September 4, 2012

Half of Next Iron Chef Competitors are CIA Grads

The new season of The Next Iron Chef on the Food Network could almost pass for practical exam day at The Culinary Institute of America. Five of the 10 contestants on the fifth season of the reality cooking competition are CIA graduates:

  • Nate Appleman ’99
  • Amanda Freitag ’89
  • Jehangir Mehta ’95
  • Spike Mendelsohn ’05
  • Marcel Vigneron ’02

These alumni already look familiar to fans of the program, as Appleman, Freitag, and Mehta competed on season two of The Next Iron Chef and Mendelsohn was on The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs. This is Vigneron’s first time competing on this show, although he was a two-time contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef, finishing second in season two. According to the Food Network, “redemption” is the theme of this season, which was taped in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

This group of CIA graduates, along with five others, will be battling to join Cat Cora ’95, Michael Symon ’90, and Geoffrey Zakarian ’83 in Kitchen Stadium as Iron Chefs.