This Star Trek Actor Once Hosted An Iron Chef Remake

"Star Trek" is known for going where no man has gone before, including the wonderful and sometimes bizarre world of cooking show competitions. It might be surprising to learn that a primary actor from the original "Star Trek" series took his captain and exploration powers to a whole new level when he served as the chairman of "Iron Chef America." That's right, William Shatner, aka Captain James Kirk, was not only a ladies man who commanded the Federation StarFleet's U.S.S. Enterprise — he also commanded the kitchen when the hit Japanese cooking show "Iron Chef America" made its debut in the U.S. in 2001.

An odd pairing? Maybe, but maybe not. Per the New York Post, when "Iron Chef America" first aired, it could be watched by tuning in to the United Paramount Network (or UPN), which was the original broadcast network for "Star Trek" (via Memory Alpha). In fact, the chief of UPN, Dean Valentine said at the time of the cooking show's first episode, "I am one of the major fans of the 'Iron Chef.' I watch it with great fervor." This is just our conjecture, but perhaps this is how they snagged Shatner to be their chairman. So, was Captain Kirk a good fit for the chairman's role?

William Shatner's chairman portrayal was not well received

"Iron Chef" has always been part theatrics and part cooking with bizarre ingredients — a perfect combination for Food Network, but BuzzFeed shares they initially passed. However, Tom Noonan, who was the UPN's entertainment chief at the time, shared with the New York Post that, "While at first glance it might not feel like the most natural fit for a UPN program, it actually is." He went on to say, "Candidly, this show isn't about Wasabi or pudding or sushi. It's about the Iron chefs that compete against each other in this sort of intense, very theatrical, over the top, gladiator-like style." 

And with all those funky foods Captain James Kirk experienced during his stint on "Star Trek," being chairman seemed like the perfect gig for William Shatner. Unfortunately, critics did not feel the same way. According to SF Gate, the remake of the Japanese classic cooking show that pit a challenging chef against the Iron Chef was an "abomination" and an "insult to food fans." The reviewer went on to say of Shatner's portrayal of the chairman, "Shatner is so far over the top, he's left the stratosphere. 'Turn up the heat!' he yells. 'Totally rad!' he says later. We like him ridiculous, but this is, well, ridiculous squared." Kind of a bummer, but even though Shatner may not have captured the hearts of foodies, he will always have his "Star Trek" fans for life!