News & Politics

Curse of the Iron Chef?

Are DC chefs doomed to lose on the Food Network hit?

May 2006

Is there a curse of the Iron Chef? How else to explain the fate of local toques who did battle on the Food Network’s hit series?

Last year Galileo chef Roberto Donna was the first DC chef to take the challenge. He went down red-faced, completing only two out of five dishes.

Three area chefs duked it out last fall for a spot on the show: 1789’s Ris Lacoste, Tosca’s Cesare Lanfranconi, and Signatures’ Morou Ouattara. Not long after the competition, which Ouattara won, all three chefs were out of their kitchens. Lacoste quit, Lanfranconi took a personal leave, and Signatures closed after it couldn’t shake the bad vibes from former owner Jack Abramoff.

Ouattara taped his showdown with Bobby Flay in January. Did the curse follow him to the network’s Kitchen Stadium? We’ll have to wait until that episode airs this fall to find out. The chef confesses that, beyond first-time jitters, he also battled a broken food processor and an on-the-fritz deep-fryer.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.