The secret ingredient of Iron Chef is not really a secret. Before the battle, both the competitor and the Iron Chef receive a list of three to five ingredients, one of which will be the secret ingredient. For example, if lime leaf was chosen as the secret ingredient, the chef could have a lot of fun with it as it is used in many dishes. The Iron Chefs and guest chefs receive a list of four or five possible secret ingredients.
This allows producers to order the right ingredients for the chefs to prepare their dishes with the secret ingredient. However, it also makes the series a little less difficult than it appears on television. In the Iron Chef tournament, four new chefs compete to take on Iron Chef Symon or Iron Chef Morimoto. The winners of these battles then go head-to-head.
Chef Aarón Sanchez previously tied with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto in Battle Black Bass (season), and chef Marc Murphy previously lost to Iron Chef Bobby Flay in Battle Breakfast (season). Chef Judy Joo appears as Iron Chef in Iron Chef UK and was a judge in the fourth season of The Next Iron Chef, in which Iron Chef Guarnaschelli previously competed. It does not include his 16-7-1 record in the original Iron Chef during his tenure as the third Japanese Iron Chef.