Gregory Gourdet has become well-known not only to Portland food fans, but to viewers all over the country, thanks to his appearances on such shows as “Top Chef.” Gourdet, who’s preparing to open his own restaurant in Portland, is back for more culinary competition in “Iron Chef: Quest For An Iron Legend,” the “Iron Chef” reboot that begins streaming Wednesday on Netflix.
(Want to catch up on Gourdet’s “Top Chef” appearances? You can stream current and past seasons of “Top Chef” on Peacock, and on fubo TV, which offers a free trial.)
The new version brings back some veterans viewers saw on “Iron Chef” when it aired on the Food Network. Among the familiar faces are host Alton Brown, and Mark Dacascos as “The Chairman.” Kristen Kish, another food TV regular, thanks to appearances on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and TruTV’s “Fast Foodies,” joins Brown as cohost.
The five “Iron Chefs” competing on this latest version of a format that originated in Japan are Curtis Stone, Dominique Crenn, Marcus Samuelsson, Ming Tsai and Gabriela Cámara. The challengers who take on the “Iron Chefs” include Gourdet, Mason Hereford, Curtis Duffy, Claudette Zepeda, Esther Choi, Mei Lin and Yia Vang.
Gourdet appears in Episode 7, where he’s teamed with Mei Lin, who actually bested Gourdet when both appeared on the “Top Chef” season set in Boston, in 2014. Lin emerged as the winner of that season, with Gourdet the runner-up.
The two are friends, as they say on the episode, and for the “Iron Chef: Quest For An Iron Legend” challenge, they work together to combine technique and approaches that are part of Lin’s Chinese heritage and Gourdet’s Caribbean influences.
The “secret ingredient” they must use in their five-course menu is sturgeon, a fish with ancient roots. Gourdet and Lin compete against “Iron Chef” Ming Tsai. Each team has 75 minutes in which to complete five dishes.
Commenting on the teams being required to cook sturgeon, Motamed says, “This is a creature that has literally survived when the dinosaurs could not. And, somehow, today, in our kitchen, that’s going to come to an end.”
The episode is entertaining, and the dishes look delicious, even when the ingredients aren’t what you’d call familiar to the casual diner. For example, Gourdet and Lin are determined to use every part of the sturgeon, including the spinal cord.
After taking a taste of a dish that includes that unusual ingredient, Motamed says, “The texture of the spinal cord is exactly the texture of a very al dente SpaghettiO.”
Will Gourdet and Lin go on to compete in the Episode 8 finale, which pits the highest-scoring challenger against all five “Iron Chefs?” We can’t give that away. So, let’s just look forward to Gourdet’s Kann restaurant, which is scheduled to open in Portland soon, and will feature food inspired by Gourdet’s Haitian heritage. And let’s applaud “Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health,” Gourdet’s cookbook written with J.J. Goode, taking home a James Beard Foundation book award.