Spring signals rebirth, and that goes for Iron Chef. A new TV show, Iron Chef Gauntlet, premieres in April hosted by Alton Brown on Food Network. Chicago is well represented in the show’s first season with Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat, Duck Duck Goat, Little Goat) and Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde) entering Kitchen Stadium.
After five weeks, the seven-member competitor pool will be whittled to one, and that champion will enter the gauntlet. They’ll face Iron Chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Symon, and Bobby Flay in secret-ingredient challenges. Jonathon Sawyer from The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland is the third Midwest challenger from the group of seven. Sawyer won the Beard Award in 2015 for Best Chef: Great Lakes, the same award Izard won in 2013. Grueneberg is a semifinalist for that award this year.
Izard and Grueneberg have competitive TV experience, as both are Top Chef alums. Izard was crowned champion when the show took place in Chicago in 2008 for season four. She told the Tribune that even though she swore off TV competitions, the lure of being an Iron Chef was too much to pass up. Grueneberg was the runner up on Top Chef season nine in 2012.
The Iron Chef Gauntlet premiere debuts at 8 p.m. on April 16 on Food Network.