Iron Chef Host And Top Chef Champ Kristen Kish Talks The Key Difference Between The Two Cooking Shows

Kristen Kish on Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend.
(Image credit: Netflix)

There are a lot of options out there for people who love to watch cooking competitions — whether you want something fun and relatable like Netflix’s recently canceled Nailed It, or the highly skilled James Beard Award-caliber chefs on Top Chef. Netflix just resurrected an old favorite in the latter category, with chefs making their way back to Kitchen Stadium for Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend. Alton Brown returns as host, with Mark Dacascos back as the animated-as-ever Chairman. The Iron Chef America reboot has added Top Chef champion Kristen Kish as co-host, and she recently discussed the biggest difference between the two intense shows. 

Best known for fighting her way back in “Last Chance Kitchen” to take top honors on Top Chef: Seattle in 2012, Kristen Kish is no stranger to Kitchen Stadium. She appeared on Iron Chef Showdown in 2017’s “Battle Beantown,” where she defeated Matt Jennings in a prosciutto battle – but fell to Iron Chef Jose Garces in the parmesan cheese battle. Kish explained to Mashed how the two competitions varied from one another:

My competition experience was very different. Other cooking shows, they throw these challenges at you ... quick-fires and things like that. From that perspective to Iron Chef, and having competed on both, is that Iron Chef requires practice and it requires rehearsal in your own kitchen with your team, because once you get into Kitchen Stadium, your kitchen is completely different.

Competitions like Top Chef require chefs to think on their feet, Kristen Kish pointed out. With Quick-Fire Challenges, they only have minutes to come up with an idea they can execute quickly, and even the Elimination Challenges don’t appear to give them more than a day to think it over. Iron Chef is pretty much the opposite. Chefs only have one meal to plan, and they can practice with their sous chefs ahead of time in order to create absolutely the most perfect dish for the judges.

In fact, Kristen Kish said preparation is key to Kitchen Stadium success, as well as choosing the right two people as your sous chefs:

Practicing [is the main thing to be successful], and you've really got to dial it in with the two sous chefs that you choose to bring or whomever you're choosing to bring to help you, because as much preparation as possible is really the key.

The sous chefs do seem to work at least as hard as the chefs themselves, so I can imagine picking two people who can work quickly and consistently is pretty important. It gets pretty intense when that clock is ticking!

It’s great to have Iron Chef on our screens again, and other Top Chef fans are surely as excited as I am to see Season 10 fan favorite Kristen Kish alongside resident expert Alton Brown. The eight-episode first season of Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend is available for streaming now with your Netflix subscription. Be sure to check out some of the other best shows on Netflix, as well as our 2022 TV Schedule to see what series are premiering soon on television and streaming.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.