Three Boston Chefs to Appear on Iron Chef Showdown

Townsman owner Matthew Jennings and Top Chef Kristen Kish face off in an all-Boston episode, and another local competes in November as well.

Boston chefs Iron Chef Showdown

Matthew Jennings photo by Michael Piazza / “Iron Chef Showdown” Host Alton Brown and The Chairman photo courtesy of Food Network / Kristen Kish PHOTO BY ALEXANDRA WIMLEY FOR ‘KRISTEN KISH SIGNS AS ‘INSIDER’ WITH W HOTEL BOSTON

The newest incarnation of the popular Iron Chef culinary competition show will feature some familiar faces. Matthew Jennings of Townsman, Top Chef winner Kristen Kish, and Barcelona South End executive chef Marcellus Coleman will all be featured on Iron Chef Showdown next month.

The new series, hosted by Alton Brown, features standalone episodes in which two top-tier chefs battle against each other in the Chairman’s Challenge. The winner—as judged by Brown—then faces a reigning Iron Chef, either Bobby Flay, Jose Garces, Alex Guarnaschelli, Michael Symon, or Stephanie Izard.

Jennings and Kish spar during “Battle Beantown,” the series’ third episode debuting Wednesday, November 22, at 9 p.m. The Townsman chef/owner and the Menton alum—who both also publish personal new cookbooks this fall—go head-to-head “over a cured classic,” teases the episode preview.

Jennings can’t share any more specifics about the Battle Beantown, but he promises a good time.

“It’s going to be one of the most fun episodes of the series, just because of the fun relationship we have together,” Jennings says. He’s known Kish for years, but he didn’t know she’d be his opponent on his first-ever TV competition experience. She had a hunch, though, Jennings says.

The day he left to film Iron Chef Showdown, the Townsman chef shared on social media that he was headed out to L.A. His phone immediately buzzed—it was Kish asking, “Are we headed to L.A. for the same reason?”

“Neither of us wanted to give too much information,” Jennings says, noting the non-disclosure agreements the producers require. “I just said, ‘I don’t know, are we? Maybe I’ll see you there.'”

When he saw Kish in the green room that day, they both burst out laughing—then put their game faces on, of course. Los Angeles celebrity chefs Roy Choi and Antonia Lofaso judge the Jennings vs. Kish showdown, and only one will go on to face Iron Chef Jose Garces later in the episode.

The next week, on Wednesday, Nov. 29, Boston chef Coleman goes up against New York City’s Leah Cohen. Coleman, currently executive chef at Barcelona Wine Bar in the South End, has cooked in many of the country’s best kitchens, including New York City’s Eleven Madison Park, and his mentor Wylie Dufresne’s wd~50; Alinea in Chicago, the now-closed Clio, and Aujour’dui at the Four Seasons Boston, and more. He is also a Chopped winner. Guest judges Lesley Bargar Suter and Simon Majumdar will send either Coleman or Cohen to cook against the newest Iron Chef, Chicago’s Izard.

Iron Chef Showdown premieres with a Thanksgiving episode on Nov. 8. Catch “Battle Beantown” on Townsman’s 70-inch bar TV the night before Thanksgiving, when the restaurant will host a viewing party with Boston and Homegrown-inspired bites, Jennings says.

“I’ve been asked over the years to do competition TV, but it’s never really been my thing,” he says. “But this was one of those shows I’ve always put on pedestal. I was interested in competing, and obviously interesting in doing the show like anybody else would, but my biggest focus was, ‘hey we got a book coming out, let’s take advantage of telling as many people about it as we can.'”

Jennings’ first cookbook is now on sale at bookstores around the country, while Kristen Kish Cooking comes out Oct. 31.