"The Next Iron Chef" proves that winning just might be the riskiest thing a chef can do. Chef Elizabeth Falkner -- who came thisclose to nearly becoming an Iron Chef in Season 4, found herself heading out the door this week, undone in part by a supposed "advantage" she had earned from winning an earlier round of the competition.
But so often in this high-stakes competition, "advantage" is just another way of saying "opportunity to lose it all." And that's exactly what happened in a near-mirror image of the Season 4 upset -- down to the bleach-blond spiky hair-do -- that also came during the auction challenge.
In the auction challenge, the players had to outbid and outmaneuver each other in a race to prepare surprise ingredients like a cow's head or a rack of bison. Falkner's rollover advantage meant that she had the power to determine one of the two players who'd end up in the secret-ingredient showdown. But like Anne Burrell before her, Falkner ended up cooking herself into the bottom of the heap, and ended up competing against -- and then being bested by -- that hand-chosen competitor, Nate Appleman.
Falkner, arguably, was the person who most wanted to become an Iron Chef. True, the others, especially Appleman and Jehangir Mehta, want it as well. But one gets the sense that it is largely because those fierce competitors want to win and will stop at nothing to do so. But Falkner wanted the title, the honor, the recognition -- she said it was a personal goal. (Projecting here, but that title would also recognize the sheer will and determination it takes for a woman to make it in such a male-dominated career.)