A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this action-packed series features renowned chefs facing off in a cooking competition. Despite the presence of lots of sharp knives and references to “battles,” the series focuses on technique and interesting dishes. The judges comments sometimes contain some mild sexual innuendo that will go over the heads of most young viewers. Wine, champagne, and cocktails are sometimes served to judges before and during a meal. Kids might not be too interested, but it’s mild enough for cooking fans of all ages.
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What's the story?
Based on a hit series from Japan, IRON CHEF AMERICA features famous chefs battling it out in a frenzied cooking competition. Each episode, which is hosted by martial arts expert Mark Cacascos, allows a guest chef to choose one of the Iron Chefs -- Masaharu Morimoto, Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, Mario Batali, or Michael Symon -- to face off against in a one-hour cook-off that requires them to make a four or five course meal. The twist? They must design each of their dishes around a theme ingredient that is revealed to them at the start of the competition. With a team of sous chefs and assistants, each chef uses their latest techniques, high-end cooking gadgets, and ingenuity in order to come up with creative, beautiful, and tasty dishes that will impress a panel of picky food experts. Throughout it all, commentators like Alton Brown and Kevin Brauch add some humor while offering their thoughts about what is going on in the kitchen. The chef receiving the highest score from the judges wins bragging rights.
Is it any good?
The fun and high-energy series showcases how chefs combine humor and culinary genius to quickly create new flavors and sophisticated dishes. While the chefs are too busy to talk extensively about what they are doing while they are cooking, the commentators offer lots of information about the ingredients they are using. They also speculate about the recipes that are being put together.
There’s lots of good-natured bragging and showing off, and on occasion a guest judge takes the competition a bit too seriously. But ultimately, the chefs featured here demonstrate a passion for cooking while having a good time doing it. It’s definitely a great series that’s mild enough for cooking fans to and foodies of all ages savor.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about some of the unique ingredients, techniques, and dishes they see on the show. Where do chefs learn all the things they need to know to create such sophisticated dishes? How do chefs come up with dishes that will work with secret ingredients?
Talk about the show's format. How do you think the chefs and their teams come up with their dishes so quickly? Do you think the secret ingredient is really a surpise, or is that just a gimmick created for the show?
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