The Seven Network has today confirmed its arena-style cooking competition, Iron Chef Australia, with production commencing at Melbourne's Docklands next month.
Three of Australia's top professional chefs will front the series, including Guillaume Brahimi, Guy Grossi and Neil Perry.
The 'Iron Chefs' will have an hour to compete against young aspiring cooks, tasked with creating the best four-dish menu, as judged by a series of food critics.
Described as a cooking competition of "Olympic proportions", the series will be produced by Shine Australia, which is the same company behind the Ten Network's MasterChef Australia, in conjunction with RDF Rights, Keller Productions and Triage Entertainment.
Grossi, the owner and head chef at Grossi Florentino restaurant in Melbourne, told the Herald Sun, "It's different in that it follows professional cooks and not amateurs."
The battle in the commercial-style kitchen, known as the 'Kitchen Stadium', differs in culinary skill from MasterChef -- often featuring secret and surprising ingredients such as live squid and live large octopi.
Perry, the owner of the Rockpool restaurants in both Sydney and Melbourne, has no qualms working on Iron Chef, despite taking aim at MasterChef contestants last month, calling them "nobodies".
"This engages the industry on a higher level. It is professional versus professional.
"Giving professional chefs the chance to come on television will allow Australia to see the great diversity this country has in professional cooking."
He added that the program will itself stand-out from the many currently established cooking shows, because it highlights existing talented but perhaps not recognised chefs, rather than amateur aspiring cooks.
"Giving professional chefs the chance to come on television will allow Australia to see the great diversity this country has in professional cooking.
"It will fire the imagination of people who love food."
The format, originally devised and owned by the Fuji Creative Corporation, has had phenomenal success in Japan and America, achieving a cult status in both countries. Airing on the Food Network, it is one of the channel's highest rating programs, continuing to grow after nine seasons and in its sixth year.
As previously reported in TSR, Seven has been accused of attempting to destabilise the success of MasterChef by flooding the market with similarly themed reality programs. With a second season of My Kitchen Rules returning next year, the possible return of My Restaurant Rules, and Conviction Kitchen currently in development, the network's food slate is certainly strong.
Meanwhile, the Nine Network recently launched its Saturday afternoon program, Home Cooked!, presented by last year's winner of MasterChef, Julie Goodwin. According to TV Tonight, Nine also is rumoured to have signed Curtis Stone to front their new format, Celebrity Chef.
Iron Chef Australia is expected to premiere sometime next year.
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