Original Review by Alan Rogers

Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef are US-based game shows produced by the Food Network and are based on a Japanese cooking show. In Iron Chef America, a challenging chef competes against one of the resident “Iron Chefs” in a specially constructed cooking arena called “Kitchen Stadium”. Fronted by over-the-top martial arts actor Mark Dacascos and being introduced with dramatic clips of chopping, frying, flames and with furious clip editing (with animated steel knife slashes), this is “cooking in your face”. And composer Craig Marks has composed for the show appropriately “in your face” music. He has also composed music in the same vein for the subsequent spin-off The Next Iron Chef (a competition to chose new Iron Chefs to take part in Iron Chef America).

Describing Marks’ music for the show in the press as “sabre-rattling gladiator music”, Marks’ moonlighting at Media Ventures whilst studying Music Composition at UCLA can be heard frequently in the scores. Using predominantly synths, the music is full of bold, brash fanfares, powerful synth strings and percussion, and each cue could easily be taken from any Media Venture-scored Hollywood blockbuster. The themes for both Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef are full-on heroic themes (think something like any Jerry Bruckheimer-produced effort and you wouldn’t be far off the mark in terms of style), with tracks such as “Shiitake Showdown”, “Nine Chefs Enter”, “White House Garden / A National Challenge” and “Flamenco Flambé” continuing to pour on the drama and testosterone. A cookery show can’t be this exciting can it?  [Read more…]