Before we even begin this story, let’s pause for a moment and celebrate: after 13 years off the air, Iron Chef is returning to Japanese television. Not that we actively hate Iron Chef America, mind you; it’s a lovely place to show off Alton Brown’s stuttering-while-still-eloquently-explaining-things skills. But we can all agree that, to paraphrase one Hiroyuki Sakai, the coolly sophisticated American version of Kitchen Stadium lacks that je ne sais quoi the Japanese version has. And by je ne sais quoi, we mean loopy, batshit insanity.
So the news that the Japanese Iron Chef will not bring back the original Chairman, Takeshi Kaga, stings us in the heart region. You know who we’re talking about: the bell pepper guy who looks (and acts) like a French count from a 90’s manga. Kotaku reports that instead, the new version will feature Hiroshi Tamaki, a decently-known actor/model/singer who looks generically handsome. But the biggest concern that Japanese fans of the original are voicing right now: is Tamaki weird enough?
“Many are saying that Tamaki is simply too young and too handsome for the chairman gig,” Kotaku points out. “What’s more, he doesn’t seem to be much of a gourmet food lover!”
To his benefit, Tamaki acknowledges that he has a lot of DUNGENESS CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAB! to live up to, telling Japanese publication Sanspo that he’s worried about whether he can be as “silly” as Chairman Kaga’s character.
Tamaki-san, this is not a matter of silliness. IT IS A MATTER OF THINKING THAT EVERY SECRET INGREDIENT — NAY, THAT THE ARTISTRY OF COOKING AND THE SACRED ACT OF EATING — INSPIRES SUCH OVERWHELMING PASSION, SUCH EMOTIONAL CLARITY, THAT THE CRISP BITE OF A BELL PEPPER PROPELS YOU TO A STATE OF ECSTASY WHERE YOU CAN ALMOST GLIMPSE THE FACE OF GOD.
(Yeah, the Chairman is an all-caps dude.)
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