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Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Chairman Kaga
I love reality TV, and there are plenty of good shows around.  “Dancing With the Stars,” “Real Housewives of Anywhere,” “America’s Got Talent,” and “Top Chef” to name a few, but my favorite Reality TV show of all time is gone.


Not “Iron Chef America,” but the original straight from Japan, “Iron Chef.”  Several things made this show a classic.

First was the secret ingredient.  The ingredient was announced by the “Chairman” a millionaire who ran the cooking competition in his own “Kitchen Stadium” all so he could sample the greatest cuisines from around the world.  His Iron Chefs represented Italy, China, France, and Japan.  All the chefs were from Japan.  Challengers came from around the world.
Iron chefs Italian, Chinese, Japan, and French
The secret ingredient was never anything that sounded appetizing; never lobster, pasta, halibut, or pork. The Chairman announced the secret ingredient with much fanfare,

“The secret ingredient…BLOWFISH balls!! Ugggh”

Apparently they grunt a lot in Japan, because virtually everything they say ends with “I think” or “Ugggh.”

Next was the dubbing.  The show is all Japanese, so in America they had to dub the dialog.  Lips moved, and the English that came out was never timed correctly and always seemed to not quite fit. 

One judge was always an actress, a pretty little thing who weighed about seventeen pounds.  She would giggle after everything she said.  Her voice sounded like she was about nine years old.  The Japanese to English never sounded quite right.

“Oh…blowfish balls, very good I think, hi? Tee hee, tee hee, you know when I was a little girl, we ate the balls all the time, I think…Tee hee, tee hee.”

There was always a judge who was a baseball player.  His voice sounded like the Colonel in “A Bridge Over The River Kwai” deep and guttural.

“Ahhh very good, ugggh…blowfish balls pares very well with pasta. Iron chef Italian is sure to make classic spaghetti and blowfish balls ugggh.”

Then the actress has to add,

“I love blowfish balls, but balls, you know, they seem so funny I think, tee hee tee hee.”

The gong rings, and Iron Chef Chinese, Makahota, takes on French Chef Robeson.  The galleries cheer every chop, pare, slice and dice.  The chefs had their pick of every ingredient known to man to use in the blowfish balls challenge.

After an hour, time was up and the chefs presented several dishes to the judges.

“Ahhh, I prepare the blowfish balls with sea urchin roe, and salmon eyes…Ugggh! Enjoy please, Ugggh.

The Iron Chef always defeated the challenger; usually by a mere two points.  I loved that show. 

“Iron Chef America” is ok, but it does not compare to the original. 

"The original very, very good I think…Ugggh!"


  1. I studied Japanese a hundred years or so ago, & as I remember, every sentence ended with "Nei?" which means, "Isn't it so?"

  2. I loved the original Iron Chef for all the reasons you mentioned. How many time did that little girl sounding judge say something like."Ah. nasty pikefish butthole, just like grandma make for Japanese girl festival."

  3. I never saw the original Japanese version, but I did watch part of one episode of the American version....until I realized it was on opposite Celebrity Ironing, filmed on location in East St. Louis, IL. Ugggh.


  4. Well who knew... that there is/was an original Iron Chef and that people eat blowfish balls. I learn something new everyday.

    I hope you'll find another favorite reality show that will satisfy your reality show appetite as well.

  5. I used to watch that show. Along with the original Emeril. BAM! And Two Hot Tamales. And what about ol' Justin "I guarantee" Wilson?

    Yeah. Not reality shows. But cooking shows. Even though I never do more than warm something in the oven or heat it in the microwave.

  6. The original was magnificent, truly a "must see", for the reasons you outlined. My brother-in-law turned us on to it many years back, when we were visiting him in New York, and we laughed our heads off for an hour straight the first time we saw it (as well enjoying the artistry of the chefs.) The American version is more accessible for the straight-out techniques and cooking, but nowhere near as inadvertently entertaining.