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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Iron Chef Chen Kenichi and Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai serve up dinner in Sydney

It's no secret. There are Iron Chefs in town.

At the press conference on Friday at the Sydney Hilton, event hosts Simon Thomsen and Joanna Savill welcomed Iron Chef French, Hiroyuki Sakai and Iron Chef Chinese, Kenichi Chen to Sydney.

Simon Thomsen and Joanna Savill

Relaxed and jocular, Chen and Sakai were dressed in their signature outfits, and happy to answer questions from the assembled crowd through a Japanese interpreter.

The two chefs agreed that Iron Chef did set a precedent in popularising cooking all over the world. Neither of them expected the Iron Chef phenomena to last as long as it has.

This is the fourth time an Iron Chef dinner has been hosted in Australia. Similar events also take place in America, Hong Kong, China and Thailand although the chefs say they have come most often to Australia.

Iron Chef Chen

When Grant Jones from News Limited asked "how many more ways can you cook a cucumber?", Chen laughed and launched into a babble of Japanese whilst nodding his head vigorously.

"Cucumber man," Chen finally said in English, and touched his hand to his chest with a nod.

"Chen is known as a cucumber person," explained the interpreter with a smile.

How do you both look so young?

Chen: "Secret!" (laughs)
Sakai: "Rice everyday and enjoying your work"

What sort of ingredients do you like using in Australia?

Chen: Australian beef

Sakai: I visited Tasmania in April and saw really large Tasmanian salmon and was utterly surprised by the salmon. I also tried eel which were very large - eel in Japan tends to be very small, but Tasmania eel was extremely big. I thought the skin would be very tough but in reality it was very tender. So I'd like to use them both.

Predictions for future food trends?

Sakai: Grass-fed beef.

Most impressive dishes encountered in Australian restaurants?

Chen: Sheep's brain and emu egg on the Gold Coast.

Is it true that Iron Chef was created to stretch the knowledge of unusual ingredients to Japanese housewives?

There was some confusion with this question initially when the chefs explained that balsamic vinegar was not really known to Japanese housewives but became more familiar as a result of the show. When Joanna Savill re-emphasised that the question was whether this was the specific reasoning behind the show, both chefs recoiled at the thought.

Chen: "Oh no.... No. No. No. The show was not designed for housewives because this was a real battle. It's not good for housewives to follow Iron Chef because that's not healthy. They will become very very tired. Not good."

Chen testing the oil temperature with his finger
- "160C" he pronounced

The press conference concluded with Chen conducting a brief cooking demonstration, a dish of Crystal Bay prawns in a garlic and soy bean sauce.

Deep-frying the prawns


Iron Chef Chen and Iron Chef Sakai will be cooking at the Hilton Sydney on Sunday and Monday night for the 2010 Iron Chef event, a six-course degustation that will also feature local Sydney chefs Harunobu Inukai (Blancharu), Hideki Okazaki (Rise), Hiroshi Miura (Ten) and Gary Johnson (Hilton Sydney).

The 2010 Iron Chef event is already sold out.

Dates: 6 & 7 June 2010, 6pm-10pm
Venue: Hilton Sydney Grand Ballroom
Cost: $385 per person (sold out)

BACK: Simon Thomsen, Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai, Iron Chef Chen Kenichi, Joanna Savill
FRONT: Gary Johnson (Hilton Sydney), Harunobu Inukai (Blancharu),
Hideki Okazaki (Rise) and Hiroshi Miura (Ten)
20 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/05/2010 11:39:00 pm


  • At 6/06/2010 1:42 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OMGOMGOMG I soooo regret not buying tickets nowwwww >_< HEELLLEEENN whhyyyyy...Im soooo jeaaalloouuss hahah

    and lulwat at Iron Chef Kenichi testing oil with his finger 0_o

  • At 6/06/2010 9:37 am, Blogger missklicious said…

    They look so young! Exactly the same as they were on the show. Hehe

  • At 6/06/2010 9:50 am, Blogger Elinor Entity said…

    Iron Chef: a triumph of our times. We couldn't believe what happened with the $100 a piece oxtail last night. Why was this visit not more publicised? Why aren't they cooking at the Acer Arena? Oh gloom not to have known and bought tickets. For more comments on the oxtail phenomenon, visit Elinor Entity.

  • At 6/06/2010 10:03 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Must admit I've never really been able to get into Iron Chef... the voice-overs kill me! Gotta respect the chefs though.. he tested that oil with his finger? Criminey!

  • At 6/06/2010 10:07 am, Anonymous Esz said…

    How I wish they would come to Melbourne!! Love Iron Chef and it's true they have influenced the cooking world a great deal.

  • At 6/06/2010 11:11 am, Blogger Forager said…

    You're so lucky meeting these amazing chefs! I'd like to give Kenichi a hug - he's such a giggly dad-like character!

  • At 6/06/2010 11:41 am, Anonymous Simon @ the heart of food said…

    I presume the interpreters were locals? I reckon it would be so much more interesting if they were being interpretted by the people who did their voiceover dub on the Iron Chef show.

    Nice score. Bet this would have been a lot of fun.

  • At 6/06/2010 11:54 am, Blogger EvilHayama said…

    I wish these dinners didn't cost a million dollars a head! One day I'll save up and go to one.

    ps. your title seems to be wrong, chef chen and chef kenichi are the same guy?

  • At 6/06/2010 12:11 pm, Anonymous Sarah said…

    OH MAN. how much would i love to be there at the dinner! i hope someone blogs it so i can read and pretend! :-)

  • At 6/06/2010 1:37 pm, Anonymous Mark @ Cafe Campana said…

    What good fun. I love the Iron Chefs. I think there should be a guy following them around with a sound system playing the Iron Chef theme music.

  • At 6/06/2010 2:39 pm, Blogger red bean said…

    They really look as young as ever! Even watching last night's episode that was likely to have been aired 10 years earlier. Wish they would do a fan meet or something!

  • At 6/06/2010 3:46 pm, Anonymous Pocahontas said…

    FuuuCCCK!@#$.... Words cant't express how much i really wanted to go to this!!! Every saturday night Peter Pan and I religioulsy watch Iron Chef (More so I make him watch it haha) Couple of months ago I remeber seeing the ad for this event and thinking oh yeh we should go.... Fast forward to it being posted on your blog and my heart is slowly breaking into a million pieces *CRIES* Oh well Iron Chef Sakai & I will always have that moment in Sapporo, winter of 2010, where I devoured him!!!! That first glance in that supermarket mmmm.

  • At 6/06/2010 3:59 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi FFichiban - lol. Plenty of delicious adventures to be had around Sydney, and yes, watching Chen put his finger in the hot oil was pretty freaky!

    Hi missklicious - They do seem to be drinking an elixir of youth! Plus they joke around like teenagers too. Lovely to see.

    Hi Elinor Entity - Iron Chefs in the Acer Arena? Now that would be a sight!

    Hi Hannah - Oh really? I used to be obsessed with the show. I found the voiceovers were half the fun and their cooking techniques and knowledge are impressive still, despite the episodes being almost 20yrs old!

    Hi Esz - A shame they can't make it to Melbourne. It's amazing to see how far cooking shows have come. More, more, I say!

    Hi Forager - It's always exciting to meet Chefs and they were so smiling and accommodating to all. I agree, Chen has always been my favourite. I love his cheekiness and sense of humour.

    Hi Simon - Ha, I'm not sure where the voiceover people are from the show but Chen and Sakai didn't need any wacky American accents, their personalities shone through any language barrier.

    Hi EvilHayama - The dinners are quite expensive but then I presume the logistics in getting them over here isn't cheap either :)

    Thanks for the pickup by the way. Corrected now. Glad that someone was paying attention! lol

    Hi Sarah - I'm sure there'll be a blog or two about it :)

    Hi Mark - I think that may drive them quite mad. lol.

    Hi red bean - I've wondered why they haven't come out with a DVD yet of the episodes, but yes, I am sure a fan meet would be hugely popular!

    Hi Pocahontas - Language! lol. And haha, that cheesecake was certainly memorable :)

  • At 6/06/2010 9:27 pm, Anonymous Dolly said…

    im envious.

    i love ironchef!!!

  • At 6/06/2010 9:33 pm, Blogger YaYa said…

    Ironed Fingered Chef more likely! Very impressed!

  • At 6/06/2010 9:57 pm, Anonymous Mrs Ed said…

    i saw this being advertised at the smh good living.. didnt get tickets though abit expensive.. hehe.. wah!!! love them chefs! next time if you need someone to hold your camera dont hesitate to call me or mr ed to go hahaha ;p

  • At 6/07/2010 8:50 am, Anonymous Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    Hehe they're so cute! Lucky you! :D

  • At 6/07/2010 6:27 pm, Blogger Laura said…

    i love Iron Chef

  • At 6/07/2010 6:29 pm, Blogger Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said…

    They don't look like they've aged a bit! Lol, I would not be game enough to stick my finger into the oil like that!

  • At 6/15/2010 12:35 pm, Anonymous JTB Australia Events Management said…

    The 2010 Iron Chef event in Sydney was arranged by JTB Australia Pty Ltd. JTB was very proud to have had the opportunity to bring the legendary Iron Chefs to Australia and to have made it more accessible to more Australians by reducing the cost of the event considerabaly compared to previous events and increasing the size of the venue. We are currently considering the next time we arrange the Iron Chef Event in Australia and also considering where...maybe Melbourne next time?... You can keep informed about The Iron Chef Events and other Events arranged by JTB Australia by becoming a fan of our Facebook page or visiting www.ironchefevent.com.au

    JTB Australia Events Management


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