Netflix’s ‘Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend’ Overdoes It, Losing Focus on Food

The revival of Netflix iron boss much to love. Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend features five newly minted Iron Chefs, an exciting new cast of contestants from diverse culinary backgrounds, engaging judges, surprise guests, the return of Iron Chef America‘s Chairman, and the delicious savory accord of Alton Brown (Ruthless Kitchen) with the candy Excellent chef champion Kristen Kish. On top of that, this spin-off gives contenders a chance to not only defeat an Iron Chef, but also take the honor of becoming the season’s singular Iron Legend. All good things! But as the wisdom of TikTok says, there’s just one point where you hit enough slicesand it becomes a mess.

Look, I’m not gonna tell you that iron boss is the appropriate place for less is more. As an avid fan of the original Japanese series, my attention was first drawn to the over-the-top show of silk chef uniforms, the dynamic presentation of Chairman Takeshi Kaga, and the explosive reveal of secret ingredients. Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend respects those origins by showcasing its Iron Chefs week after week in a graphical split-screen treatment that has a playful “Choose Your Fighter” vibe. Unlike the Japanese series, however, these suitors cannot choose their kitchen rival. This call is launched by their president (Mark Dacascos). Now, he might lack the flashy fashion of the OG president – preferring an all-black suit instead – but he’s not short of over-the-top theatrics when presenting the secret ingredient, or any other random twist thrown at the contestants. .

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Credit: Patrick Wymore/Netflix

Let me take you back to the basement of my friend’s mother’s house in the 90s, where we met every Friday night on a shabby couch to watch iron boss together, cheering and laughing like it’s the Super Bowl or Eurovision.

The reveal of the secret ingredient was always exhilarating, not only because of the president’s contagious enthusiasm, but also because even the most mundane ingredient was made exciting by the hosts’ constant speculation, food-porn close-ups preparation, and the cooing of appreciation from the judges. Of course, few reveals could be as cool as live octopuses. Still iron bossThe actors and suitors of have always ensured that every ingredient, no matter how mundane, looks impressive and delicious, even on a TV screen halfway around the world.

But Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend seems to fear that after 7 seasons of iron boss and 13 of Iron Chief: America and multiple spinoffs from there, audiences won’t be impressed by a single reveal. So, contestant Esther Choi and Iron Chef Marcus Samuelsson go head-to-head not only over ribs, but also with the requirement that their meal be tailgate-themed, and too they have footballers as sous-chefs. “Battle Medieval” not only features a specific inspiration, but also three distinct revelations of secret ingredients. The show throws so much twists and turns at home, it becomes difficult to savor the sensation of seeing great chefs get creative with intriguing ingredients. It’s a close-up frenzy of a football player ignoring rising flames or another run to the ingredients table or a scramble over another reveal. The construction of the quest is tentative.


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Iron Chef: Iron Legend Quest loses focus on food

Judges Nilou Motamed and Andrew Zimmern, and guest judge Danny Trejo in episode 105 of

Credit: Patrick Wymore/Netflix

As always, there’s a lot of storytelling in this series. We are welcomed into the personal stories of Challengers, Iron Chefs, Hosts and Judges. These stories are about how food is so much more than flavor. It’s heritage. It’s the family. It is finding happiness in difficult circumstances. Two of the most defining moments of this first season came at the judges’ table. One, when Andrew Zimmern (weird foods) broke down in tears, revealing how much a contestant’s dessert reminded him of his grandmother’s favorite humble treat. In another episode, actor and taco/donut restaurateur Danny Trejo shares how instant ramen holds special significance in penitentiaries, where it’s so coveted it’s used as currency. Both cases connect the often refined cuisines of Kitchen Stadium to simpler pleasures, honoring the kind of food each of us can make amazing.

However, when the show rushes to include a barrage of new gimmicks, those moments can get drowned out amid too much. There are many instances where a culinary word or reference to food history was made, but no one stopped to explain it. It just passes with a shrug, leaving those of us who aren’t major cookbooks slightly bewildered.


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Alton Brown, Kristen Kish, Esther Choi in episode 105 of

Credit: Patrick Wymore/Netflix

To their credit, Brown and Kish bring playful competitiveness to educating the public about cooking. When there’s time (amid twists and turns), this dashing duo ensure that every lesser-known technique, curious culinary fact, or forgotten culinary story is presented with jubilant aggression, like two nerds trying to outdo each other but relishing the game. more than the winner. Even though they bicker over dish predictions or obscure technique names, Kish and Brown have a terrific chemistry that is always lively, welcoming us into their dizzying little group.

Whether Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend gets a second season, hoping it finds its groove. Rather than launching a flurry of “fun” ideas meant to keep chefs off balance, this first season overwhelmed my palette, like too much truffle oil. A touch of surprise at the Kitchen Stadium is welcome, of course. But from there, I want no more – I want to breathe in the story unfolding before our eyes, savor the evolution of the dishes, and savor all the passion and knowledge that goes into salivating-worthy meals. Leave the shenanigans to Nailed it.

How to watch: Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)

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