The original was a crazy hit that gained a cult following due to its over the top spectacle. There is nothing like this in the latest version.
Remember what made the pompous Japanese cooking contest Iron Chef so cool?
More outlandish than outlandish, more over the top than over the top, and so kitschy that a confetti vat would actually soften it up, Iron Chef was an SBS Saturday afternoon treat you never wanted to miss.
From the spectacular wild statements and gestures of Chairman Kaga to the steam and smoky frenzy on the floor of the Kitchen Stadium. iron chef was persuasive.
The English translation of the narration also had a certain charm, thanks to the slightly irregular intonations or the barely contained giggles of the female voice. All this was part iron chef showcase. It was like a trifle, full of strong elements, but somehow working harmoniously.
Cooking and food were secondary to the drama, so it didn’t matter if you included key ingredients during the week, hoping to see 10 scallop dishes but having to settle for fennel as the protagonist.
It was also an era before cooking competitions became the mainstay of broadcast (and now streaming) television, so there was a novelty that had long since dissipated.
iron chef he never seemed to take himself too seriously, relying entirely on his excesses and showmanship.
You can’t say the same for Iron Chef: In Search of the Iron Legend, a new iteration of the franchise launched on Netflix this week. He struggles to dial in the weirdness and even more struggles to shake off the American seriousness.
The format remains the same. The chairman pits the challenger against one of his local iron chefs in a battle royal, during which they must prepare five dishes based on a “secret” ingredient for a jury. The winner is declared and bragging rights follow. The challenger with the most points will face all five Iron Chefs in the final.
Sounds good on paper, but the performance lacks all the charm of the original because the crux of the problem is that it’s so smooth American. The tabletops are too clean, the lighting is too bright, the presenters (Elton Brown and Kristen Kish) and judges are too perfect, the editing is too fast, and the judging is too urgent.
In other words, he is soulless. He has no real identity.
FROM Iron Chef: In Search of the Iron Legend is on the heels Chef, Best Chef, chopped, Hell’s Kitchen, cupcake wars, My kitchen rules and all imitators, this is an elusive clone not of its predecessor, but of the genre.
It doesn’t help that Brown has been the host of every other cooking competition on the US Food Network for years.
It also doesn’t help that Curtis Stone was Iron Chef in the first episode. While he is probably less well-known to Americans, and no doubt a good TV talent and seemingly nice guy, Stone has been overexposed on Australian TV, largely due to his ubiquitous – no, endless – Cowles commercials. .
So when he first appears on Iron Chef: In Search of the Iron Legendit’s just another hour of Curtis Stone in a cooking competition that looks and feels just like everything else.
Part of the original’s appeal iron chef is that his Japanese iron chefs (“Morimoto-san!”) were not known to the Australian public. Everything in it was very different from the ordinary.
And everything about IRabout the chef: in search of an iron legend mundane. It’s not worthy iron chef name.
Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend is out on Netflix starting Wednesday, June 15 at 5:00 pm AEST.