Spoiler alert everybody: New York chef Alex Guarnaschelli beat out Amanda Freitag for the title of Iron Chef on Sunday in the series' first all-female finale. The final challenge was to "pay tribute" to Iron Chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Bobby Flay, and Michael Symon. Sure, why not. For the fifth season of Next Iron Chef, the Food Network brought back a bunch of chefs who lost in other seasons in order to give them a chance to redeem themselves. Guarnaschelli, chef of the NYC restaurants Butter and The Darby, beat out the likes of Nate Appleman, Spike Mendelsohn, Tim Love, and Marcel Vigneron for the title.
Iron Chef Guarnaschelli told Zap2It that her mom — cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli — suggested she not to do the show because "You are not good at those things." Apparently her mom was wrong. Guarnaschelli's first battle on Iron Chef America airs December 30. Below, video of the big Next Iron Chef ending and the press release.
Video: Next Iron Chef: Redemption Winner Revealed
ALEX GUARNASCHELLI WINS THE NEXT IRON CHEF: REDEMPTION
Guarnaschelli's First Iron Chef America Battle Premieres
Sunday, December 30th at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network
NEW YORK - December 24, 2012 - After an eight-episode culinary battle royale, Alex Guarnaschelli was named winner in last night's epic finale of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption. Guarnaschelli battled against Chef Amanda Freitag in the season's final showdown in Kitchen Stadium, where they were challenged to create three dishes each using ingredients that represent the culinary heritage of the three longest standing Iron Chefs: Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and Michael Symon, who also served as guest judges to determine who will join their elite culinary society. Guarnaschelli's first Iron Chef America battle airs on Sunday, December 30th at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network.
"Chef Guarnaschelli is an extraordinary talent - the newly-crowned Iron Chef is exceptionally passionate, creative and skilled," said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Food Network. "Her journey for redemption has been fascinating to watch, and she has truly proven herself worthy of the title 'Iron Chef.'"
As the daughter of an esteemed cookbook editor, Guarnaschelli spent her childhood surrounded by food. After graduating from Barnard College in 1991, she worked under acclaimed American chef Larry Forgione. Encouraged by Forgione, Guarnaschelli moved to France to study at La Varenne Culinary School in Burgundy. After school she worked for four years at the Michelin three-star restaurant Guy Savoy and moved up to sous chef at La Butte Chaillot, another Savoy establishment. After seven successful years in France, Guarnaschelli returned stateside, joining the venerable Daniel Boulud at restaurant Daniel in Manhattan as sous chef. She moved to Los Angeles for two years and worked at the acclaimed Patina restaurant in West Hollywood. In 2003, she became the executive chef at Butter Restaurant in New York, where she creates an eclectic American and green market-inspired menu. Guarnaschelli also helms the kitchen of NYC's modern dining and cabaret concept, The Darby. She has previously appeared on Food Network in her own show Alex's Day Off, as both a challenger and a judge on the hit series Iron Chef America and is a judge on popular primetime series, Chopped. She also competed in The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs, where she made it into the semi-final battle.
The Next Iron Chef: Redemption premiered on November 4th, with a roster of acclaimed chefs returning for a second chance to become a member of the Iron Chef culinary society, along with a few newcomers in the mix. Hosted by Alton Brown and shot in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, the season's competitors were: returning from The Next Iron Chef: Season Two Nate Appleman (Chipotle Mexican Grill, ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen), Amanda Freitag (Chopped), Eric Greenspan (The Foundry on Melrose, The Roof on Wilshire, Los Angeles) and Jehangir Mehta (Graffiti, Mehtaphor, New York); from The Next Iron Chef Season Three Duskie Estes (ZAZU Restaurant + Farm and Black Pig Meat Co, Sonoma County); from The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs Elizabeth Falkner (Krescendo, New York), Alex Guarnaschelli (Butter, The Darby, New York, Chopped) and Spike Mendelsohn (Good Stuff Eatery, We The Pizza, Washington D.C.);and first time Next Iron Chef competitors with their own redemption stories, Tim Love (The Lonesome Dove, Western Bistro, The Love Shack, Woodshed Smokehouse, White Elephant Saloon, Fort Worth) and Marcel Vigneron (The Coop, Los Angeles).