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Food Network “Stages” Iron Chef America White House Episode – Those Veggies didn’t Come from “Le Jardin Extraordinaire”

January 14, 2010

I gotta admit, I’m miffed. Emeril (BAM!) Lagasse, Bobby Flay, and Mario Batalli all lied to us.  Was that a bit strong? Well, maybe they fudged the truth is more like it.

I watched that episode of Iron Chef, the one where Michelle Obama made a brief appearance to announce that the show’s “secret ingredient” was to be the vegetables from the White House garden.

All through the hour the audience heard Emeril droning on and on about the superior quality of the White House vegetables they were cooking with.

Now it turns out our four competing chefs weren’t cooking with these vegetables extraordinaire after all. Turns out that the veggies used in the episode were locally sourced (and by extension not from the White House garden) according to a spokesperson for Food Network.

White House vegetable garden

Photo courtesy of The Food Network

The Baltimore Sun is reporting

that the vegetables used in the Jan. 3 episode of the Iron Chef — which were supposed to have been harvested from the White House vegetable garden — were actually stunt doubles.

First Lady Michelle Obama famously appeared with competitors Bobbie Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batalli, who were joined by White House chef Cristeta Comerford, and charged them with making healthy meals with whatever they could find in the garden.

Apparently, the time lag between the White House harvest scene filmed in October and the cooking competition filmed a week later in New York was too great for the vegetables to have remained fresh.

It is also reported  here that the ratings for the White House Iron Chef of America special “set new viewer records for Food Network. ….With about 4.6 million viewers, it was the highest rated and most-watched show in Food Network’s history.”

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