Watching Iron Chef right now as Michael Symon and challenger engage in Battle Basil. Symon said in a radio interview that the chefs don’t know the secret ingredient. He said they have more time than you’d think to plan and he falls back on a lot of tried and true restaurant recipes. But, c’mon. Battle Basil. How many restaurant dishes center on basil? I’m watching wagu beef pounded thin and wrapped around cheese and basil. I’m watching basil ice cream. I’m watching, well, lots of stuff with basil that would never show up on a menu and that no chef could think up on the fly.
Don’t get me wrong. This show is still amazing and entertaining and it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there’s a huge gulf between a home cook and a professional chef. But they don’t know the “secret” ingredient? Not so much.
As a side comment, Alton Brown has cleaned up his act. Does anyone remember a few seasons ago when he showed up to host in jeans and a five o’clock shadow? Now he’s clean shaven in a suit. O.K., it’s halfway through the battle. Back to the tube and a glass of Chardonnay.