I was hooked on the show when, in the first season, I watched celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck in action. My only exposure to Wolfgang Puck before this was a lot of advertising / marketing hype (I grew up in Los Angeles), television commercials for his restaurants, and of course his soup can labels. In general, I don't think too much of over publicized chef's because they have probably become more legend & myth than culinary master... until Iron Chef America. I don't remember who won or the secret ingredient, I just remember that Wolfgang can really use his knives. He was fast and efficient -- not much showmanship or flamboyancy, but you could see the experience and mastery in action.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was offered money to post a link to Iron Chef's new commercials, and I agreed for two reasons. First, I actually like the show, and, second, they offered me money. Am I selling out? I guess you can look at it that way, but I'm being selective. I won't accept money to advertise kitchen gear since I review equipment and want to make sure everyone feels that my opinions aren't being altered because I'm acting as a spokesperson. I think taking money from merchants (such as amazon.com) or television shows (like Iron Chef) and not in conflict with the impartiality of this website.
Anyway, to watch four humorous Iron Chef commercials, click on the link below.}?>