Being a judge on "Iron Chef" is one of my bucket list items, so attending the TV press tour Food Network party Thursday night and sampling food from "The Next Iron Chef" contestants came pretty darn close.

As a preview of the show, I decided not to give background on the chefs themselves, but let the food speak for itself.

Note: Everything was good, but some of the dishes spoke to me more than others. My palate, however, will remain unbiased for journalistic purposes. Allez cuisine!

Chef: Jehangir Mehta
Dish: Green mango paneer w/ lychee shot


Chef: Holly Smith
Dish: Beet salad w/ La Tur Bombolino


Chef: Brad Farmerie
Dish: Fried oyster on shiso, w/ wasabi-yuzu sauce


Chef: Jose Garces
Dish: Pork belly bun w/ Togarashi mayonnaise


Chef: Nate Appleman
Dish: Spit-roasted lamb w/ rosemary-lemon potatoes


Chef: Amanda Freitag
Dish: Panko-crusted fried shrimp w/ lemon aioli


Chef: Seamus Mullen
Dish: Smoked montano sardines on crostini w/ fennel jam


Chef: Dominique Crenn
Dish: Bread w/ honey butter cheese and walnut


Chef: Roberto Trevino
Dish: Manchego cheesecake w/ pata negra


Chef: Eric Greenspan
Dish;  Short ribs and Tallegia grilled cheese (note: Tallegia is a cheese from Lombardy, the name of the street on which the party was being held)


All the chefs have a nice resume and experience to recommend them, but in the end, it's all up to how they perform on the show and of course, what our palates say in tasting their food.

I'm not going to bias your judgment with my take on these delicious bites ("It's like sitting on a cloud that has rained savory droplets of umami!"), but I'm certainly going to tune into "The Next Iron Chef" on Food Network beginning Sunday, Oct. 4 at 9 p.m. ET, to root for my favorites.

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Zap2it's 2009 TCA TV press tour coverage

Posted by:Hanh Nguyen