Iron Chef was a Japanese show that pitted master chefs against a stable of "Iron Chefs" who specialized in a particular world cuisine. It was like watching a tennis match, a cooking show and a Godzilla movie all at once.
The Iron Chefs
During the run of the show, there were 4 Iron Chef positions: Iron Chef French, Iron Chef Italian, Iron Chef Chinese, and Iron Chef Japanese.
Iron Chef French I
Name: Yutaka Ishinabe
Not much is known about him. He was only on the show an episode or two; rumors suggest he once watched a video tape, then 7 days later disappeared.
Iron Chef French II
Name: Hiroyuki Sakai
Sakai made food that looked like art, and smiled like the old Asian guy downtown who has no idea what the fuck anyone is saying, but figures if he smiles, no one will give him any shit. Kind of looks like your grandmother.
Iron Chef Italian
Name: Masahiko Kobe
In, like, 4 episodes or something. He won all of them, and it was pretty much always against someone who cooked Italian food.
Iron Chef Chinese
Name: Chen Kenichi
Can chop food with a giant cleaver like a motherfucker and used spicy bean paste in everything. No one complained about the beans because they were afraid of him.
Iron Chef Japanese I
Name: Rokusaburo Michiba
Looked like a godamn samurai and wielded a caligraphy brush like a hot geisha girl. Prepared food with a Daisho, which was the ceremonial paired blades of the samurai. Or not, but he won a lot.
Iron Chef Japanese II
Name: Koumei Nokomura
Showed up for a while once Michiba retired. Looked like an unhappy frog the whole time.
Iron Chef Japanese III
Name: Masaharu Morimoto
Took over once frogman left. He is fucking HUGE, especially for a Japanese man and currently scares intimidates New Yorkers at his restaurant, Nobu. Makes a lot of non-Japanese Japanese food.
Name: Yukio Hattori
Owns the school that the assistant chefs on the show come from. Knows a shitload about food. Once challenged the Iron Chefs himself and got his punk ass handed to him.
Name: Kenji Fukui
Always looked very worried, but the American version voice-over sounded happy about everything. Only ever got to taste the food once, the rest of the time he had to smell the food then not eat it, like a little bitch.
Name: Shinichiro Ohta
Ran around the floor asking the cooks questions. Frequently pissed them off by getting in the way while they were trying to, you know, win the competition. Frequently interrupted Fukui with "Fukuisan", said at a speed that the Micromachine guy would envy. Was a general pain in the ass.
Looked like a Japanese Liberace with a mullet. Really likes raw bell peppers. Not really an eccentric millionaire, but still got treated like one on the show. Was paid in fruit and Geisha girls.
Like all things popular from foreign countries, America wound up with their own version of this show. While not as good as the original (surprise surprise), it still has a similar appeal. Plus, people tune in to see the guy from the Crow TV show act like a freak when they show off the secret ingredient.
ICA has its own cast of chefs, although their titles are a bit confusing considering they don't appear to have a particular talent like the Japanese versions.
Iron Chef Japanese guy from the original Show
Name: Masaharu Morimoto
Yep, him again. He is the single, tenuous tie back to the original series. His cooking often left the American judging panel looking perplexed, probably because his food wasn't a pizza and didn't come on a hotdog bun.
Iron Chef Chick
Name: Cat Cora
She is a Greek cook, but the show seems more interested in the fact that she is female. Whether we are supposed to see that as a handicap or an advantage, we have no idea. However, we are sure that she has too much credibility and confidence to pull a Rachel Ray and do a photo-shoot for FHM. She's too classy for that.
Iron Chef Ginger Italian
Name: Mario Batali
He dresses like shit and looks about as Italian as David Caruso, but he seems cool and has a decent sense of humor. Seriously though, orange crocs? Come on man.
Iron Chef Smug Douchebag
Name: Bobby Flay
He apparently would also qualify as "Iron Chef Grill". The only person on earth that can look at that face and not want to drive a fist into it is Bobby Flay. When he speaks, he sounds like Jimmy Valmer from South Park, if Jimmy was an arrogant cockbag.