First man out

Texas chef Tim Love gets booted from first episode of Next Iron Chef

Texas chef Tim Love gets booted from first episode of Next Iron Chef

Dallas-Fort Worth will not get its own Iron Chef after all — at least not yet. Fort Worth chef Tim Love, who was a contestant on Next Iron Chef: Redemption, was eliminated in during Sunday's premiere episode.

Redemption is just a fancy word for recycling. Love and the other nine contestants — such as Elizabeth Falkner, Spike Mendelsohn and Marcel Vigneron — are cooking-show regulars. Love, owner of Fort Worth's Love Shack, Lonesome Dove and Woodshed Smokehouse (and business partner for the Austin Food and Wine Festival) made a guest spot on the show in 2006 when he defeated Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.

In search of drama, they headed for the beach and forced the contestants to cook on fire pits. The problem with having cooking-show veterans is that they're fairly unflappable. A low-burning fire or being forced to cook with crickets was just another minor hump.

 "I was so pissed off, but getting pissed off doesn’t make you win – getting even does," said Love.

 Each was assigned an ingredient that they'd screwed up in the past. Love got kale, which seemed pretty convenient, because kale salad is a signature dish at Woodshed Smokehouse. That's basically what he made, combining kale with apples and pistachios. While other chefs stoked their fires, Love had time to pour himself a glass of wine — "Cheers," he said to the camera man, hoisting his glass — and cook a steak.

The competition was called "Resourcefulness," so host Alton Brown, dressed in a Mr. Peppermint getup, including a hipster fedora, asked Love what was resourceful about what he cooked. Love proudly confessed that he'd cooked himself a steak while he was making the salad.

"How 'resourceful' of you not to give us the steak," Brown sniffed, then accused Love of being lazy. Love's pupils dilated ever so slightly. He confided to the camera that he didn't like being called lazy.

"I was so pissed off, but getting pissed off doesn’t make you win — getting even does," he said.

Having scored the lowest, he and Mendolsohn did a final match-off using secret ingredient pineapple. Boy, oh boy, this was not happy news.

"Pineapple is a piece of crap ingredient," Love muttered. "I steer clear of it. I feel like I made a sauce with it back in 1984."

Mendolsohn did sweet-and-sour fish, while Love made seared quail with "corn milk" and pickled pineapple. The judges gave it to Mendolsohn because his dish incorporated pineapple more harmoniously.

Mendelsohn speculated that Love didn't have a real desire to win. "I feel Tim Love was here to just enjoy the experience," said.

Anyway, at least we don't have to watch it now.

Tim Love, Next Iron Chef
Chef Tim Love was the only DFW contestant on Next Iron Chef.
Tim Love, Next Iron Chef, kale salad
On Next Iron Chef, Tim Love made a kale salad that looked nearly identical to the one he serves at Woodshed Smokehouse in Fort Worth. Photo courtey of Tim Love
Tim Love
Next Iron Chef host Alton Brown talks kale salad with Tim Love. Photo courtesy of Food Network