Iron Chef America’s Weirdest Celebrity Judges


If you’re a fan of the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” you know that for every intimidating panel of culinary specialists that get to judge the delectable-looking offerings from the competitors, there’s always another panel made entirely of odd ducks. We imagine it might be a tad frustrating, if you’re an iron chef, to get all set up for the battle of your life and realize you’re cooking for the palate of…Jewel? And yet, these weirdo celebrity guests often provide the most entertaining judgings, if only because of their lack of culinary refinement (or surprising abundance of it.) Decide who rocked and who shouldn’t be allowed near a kitchen, after the jump.

Tina Fey

This has to be one of our all-time favorite episodes, if only for Fey’s enthusiasm over Paula Deen’s desserts. “This seems like the kind of drink that would sneak up on you. Next thing you know you’ve got your top off.”

Michelle Obama

Though she only introduced the ingredient rather than staying to sample the dishes, Michelle Obama made a big impression with her demure announcement, a contrast to the normal over-dramatized yelling. “Sweet potatoes. We are sweet potato lovers– especially the President,” she says.

Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon)

This is a puzzler. What did Longowill do to get on the show? Can we get in on that? Not that he embarrassed himself really, but nor was he particularly dazzling. You’re just left with a “what was that?” feeling.

Mo Rocca

A frequent talking head on “Iron Chef America,” and one that has been controversial among fans of the show. The above clippings show Rocca at his most determinedly quippy, in a series of eye-rolling puns about the “opah fish”. (Hint: they are mostly based around it’s phonetic similarity to a certain famous talk show host’s name).


Rapper Bonecrusher has judged twice on Iron Chef America, and both times have been surprisingly awesome. He seems to have excellent taste in food, and it’s worth watching just to see him put Jeffrey Steingarten in his place.

Isaac Mizrahi

Our beloved Tim Gunn substitue on “The Fashion Show” is perhaps not that tuned in to the foodie world. Or at least, that’s what Joel McHale skewers him for on this episode of the Soup (N.B.: Joel McHale was also a judge on Iron Chef America). If you can’t handle butter, get out of the judging panel.

Marc Ecko

Ecko would seem to fall into the same category as Mizrahi in terms of food knowledge, but he showboats as much as the rest of the Iron Chef judges about the temperature of meat and the correct preparation of kale. Pretty impressive, Marc.


Oh Jewel. We’re not sure about your poetry and we’re really not sure about your wiles as a foodie. But it is pretty fun to watch her on the panel as a chunk of pure pop culture absurdity.

Anderson Cooper

Silver fox CNN anchor Anderson Cooper should, in our humble opinion, make guest appearances on every show. Guest judge of Top Chef! Designer on Project Runway! The mind reels. He does well as a judge on Iron Chef, holding his own without seeming like a show-off.

Honorable Mention: Joel McHale, Soledad O’Brien, Tiki Barber

Who’d we miss? Leave ’em in the comments.