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‘Iron Chef’ ingredients aren’t so secret

(Posted September 2, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

Plenty of questions this week, on shows ranging from "Iron Chef" to "American Idol" to shows that may never hit the air.

Q: Regarding "Iron Chef" the series, how is it possible that the chefs can think of 5 dishes to make using the secret ingredient in less than a few minutes?    —Colin, Ontario

A: Although "Iron Chef" makes it seem as though the secret ingredient that must be used is pulled completely out of nowhere, the chefs do have a little bit of advance knowledge.

A Food Network spokesperson tells us that the chefs are given a list of five ingredients in advance, knowing only that the secret ingredient will be taken from that list. We're told that this was the practice on the original "Iron Chef" as well as "Iron Chef America."

That doesn't mean it's a cakewalk, though. Chefs have to plan multiple recipes for each ingredient. Sometimes, especially on the original show, the ingredient is some form of live fish, which must be killed on-air. Yet the chefs have to produce a variety of dishes as well as often desserts. I think watching a chef feed trout into an ice-cream machine marked the time I decided to take a break from watching "Iron Chef," at least for a while.    —G.F.C.

By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Andy Dehnart

Source: MSNBC News

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