Mark Dacascos, acting as the nephew of Takeshi Kaga, the Chairman of the Gourmet Academy in the Japanese "Iron Chef", establishes a Gourmet Academy in America.
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 Himself - Judge (4 episodes, 2004)
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Chairman Kaga has deemed America worthy of having its own Kitchen Stadium. He has sent his nephew to head the American stadium. In these four battles, three new American Iron Chefs take on two of the original Iron Chefs, including a tag-team battle with a special twist! Written by Greg Gilbert

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23 April 2004 (USA)  »

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Trivia

Chairman Mark Dacascos bites an apple at the beginning of each episode to pay homage to the original Iron Chef, where Chairman Kaga bites a pepper. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dancing with the Stars: Round Three (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

"Iron Chef America" comes close to "Ryori no tetsujin", but just misses.
29 June 2004 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

In this four-episode series tribute to "Ryori no tetsujin", Food Network put countless hours of time and effort into returning to the glory that is "Iron Chef". They almost succeeded.

One element that absolutely captures and vexes the audience of "Ryori no tetsujin" (the original Iron Chef series) is the flamboyancy and commanding nature of the wizened "Chairman Kaga". Here, replaced by his "nephew", (Mark Dacascos, whom I highly doubt has any true blood relation to Kaga) the mantle of "Chairman" is lacking.

Our new Chairman is stone-faced, and definitely does not dress the part. He attempts to harness Kaga's former command by shrieking "Allez Cuisine!" at the top of his lungs like an insane Samurai, rather than bellowing it with joy as Kaga would.

With the judges, I found them to be good selections all around-- but a bit biased. I felt strongly that the true "fairness" on this competition would be more even if two of the judges selected were American, and two were Japanese. (I realize that NONE of the judges in "Ryori no tetsujin" were ever American, either-- but this episode wrenches our Iron Chefs French and Japanese from their environments, and they now are faced with the challenge of suiting strictly American palates... which our Iron Chefs America have had the lifelong luxury of doing. Hey, some Americans don't LIKE eating horse fat!) The even balance of two Japanese judges and two American Judges would have given us all the real "thrill of the battle". It would have been like watching the SuperBowl.

As for bright spots in these shows, it was all taken quite seriously. Alton Brown, as usual, does a spectacular job. He is as charismatic here as he is famous for his own Food Network show, "Good Eats". Alton conveys a true feeling of anticipation and excitement as the competition rages, and his nervousness and passion is easily detectable in his voice. If we could not have had Kenji Fukui (dubbed, obviously, by Bill Bickard), then Alton is an excellent replacement. However, Kenji and Alton would have made a superb commentating team, accompanied by translators for each other's benefit, of course. I also missed Ota running around and getting all of the information he could present to us.

Another thought is, why three Iron Chefs America, and only two original Iron Chefs? It was my original hope that Bobby Flay would face Hiroyuki Sakai (which he did), Mario Batali would face Masahiko Kobe (Iron Chef Italian - a natural archenemy for Batali), and Wolfgang Puck would challenge Masaharu Morimoto (which he did). Perhaps in a future jaunt? One can only hope.

In conclusion, Chairman Kaga is sorely missed. The judging needs to be more even and fair, and more of the original Iron Chef elements should be returned to the new Kitchen Stadium. Food Network should pay Takeshi Kaga whatever he wants for his return. He is worth it, and so are the ratings.

Take another stab at this, FoodTV. You've almost got it.


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