Iron Chef: About The Show
If you haven't seen the show, Iron Chef is a Japanese variety/cooking show of sorts. Known in Japan as "Ryori no Tetsujin" (Cooking Iron Man), it is produced by Fuji International TV. It started airing in 1993 as a half hour show. After 10 shows were aired, FujiTV Japan knew it had a winner and renewed it for another year.  At the 24th episode (Battle Bamboo Shoots), the format was expanded to one hour. The show ended its weekly run in Japan in September 1999. Specials (2 hours shows typically taped outside of the Kitchen Stadium) are still being produced at the rate of approximately 4-5 a year. The weekly shows are no longer being filmed. There are almost 300 weekly shows that were produced.

The concept of the show is that a flamboyant, eccentric gourmet, portrayed by Kaga Takeshi, lives in his castle with his "Iron Chefs." These Iron Chefs are the top chefs in the culinary fields of Japanese, Chinese, French and Italian cooking. Each week, Kaga will choose a challenger chef (from anywhere on the planet) to "do battle" against his Iron Chefs. Kaga will present a theme ingredient and each chef will then be charged with preparing a multi-course meal that utilizes the theme ingredient in each course. The chefs have one hour to cook. Then, Kaga and four judges taste the food and pronounce winner. Sometimes there are ties and a 30 minute cook-off battle, with its own theme ingredient, will need to be held. Every now and again, there will be shows with no theme ingredient or tag team chefs cooking.

The great appeal of the show is its meld of sports commentary with a cooking show. There is a sidelines announcer, Ota Shinichiro, who provides a play by play commentary on the dishes as they are prepared. There are also two announcers, Fukui Kenji, who provides most of the announcements and Hattori Yukio, who is the "color" man and fills in the viewers with tidbits of culinary knowledge. Hattori runs the Hattori School of Nutrition, a cooking school founded by his father, which is why Hattori is so knowledgeable about food.

As of May 2001, UPN and Lion's Gate Entertainment have teamed up to produce an American Iron Chef, to be hosted by William Shatner (in the Chairman role) and filmed in Las Vegas' MGM Grand Hotel.  Two specials have been schedule so far for production.  The four Iron Chefs will represent Italian, American, French and Asian cooking.

Iron Chef: Where To Watch It
Before July 9, 1999, Iron Chef was aired in limited capacity in the United States. The main viewing areas were San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Hawaii. Most of the broadcasts were without subtitles, though a few of them were purely subtitled. The show that is aired on the Food Network is the International version and contains some subtitling and mostly overdubbing. A few of the episodes had all dubbing, but Kaga no longer is dubbed.

Last updated 5/31/01

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