In two weeks, America will get its first fresh taste of Iron Chef in three years. Just like in the past, this new iteration of the show, dubbed Iron Chef Gauntlet, will include Secret Ingredient challenges, Chairman challenges, hosting duties performed by Alton Brown, and battles involving Iron Chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Symon, and Bobby Flay. But unlike previous seasons, this new show will have a first round wherein seven competitors will square off against each other in dual challenges, until only one newbie is left standing. The winner of that series will then face off against the Iron Chef heavies for the gauntlet round.
Alton also has an expanded role on this new program. The bow tie-wearing master of ceremonies tells Food Network: “Well, my job is certainly different than it has been in the past, because I’m actually judging the first round in each show and deciding who’s going to be going on to the second round.” So if those Kitchen Stadium newcomers want to do battle with the Iron Chefs, they’ve got to first knock Alton’s socks off during the Chairman’s Challenge. Brown explains that he’s looking for good technique and for the dishes to focus on the main ingredients, but he also notes: “One of the first things that falls off to the side when the clock is running is knife work, is consistent knife cuts, and I won’t put up with that.”
Kitchen Stadium is also getting a few upgrades for this new version of Iron Chef. The competitors will have a slew of fancy gadgets at their disposal — including an anti-griddle and liquid nitrogen — plus an expanded spice pantry with new additions like Korean chile flakes and yuzu kosho.
The show will make its debut on April 16, and the grand finale will air on May 21. Check out a preview above, take a tour of the stadium with Alton below, and stay tuned for more updates on the new season of Iron Chef in the coming weeks.
• Alton Brown Returns to the World of Iron Chef, and We’ve Got the Scoop [FN]
• Alton Brown Shows Off the Brand New Iron Chef Set (Prepare for Major Kitchen Envy) [People]
• Kaboom: ‘Iron Chef America’ Returns This Spring [E]