If anyone who cares doesn't know by now, former pizzaiolo laureate of San Francisco Nate Appleman
will not be the next Iron Chef
, following Luce chef Dominique Crenn
who ended up on the chopping block last week. To be fair, he was bounced out of competition for falling short, not in a test of his butchery talents, dough-stretching, pasta-making, or on-the-spot facility with unique ingredients, but for his inability to devise and cook an authentic five-course Indian meal (his included paneer gnocchi with spinach sauce, aloo gobi, and coconut-marinated fried fish). To be further fair, however, he'd copped quite the swagger after winning the preceding mini-test despite having, in his bragadocious words, "never cooked Indian food in [his] life". Throughout the show's first half, Appleman behaved in a generally snotty and mildly villainous fashion -- seizing an entire basket of fish though he only needed one (just to tweak the other chefs), snickering constantly at the stove-top misfortunes of his fellow competitors, and making up cozy yarns about hallowed familial cooking traditions just to sway the judges. For this reason, we're sad to see him go. We're also confused about this show, which appears be testing contestants on skills the current Iron Chefs rarely employ -- and feels at times like a cross between an episode of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
and a long, long American Airlines commercial.