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The Next Iron Chef: The First Chef Off The Kitchen Island

It's a safe bet that grasshoppers will not be on the menu at The Foundry at Melrose, now or ever. Eric Greenspan, the only Los Angeles chef on this season's The Next Iron Chef, which is set in LA, was eliminated in the first round yesterday. The 10 chefs were each given a difficult ingredient (sea cucumbers, unlaid eggs, stinky tofu) and asked to prepare it two ways, the theme being 'fearlessness'. Greenspan presented a pork cutlet Milanese with grasshopper gremolata, and a composed salad. Last night, Greenspan was cooking at his restaurant, not watching the show, and saw it for the first time after getting home. "What can you do," said Greenspan. "Somebody had to go first. It was a fun thing to be a part of. Really? I'm kind of glad to be out early. Who knows what I would have said."

As for predictions, Greenspan--who may not reveal the winner--was uncharacteristically silent. "I never went into this business to win culinary competitions. Well, except for Grilled Cheese Invitational." (Greenspan won last year's competition.) "I'm excited to watch the rest of the show. Though I think that LA was way under-represented." As for the judges' damning comments--"It's not a garnish; it's an ingredient"--Greenspan was dismissive. "It's not even that. It's a bug."

Eric Greenspan and Alton Brown

The Food NetworkEric Greenspan and Alton Brown