Courtesy of Food Network

Jet Tila joins the upcoming season as the show returns to its original format.

Adam Campbell-Schmitt
April 06, 2018

Kitchen Stadium is dusting off its burners and polishing up its giant secret-ingredient-concealing cloche for another season of chef-on-chef battles royale. Iron Chef America is coming back for its thirteenth season, and there are a few new faces in the mix. Alton Brown will return as host, as will chairman Mark Dacascos, who will be joined each week by two guest judges to sample the Iron Chefs' and their challengers' hastily-prepared dishes. Joining Brown on the floor for play-by-play commentary will be chef Jet Tila who previously competed against Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto in a seaweed-themed episode of the series.

The upcoming ten-episode season will air beginning Wednesday, May 16 at 9 p.m. on Food Network, and represents a return to form for the series. Based on the hit Japanese cooking competition (and spawning many other iterations) Iron Chef America initially mirrored the imported format of two competing multi-course menus featuring a secret ingredient being prepared in 60 minutes and then scored by a panel of judges.

In later seasons the first course was expected to be served after just 20 minutes, and then the chairman would unveil a "culinary curveball" midway into the hour. Between the upcoming and previous America seasons (the last of which aired back in 2014), Food Network also aired Iron Chef Showdown, which first pit potential challengers against each other to win the right to challenge an Iron Chef. Season thirteen will go back to the full hour of uninterrupted cooking with challengers going directly up against an Iron Chef, and all of service and judgments being held to the end. The first episode will feature Brenner Pass executive chef Brittanny Anderson taking on Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, with Antonia Lofaso and Simon Majumdar serving as judges.

But will the thirteenth season of Iron Chef America also have a new Iron Chef to accept challenges among its ranks.? That remains to be seen. A season of Iron Chef Gauntlet has just begun—premiering April 4 on Food Network and currently airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m. The winner of that series, if there is one, will join Stephanie Izard (last season's Gauntlet winner), Michael Symon, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jose Garces, Mark Forgione, Guarnaschelli, and Morimoto, all of whom currently hold the title of Iron Chef.

Whether you want to enter Kitchen Stadium when you grow up, or just want to master enough skills to face the challenge of cooking your day-to-day meals, check out Alton Brown's tips for becoming an Iron Chef in your own kitchen.