Local Chef Battles in Kitchen Stadium on Iron Chef America

Philly chef Jose Garces achieved kitchen immortality last night. He simmered, sautéed and blast-chilled his way to victory on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, defeating Iron Chef Bobby Flay (thanks for the heads up, Foobooz). The secret ingredient (every episode’s got one) last night was melon. The additional twist: Every dish had to contain at least one frozen element.

If you haven’t seen Iron Chef America on the Food Network, you are missing out on the greatest competitive cooking show on TV. OK, so there aren’t many other shows like it, but that’s what makes it so good. The show consists of a “challenger” and an “Iron Chef.” Each chef works with his or her team to create five dishes based around a single “secret ingredient.” Chefs are then judged by arrogant or foolish “celebrity” judges on taste, plating and originality. The chef with the highest score wins eternal Kitchen Stadium glory… and that’s about it.

Garces is best known around the city for his two established eateries, Amada and Tinto and his most recent opening, Distrito. Amada, an Andalusian tapas bar in Old City has received praising reviews since its opening in 2005. Tinto is a wine bar influenced by the Basque region between Spain and France, while Distrito offers fresh variations on the food of Mexico City.

Iron Chef Bobby Flay was 19 and 4 against competing challengers. He’s known for Southwestern American cooking, especially grilling and barbequing.

The best part of all of this for Philly residents is that Garces will be offering his Iron Chef creations at his restaurants after his appearance on the show. No word on pricing or how you’ll be able to order the melon dishes, but the dishes are creative looked pretty delicious.

If you missed last night’s competition, or if you just want to relive the glory, Food Network will air the show again this Thursday, Aug. 21 at 9:00.


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  1. Alex, I never knew you wrote food reviews, or anything related to food period. Why didn’t you say anything? I would have loved to have read your stuff. Anyways, yeah, I have to agree with your sentiment about the “foolish” judges. I remember one episode in which the panel of judges included Vincent Pastore of the late Sopranos a.k.a Big Pussy. I remember the only dishes the oaf liked were the ones that reminded him of pasta (becuase they were pasta); as that was also how he expressed his praise,”Yeah, I like dis. It reminds me of pasta.” I’m So glad you countenanced that distinction; the nincompoopery of the judges.

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