Although he did not lose the episode's Chairman's Challenge, which involved butchering a whole hog, Sawyer was selected by the winner of that challenge (Chef Sarah Grueneberg) to square off against the loser (Chef Shota Nakajima) for the Secret Ingredient Showdown.
Unfortunately, bananas and plantains, the secret ingredient, were Sawyers downfall, and his banana blossom salad was not enough to win over the judges.
In his exit interview, Sawyer told the TV audience that "it was an honor to be here." And last night on Twitter, Sawyer tweeted his thoughts on bananas and host Alton Brown.
(Original Story 4/13/17): Jonathon Sawyer, one of Cleveland's most decorated chefs and restaurateurs, competes on Food Network's Iron Chef Gauntlet, airing this Easter Sunday. The last chef standing on the show has the potential to be named the next Iron Chef, and will then join Cleveland's own Iron Chef Michael Symon along with Bobby Flay and Masaharu Morimoto.
With six other contenders from all over the country, Sawyer's competition is fierce. But the Greenhouse Tavern owner, and one-time winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Great Lakes, is primed for these sorts of food showdowns: Last year he made it to the second round of Food Network's Chopped Grill Masters Napa.
For those unfamiliar with the actual hour-long Iron Chef show concept, each episode starts with a secret ingredient, which needs to be included in all five dishes the chefs create.
And Sawyer's dream secret ingredients? Artichokes or offal.
"I feel like those two things I have an extreme advantage on," he confidently told Food Network. "No. 1, I just understand offal meat probably better than anybody else — definitely better than anybody else in this competition but mostly better than anyone else in the country. Spleens and livers and gonads and lungs and everything. It's those offcuts that we really embrace, because they're affordable. Artichokes, that's just kind of therapy for me. I can turn artichokes like a bitch."
Read an entire Food Network interview with Sawyer right here.