In the days post-Iron Chef v1, there are so many suitable players to be Iron Chefs in the Tokyo area alone, but who knows who they will select. Traditional Italian was getting big in 90's so it featured later in the show, old-fashioned French was already there, but nowadays, 15 years later, there's all that neo-French-Japanese out there with tons of good chefs in that category and they just call them 'French' for now. Spanish food is really hot in Tokyo for the past few years but it's mostly bar food. Separately, there's a number of el Bulli and Sant Pau alums cooking in Tokyo but high-end Spanish isn't a big enough category here to make an Iron Chef Spanish.
A lot of the original Iron Chefs were second fiddle types (like Morimoto) or just owners of small restaurants and continued to be so after the show. Chen Kenichi's dad was a famous chef a long time ago, invented some Japan-ified Chinese food back in the 50's and 60's, might've been a TV chef a long time ago too.
They haven't announced any of the players yet. The Chairman still appears on TV as an actor, looks mostly the same. The Iron Chefs are all getting pretty old. Sakai keeps dying his hair and moustache but he's probably over 70 now and appears on TV once in awhile still, and the Japanese chef is ancient and probably retired. They used to have a signature canned food brand of his at convenience stores but that's off the shelves now I think. Chen Kenichi appears in random ads for things like Toyota minivans and stuff. The Italian chef doesn't get much play.
Sakai was awesome. I'd watch an undubbed episode even if they brought him back.
Two others, as well. Smaller, but one had a lot of bugs, so I left it. The color of the caps blends in with the leaves, which makes them hard to spot. Didn't have a knife, so I just plucked it. This one is in perfect shape, and the aroma is incredible.
Lots of hedgehog, black trumpet and I think I found bluefoot and maybe one matsutake, but I'm not certain.
i remember back in the early 1980s when i was living in new mexico, i hooked up with an old guy who foraged mushrooms. he was a painter who had come out for the taos colony and stayed on (he ran a silk-screening business) but his real passion was mushrooms ... actually, he'd had a couple varieties named after him. The first time we went out, he took me to this spot that was probably smaller than my house is right now and we picked enough porcini to fill the trunk of my car. at that time, you couldn't find even dried porcini. mind blown. there was a cautionary note attached to this however: what do you do with all of those mushrooms? dry them, of course. so i borrowed the neighbor's food dehydrator, spent a couple hours slicing up all the mushrooms and arranging them on trays, and set them to dry overnight. the next morning, we awoke to the penetrating aroma of mold everywhere. we had to take all of our clothes to the dry cleaner and clean the drapes as well. mushrooms should be dried OUT OF DOORS! i still think about all those porcini, though.
I wish I could find them in those quantities. Maybe it is still early in the season, but I spent 3+ hours and found only 3. This was my second time I went out deliberately looking for mushrooms. I'll know what to look for next time.