Thursday, February 21st, 2008

How Iron Chef America gets made


Not surprisingly, it’s all smoke and mirrors. And really, though the show isn’t terrible, nothing will ever come close to the glorious Japanese insanity of the original series.

Warren Frey is a journalist, freelance writer, podcaster, video producer, and all-around media consultant currently based in Vancouver, Canada. His written work has appeared in such publications as Metro Vancouver, the Westender, Mac | Life and the Japan Times.

3 Responses to “ How Iron Chef America gets made ”

cam c. says:

Having seen the inner workings of (an admittedly smaller) radio/TV company in Japan, that doesn’t surprise me at all… I’m sure the original is just as rigged, or even worse, possibly. In fact, this sounds about par for the course for any “reality” based show anywhere…

Chris Burgess says:

I’ve not heard anything about the judging portion and how long it took for the original Japanese version, or if food was prepared again, but I do know the original version had many similar smoke and mirrors elements. The Iron Chef was chosen in advance of taping (rather than have stand-ins though, they’d air the same pre-recorded footage of all Iron Chefs together but at taping only film the ‘chosen’ Iron Chef for the reaction shot) and the ‘secret’ ingredient wasn’t known but contestants were given a short list of what the secret ingredient might be, just as is done with the US version.

Knowing the secrets takes a bit of the enjoyment out of it, but honestly the magic of the show is in the editing and the commentary, and both of those elements are done so wonderfully well in both versions that it’s no surprise the show has lasted as long as it has, has a worldwide fan base, and is still popular and enjoyable. I know I dig both versions.

Josh Zimon says:

A great article Warren. I love this behind the scenes stuff. I enjoy watching both Iron Chefs. However, I never thought that the whole event wasn’t edited and “performed”. It’s a bit like wrestling, entertaining for some – but real competition…well, not so much. The best part were the “body doubles” for the other Iron Chefs. I remember in the old show, they sometimes had the challenger select the Iron Chef. Other times, the Chairman chose the Iron Chef. You can’t think those busy guys are going to be around for every challenge and watch each show! Great stuff.

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