In case you don't know, Iron Chef started in Japan, where challengers attempt to prepare food against an "Iron Chef", a chef of great reknown. It fared well in the US, where the translation process added a certain je ne sais quoi, to paraphrase Wikipedia. And now we have the UK version.
In the UK version, there are four challengers and four Iron Chefs, and daily episodes Monday to Friday. For Mon-Thu, each challenger has to cook a dish each (for a total of two starters and two mains), while the Iron Chef (and two sous chefs assisting) are also cooking two starters and two mains. On the Friday episode, the challenger who has scored most highly during the week matches the Iron Chef dish for dish, two+two, but also gets two sous chefs to help out. So the four Iron Chefs each get one day per week to cook, plus one of them gets to play in the Friday episode.
Meanwhile Olly Smith presents, and Nick Nairn adds commentary. There are a couple of judges (changing weekly). And, uh, the chairman, making facial expressions a 70s martial arts movie would be proud of.
And it's barking. It really is. Olly really gets his teeth into the jingoistic, gung-ho macho battle talk, and you really, really have to just go with it. Watching Brits make with the smack-talk is usually cringeworthy, and the challengers and Iron Chefs seemed to be on the border between embarrassed and just-about-coping, but a couple of weeks in, and the Iron Chefs are getting into the silliness of it all.
The Iron Chefs, in case you're wondering, are Tom Aikens, Martin Blunos, Sanjay Dwivedi and Judy Joo.