I recently had the opportunity to ask Donatella Arpaia, a frequent judge of the Food Network show and judge on "The Next Iron Chef," that very question after interviewing her for a story on food presentation that will appear in Wednesday's Food & Wine section.
"They called me - I didn't call them," she said, laughing. "They're wonderful."
Arpaia, a corporate attorney turned successful Manhatten restauranteur, has several award-winning Manhatten and Miami restaurants, including Anthos, one of only two Greek restaurants in the world to have earned a Michelin star. Her first cookbook "Donatella Cooks: Simple Food Made Glamorous" hit stores next month (jacket cover at left courtesy of Rodale Books).
Food Network contacts a variety of people in the food industry to serve as judges for "Iron Chef America," and executives seem to seek out food authorities with strong culinary opinions and those very knowledgeable about food, she said.
Looks like some of us will be relegated to armchair judging. Oh well.
As for 'The Next Iron Chef," Arpaia confirmed rumors that another show may be in the work.
Will she be involved?
"Oh yes, I think so," she said.