A version of Iron Chef that debuted April 23, 2004 on the American cable TV channel Food Network. The Food Network partnered with the original Japanese producers of Iron Chef to bring two of the original's stars over for a series of battles with American celebrity chefs.
Each episode starts with a monologue by "the new Chairman" portrayed by martial artist Mark Dacascos (Brotherhood of the Wolf) introducing himself as Chairman Kaga's nephew. He introduces the three American Iron Chefs (Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, and Bobby Flay, who do not have other titles) and the two Japanese Iron Chefs (Masaharu Morimoto and Hiroyuki Sakai).
Unlike the original Iron Chef, Battle of the Masters foregoes lengthy introductions of the combatants and theme ingredients. The mood is serious and intense in sharp contrast to the WWE-like Iron Chef USA introductions. Both Japanese participants harbor a great distaste for Flay due to his flamboyant antics during the two Flay-Morimoto battles. Fortunately, Flay has toned down his antics and now focuses on his work during the battles. The "Making Of" special claims that Flay and Morimoto are now good friends; judge for yourself when the two team up and work together.
Alton Brown opens the commentary all by himself, comparing himself humbly to the original's food expert Dr. Yukio Hattori. He is later joined by field reporter Kevin Brauch and a panel of three judges who offer their commentary from the tasting table. All the mistakes from Iron Chef USA have been addressed in this special. Brown deftly handles the commentary and communicates well with the many supporting figures in Kitchen Stadium. Brauch, like his Japanese counterpart Shinichiro Ota, is rarely seen on camera. A great deal of time is spent showing the chefs' preparation skills and procedures as the battle wears on.
A panel of three judges taste the American's dishes and the Japanese's dishes. They rate each chef on taste (10 points), plating and design (5 points), and originality in the use of the theme ingredient (5 points).
The program began with a behind the scenes special on Friday, April 23. The three battles culminated in a tag team battle that pit Morimoto and Flay (in a most unlikely team) against Sakai and Batali.
All times are Eastern Daylight Time. It is likely that the Food Network will rerun the episodes in the future. First-run episodes are shown in strong emphasis.
Friday, April 23
Saturday, April 24
Sunday, April 25
The success of Battle of the Masters prompted Food Network to commission Iron Chef America: The Series which premiered as a regular series in January 2005.
Home page: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_ia/text/0,,FOOD_16696_19048,00.html
Newsday review: http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/tv/ny-ettel3767131apr22,0,5268262.story?coll=ny-television-headlines