Alton Brown Teases The Best Moments From Iron Chef: Quest For An Iron Legend - Exclusive Interview

All the fans out there with full hearts and empty stomachs can finally rejoice. After four years, "Iron Chef" is coming back in a big way. The cooking competition to end all cooking competitions is getting a reboot on Netflix, with a brand new season dubbed "Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend."

That means a whole new slate of Iron Chefs are in the kitchen, ready to show off their superior culinary skills against a whole new set of competitors hoping to join their ranks. Alton Brown also returns to oversee all the action, alongside a new co-host, "Top Chef" winner Kristen Kish, as well Mark Dacascos, the beloved and infamous chairman. This time around, the challenges are harder, the stakes are higher, and the glory of victory that much more monumental. That's because whoever manages to make it to the end has the chance to become not just an Iron Chef, but an Iron Chef Legend.

For all the inside details, Mashed spoke exclusively with host Alton Brown, who dished on what makes this new reboot stand out from the original "Iron Chef" and what we can expect to see in Kitchen Stadium this season.

Alton Brown dishes on the new and improved Iron Chef

Becoming an Iron Chef is already a tremendously difficult and coveted achievement. What does it mean to become an Iron Chef legend?

I can neither confirm nor deny that there's going to be one this season. It is not a sure thing at all. You basically have to make it through the competition, and whoever has the top score of all the competitors goes up against all of the Iron Chefs at one time and has to win that. I'm not going to say whether that happened or didn't happen.

If it were, that would it mean?

If it happens, then that person is awesome and gets a big gold knife and a really nice piece on their resume.

You're used to running a one man show on "Iron Chef America." How was your experience co-hosting with Kristen Kish and how did that change the dynamic on the show?

A couple of different ways. First off, it was a wonderful opportunity. Kristen and I are fortunate to have really great chemistry. We worked really well together right off of the bat. We were made to do this together, and the reason that it's important is the fact that we're doing this on Netflix now, which means that there are no commercial breaks. You've got an entire hour to really drill down on the intricacies of the story,  what's going on with the food, and more importantly, or as importantly, what's happening in the minds of the people that are making the food.

That's one of the things that — because Kristen has competed in shows at a very, very high level, and won [Top Chef] — she's got the ability to have real empathy with those people. She's able to have conversations down on the floor to get real intel on what's going on with the chefs. Then, she comes back and we get to actually talk about it, actually have conversations, because now we have time to do that, and [it] brings a whole new dimension to the show that it's never had before.

Expect intensity, diversity, and a whole lot of fire on Quest for an Iron Legend

Were there any standout moments that you can share?

There are a lot of standout moments. The funny thing in a show like this, when you get Iron Chefs at this level ... they're competing against each other, but above all, they're competing against themselves. They're competing against themselves and they're competing against the clock. Because of that, it takes the competition to a different level, because they're not just trying to beat each other.

The standout moments are all about the fact that there are so many new ingredients brought to the party that I had never seen before, and I've seen some stuff. Over the years, I've done a good bit of this kind of work, and I was really shocked by how much I did not know and felt like I was going back to school with every episode of this.

I was also very pleased with the competitors and the level of food that they brought. Chefs of really high levels are being a lot more free with their food now. They're more willing to break with the traditions of what's expected of restaurant chefs, cooking from their heritages, cooking from their experiences, their cultures. That's making shows like this a lot more vital and ... people are going to have a [much bigger chance] to connect with them because of that.

What were some of the most interesting approaches to dishes or techniques that you saw used this season?

There's a lot of fire. A lot of fire [was] used this season, which I always like to watch because it's a lot harder to control than people think. We've got a lot of really great ingredients on the secret ingredient altar, and as far as some of the cultures, we have a competitor who's from the Hmong community in Minneapolis. That's a cuisine that I knew nothing about. Anything that was educational is the stuff that I get really excited about. We also have, because of chef Dominique Crenn, we've got classical French moves that, quite frankly, people forget how much skill it takes to pull that kind of thing off. You're looking for me to bang a gong on one particular thing, and I can't. Every episode delivered that for me.

What was the most challenging secret ingredient this season, in your opinion?

As far as answering the cooking question, I'm going to say it was sturgeon. The reason for that is that sturgeon is actually pretty difficult fish to cook, and it can be rendered flavorless very easily if you're not really, really, really careful and subtle with it.

Alton Brown on what it takes to be successful on Iron Chef

These Iron Chefs coming in to compete against these challengers, they've got lots of experience with this. They've got a strategy. They know what they're going to come in and do to win. When it comes to the challenger chefs, what kind of approaches or mentalities or tactics did you see as most successful when going up against these Iron Chefs?

It is absolutely this: Cook your food. Don't think about what anybody else is doing. Pay attention to the clock, but above all, cook your food, because no one else can cook your food. It's the competitors that actually know what that is and feel confidence in what their food is, what their flavors are, what their capabilities are, that wins every time.

Are there any of these Iron Chefs or challengers that you'd want to go up against in a culinary competition?

No. These are ferocious human beings. I don't want to compete. I'd be happy to cook with them, but no — go up against them? I think not.

Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend is available to stream on Netflix starting June 15th.