The Secrets of Kitchen Stadium
This is for all the Iron Chef America fans out there. Here are the secrets in short…
- Ingredients: The network has acknowledged that challengers receive a list of five potential secret ingredients, though by some accounts that list may be shorter, with perhaps three possibilities. Also according to mediavillage.com, the chefs compile 3 lists of secret ingredient recipes and what they’ll need to make these, and the fridges are stocked with what they need. So no matter what the ingredient is, the chefs will be ready.
- By the book: Food Network culinary staff are on hand to enforce a rule book based on the original Japanese show. Each chef gets $500, which must be used on a range of ingredients, not just one extravagant item such as truffles. The cash also can’t be used to purchase a higher-quality version of the secret ingredient. Chefs are allowed to bring special equipment not found in the show’s Kitchen Stadium, but their pantries are checked to ensure they haven’t snuck in any last-minute food items. “Don’t think they haven’t tried before,” says Seidel.
- Take two: The “reveal” of the secret ingredient isn’t quite as much of a scramble as it looks. As with many elements of the show, it’s taped until the right level of drama is caught on camera.
- On the clock: One unquestionably legitimate aspect of “Iron Chef America” is the 60-minute battle, taped in real time, with host Alton Brown recording “bumpers” where the commercial breaks will go. The hour blazes by fast, and I mean fast. But some kitchen basics are already in place before the clock begins. Simmering stock pots are already over the flame.Though both sides must complete a single version of each item on their menus before the buzzer, they receive extra time to plate their creations for the three judges and Kitchen Stadium “chairman” Mark Dacascos.
- What’s for dinner? The judging session actually unfolds over a painstaking 90 minutes, with each chef getting 45 minutes to present his or her dishes.
- No time to rest: The third season of “Iron Chef America” features 24 episodes, all taped over a 20-day period in January. With two episodes taped per day, there’s not much time for winners or losers to hang out.