In the season premiere of The Next Iron Chef, 10 chefs arrive in Los Angeles to compete in a series of globally-inspired cooking challenges that will test their abilities to master culinary styles from around the world. The chefs are greeted by host Alton Brown, who gives them their first two tests: Memory and Fearlessness.
Host Alton Brown gives the nine remaining chefs their next two challenges: Simplicity and Interpretation. The chefs are asked to reinvent classic international dishes to see who can create an Iron Chef-worthy interpretation of some of the best-known dishes in the world.
Host Alton Brown explains that Innovation is one of the most important traits of an Iron Chef and both challenges in this episode must embody that trait. First, the chefs disperse to four of the best Asian eateries in Los Angeles where they quickly taste and then attempt to recreate the house specialty from each restaurant. The chefs are armed only with their discerning palates to figure out how the dish is made. Next, the chefs are tasked with innovating and creating a new dish that is a hybrid of Asian flavors and American culinary sensibilities. The next chef is eliminated.
An Iron Chef must adapt to a secret ingredient that is revealed just moments before cooking. For their next test, host Alton Brown asks the remaining seven chefs to endure a tough test of Adaptability. They are judged on how well they adapt the secret ingredient to their culinary creations.
The six remaining competitors meet acclaimed Indian chef, Suvir Saran, and begin their next test: Pressure. First, the chefs have 30 minutes to capture the essence and balance of Indian fare in just one bite. Then, the chefs attend a Bollywood-style gala to gain a true understanding of the traditional foods and culture of India. With this knowledge, they then have two hours to prepare a five-course Indian feast judged for the authenticity, flavor, drama, and theatrical presentation of the food. Two chefs are eliminated, and the remaining chefs learn they will head to the airport and travel on American Airlines to one of the great culinary hotspots in the world - Tokyo, Japan.
The four remaining chefs board a flight and travel to Tokyo, Japan. The chefs begin a culinary adventure into the world of umami using Kikkoman soy sauce. The chefs are challenged to use different cooking styles in a test that highlights the five tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami.
The final three chefs undergo a test of Integrity, and how they can honor both personal integrity and integrity of ingredients. One chef is eliminated and the last two standing prepare for the final battle in Kitchen Stadium.
The remaining two chefs walk into the hallowed halls of Kitchen Stadium to complete their final test: Imagination. With the Chairman looking on and host Alton Brown commentating, the two finalists compete in a head-to-head battle.