Anyone who’s seen, let alone tasted, chef Andrew Kirschner’s salt-crusted whole snapper or bone marrow dish knows the Wilshire chef doesn’t suffer from a lack of ingenuity. Still, the game is the game, and so it was that Kirschner departed The Next Iron Chef during the first episode last night, right after judge Alton Brown called out the chef’s duck with green papaya and mango salad for a lack of originality. What’s going on here?
While Kirschner, a talented toque and L.A. native, will no doubt survive the quick dismissal, it appears less likely that Los Angeles will keep investing its interests in the competition when our chefs are repeatedly refused their chance to shine. Kirschner’s departure comes on the heels of a similar situation last year, wherein The Foundry’s Eric Greenspan was also dismissed during the first episode for not being able to cook well with crickets, even as the show was being shot in L.A. We’re not totally convinced all is fair in televised cooking competitions, but still we have to ask: Is Food Network just playing with our city’s emotions? As always, we’d love to know your thoughts.