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Alex Guarnaschelli wins 'The Next Iron Chef: Redemption'

by jmaloni
Wed, Dec 26th 2012 12:20 pm

Guarnaschelli's first "Iron Chef America" battle premieres Sunday, Dec. 30, at 9 p.m. on The Food Network

After an eight-episode culinary battle royale, Alex Guarnaschelli was named winner in Sunday night's epic finale of "The Next Iron Chef: Redemption."

Guarnaschelli battled against Chef Amanda Freitag in the season's final showdown in Kitchen Stadium, where they were challenged to create three dishes each using ingredients that represent the culinary heritage of the three longest-standing iron chefs - Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and Michael Symon - who also served as guest judges to determine who would join their elite culinary society.

"Chef Guarnaschelli is an extraordinary talent - the newly-crowned iron chef is exceptionally passionate, creative and skilled," said Bob Tuschman, general manager and senior vice president at the Food Network. "Her journey for redemption has been fascinating to watch, and she has truly proven herself worthy of the title 'Iron Chef.' "

Guarnaschelli's first "Iron Chef America battle" airs on Sunday, Dec. 30, at 9 p.m. on the Food Network.

As the daughter of an esteemed cookbook editor, Guarnaschelli spent her childhood surrounded by food. After graduating from Barnard College in 1991, she worked under acclaimed American chef Larry Forgione. Encouraged by Forgione, Guarnaschelli moved to France to study at La Varenne Culinary School in Burgundy. After school she worked for four years at the Michelin three-star restaurant Guy Savoy and moved up to sous chef at La Butte Chaillot, another Savoy establishment.

After seven successful years in France, Guarnaschelli returned stateside, joining the venerable Daniel Boulud at restaurant Daniel in Manhattan as sous chef. She moved to Los Angeles for two years and worked at the acclaimed Patina restaurant in West Hollywood. In 2003, she became the executive chef at Butter Restaurant in New York, where she creates an eclectic American and green market-inspired menu.

Guarnaschelli also helms the kitchen of New York City's modern dining and cabaret concept, The Darby.

She has previously appeared on Food Network in her own show "Alex's Day Off"; as both a challenger and a judge on the hit series "Iron Chef America"; and is a judge on popular primetime series "Chopped." She also competed in "The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs," where she made it into the semifinal battle.

"The Next Iron Chef: Redemption" premiered on Nov. 4 with a roster of acclaimed chefs returning for a second chance to become a member of the "Iron Chef" culinary society, along with a few newcomers in the mix. Hosted by Alton Brown and shot in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, the season's competitors were: (returning from "The Next Iron Chef" season two) Nate Appleman (Chipotle Mexican Grill, ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen), Amanda Freitag ("Chopped"), Eric Greenspan (The Foundry on Melrose, The Roof on Wilshire, Los Angeles) and Jehangir Mehta (Graffiti, Mehtaphor, New York); (from "The Next Iron Chef" season three) Duskie Estes (ZAZU Restaurant + Farm and Black Pig Meat Co, Sonoma County); (from "The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs") Elizabeth Falkner (Krescendo, New York), Alex Guarnaschelli (Butter, The Darby, New York; "Chopped") and Spike Mendelsohn (Good Stuff Eatery, We The Pizza, Washington, D.C.); and first time "Next Iron Chef" competitors with their own redemption stories, Tim Love (The Lonesome Dove, Western Bistro, The Love Shack, Woodshed Smokehouse, White Elephant Saloon, Fort Worth) and Marcel Vigneron (The Coop, Los Angeles).

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