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Symon v. Besh:

The finale of "The Next Iron Chef" pits Cleveland culinary star Michael Symon against New Orleans' John Besh. I'm pulling for Symon, of course. Here's a profile of him from today's Plain Dealer.

UPDATE:

**SPOILER ALERT**

Congratulations to Michael Symon, the new Iron Chef. Allez Cuisine!

CPD coverage is here, and here's Symon's new blog, "Symon Says."

tarheel:
At the risk of outing myself as a complete Food Network nerd, can I just say that this whole contest has been rigged from the start. One of the judges (Michael Ruhlman) has written a book that, in part, profiles Symon.

All that said, I too hope Symon wins. Besh lost me with his double-breasted blue blazer.
11.11.2007 10:13am
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
Not that I'm a food Network nerd myself or anything, but recall that in an early episode Ruhlman called Symon out for appropriating a recipe from his pastry chef for one of the challenges.

Perhaps it's the editing of the show (it's all been pre-taped) but I pegged Symon and Besh as the favorites early on. (Besh actually won when he was on Iron Chef.) It's also interesting that the PD story says if either of them reveals the winner before the show airs, it will cost them $1 million.

JHA
11.11.2007 10:22am
Bpbatista (mail):
I thought Symon's restaurant "Lola" is slightly over-rated. Definitely good, but portions were small and expensive. That may fly in NYC but is somewhat unusual in Cleveland. In any event, I do hope he wins.
11.11.2007 11:14am
tarheel:
Besh and Symon did seem to be superior from the start. I first saw Symon on a No Reservations episode (also featuring Ruhlman), and his food looked unbelievable.

As long as Jeffrey Steingarten is judging tonight, I'll give Food Network the benefit of the doubt.
11.11.2007 11:19am
John R. Mayne (mail):
I'm rooting for Besh.

Both of them are very likable and obviously fine chefs. Besh just seems better and more ambitious to me. Reading the menus of Besh's restaurants makes me want to travel to New Orleans to eat his food.

I also find Besh more likable than Symon, though again both seem like fun guys to hang with.

As to the show itself, it heavily rips off Bravo's Top Chef and doesn't do the format as well as Top Chef does, in my opinion. Nonetheless, the presence of the superior chef talent makes it as compelling, I think.

--JRM
11.11.2007 2:08pm
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
JRM --

Actually, Top Chef was a copy of Food Network's "Next Food Network Star" show, which (at least according to Wikipedia) first aired a year earlier.

JHA
11.11.2007 5:47pm
Syd (mail):
They should compete at Tex-Mex and let Hanah be one of the jurors.
11.11.2007 6:39pm
Paul Ross (mail):
Anyone else TOTALLY annoyed at the three judges? Love Besh, Symon and Brown. The other three weasels I hope they don't make an appearance until season 15 of Iron Chef America.
11.11.2007 7:43pm
Ted:
Grrr. I didn't expect to come across a Next Iron Chef spoiler on the Conspiracy. Crap.
11.12.2007 12:44am
Francis:
I'm pretty sure the Chairman is saying, in badly broken French, Allez Cuisine!
11.12.2007 3:27am
Arghhhh:
Thanks a lot for the spoiler.........
11.12.2007 5:32am
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
I've added a spoiler alert, and fixed the quote.

JHA
11.12.2007 11:31am
Hewart:
I like both Besh and Symon. I'd be happy for either of them winning.

Brown is a kick, too.

The judges do seem a bit overdone, though.
11.13.2007 1:01am