Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters

So Food Network is running “Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters” this weekend. It’s their attempt to bring the magic that is “Iron Chef” to American TV (after UPN tried and failed with the incredibly campy William Shatner-hosted version they slapped together a while back).

I figured that the odds of Food Network being successful at something like this were probably higher than they were for UPN. But then I read this interview with Food Network personality Alton Brown about what they’re doing with “Iron Chef”, and I realized something:

This thing might end up being the coolest thing in the history of the universe.

“UPN tried to do this [in 2001], but they forgot that it was about food,” says Brown, who hosts Food Network’s “Good Eats” and will serve as the announcer/commentator for “Iron Chef America.”…
“That doesn’t happen at Food Network,” Brown says. “… It wasn’t going to be a freak show; it wasn’t going to be pro wrestling. But I also knew that they were going to supply the back story, that there was going to be a story structure to support the handing over of this from Japan to America.”
The show has a new chairman, martial artist and actor Mark Dacascos, who will explain to viewers…

Wait! Stop the interview!

Did he say the Chairman is Mark Dacascos? As in, the Mark Dacascos who starred in the incredibly goofy 1993 martial-arts flick Only the Strong, in which a Green Beret returns from a tour in Brazil (?) and cleans up his ‘hood by giving the local street toughs lessons in capoeira, the Brazilian dancing martial art that looks a bit like a cross between a breakdance and an epileptic seizure? And then he and the suddenly-reformed street toughs (inspired to go straight by the magic of capoeira, natch) break up the local Evil Drug Gang by beating them all up in giant capoeira fights in which none of the Evil Drug Gang guys ever thinks to pull a gun?

Yes! That Mark Dascascos!

Holy crap — they may have found the one Westerner who could actually pull off the role of a reclusive billionaire who builds a “Kitchen Stadium” and lures the world’s greatest chefs into it to do battle. A much more inspired choice than Shatner, anyway.

Come to think of it, I may not want to watch this after all… it sounds like it might be so cool it will make my head explode.



April 22, 2004
2:35 pm

two thoughts:
1) why do you know so much about Green Beret/Brazilian Kung Fu/feel good anti-gang movies?
2) Alton Brown Kicks ass. Good Eats is the best show on the Food network. It and Iron Chef are the only two shows I always enjoy on that channel, which is always on at home because my wife is addicted to the food network

Jason Lefkowitz

April 22, 2004
3:16 pm

1) Because it comes in handy to know these things when you’re out every day cleaning up the Mean Streets. You know, like I am.
2) Alton Brown does indeed kick ass. He is the only person on Earth who could explain a recipe for French toast that requires *preparing the day before* and have me going “mmm, I should try that”.

Ann Kent

April 22, 2004
3:17 pm

Brazil, Capoeira, Iron Chef, and Food Network all kick ass. I welcome the union of any combination of these 4 factors.
The Battle of the Masters is going to rule!

Pete Newtown

April 26, 2004
7:07 am

I posted a comment about how unfair the judge (from the Sopranos) was. How can he be a food critic? All he knows what to do is to beat up people. He was being prejudiced without even trying Morimoto’s rice. How can you not like something without even trying it? He really upset me.
Although I thought it was a good show, and the meals that were prepared did look great (almost wishing I was a judge), I wish that the the judges were selected based on their knowledge and palate, not by a popularity contest. If Morimoto’s recipes didn’t please everyone’s taste(especially that Sopranos judge), he could of at least won on the presentation, which i thought was a lot better than Batali’s (although his recipes did look like it would taste better).

Iron Chef Southern

April 27, 2004
3:07 am

Yeah, the new Chairman kind of blew. The rest of the show was quite acceptable, even though it was obvious to many I’ve spoken with that the “Old Guard” had to be defeated in order to hand off the show. Yes, friends. The battles of Sakai/Flay and Morimoto/Batali are now believed by many to have been [gasp!] rigged. No one would believe that, especially after seeing the planel of judges that helped, er- impartially judged Bobby Flay winner in his 2nd battle with Morimoto. Vincent Pastore was a crappy panelist then, and time did not improve him. That being said… I believe Batali did beat Morimoto fair and square. However, there is no damn way Sakai lost to Flay. That was the kicker. No dice on that one. Nobody I know who saw it believed it. That being said… everyone loved the Tag Team Battle, until Batali and Sakai got royally screwed on the judging. Those two were freaking incredible as a team.