This Sunday night, rising star chef and member of the tribe Micah Wexler will face off against Master Chef Bobby Flay on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef”. We caught up with the popular L.A.-based chef to get some cooking and restaurant advice, a recipe for pomegranate brisket and to find out if he really will appear on “The Bachelor”.
How did the “Iron Chef” team find you?
The producer came into Mezze, my first restaurant, and really liked the food. He asked to meet me and then asked if I’d ever considered doing the show. When I was younger, I imagined it, but I hadn’t thought the opportunity would come about at this point in my career. He came back 6 or 7 times and then he invited me to be on it.
What is the penalty for telling us about the show before it airs?
A million dollars. In fact, they make everyone who is in the audience sign a non-disclosure agreement. When my episode was taped, my sister Miri was in the audience, and like everyone else, she had to sign an NDA. Shortly after, I talked to my mother and she knew all this stuff about what happened and I called up Miri and said, “Didn’t you sign one of those papers they passed out?” And she said, “Yes.” And I said, “Didn’t you read it?**!” And she said, “No.” I made sure neither of them said anything to anyone else.
Do you have any advice for Bobby Flay?
He’s done well for himself, so he should be the one giving me advice.
This past Sunday, Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” featured Israeli-born chef Michael Solomonov, of Philadelphia’s Zahav Restaurant. Solomonov battled Iron Chef Jose Garces in a head to head culinary competition. The pressure was on for both chefs who had just 60 minutes to create a world-class meal featuring passion fruit, the secret competition ingredient, which was revealed only moments before cooking began.
Solomonov, staying true to his personal and culinary roots, fried up fresh chickpea falafel with passion fruit and amba and served tuna carpaccio stuffed with tabboule. He wowed the judges with his passion fruit infused malabi custard for dessert. Iron Chef veteran Garces, impressed the judges with a “tour of the Islands,” cooking dishes from Cuba and Majorca including an opah ceviche with passion fruit sorbet. In the end, as with so many Iron Chef episodes, the challenger — Solomonov — was defeated.
Following the battle, Jew and the Carrot caught up with Solomonov to discuss his influences and what it’s really like to cook on ‘Iron Chef’.
The Jew and the Carrot recently caught up with Amanda Cohen, the visionary chef-owner of Dirt Candy – one New York’s most acclaimed vegetarian restaurants – who took on Chef Morimoto last month in a broccoli challenge on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.”
Cohen, who put up a good fight but was ultimately defeated by Morimoto, built her repetoir at Moby’s vegetarian teahouse Teany and at Dinerbar. Two years ago she opened Dirt Candy in the downtown Manhattan, which was named top vegetarian restaurant and called “the future of Vegetarian restaurants” by the Village Voice.
This week Cohen chats with us about competing on “Iron Chef,” the celebrity chef phenomenon and her Jewish food memories. Next week, in our second installment, we’ll wrap up with Cohen on making haute vegetarian cuisine at Dirt Kitchen, rebelling through vegetarianism and adding humor to her kitchen.
Here’s a sneak peak at Cohen on “Iron Chef America”: