I love finding foodies where you wouldn’t expect them! Today I was in class (boring, yes, I know) and managed to completely run class off on a tangent by mentioning Food Network. Whoo, boy. 20 minutes later the professor remembered the class was “Research Methods” and not “Professor A’s Kitchen Renovations.” It was awesome.

Anyway, HOLY COW EXCITEMENT FOR SUNDAY! The Next Iron Chef premiere is on, and for those of you with rocks on your heads, it’s the new reality show replacing Mario Batali (he is leaving the network entirely – no more Molto Mario, if you are able to watch at 9am on Mondays, and no more Batali battles. SAD!)

Someone decided it would be absurd to simply replace him quietly, so they created this new reality show – they advertised it once during the season finale of The Next Food Network Star, and then stopped, but there are now 3? 4? commercials being bandied about. Well, it’s premiering this Sunday. 8 chefs, only one of whom will fill Mario’s big orange clogs. (Can, no. No one ever can, Mario. But they sure can try!)

Expect coverage around here to be similar to NFNS, I will not miss an episode. Short of Josh being on his deathbed, I will be in front of my TV. And if the hospital gets Food Network….(you know I love you, dear)

I am so pumped. The chefs are: John Besh (beat Mario in the Andoiulle battle), Chris Cosentino (I don’t recognize him, Italian chef), Jill Davie (won Food Network Challenge: Hot Chefs South Beach), Tracy Des Jardins (dozens of food mag awards for her restaurant Jardinerie, as well as bundles of other chef appearences), Gavin Kaysen (Sandiego Chef of the Year 2007, French) Morou (Apparently famous enough to have a one-name, and serves things like “Banana Air” Sounds like a good fit!), Aaron Sanchez (Latin cuisine award winner, son of Latin cuisine award winner) and finally Micheal Symon (Once hosted Melting Pot on FN, and also cameo’d a bunch of other shows.)

John Besh is the only one I recognize as having been a part of Iron Chef before, but that particular accolade was not mentioned in his bio (find all the more detailed bios here) and I am wondering if all of them have fought in our beloved Kitchen Stadium before. Hmmm.

See you all Sunday 7/8 Central!