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Iron Chef Australia – Matt Stone V Neil Perry – Pro’s and Con’s Of The Show

It was with much anticipation I sat down to watch Iron Chef Australia, and was disappointed to find the challenger tonight was chosen from the Junior Masterchef contestants.

Matt Stone from the Greenhouse restaurant is an untrained 23 year old who just made head chef nine months ago. His sous chef was his brother. No doubt the kid is talented but does he have any chance against one of Australia’s best chefs Neil Perry. The challengers on the Japanese and American version do tend to be a bit more experienced. In fact in the Japanese version they have extremely impressive cooking resumes.

Having said that great publicity for the challengers and suspect the Greenhouse will now be packed out for the next six months.

One mystery has been cleared up and that is Neil Perry is Iron Chef Australasian I thought that was very clever and does describe his style perfectly.

If you have been stuck down a mine in Chile for the past 6 years, the rules of the show are both chefs have to cook four dishes within a 60 minute time frame. All dishes must be themed around that episode’s key ingredient.

Also let’s not pretend they don’t know the ingredient in advance.

Tonight’s key ingredient was coconut.

What I liked about the show:

  • We saw a lot of cooking and knife technique;
  • There were some dishes that I might actually cook and eat unlike the original ironchef
  • the commentator Richard Cornish and basically kept the show rolling along and had some amusing asides;
  • The fact they have a female judge and she is not afraid to say what she thinks;
  • The judging panel are all pretty articulate and I expect them to improve over the weeks and Leo Schofield does not age – Botox?
  • Simon Thomsen was good at articulating the flavours of the dish to give the viewer at home a sense of what it tastes like;
  • I would like one ditz on the panel each week – a young home and away star or aspiring politician;
  • Matt Stone’s dishes that he used to plate up with were fantastic;
  • No over use of foie gras or truffles.

What I didn’t like:

  • The to camera pieces at the beginning by the chefs explaining their menu was unnecessary, they explained it to the judges later;
  • Ditto to camera pieces by the judges at the end of the show;
  • I didn’t like the alternate tasting of the dishes ie Neil present’s his, then Matt, I like it in the Japanese version where they present all their dishes in a row so the judges can get the feel of their entire menu;
  • What is the point of having the Chairman sit at the judging table if he does not give his opinion or announce the winner?
  • In fact the Chairman could have been played by a local actor as he did not add nor detract from the show and it would have been a cost saving;
  • Missed the Chairman to crunching on something at the beginning of the show;
  • Grant Denyer who did an OK job was superfluous to requirements and why does he announce the winner and not the chairman;
  • The judges appeared to be too polite to the challenger, just like on Junior Masterchef, and this was probably in the editing, but trying to create suspense by criticising Neil’s dishes  and gushing over theirs did not work;
  • No over use of foie gras or truffles.

Neil Perry’s dishes were:

  • Raw scallops in a tom ka foam,
  • Lobster with a coconut jelly;
  • Roast Chinese Pigeon;
  • Coconut Bombe Alaska.

Matt Stone’s dishes:

  • Prawn tails with coconut relish;
  • Kingfish with coconut and mussels;
  • Veal shin curry;
  • Coconut juice spears;

Neil Perry won with a score of 48/60 he basically beat him on taste, but I was surprised he got one point more for plating as I loved the way Matt Stone presented his food. Matt Stone received 44 points.

A solid start to the series I hope a bit more fun creeps into it next week. The show only goes for six episodes so expect to see each Iron Chef cook twice.


1 Jacqui { 10.19.10 at 9:58 pm }

Hopefully this show gets better with age!

2 Kaylen { 10.19.10 at 10:04 pm }

I enjoyed this.

What I most liked was the way everything was explained. From the different techniques to the types of food and how they’re used. It was delightful that I was able to understand what was being talked about! 😉

Chairman needed a greater role, and it’s a shame that it wasn’t given to him.

Denyer… eh. Alright, but too gimmicky. I think he will get annoying quickly.

What should have been done is split Denyer’s current role between the commentator more and the Chairman. The main commentator did excellent, and anything else could have been left to the Chairman.

Denyer wouldn’t be needed, and the show would be better off in the long run I think.

Overall? I liked it and I will continue to watch. I assume this season is all taped, so if it continues into another season I hope the Execs will take a look into what works and doesn’t work. 😉

3 Briar { 10.19.10 at 10:06 pm }

I can add to the dislike list: those waste-of-time recaps after every ad break. Cut those and I wouldn’t have missed the judgement result when my recording ran out. Grrrrrrr.

Also, were all those rushing-about-the-kitchen scenes real speed because, holy cow, it looked frantic. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised … by the show and Matt Stone’s mad talent. I’m looking forward to Iron Chef Brahimi.

(Oh, and I think those were coconut juice spheres.)

4 Reality Raver { 10.19.10 at 10:20 pm }

Briar – I think you are right about them being spheres not spears. Either way I won’t be making them at home.

Kaylen – Agree the commentator was a highlight

Jacqui – I think it will.

5 Heléna { 10.19.10 at 11:06 pm }

geez we hated the commentator – well he was fine we just thought he was superfluous – I actually enjoyed the parts with Grant Denyer asking the chefs questions, and watching the action on set. I thought Matt Stone was brilliant and I loved the concept of his restaurant

I agree about Leo Schofield, he looks so well! how old is he now? … my god I just checked! … he is 75! – how good does he look?!

I really didn’t like this version, but will make sure to watch the Chris Badenoch episode :) I’m not sure the series will last – but I’m obviously alone here ;p

6 wallah { 10.20.10 at 1:37 am }

For some reason it seemed really quiet compared to the Japanese version. Kind of like being a restaurant with your ex-wife, no other customers and no background music, just noise from the kitchen and the take-away customers coming in and out. Full marks though, it was quite entertaining.

7 skye { 10.20.10 at 7:39 am }

We struggled with it here, channel surfed a lot during the show. We spent a bit of time discussing what didn’t feel right about it:

Grant Denyer
The commentary
The chairman was so token that he almost became a strange kind of racist caricature randomly hanging around.
Just the whole thing was a bit odd/off balance. Whenever Denyer said “Who’s cuisine will reign supreme” or someone referred to “Iron Chef Perry” it just didn’t ring true at all.

The fact that the food looked delicious and appealing was a big step up from the japanese version on one level, but on the other we missed the sheer weirdness of the foie gras desserts and whatnot.

8 Tindy { 10.20.10 at 11:11 am }

It was acknowledged in SMH’s Good Living yesterday that a few weeks before the show, the contenders are given two secret ingredients to plan their four dishes around. It’s not until the night they find out which they will be doing battle over.

As for the coconut spheres, I was worried the sous chef was going to freeze his fingers off the way he was playing with them in the liquid nitrogen! (But it would have made for some great tv)

9 seepi { 10.20.10 at 12:06 pm }

I would have preferred it with less Grant Denyer myself.

He is too much like an amiable uncle at a wedding.

They should either get someone serious to play it straight, like Lee Liin Chin, or else someone totally over the top like Bob Down of Julian Clary.

The best bit for me was the annoucing of the Coconut, with mad judo flourishes. The show is good, the challenger was great, the judges are good – it just needs a bit more over the top ‘entertianment’ value.

A ditsy guest judge would be good too.

10 Reality Raver { 10.20.10 at 12:26 pm }

Seepi – yes a guest judge who starts dry wretching when eating some of the weirder ingredients

Helena – I think some people will like Grant and others won’t.

Skye- if they are paying the chairman big bucks use him.

Tindy – duh I am dumb I threw out the Good living before I read that yarn. I hope it is online.

Wallah – it is the first episode so hopefully it will be a bit smoother as everyone relaxes into their roles.

11 sourkraut { 10.20.10 at 1:38 pm }

As I Suspected. Cringingly embarassing in places and only a very pale shadow of the original.
The result was a foregone conclusion and the format of the judges comments were also. (But the idea of bringing the contestants dishes up alternatively for judging was a BIG PLUS!). The young punk was always going to be praised to the heavens by the judges (and who picked Leo Wanka for this task?????) and was alays going to lose. Cant Have the aluminium/tungsten alloy chef going down to a nobody first night even though the judges criticised his ickle pretty delicately plated offerings.
In other words the young punk could have cooked a bullmoose turd stew with caviar, lobsters, truffles, sharks fins, sauerkraut, and bollinger into the most mind blowingly orgasmic dish and he still would not have won. Pity top gear australia wasn’t much better!
Should have known it would be bad when we were told at the start that they would not cook lamingtons or coconut ice. Pity, the idiot contestants from MC2 could have learned how to do a lamington properly!

12 KC { 10.20.10 at 5:54 pm }

I was really excited for this…And kinda disappointed by the end. And I feel exactly like what a workmate said when he was asking why I was anticipating this so much, “Why don’t you just watch the Japanese version?” It really paled in comparison. There was no tension, excitement, action. It was all quite bland and might I say this, boring? Even with the English dub on the Japanese version it was a pretty epic show. I’m probably not going to be jumping on the bandwagon for this show…

And seriously the whole criticizing Neil Perry to make it seem like the other guy would win is just annoying. If its good just say it. ugh

13 angie @ water cooler oracle { 10.20.10 at 9:37 pm }

I gotta say, I was pleasantly surprised with this one. I thought Seven were going to right royally screw this up. I like to be surprised.

I too loved that the dishes weren’t as “wanky” as they could have been.

I didn’t like Perry… but I think that’s just me. I enjoyed watching him cook though.

I’m looking forward to watching more!

14 Joel { 10.20.10 at 9:56 pm }

In defense of Grant, although I’m not a huge fan, I do think he serves his purpose as the layman asking the sort of questions that the audience might ask.

I also really didn’t like the alternate dishes thing, especially as Perry apparently want to build his use of coconut throughout the menu. Also, why do they only make four dishes? In the Japanese one they can make more if they want and they have to make enough for all judges. I got the impression they plate up one for the final countdown and serve up the rest after the gong. Which sort of defeats the point of being judged for plating.

The Chairman pretty much gas the same role as he did in Iron Chef America – but I agree it should be him that announces the winner, especially as it is he who sets the challenge.

15 Pollywaffle { 10.20.10 at 10:50 pm }

Tin foil kids is already in the can

16 Reality Raver { 10.20.10 at 11:24 pm }

Sourkraut – I love your comments and tend to agree with some.

KC – They do need to work on the editing on the judges comments the faux praise for Matt, and the faux criticism of Neil Perry was so obvious.

Angie – It is Neil Perry’s voice (so monotonal) and pony tail that puts me off him. Having said that he is over 50 but does not look it.

Joel – I will watch for the plating sequence next week to see what the go is.

17 lilmanda { 10.26.10 at 3:46 pm }

I honestly don’t know why Grant Denyer is hosting this. He isn’t a chef or associated with food. He also hosts enough shows already.

I too believe that the praise of Matt’s dishes and put down of Neil’s shouldn’t have been shown. Suspense is built when it isn’t clear who’s going to win. As was said prior, of corse Matt wouldn’t win not on the first night.

Judging by Matt’s dishes hes got a massive future.

I think I’ll just say I have mixed feelings over the show in general.

18 Evan { 10.29.10 at 2:37 am }

Anybody else suspicious about the Chairman?

I don’t think Mark Dacascos is really in the studio (or even in Australia for that matter). It will be too expensive to fly him in every week plus all the jet lags etc.
I think they record the video (containing the Chairman) in America then edit the video together.
1. Chairman does not greet the contestant (Denver is).
2. Chairman does not announce the winner.
3. Chairman does not receive foods however in the next screen a plate magically appears.
4. We never see the chairman from the front together with other person without any smoke.
5. Judges NEVER talk to the Chairman.
6. Among other things.
I think the Australian version is really2 bad compared to the Japanese or American version.
They should have changed the host (into someone like Kevin Brown in Iron Chef America or Fukui san in Japanese). They should use “real” chairman instead of doing the fancy editing.