Nearly 10 years after winning Top Chef’s fourth season, Chicago chef Stephanie Izard (of Girl & the Goat and Little Goat) has won the first season of Iron Chef Gauntlet, the Food Network’s rehash of the popular competition program Iron Chef America. Izard’s big prize: being crowned an official Iron Chef.
Per Gauntlet’s gimmick, a real “winner” to the season wasn’t guaranteed. Izard, who made it through the show’s first round by besting semifinalists Sarah Grueneberg and Jason Dady (not to mention other chefs who were eliminated one by one), then had to face off against three OG Iron Chefs from the original U.S. show: Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Symon, and Bobby Flay. In the finale, which aired Sunday night, Izard lost in a head-to-head battle with Flay, but then triumphed over Symon and Morimoto, ultimately winning on total points, 90-87.
“It feels awesome,” Izard said during a livestreamed Facebook interview after the episode aired. “It’s kind of funny because I’ve known since January; I didn’t actually see the scores until tonight, so it was really cool to see how close it was. It was a gauntlet.”
Meanwhile, Gauntlet host and master of ceremonies Alton Brown seemed just as amped. “When we went into doing this, we had to face the fact that there might not be a new Iron Chef,” Brown said in his own post-show Facebook video. But given the outcome, he teases the idea of bringing Iron Chef America back full-time, since “it would be a real pity to have a new Iron Chef and not go back into Kitchen Stadium. That would be a real shame.”