‘Iron Chef’: Alton Brown on why he left the Netflix Food Network

exactly like “Iron ChefAlton Brown synonym for food web. But now, both the beloved show and the famous chef have moved on to Netflix For a new edition of the competition series to be co-hosted by Brown.

With “Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend” on Netflix, which premiered this week, Brown has officially left his long stint at Food Network, where he’s been a staple of 21 years.

Brown joined the Food Network for the first time in the late 1990s, and was the host and creator of “Good Eats,” as well as the host of “Iron Chef America,” “Cutthroat Kitchen,” and a slew of other Food Network series and The Cooking Channel.

Although his exit has not yet been officially announced, Brown The latest deal with Food Network He moved it through 2020, and since then, he has quietly left their airwaves behind. In 2021, new episodes of his shows aired — “Good Eats: The Return,” which debuted on Discovery+ in early 2021, and a special version of “Chopped” that summer — but all of those episodes were filmed before him. I chose to head to Netflix for the new “Iron Chef”.

Brown says diverse He caught the Netflix reboot of “Iron Chef” a few years ago, and was immediately interested in joining the series.

“It required a little convincing on the part of a lot of different people. But I knew the show was going to happen, and I was sick of jealousy at the idea that I was in the wrong network at the wrong time,” Brown said. diverse. One day, my agent finally called me after I bothered him almost daily, and that was the case. it’s done. There was no second thought for me. He. She It means getting myself out of one web, but that wasn’t a difficult decision. The timing just realized that I was able to extricate myself from it.”

Brown, who co-hosted the new “Iron Chef” with Kristen Kish, the TV chef best known for winning the 10th season of “Top Chef,” isn’t the only familiar face who’s back in Kitchen Court. Mark Dacascos also returns as Chairman of the Board, which introduces the secret ingredient at the top of each episode. Iron chefs include Curtis Stone, Marcus Samuelson, Dominic Crane, Gabriella Camara and Ming Tsai.

The quiz series moved to Netflix after being unreleased on Food Network, where it aired for 13 seasons. “Iron Chef” debuted on Food Network in 2005, after becoming a major phenomenon on Japanese TV as the series originated with Fuji TV.

“Iron Chef” Producer and Executive Director Eitan Keeler shares how the show made it to Netflix, saying diverse His association with the series began when it was first launched on the Food Network, which is when he met Brown, who is now one of his best friends.

“I already had the international rights to Iron Chef, so I got involved with it after I was a Scripps member, at the time, and I had the North American rights option one time and if Food Network decided not to reorder,” Keeler explains. “We were all fortunate enough with our good fortune that they decided they weren’t going to move on.” So, that triggered my choice, and then the bigger task began, which is how do we make this different, so it’s not just the same show on a different platform.”

talk with diverse In a recent press day for “Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend,” Alton Brown, Kristen Kish, and Eytan Keller preview the new series and discuss the path from Food Network to Netflix.

How did the show come to Netflix?

Eitan Keeler: I just felt like the best home for this would be Netflix, both from a creative point of view and the way they respond in the room. The global aspect of it and the ability to reposition this show across the globe is phenomenal. How do you make it bigger, bigger and more interesting? What haven’t we been able to do on the Food Network that you can do either on a streaming device or in streaming?

Have you thought about bringing the show to air?

Keeler: at one point. We went out and showed it to a lot of different potential buyers, and we We had streaming shows and we had a Netflix show. My preference was to view Netflix.

You said you felt lucky that the show didn’t get renewed on Food Network. Why do you say that? Is it time to update?

Keeler: We’ve been doing this for the Food Network for about 13 years, and We were constantly asking them to reinvent certain elements of the look, change the environment, and improve and renovate the kitchen playground. TIt was unique diminished. We made a lot of suggestions, and they didn’t want to go in that direction. For a long time, we try to Convince Food Network to rearrange it and Give them different format changes and options to update it and make it work and Many of these changes would not have increased the budget, so this was not a budget consideration, but they were moved for whatever reason. in a different direction. All of these platforms have their reasons for saying yes or no, and they’ve decided that their Iron Chef arc is over.

What are some of those changes that you wanted to achieve in this new version?

Keeler: We wanted to make it bigger and better. Get to know the challenger more. And the fact that Alton has Kristen Ho Such an additional element in the show. Alton told me,We need to talk about how this would be different. I just don’t want to go do the same show.” We spent some time talking about what that is, and I said, “One of the things I have been thinking about is a file partner to you, bBecause that will allow you to take out a lot of Cool character aspects that you just can’t do when you’re out there playing game after game. It’s impossible, you don’t do itYou have a chance to breathe.” it’s meUrgently agree, I think it shows when you watch. Alton has reinvented the way he performs his show. There is a sense of humor. They are wonderful together.

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Alton Brown and Kristen Kish present “Iron Chef” on Netflix.
Patrick Wymore/Netflix

Kristen, what was your reaction when you landed with this? I thought it was a dream job.

Kristen Kesch: I grew up watching Iron Chef. I He grew up watching the movie “Good Eats”. It came in 1999, which I was at its height when watching food and cooking shows, and I was obsessed with it. I wouldn’t have been successful without those shows. So, the combination of “IRon Chef fandom and “good eats” it They all collide in this moment for me I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it. It’s a little surreal thing, and it really is an honor.

What is the biggest difference the Netflix streaming model has made?

Alton Brown: The first difference is that there is no commercial break every four minutes, and this changes the way stories are told drastically. Allows more accurate storytelling This is a big change in the rules of the game. I think it will open up a huge dimension to what the true value of the series is. The second reason is that because it’s airing, people can immerse themselves in the whole thing and this allows us to have stories longer than just one episode. FFrom a storytelling point of view, it’s very different.

How is the shape of the kitchen playground different?

Keeler: KItch Pitch has always been a character on the show, and I wanted to make it a bigger character – not only in terms of size, but also The appearance. This isn’t a TV studio, it really isn’t. I hope I don’t It sounds very hyperbolic, but it’s kind of an alternative to cooking. You are in it, and you are immersed in this world.

I’ve always wondered: Is the competition really an hour long? Or is this a fake watch?

Keeler: It is definitely a real watch. It is very stressful. The sweat and tears Anxiety is all real.

The chefs on this staff represent a sense of diversity, all coming from different cultures. Does being on Netflix add more global tone to the show?

brown: If we are talking about the “universal” Netflix, who Of course, we are all very excited about it. I feel like the list, much thought of, is there A shot of the American “culinary art” that I’m so proud of. I think she represents the continent in a brave, subtle, experienced and talented way. I wouldn’t say we haven’t had that before, but I think the new “Iron Chef” on Netflix, which is a global brave frontier, are the ones to be in that cast. I think the series has been remastered and developed into a very mature phaseinternational method tWe hope the hat will make a big impact.

Keeler: I think the global side of it allows For chefs to apply their background. she is gaby The background is rooted in different regions of Mexico, and each dish I designed is based on a specific region. And Marcus, in the same way, He loves to show how his multicultural background is reflected in his food and how he is finally capable of it He does not hide his Ethiopian origin.

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Curtis Stone, Dominic Crane, Gabriella Camara, Marcus Samuelson, and Ming Tsai are the new stars of Netflix’s Iron Chef.
Patrick Wymore/Netflix

Kristen, on the global side, have you ever thought about the impact you could have, being a gay woman of color at the helm of a big stage show like “Iron Chef?”

Kish: You know, that’s something I never thought, because I never thought I should drive it with these parts of me. This was never part of my narrative, and it wasn’t until I was cast on TV, so I’m very grateful for the platform. What television has done for me is it has allowed me to look inside and say, “Who am I? What am I? Where do I come from, and why is this important?” And that is one of the greatest gifts that television and the media have given me. It made me look at myself differently. Being on screen makes me more aware that people view me as a woman, Asian, queer and all the good things that make me a part of me. It’s a huge deal.

Since getting to know audiences on Top Chef, what kinds of messages have you received from viewers over the years?

Kish: Oh my gosh, everything from the adoption community to The gay community for being a woman for being Asian. Entire. “I am so happy that now I can finally see someone who looks like me.” All of those things. Ultimately, when you can find someone you relate to on TV, no matter what they look like or what they are, if they You can find someone to relate to that gives you hope – only hope In life you will be fine. I was searching for it for a very long time when I was a kid and didn’t realize that I could search for media To find that comfort.

Was this show designed to be an event series of just eight episodes, or could there be more seasons?

brown: Well, I know what I want. I would like to do this oGH on a regular basis. I love the new show it’s a My favorite repetition. I I feel like Kristen and I make a really good team, and I think Netflix is ​​the perfect place to see where this show can go over time. So yes, my vote is for more. buthey Don’t call me and ask me – but If this call came, I would be more supportive of the “Iron Chef”.

Keeler: Obviously, the desire to succeed is to do more. will take the challenge It takes it to the next level and reinvents it a little bit more. we’ve got We talk about some interesting things that we would like to do that I think will play into the talent and creativity of chefs, and The attention of the masses so that it is They evolve and won’t come every season and see the same dynamic unfold.

Alton, you said this is your favorite iteration of the show. why is that?

brown: It’s my favorite iteration for several reasons. one, wYou finally have enough budget to do it right. Finally we managed it You have a large group as it should be and a large kitchen as it should be. I I think having hosts finally, which was not something we were able to achieve in the previous iteration, is a huge upgrade. And thee contains really great ingredients; Filming here in California is very different from shooting in New York. And my trailer is much bigger Better than my dressing room was on Food Network.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.