulotta just pulls the pork from the foot anyhow, Oh well.

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Grueneberg is almost done with her pasta.

Dady’s got the blender going for his Ragu and starts cooking pasta but can’t because Dady’s not the MASTER OF PASTA like Grueneberg over there.

Sawyer’s poached a pork loin on his side.

Izard is flipping her bacon around on the grill and working her noodles.

Nakajima’s making a salad to go with his Japanese Dashi.

45 minutes later, it’s time to chow…

  • CHEF SAWYER – “Pork-O Tonnato” (Pork Loin with Smoked Scallop Sauce): Alton goes to taste his stuff — but Sawyer’s not done lighting shit on fire and does so with whatever he has lining the plate. Then he blows it out using his own breath which also puts ash on the plate. All for the sake of “a little more smoke”. Alton’s not impressed with any of what he just saw and calls Sawyer’s plating “unfocused” and “messy.. Izard says that Sawyer’s basically an ass who tries to do too much with his dishes. He tastes the food and he says that the sauce enhanced his dish but his pork was undercooked. Maybe Sawyer can set something else on fire. That should help.
  • CHEF IZARD – Twice-Cooked Pork Belly with Silver Needle Noodles: Alton loves the noodles and the oyster sauce the dish was cooked with — but the belly is overcooked and chewy.
  • CHEF DADY – Pork Shoulder Ragu with Celery Root Ravioli: Alton thinks the dish is well-balanced and all the flavors meld…except that the pork isn’t really present. Sensing a theme here?
  • CHEF NAKAJIMA – Sesame Ham Salad: Alton sniffs the small bowl like it’s a glass of fucking Cabernet, then criticizes the presentation because he can’t see the fucking pork. Also, the pork is bland.
  • CHEF GULOTTA – Pork Trotter & Prawn Dumpling: Alton says the dish is basically perfect. The prawn he put in there didn’t steal the show, the dumpling is cooked well and the pork is there, too. Alton really likes it.
  • CHEF GRUENEBERG – Pig Head Wonton: Alton likes the plating but the flavoring is a bit dense due to the refrigerated wonton wrappers she used. The pork, however, comes through very well. Alton calls the dish “interesting”.

Alton reminds every Iron Chef has brilliance on their plate — but with the secret ingredient front and center. That said…the winner of the first challenge is…


She looks elated while Chef Gulotta looks a touch peeved since he received higher marks verbally. But that never counts on The Food Network and Anne Burrell is immune to ANY bad marks on Worst Cooks in America. Suddenly, I’m happy that none of these people are her. Alton says nearly everyone today sucked. But the person who sucked the most is…


Oh no! Not Mini-Morimoto! Alton just comes right out and says his dish was bland.

Grueneberg gets to choose Nakajima’s opponent in the Secret Ingredient Showdown. She chooses…


Grueneberg says that his plate wasn’t good at all. So, ha-ha, Sawyer. That’s what you get. I’m actually paraphrasing. She actually said “His dish wasn’t very good and he deserves to be in the final challenge because of that.” So, I was fairly close.

Sawyer. Ain’t. Happy. His face is red and he says he wouldn’t have changed much on his plate even if he had more time. He says that Grueneberg wanted him to go home and that’s why he was chosen. He’s even more afraid that Nakajima might win if the Secret Ingredient in the Showdown is any type of seafood.

Alton greets the two men and reveals the Secret Ingredient…


Sawyer doesn’t order bananas for his restaurant because his restaurant is in Ohio “where bananas don’t grow”. Nakajima doesn’t use bananas in anything because he deals with JAPANESE FOOD DAMMIT.

Can’t wait to see how these two force bananas into everything.

60 minutes begins and Nakajima immediately goes for ALL the seafood. He’s gonna do Dashi. YES, “again”. Sawyer’s making some sort of broth. The competitors are confused because there’s not really any “banana action” being seen. Um…yeah. Nakajim’s making a Miso of some sort. Neither guy knows what to do with bananas, plantains or banana blossoms and they both verbalize that to one another as they throw whatever the hell they’re cutting up together.

As soon as it’s over, it’s time to judge. And who better to judge than–fuuuuuuUUUUUUUCK, it’s Anne Fucking Burrell.

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Really, Food Network? Is there anything you won’t taint with her presence? Joining her is Iron Chef Jose Garces who I’m just plain indifferent towards. He’s a decent chef but, like all the newer Iron Chefs from The Next Iron Chef, there’s nothing special about him. At least we don’t have Iron Chef Ann Burrell. FUCK, they’re gonna do that, aren’t they? Goddammit.

In any case, we begin the tasting…


  • The first course is Leche de Tigre with Banana and Plantain, a dish that Sawyer immediately regrets cooking because Jose Garces is “the master” at making that. No, he isn’t, but this show plays that narrative like a fucking violin so that Sawyer’s all under-doggy. THE MASTER OF LECHE DE TIGRE IS IMPRESSED. ANOTHER!!! He states that the texture is incredible and that the bananas break down very nicely. Burrell loves it, too — but wishes the plating were better. It basically looks like a banana slice popping out of the bowl with the rest of it sitting at the bottom.
  • The second course is Banana Blossoms and Artichokes wrapped in Banana Leaves. Burrell says she’s never had a dish like this before but that the banana’s get lost because it’s basically a giant pile of artichoke parts mixed with banana. Garces says he likes the dish but the presentation is a bit “rustic”. Overall, he thinks the dish was “a success”.
  • The final dish is a Boca Negra Chocolate Cake with a Banana inside of it. Anne thinks it’s delicious. Garces says he’s not thrilled with it. The texture outside sucked.


  • The first course is Scallops & Prawns in Plantain Miso Sauce. Garces loves the presentation and says that the banana just melds into the overall dish. Anne also loves it.
  • Nanban with Snapper and Banana is the 2nd course. Garces says that the banana is separate from the fish. Burrell says it wasn’t easy to make the two look good on the plate.
  • The final dish is Kuwayaki with Salmon and Banana. Garces says he likes the salmon and the banana melts…but it’s just like the last dish. Burrell says the same but says the presentation is nice. They’re no marriage of flavors.

Nakajima tells the camera that the reviews were mixed. He’s not sure what to think…neither guy does.

Both men come into the tasting room and Alton explains the scoring, then reveals the winner won by about 8 points…that winner is…


Nakajima beat him, hands down on taste and plating and just barely outdid Sawyer on originality.

Nakajima says he’s relieved and that he’s aiming to be the next Iron Chef Morimoto. Cuz he’s Japanese, you know.

That’s it for this week…join us for more foodie goodness when Iron Chef Gauntlet returns for a third episode!


Here’s my rant on Anne Burrell. I took it out of the original article because I didn’t want to ruin the flow of the article.

Burrell wins nearly every single freakin’ time on her show, Worst Cooks in America, she wins nearly every Chopped competition — even if her opponent outdid her. Her student could serve microwaved crickets marinated in ant pee and she’d still win. I don’t usually care who wins and loses reality show competitions…but it’s plainly obvious that The Food Network kisses Burrell’s ass for reasons I can’t even begin to fathom.

The only thing I can conclude is that The Food Network can’t let her lose for her fear of making her look like she’s weak in the kitchen and we just CAN’T have that. They believe female chefs are important. I wholeheartedly agree with this line of thinking.

The problem is that Anne’s become a household name at TFN and she’s let it go to her head. They heap the unfortunate duty of losing on Robert Irvine too, who, unlike Burrell, is actually a better chef and a nicer person. 

I should know. My wife and I met him a few years ago at my cousin’s wedding.

And this is isn’t because she’s a woman. It’s because she’s a total ass. See, Guy Fieri was there that night, too. While Robert Irvine interrupted a conversation with others to take that picture with us (he saw us smiling at him with our camera and kindly asked if we wanted a picture), Guy Fieri practically made us beg by making us tell him “how close we were” with the groom so that he could “determine if we were ‘picture-worthy'”. Then he refused to stand next to me and demanded that my wife stand next to him instead.

So, again, gender not important. Fieri’s a tool, too, even though his show (Diners, Dine-Ins and Dives) is fairly entertaining. I stopped watching it after that night.

I digress…

Burrell is horrible in every sense of the word (she double-dips in soups and sauces she makes on the fucking air) and she combines this with an unfortunate amount of arrogance — especially after she wins a contest. And when, on the rare occasion, she loses, whoo boy, look out. The nose goes up, the fake grin vanishes and Ann’s replaced by an ingrate who just seems to declare, “I’m the best and they know it. Their loss.”

And before I get flamed, she was recently sued for sexual harassment where she made insanely disgusting comments toward her female staff at her restaurant, Centro Vinoteca.

Furthermore, I’m also not the only one who can’t stand her. Here’s a woman who said she was “condescending”, “snippy” and disparaged Robert Irvine when asked to speak about working with him.

On this show? You can tell she’s mailing it in. Every shot of her taking a bite looks like she’s reluctantly obeying a producer who’s asking her to “take a bite for the camera so we can get a shot of you tasting it”. The shot is comprised of Anne quickly bending down, taking a bite, then bolting up as if she’s been zapped by a cattle prod, followed by a weird blank stare aimed at what I’m assuming is the chef in question but I don’t know anymore. It just looks terribly insincere and phony.

Seriously, the end result of that “bite shot” is the same damn thing every single time: Anne looking like Hunger Games Woody Woodpecker.

So, that’s that. You’re more than welcome to disagree with me. I will never change my mind about her. She rubbed me the wrong way the first time I watched her. She continued to do so the more I watched her. Her sexual harassment issue just confirmed, for me, what an ass she is in real life. I just can’t.

End rant.

Matt Perri
Matt Perrihttp://mattperri.wordpress.com
Matt Perri is one of those literary Ronin you’ve never heard of until he shows up and tells you he’s a literary Ronin. He’s a native Californian, a film buff, old school gamer geek, and a sports/entertainment fan. A lifelong Giants, 49ers and Sharks fan, he also covers the world of pro-wrestling, writing recaps for WWE Monday Night RAW and Total Divas at Scott’s Blog of Doom. You can follow the guy on Twitter via @PerriTheSmark as well as here at The Workprint and his own blog, Matt's Entertainment.

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