Here's my chronological running diary of the random thoughts I had while watching episode two of The Next Iron Chef.
We are reminded that in the first installment, Andrew Kirschner was sent packing. He has a soul patch.
For the first challenge, the contestants are asked to put two breakfast dishes together using coffee and doughnuts. By their facial expressions, everyone seems perplexed.
Just a couple minutes in, and we get our first reaction from Houston hero Bryan Caswell. He decides to go to the exotic land of Vietnam again (he made a banh mi in episode one) and tackles a pain perdu with coffee and cream pureed with the sweeter doughnuts. Roasted peaches, bacon and coffee syrup will also be involved.
Kudos to Alton Brown for losing a lot of weight. He looks like he stayed on the treadmill for about an hour too long, though, and seems a little drawn. Give that man four or five of those doughnuts.
Onto the judging, where the chefs pick the top and bottom contenders. During this segment, Caswell slams Chef Mario Pagan for not using enough coffee in his doughnut tapa. Yeah, get him!
Ever had a doughnut grilled cheese? Me either. Get me one now.
Caswell scolds Ming Tsai for not being inventive with his doughnut breakfast sandwich using two doughnuts as the bun, green tomatoes and scrambled eggs. Tsai says in his interview segment that Caswell referred to the fact that he has eaten a hamburger with doughnut buns before, and the sandwich was lame. Tsai then says something about how he hasn't ever had a doughnut burger before and adds, "I don't know what they are eating down there in Texas." Whatcha talkin' bout, Ming?! You better watch it.
Caswell has not stopped sweating during the breakfast evaluation. I guess it's tough work kicking all that ass.
The big Texan gets criticized for not having enough doughnut flavor in his coffee drink and for having soggy french toast. He looks perturbed.
Seriously Alton, please eat some of the food you are talking about. I'm getting worried. On a separate note, I still need a skeleton for my outdoor Halloween decorations.
Chef Maneet Chauhan is picked as the winner for this round with her doughnut grilled cheese and gets to pick what she and everyone else will cook in the final round.
Chef Mary Dumont is your big loser and has to start a minute later than the others.
What is the easiest money on the planet going these days? Iron Chef Chairman. You know that dude shows up seconds before cameras roll and reads off a teleprompter.
In the elimination challenge there is a long list of American comfort food like biscuits and gravy, meatloaf and fried chicken. The contestants are supposed to come up with their own innovative twist on these.
Chauhan selects corned beef hash and eggs for Ming Tsai. Have you ever heard of corned beef, Ming? Do they serve that where you are from? Well, they serve it here in Texas, FYI.
Caswell is placed with an open faced turkey sandwich with stuffing. Have you ever had the Day After Thanksgiving Sandwich at Lola in the Heights? Amazing.
Ming just put on that damned Asian-inspired headband again as he starts cooking. Hey, Ming, we have clichés in Texas too.
Chef Celina Tio got stuck with baked fish and rice pilaf and decided to do a slow-baked salmon with a crispy risotto cake. I'll take about 50 of those risotto cakes to go, please.
Marco Canora gets liver and onions and is doing something he calls a playful onions and liver. I hate liver.
I have to admit, I also sweat a lot, so I can't fault the Big Caz for being more than a little dewy. I just hope he doesn't drip into his turkey and stuffing sandwich with brown butter gravy vinaigrette and cranberry mustard.
Tragedy strikes as Chef Dumont can't get the top off her pressure cooker.
With ten minutes left on the clock, Caswell's turkey is medium rare. Not the desired temp for turkey.
Our old pal Ming gets slammed by the judges for using every ingredient in the pantry. For corned beef and cabbage, he somehow pulled out lobster and shoved it in there. Not a good judging session for him. Don't mess with Texas.
We have something called onions and liver and now something called pie pot chicken. The judges love the pie pot and praise its inventor, Marc Forgione.
Caswell gets rave reviews for his turkey and stuffing. Not one negative comment for any of the three judges.
The "tropical meatloaf" plate by Chef Pagan is pretty hideous. To be honest, I can't see how anything called a tropical meatloaf could look or taste good. Tropical mess.
Tio's risotto cake gets good reception from Michael Symon. I still haven't been delivered a risotto cake. Hello?
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In the deliberations, Caswell seems to be your early leader with Forgione right there behind him.
Tsai and Pagan seem to be bringing up the rear.
When the judges rule, the innovative winner is Chef Forgione with his chicken pot pie. Caswell comes up second and says something about being a blushing school girl. I have always said that he is one handsome man.
Ming Tsai's ass is saved for another day, meaning that we'll get to make fun of his headband for future episodes. You will get yours, Tsai. Pagan is heading back home to the tropics.