Ten esteemed chefs arrive in Los Angeles ready to prove they have what it takes to become The Next Iron Chef. Utilizing their ingenuity, the chefs must make a sandwich that represents their personality and later find themselves on a beach cooking with the one ingredient they said they would want if stranded on a desert island.
The competition escalates as the nine remaining chefs must use their innovation to create two dishes featuring coffee and donuts. For the Chairman's Challenge, the chefs must elevate classic diner foods.
With the theme of resourcefulness, the remaining eight chefs first make portable pickle snacks. After a fishing trip, the chefs must cook two fish dishes with their catch.
In the Secret Ingredient Challenge, the seven remaining chefs must transform classic American condiments into a dish of their choosing. Then the chefs are sent to the San Diego Country Fair where they gather ingredients from concession stands to transform fair food into Iron Chef-level dishes, and if that wasn't challenge enough, they're cooking on the world's largest grill!
In this episode, the Chairman's charge is respect. The chefs are first challenged to show respect to the humble potato and then cook dishes representing the four main U.S. regions.
Alton and the Chairman welcome the remaining five chefs to Las Vegas where under the theme of Inspiration, they first create a wedding-worthy chocolate dessert and then in the Chairman's Challenge, they have to create a modern Las Vegas buffet knowing that they're facing a double elimination.
The Chairman's charge is seduction, because an Iron Chef must seduce the taste buds. In the Secret Ingredient Challenge, the chefs must create a seductive cocktail and snack in 30 minutes. For the Chairman's Challenge, the chefs must create the most luxurious Iron Chef meal ever created.
In the final test, the Thanksgiving-themed final episode is a knife-to-knife battle between the remaining two chefs to win the title of Next Iron Chef. Special judges include Bobby Flay and Masaharu Morimoto along with the regular panel of Simon Majumdar, Donatella Arapaia and Michael Symon.