Returning to claim the title are chefs Marcel Vigneron, Tim Love, Eric Greenspan, Jehangir Mehta, Amanda Freitag, Nate Appleman, Elizabeth Falkner, Spike Mendelsohn, Alex Guarnaschelli and Duskie Estes. Estes is the curve ball in the competition as she is winner of the Road to Redemption web series and joins the other nine chefs in the kitchen. These are powerhouses competing for the top prize. They are not going into the competition blind; they have an idea of how arduous the task can be.
Host Alton Brown is known for delivering curve balls to the contestants and this season will be no different as surprises aplenty are awaiting our high-caliber culinary titans. Can you imagine the testosterone in the kitchen between Chef Appleman and Chef Mendelsohn going head-to-head or perhaps the fierce rivalry between Chef Faulkner and Chef Guarnaschelli? I have to admit that Guarnaschelli is one of my top picks. She has always been a favorite from Food Network; she was so close last time and I am almost certain she would have made it to the finale, but second time is a charm right?
It would be a treat to see a female take the crown, as it appears Cat Cora is the only women to be crowned the title. The guys are great, but the women are just as creative and talented in the kitchen as well. Chef Appleman was a strong contender from season 2 and to see this rebel taken out so early in the competition stunned me. People can quote me on this if they’d like, but expect a finale that comes down to Guarnashelli and Appleman. There is fierceness in these two that makes them driven to succeed at all cost.
The judges table has been shaken up a bit also. We have returning judge Donatella Arpaia, Simon Majumdar and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. I will admit I am thoroughly please to see Donatella back at the table. When it comes to food, no one knows it better. She is precise, blunt and fair. Majumdar is not a favorite of mine, as I feel he sometimes judges food that is catered to his palette, but maybe this time around that will change. Who better to judge the competition than an iron chef himself; Zakarian proved last season why he was named champion. He did indeed break the rules on more than one occasion, but the man is genius in the culinary arena. You throw any ingredient his way and he’ll find a way to turn it into a delicious dish.
Viewers should get ready for some entertaining dishes to emerge from the kitchen from the best in the country. Just remember in the end there can only be one. “The Next Iron Chef: Redemption” premieres Sunday, November 4 at 9pm on Food Network.
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