What Would Iron Chef Michael Symon Eat as His Last Meal?

The Cooking Channel host shares his go-to quick dinner, burger grilling tips and his fantasy all-star supper

Tell me about your new show, Cook Like an Iron Chef, and if fans of Iron Chef America will love it.

People who have been watching Iron Chef forever, I think they watch it for the theater, the food, the show, all those great things, but I still think it's difficult to learn how to cook from Iron Chef, so on Cook Like a Iron Chef we take them through the steps of coming up with a dish, using the perfect ingredients and then the steps to make that dish. I think people are going to be amazed to see how approachable and easy it is to make really delicious food at home that I would be proud to serve on Iron Chef or at my restaurants.

What is your go-to quick dinner—say you come home at night, you're beat, what's your favorite thing to make quickly for yourself?

The go-to dinner that Liz and I probably make the most at home is just a beautiful, simple roasted chicken. We get a great organic chicken, we put some sliced lemons and fresh bay leaves under the skin, brush it with some olive oil, salt and pepper, throw it in the oven and, you know, in 45 minutes you have dinner.

You mentioned your wife, Liz, and I know that you two have had a really interesting ride, professionally and personally. Tell me what that's like collaborating with your wife, how that came about and how it's grown.

I met my wife in the restaurant business in 1989. I was a cook and she managed the front of the house of the restaurant. We instantly gelled and became friends … we didn't date until three years after we met. You know, it's just been fantastic to open a business with someone that you love, and to wake up in the morning and go to work with your wife and spend that time together, and then eventually to have successful businesses that you built with the person that you love is just a magical thing.

I know that you and Liz are about to open two restaurants in your hometown of Cleveland that are devoted to the humble hamburger. Do you have any advice for us weekend grillers for making the juiciest, yummiest hamburger?

Oh, absolutely. You should never buy lean ground meat, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. Make sure you have minimally 20 percent fat in your grind—I actually put 25 percent fat in mine. As you grill the burger, the fat actually comes out of the burger, but it bastes the meat and it's where all the flavor comes from.

One last question—what's the last meal you personally would want before the firing squad puts on the blindfold?

I've actually thought about this—not that I feel I'm going to die soon, but it's a conversation that chefs have a lot. To start out, I'd have Bobby Flay make me a shrimp tamale and a margarita, and then I would head over to Vetri in Philadelphia and have him make me his risotto and truffle-filled ravioli. Then I would go to Barbuto in New York to see Jonathan Waxman and have his roasted chicken with frites and salsa verde, and then I go to Publican in Chicago and have Paul Kahan make me his grilled ham chop baked in hay.

Baked in hay? Like horses eat hay?


Get Michael's recipe for Grilled T-bone Lamb Chops with Fava Bean and Feta Salad!

What would you want to be the last thing you ever eat? Chime in!

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