Iron Chef USA

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Iron Chef USA
Genre Cooking show
Directed by Bud Schaetzle
Jim Yukich
Presented by William Shatner
Michael Burger
Anthony Dias Blue
Sissy Biggers
Starring Jean-Francois Meteigner
Alessandro Stratta
Roy Yamaguchi
Todd English
Composer(s) Jay Ferguson
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 2
Producer(s) Larry Thompson
Bud Schaetzle
Jim Yukich
Editor(s) Bud Schaetzle
Jim Yukich
Original network UPN
Original release December 16 – December 26, 2001

Iron Chef USA is the first American adaptation of the Japanese television series Iron Chef. Iron Chef USA appeared on the UPN television network in 2001. Only two episodes were aired (both are considered pilots): "Las Vegas Showdown" and "Holiday Battle"; neither received critical acclaim. It would not air again until 2004 when Food Network controlled the show & retitled it Iron Chef America and air fully in 2005.


Like the original Japanese series, the show featured an eccentric chairman, played by William Shatner, who creates his own Gourmet Academy with four elite chefs who take on challengers in a specially-constructed Kitchen Arena ("Kitchen Stadium" in the original). However, unlike the original and the later Iron Chef America adaptation, Kitchen Arena was set in MGM Grand Garden Arena (a venue often used for boxing) in Las Vegas and not on a sound stage.

Fans of the series, and critics at large, point to many aspects of the show for the reason why the series failed. Among the most notable reasons was the audience factor: the original Iron Chef (and Iron Chef America) had only minimal guest and VIP seating, while Iron Chef USA was shown in front of a larger audience. As a result, the audience also tended to be louder and rowdier, in sharp contrast to the relatively quiet audiences of Iron Chef. Another sharp point of criticism was directed at the commentators, who often showed their lack of knowledge of food (with lines such as "What? It's the sperm? We eat that?" in reference to sea urchin roe; "What's that tool called he's using to cut the ravioli?", "That would be a ravioli cutter"; and "it's a sauteed Ho Ho", "He's got a flour thing going" and "It looks like he enjoys cooking with booze.").[1] However, critics saw Shatner's portrayal of the chairman in Iron Chef USA as a redeeming quality, as his performance paid homage to Takeshi Kaga and his antics on Iron Chef.


Like the original Iron Chef, chefs are given 60 minutes and a theme ingredient (called a "secret" ingredient) to create their culinary creations. Unlike the original, however, chefs brought in their own assistants, and were required to prepare five dishes. The dishes were judged by four celebrity judges (none of whom are food experts or food critics), and the chef with the higher rating was declared the winner. Curiously, the scoring system used was different from the one used on Iron Chef and later on Iron Chef America.

Chefs and crew[edit]

In addition to Shatner as the chairman of Gourmet Academy USA, Michael Burger and Anthony Dias Blue played the roles of play-by-play and color commentator, with Sissy Biggers serving as the floor reporter. The four Iron Chefs are, presented from left-to-right when they are first introduced:

Of the four Iron Chefs, only Stratta and English saw action on Iron Chef USA, both bringing victories to the Iron Chefs. Todd English, Kerry Simon and Marcus Samuelsson (both challengers) later competed on Iron Chef America (the latter also appeared as a contestant on The Next Iron Chef season 4 and was placed in 6th place), but there has been absolutely no mention made of their tenure on Iron Chef USA.

Larry A. Thompson was an executive producer.


Only two episodes of Iron Chef USA were produced.

Episode one, "Showdown in Las Vegas".[2]

Episode two, "Holiday Showdown" (a.k.a. "Holiday Battle")[3]


External links[edit]