Category Archives: media

Put fibre in my coffee? I refuse.

Do you know there’s a wonderful soluble fibre supplement out there which you can add to almost anything? It dissolves completely, ‘taste free, grit free and will never thicken’. I’ve just sat through an hour of regular ad-breaks, telling me how wonderfully useful it is. Let’s put to one side for a moment the issue of GOOD DIET as the best and most sensible source of fibre, because they absolutely blew their chances with me when the first application of this product they suggested was to add it to my coffee. MY COFFEE! If they’d mentioned yoghurt and smoothies first, I might have forgiven them. But not when they put coffee front and centre. Don’t f–k with the coffee! Coffee is not meant to be a nutritional vehicle (except if you add chocolate. As everyone knows, a mocha is almost as good as a decent block of chocolate in the well-rounded-meal stakes). Keep away from the fibre supplement!

Review: Secrets of the Red Lantern, by Pauline Nguyen

Secrets of the Red Lantern - cover

The recently released Secrets of the Red Lantern is a beautiful book. The photography is warm, despite a muted palette. Decorative patterns add a great deal to the appeal of every recipe page. The fabric cover of the book reproduces a silk image of a tree’s branches and blossoms in the upper half, and the handwritten name of the author (and family) on a red background in the lower half.

I had seen pre-release promotional materials for Secrets of the Red Lantern and was more than a little enthusiastic about seeing the final product. When I finally saw the real thing I grabbed it immediately. Beautiful.

I’ve spent the last few days reading it; I’m sad and frustrated. Despite the visual attraction and the promise of delicious food, Secrets of the Red Lantern has some profound flaws which could greatly mar the experience for some readers.

More about that below, but first a brief description of the content.


The blurb on the back of the book says:

Secrets of the Red Lantern overflows with sumptuous, traditional recipes, perfected and passed down from Pauline Nguyen’s parents and presented night after night to great acclaim at the successful Vietnamese restaurant Red Lantern.

Much more than a cookbook, it is the honest, revealing story of the Nguyen family – starting with their escape from Vietnam during the war and their eventual settlement in Australia.

At the heart of this book is a love for food – it helped to ease homesickness, became central to their early success in Australia and, in the end, reconciled the family and helped create Red Lantern’s success.

Lavishly illustrated with personal and food photography, Secrets of the Red Lantern now unlocks the Nguyen’s secret recipes so that we can understand their creation and share the family’s passion.

A large part of the book is devoted to Pauline Nguyen’s personal narrative of her family’s experience, with many interesting photos to add life and colour. Each section of the book begins with a number of pages of text and photos, and is then followed by a handful of recipes. The story is not a pleasant one. Few Australians have much understanding of the refugee experience or, more to the point, the Australian Vietnamese experience. It is good to see an attempt to recount the conditions under which people escaped Vietnam to seek a new life, how they were treated as refugees in camps and then in Australia, and how they and their community have struggled and changed over the last thirty years here.

Combining this narrative with the theme of food is logical for this family, and many of the most evocative books on food combine personal adventure, experience, or suffering with the web of memory and emotion sustained by food. However, the story of this family involves so much suffering — much of it in Australia and at the hands of the writer’s father — that I found it uncomfortable to be reading their story in the context of what is clearly meant to be a cookbook. By ‘uncomfortable’ I don’t mean confronting or disquieting to my sensibilities; instead, I felt that the narrative was out of place for the type of work that this volume represents. This should quite possibly have been two entirely separate books: the family story, and a cookbook. A raw, unhappy description of — in part — a group of children’s experiences at the hands of a tyrannical father is difficult to squeeze comfortably between the covers of a cookbook.

Naturally, this is a subjective issue and others might not mind it. However, there are other significant objective issues that spoilt it for me, but I think the human interest focus will leave many readers reluctant to criticise the story and tolerant of the flaws.

recipe 1

The publishers know their marketing requirements and created a package that would sell itself. You are, after all, pretty much guaranteed a winner in the soft lifestyle market if you bundle (1) excellent production values, (2) beautiful pictures of food, (3) a strong human interest story, and (4) a cuisine that many people like but few know much about.

If you just want a book that looks great, has interesting recipes and delicious photography, then this is certainly a good book. The food is a modern, personal perspective on Vietnamese cuisine, as served at the Red Lantern restaurant, and the book successfully communicates the concept of Vietnamese food being about individual tastes and preferences.

If, on the other hand, you expect some fairly basic standards of writing and editing in something that aims to be much more than an unpretentious recipe book, then reader beware!

My commentary below is fairly unflattering (but don’t doubt my enthusiasm about the food). In criticising Secrets of the Red Lantern, I run the risk that some readers who focus on the symbolic value of the book will be unaccepting of the analysis that follows. They have the choice of not reading further, or of reading and then commenting at the end if they so wish (but please keep it reasoned and civil).

[UPDATE: In an email from Murdoch Books received as I was finalising this review, they confirmed that sales had been excellent and that my views weren’t ‘widely shared’ among the media reactions so far.]

Recipes and food

If you want to skip the detail about the editorial flaws in the recipes, click here to go to the next section.

Attractive and tasty, the range of recipes is interesting and promising. Many start with comments from chefs Luke Nguyen or Matthew Hansen. If you cook from this book I think you will enjoy many pleasurable meals.

The recipes have been written/edited with an international audience in mind, meaning that many amounts appear in metric, Imperial and cups. Many ingredients also have alternative names in parentheses. This is thoughtful, though at times makes for cumbersome text. There are also some inconsistencies and omissions.

Yields for soups and stocks are stated in litres, fluid ounces and cups, and here things give a clue to the strange approach to this book.

250 ML (9 FL OZ/1 CUP)
15 LITRES (525 FL OZ/60 CUPS)

It would seem that the Imperial measures are for a UK audience, despite the USA being the place that is most clearly unmetricated. This matters only a little bit if converting small amounts, as a ‘US customary unit’ fluid ounce is 29.6 ml, while the old Imperial fluid ounce is 28.4 ml, but is nonetheless a curious choice.

Restating 15 litres of stock as 525 fl oz is more than a little idiosyncratic (not to mention incorrect). Never heard of pints? The cup measures are Australian (though this is never mentioned) rather than American, contrary to what you might expect from the mention of ounces immediately preceding them.

It’s odd, again, to choose UK Imperial measures when the majority of the parenthetic renaming of ingredients is for an American audience (e.g., shrimp, cilantro), though with the occasional UK accommodation (aubergines, mangetout).

Then we have a few instances of brand-specified products – something that makes life difficult for anyone who doesn’t have access to that particular product:

red curry powder (‘Ayam’ brand)
crabmeat paste with soya bean oil (‘Pork Wan’ brand)

And there’s the curious choice of specifying ‘makrut (kaffir lime) leaves’ in a recipe. The number of Australian readers who will recognise the term makrut is miniscule. So why prefer it over the common one (kaffir lime)?

Here, in the ingredients, is where the book fails to live up to a cook’s expectations: a gorgeous volume about Vietnamese food, one of the few available anywhere, yet it fails to explain less familiar ingredients (no glossary or explanation for rice paddy herb, sawtooth coriander, perilla, ‘Vietnamese basil’, rau kinh gioi, ‘nem powder’ and more) or to provide a coherent picture of how everything should come together in Vietnamese cuisine.

The recipes seem, thank goodness, to work.

recipe 2

The narrative and the lack of an editor

Pauline Nguyen has a sad, valuable, and at times fascinating story to tell. Like the majority of authors, her prose would normally have gone through an editorial filter to produce something fairly tight, reasonably well expressed and mostly interesting. It’s a pity, then, that this work is modern Australian English, blog style, ranging from stylish description to jarring officialese to clichéed emptiness to rambling diarising and back again. I wrote to Murdoch Books to ask if there is a new philosophy of ‘raw author’s voice’ taking hold.

I doubt — without even a pinch of exaggeration — that a copy editor laid eyes on the manuscript, as the problems in the text are consistent throughout. And not just trifling matters that an uptight editor might carp on about (split infinitives, starting sentences with ‘and’, misplaced commas, etc). No, this is undisciplined text which needed help. At times it looks like someone writing a bit above the linguistic ‘register‘ they are comfortable with, and sometimes it’s just modern ignorance about language (malapropisms, agonised metaphors, etc). And there’s almost certainly a good dose of non-native speaker in the prose as well. I don’t mean that patronisingly — many of the register problems, mismatching tenses and malapropism/confusion phenomena can be found in non-native speaker writers and weak native speaker writers alike. Making editing decisions about this kind of text is important and sensitive. (I won’t go into the linguistic background to this, as I think that’s probably a distraction.)

Editors are meant to iron out these bumps whilst retaining the author’s underlying voice. Perhaps because this is such a skilfully packaged cookbook, Murdoch Books couldn’t be bothered doing the extra work?

[UPDATE: The email from Murdoch Books indicated that there had indeed been editors and proofreaders involved. I bite my tongue.]

I also feel there is a lack of depth to the food theme. It’s fine to use gastronomic metaphors and to recount meals or dishes and their occasional symbolism, but there is little explanation, cultural history or context for the food — the narrative will leave the uninitiated only a little wiser as to what most Vietnamese food is.

Meanwhile, statements like the following are bland and dismissive:

There is great fondness and respect dedicated by food writers and pho obsessives alike to the national soup of Vietnam. … Pho has integrated so completely into Australian society that there is no longer the need to refer to it as ‘beef noodle soup’ – everyone knows what pho is. p191

Sure, as long as they live in a major metropolitan area and have actually been to a Vietnamese restaurant.

I started reading this book with enthusiasm. At first I was irritated by the poor quality of the prose. Then I gradually found myself angry with the publishers for mistreating an author in this manner. I’ve criticised Pauline Nguyen’s writing here, but the important point is that it’s probably not her fault that it made it into a book in this way. The publishers seem to have let down both the author and the readers.

I haven’t included examples in most of this critique. Some can be found below, without any commentary from me. If you don’t find anything jarring in them, then you will probably find the narrative less distracting than I did, in which case I encourage you to enjoy the book and its recipes.

– DM


In the mornings, Lewis, Luke and I would wake up weary-eyed to the smell of old alcohol, dirty dishes and stale cigarettes, and knowing a big job laid waiting for us. p76

The United Nations representatives gave him the occasional job of translating menial documents. p107

He had received such a beating that blood poured freely from his nose and his once slanted eyes swelled like two bloated goose livers. Then the soldiers declared that Linh be thrown into the gaol cell, the Vietnamese surged forward in uproar, only to be stopped dead in their tracks by ten heated rifles. p110

The soldiers lowered their arms when Paul Jones, the program director of the camp, summonsed my father for a private meeting. p110

She was an American who spoke the Queen’s English and liked to elongate her words by curling her ‘r’s and rounding her ‘o’s as though her mouth and lips were permanently wrapped around a tight cumquat. p113

In the kitchen, I helped my mother set up the mis en plus while my father greeted his regular breakfast customers. p182 [original emphasis]

Over time, the wounds healed and the bruises faded as the entire community banded together, determined to fix the issues affecting it. Residents walked the streets with members of the local government, pointing out areas that needed attention. The state government’s participation saw the installation of closed circuit security cameras, improved street lighting, widening of footpaths, removal of vegetation and the increase in pedestrian police. p189

I can still recall the stench of my fear when I stepped onto the wrong train going home from school one day. It was overcast – the claustrophobic clouds had already descended with an air of nervous anxiety. In a flutter of lateness, I had mistakenly caught the express train … p223f

How it aches my heart that your tears are dry. How my body trembles that you cry only deep inside. p225

The Parisian daylight had yet to become night, even at the late hour of half past eleven in the evening. An unnatural stillness filled the air as the city waited for darkness to truly fall before the night-owl activities commenced. The sun, in its mysterious glory, had cast a warm majestic hue over the city’s beige limestone walls, setting her aglow in magical pink-orange luminosity. p285

Reviews and defamation – Australia’s current case

It’s old news, but for a moment last week newspapers and cafés were abuzz with speculation about the future of restaurant reviewers. A ruling by the High Court of Australia appeared — in media depictions — to establish that a now-defunct Sydney restaurant, Coco Roco, had been defamed by reviewer Matthew Evans of the Sydney Morning Herald.

I expected the food-blogosphere to erupt in outrage, given that many foodbloggers are doing their thing in order to tell cybernauts about their dining experiences. Nix. Nothing. Almost. With the exception of this and this, I haven’t seen other Australian foodblogs mention it. It didn’t even get mentioned in the Australian section of eGullet, despite a previous discussion about reviewing. If you Google relevant terms, you’ll discover that foreign media, forums and blogs have been rather more interested.

I can’t help but wonder just what Aussie review-genre foodbloggers are in it for.

As it happens, last week’s ruling is far from earth-shattering, being but one more step in the case. Wait until the outcome of further legal process in the New South Wales Supreme Court, where the newspaper will actually defend itself. A final negative outcome for the newspaper would have considerable implications for all who review — bloggers who review are of course open to litigation too. If you want to read more about the general issue of litigation and restaurant reviews, see this at

– DM

UPDATE: I had overlooked this clear description of the case on eat-melbourne and (at last!) some online discussion.

Amazon tastes bad

Some wonderful internet services rely on so-called ‘intelligent systems’ to keep you interested and stimulated. They guess your preferences, guide your choices, point you towards new (and lucrative) potential purchases. Perhaps the most famous such system is TiVo. Unknown in Australia except by technogeeks, TiVo is a US device that predicts which programs you will want to watch on telly. You tell it what you like (or don’t) and lo! your diet of CSI and Alias spreads like a crimewave. Your TiVo personal digital video recorder saves every imaginable analytical crime series that your 300 channels can throw at you. Your partner suffers nightmares for months thereafter.

If telly isn’t your thing, how about intelligent audio streaming? A service like Pandora lets you customise ‘stations’ of musical styles, and as the reasonably-empowered listener, you get to tell Pandora what you feel about each song it plays. It will even tell you why it chose a particular song for you. Very bright! You can discover that an affection for Santana’s Maria Maria goes hand in hand with an attraction to Craig ‘how-many-times-can-I-mention-my-name’ David. Or that loving John Paul Young’s Love is in the Air (which I do) makes you a candidate listener of Roger Wakefield. Wrong wrong wrong. Although opening Pandora’s box can cause a few surprises, you can at least berate Pandora by telling it not to play that awful track again! Nonetheless, I find myself unable to train the dear gal to play music which I regard as in some way genre-sharing with Savage Garden. Chris de Berg? Gimme a break.

TiVo is said to be a little harder to control than Pandora. If you dislike cowboy movies, there is anecdotal evidence that you might face a barage of arthouse films and a dancepartyness of Queer As Folk episodes. Realigning one’s sexual orientation with TiVo might be some sinister social experiment, but the ‘intelligence’ in the system clearly doesn’t understand that not every straight boy aspires to be John Wayne. The amusing or dissonant effect of this sort of ‘recommender system’ (as they’re called in the trade) was first highlighted in an article by Jeffrey Zaslow in the Wall Street Journal in 2002 and has become quite famous.

Notwithstanding my minor tussles with Pandora, I haven’t had to contend with any serious distorting effects of a recommender system. Until yesterday.

Amazon thinks I have a sense of humour and would buy a book by Victoria Beckham (once ‘Posh Spice’ of the Spice Girls pop group). Let me revise that. thinks I have a taste for quirky humorous books, and thinks I should buy popular fiction, and thinks I would like a book by Victoria Beckham. So, so wrong.

The good news? This affliction probably isn’t permanent. Because I know the culprit. It’s Jamie Oliver. All I had done was give a ranking to his new tome (Cook with Jamie). Suddenly I’m meant to want a book about why penguins’ feet don’t freeze. Amazon suggests I buy Ian Rankin and John Grisham too. Ha! The only near-hit is Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion. And then there’s that book by Mrs Beckham. If it were one written by her hubbie I’d be camping out front of my local bookshop in an instant.

So, Jamie has buggered up my Amazon recommendations. I’m not talking about the ‘Customers who bought this item also bought’ section. Amazon customers can also view a ‘Recommendations for you’ page that develops as a result of your previous purchases, views and wishlist. Should I unrate Jamie? I might yet want to buy a Jamie book at some point (there is, however, no historical precedent). I faced a similar dilemma when a high rating of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice resulted in a few too-hands-on titles about building brick ovens and the like.

I should explain that I use Amazon almost exclusively to surf the food/cooking category. It’s a great way to keep abreast of new books (sometimes slow to reach Terra Australis), find old or unexpectedly interesting tomes, or even to buy the occasional item. Who’d have guessed? Anyway, the effect of surfing within a limited domain is that the recommendations are usually fairly acceptable. Sometimes Amazon gets a little too enthusiastic about Japanese or Persian cooking, but I can deal with it, and there was once a nasty incident when I told it I owned a book on butchery, but we won’t go there.

I’ve been looking a little more closely at the recommendations. The situation seems quite grave. A few deviant food books have also crept in. Apparently Allegra’s Colour Cookbook, Sophie Conran’s Pies and Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection are worthy of my attention. Is there happyjuice in my cordial? This isn’t Jamie’s fault.

An unlikely pair of culprits have been identified. On the one hand we have Bill Granger (Every Day). I knew there was something wrong when a guy can smile that much. And on the other is the Rose Bakery of Paris (Breakfast, Lunch and Tea). By rating these I’ve been thrown into the lifestyle end of the bookshop. I’m having visions of Donna Hay spinning spaghetti into neat little nests. Should I cook with Marie Claire? Is it time to redecorate? Do I need a makeover? If collaborative filtering (the process of predicting interests based on a range of people’s preference patterns) does this to me then I don’t want to be a team player!

Whether you’ve got £20 to spend in Top Shop or £2,000 to spend at Gucci, looking good isn’t about money, it’s about style, and style never goes out of fashion.

I wonder if the rest of Victoria’s book is as rich in insightful aphorisms. With a title more like a C-grade porno than a fashion aid, That Extra Half an Inch: Hair, Heels and Everything in Between (Hardcover) is not going to fulfil me culinarily. It strikes me that I’ve viewed the page for this masterpiece twice already and Amazon’s recommender system has no doubt recorded that fact for posterity. I expect the clever algorithms are now irreparably biased in pink. Am I doomed to How to Walk in High Heels: The Girl’s Guide to Everything when next I visit the ‘Recommendations for you’ page?

– DM


Cook with Jamie Books for Cooks AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK
The God Delusion Amazon US | Amazon UK
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Books for Cooks AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Allegra’s Colour Cookbook Books for Cooks AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Sophie Conran’s Pies Books for Cooks AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection Books for Cooks AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Every Day Books for Cooks AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Breakfast, Lunch and Tea Books for Cooks AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Donna Hay Books for Cooks AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Marie Claire Books for Cooks AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK
That Extra Half an Inch: Hair, Heels and Everything in Between (Hardcover) Amazon UK
How to Walk in High Heels: The Girl’s Guide to Everything Amazon US | Amazon UK

About showing one’s undies

Man. Woman. Curdled custard. Authors have made millions from explorations (in print {ehem}) of the seemingly incomprehensible differences between the hairier and the curvier sexes. Talk of Venus and Mars, emotion vs logic, blahdiblah. All those tiresome clichés over the barbecue — the blokes in the garden moaning about their missuses (the plural of wife) and the ladies loitering in the kitchen whinging about their useless insensitive hubbies.

Deepening the male-female mutual comprehension divide — for those who experience it — there seems to be yet another point of difference. My Google homepage, which serves up a range of feeds from news services, sciency things and other trivia, suddenly delivered me into the world of flashing one’s underwear. One of the feeds is from wikiHow. It tells people all sorts of useful things like how to survive falling through ice on a lake, how to fold a napkin, how to become a sophisticated adult (I passed). On the day in question, the featured article was How to Get out of a Car Gracefully Without Showing Your Underwear

Now, I don’t know about you, dearest fully-clad reader, but I ain’t never shown me knickers whilst disembarking from an automobile. It was a danger I had never imagined. Life as a male can be so innocent. Are women everywhere living in fear of that first step out of their car? Afraid of lecherous men hiding behind carpark pillars? Secret cameras embedded in the pavement next to the parking meter?

I clicked the link through to the full article and understood the problem immediately. Just look at the educational image.

I mean, she’d show her undies if she so much as breathed deeply. Scandalous. No wonder the advice includes:

Even if you’re careful, you might end up showing a glimpse of your underwear. Make sure they’re clean and flattering just in case.


The solution is quite technical and I shan’t bore you with the multi-step instructions for exiting the vehicle. It’s a mixture of dance-step and yoga. The advice to:

Practice in private before you go out, and have a friend watch you so you can make sure you look good and you’re not showing off your underwear.

seems particularly important. If you have no sense of rhythm, ladies, I’d say your best bet is to wear culottes.

I’ve been digesting the article’s words of wisdom over the past days. Watching people getting out of cars. Observing people on trains and trams. Staring at women in cafés. I just don’t see the problem. Or, more to the point, I think the problem has been obviated. Have you noticed, dear suited-up reader, that people are showing their undies all over the place? Why worry about knicker-no-nos while getting out of a car if half the population is already showing the back of their G-strings at Sunday brunch?

Although I at first felt this was a girlie problem, I now believe one should be much more concerned about male undies. We’ve become inured to the once-outrageous fashion of displaying the branded elastic waist of men’s briefs. Now that every Brad and his mate is showing his Calvins or Aussiebums, it’s a disappointment when someone’s t-shirt rides up to reveal an absence of branded elastic. While men-with-undies thought they were groundbreakingly risqué, ‘ghetto’ boys had been letting half their bum hang out of their jeans for quite a while already.

If anybody has been looking (the mothers in the audience might nod in horrified agreement), a good proportion of the under-20 population has been showing rather more than their waist band recently. Yesterday, on an innocent suburban train journey, I copped an eyeful of a teenager’s right buttock. His jeans slid below the leg of his briefs as he got up to leave the carriage. It’s a wonder he could still walk when the beltline of the jeans was so dangerously low. And what was keeping the jeans up at all?

With G-strings at brunch and buttocks on the daily commute, getting out of a car without showing one’s undergarments is quite obviously a redundant concern.

– DM

Iron Chef America – low sodium

It was slow to cross the ocean to Australia, but eventually cult foodies here got to see Iron Chef America — the Masters series from 2004. I love Iron Chef. It is a masterpiece of kitchen prowess in a camped-up we-love-the-ridiculous style. Inspired stuff. Completely unlike Iron Chef America.

Where Iron Chef (original) has Chairman Kaga, resplendent in dandy sartorial delights and with a cheeky twinkle in his overacting eyes, America has Chairman Who-Cares, cute, cutting a nice figure in his well-tailored suit, and overacting for the sake of, well, overacting. The gentle viewer could be forgiven thinking that Chairman Nice-Suit wouldn’t be able to tell his caviar from his tapioca. Sigh.

The Japanese series had the jolly “man alive!” banter of the (dubbed) panel. The American series gets Alton Brown, whose voice reminds me more of a cartoon character than an informative host. He does know his stuff, however. That’s nice. But the commentary becomes too didactic and repetitively inane. Whereas the Japanese panel could get away with “I think he’ll probably make X with that”, “No, it looks like Y”, “Gee, I was sure it was gonna be X, but he’s a clever guy”, Alton Brown ranges from very informative commentary on sugar decoration to the stunning “I’m sure this will probably definitely be X or maybe something like that”. Now, I don’t have a transcript in front of me, so please treat that as a paraphrase, but whatever the exact wording, it doesn’t make for scintillating watching. The camp becomes the cold and the banter becomes the banal.

Maybe I’m just a little conservative, too attached to originals. One of those guys who hates covers of my favourite songs or misappropriation of my favourite dishes. Am I just too curmudgeonly to be open-minded about Iron Chef America?

If Chairman Kaga spoke English, if Hiroyuki Sakai didn’t wear red satin, if the voice didn’t say “man alive!” would I still enjoy re-runs of the original Iron Chef? Probably not, but who cares? This isn’t a game of Hypotheticals. The only thing that Iron Chef America has over the original is a touch more commentary by the judges and a little more authoritative info from the commentator. And Vollfffffgang Puckkk.

Wolfgang Puck is like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but with a little more vim. His accent may even be more entertaining than that of the Gubernator. The latter has little more than bad-actor-meets-macho-character in Austro-English. The former has Perrrrrsonality.

Personality is something that Alton Brown shows less of in his commentary (he works better when in the frame). And I can’t forgive him for calling Spätzle “shpaytzul” (Kevin Brauch (his floor boy) should wash Alton’s mouth out with wasabi). Without the personality of the original commentary panel and lacking the poetic and eccentric judgements of the original jury, this television is pretty soulless.

For all the technical information which Iron Chef America — Battle of the Masters conveys, both visually and verbally, the lack of fun and whackiness is like undersalted pasta; nourishing, perhaps, but no yumminess. Where’s my Iron Chef umami dispenser?



contact Books for Cooks Iron Chef: The Official Book Iron Chef: The Official Book