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What frustrated me most about that verdict was that I got the impression Mehta probably would've won if the burger-and-fries dish had been cooked better. The judges basically acknowledged that he was the chef who produced the more interesting cuisine. I think after a few more battles for practice, his sous chefs would've been better able to navigate the time limits and nail the technique more consistently. I think the verdict is unfortunate for viewers -- Mehta would've been more FUN. I also think it's a shame that there aren't more cuisines represented on the show, especially cuisines outside Europe and the Americas. The old Japanese version of Iron Chef specifically worked to ensure that only one chef represented a given region. Currently, Iron Chef America has Italian (Batali), Japanese (Morimoto), Mediterranean/California fusion (Cora), American Southwest / Latin (Flay), and robust/traditional Mediterranean (Symon); and now they're adding Garces, who does more authentic Central and South American. So, three Mediterranean cuisines, two Latin, and Japanese. Why not get on somebody who can do Indian, or West African, or Persian? Anyways. I was rooting for Mehta from day one -- partly because his cooking seemed the most interesting, and partly because he always showed a positive, friendly attitude towards his fellow chefs (which stood in stark contrast to some of the negative, hypercompetitive comments seen from a few of the other guys, especially Appleman; although I'm a fan of his actual cooking, having been to his places in SF, he behaved like a jerk on the show). I'm looking forward to trying Graffiti the next time I make it to New York.
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