12 Questions with Mat Fraser: Coaching Mal O’Brien, Programming, Family Future and His Training Regime in Retirement

Photo Credit: CanWest Games

The Morning Chalk Up had the chance to catch up with the five-time CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser at last weekend’s CanWest Games just outside of Vancouver, BC, a three-day event with 725 competitors that Fraser and his company HWPO programmed.

What was programming a three-day event for the first time like for you, and are you happy with how it went?

Fraser: “It’s such a process. It’s a lot more involved than I expected, because it’s not just, ‘Alright, here are the tests that we want.’ It’s what equipment is available. What stages are available. How many competitors? How is it scalable?”

“Everything came out perfectly. It was so much fun. The amount of positive feedback we have been getting from the athletes has been very encouraging.”

Are you planning on getting involved programming more competitions in the CrossFit space in the future (he’s also doing September’s Madrid Championships in Spain)

Fraser: “Yeah, that’s the goal. So this one was the test run.”

In a recent interview with USA Today, you said you were very selective with who you choose to work with. Why did you choose Mall O’Brien to work with?

Fraser: “I’m glad you brought this up. Who is not selective with who they spend their time with? You’re spending eight hours a day with someone. Are you just letting anyone into your house, anyone into your door? That quote got taken very out of context and I received some tongue lashings from it, and it was pretty shocking to me how people responded to it, because in my mind it’s not just an athlete’s potential. We work with several athletes, and if I’m spending this amount of time with somebody I want to make sure we get along, (that) we enjoy each other’s company, but then also I want to make sure that the athlete’s dedicated and willing to put in the time and effort, not just in the gym but doing the right things outside of the gym.”

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‘Iron Chef’: Alton Brown on Why He Departed Food Network for Netflix

Just like “Iron Chef,” Alton Brown is synonymous with Food Network. But now, both the beloved show and the celebrity chef have moved to Netflix for a new version of the competition series that will be co-hosted by Brown.

With Netflix’s “Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend,” which premiered this week, Brown has officially departed from his long tenure at Food Network, where he was a staple for 21 years.

Brown first joined Food Network in the late ’90s, and was the host and creator of “Good Eats,” as well as the host of “Iron Chef America,” “Cutthroat Kitchen” and a slew of other series at Food Network and the Cooking Channel.

Though his exit was never formally announced, Brown’s last deal with Food Network took him through 2020, and since, he has quietly left their airwaves. In 2021, new episodes of his shows have aired — “Good Eats: The Return,” which debuted on Discovery+ in early 2021, and a special version of “Chopped” in the summer of that same year — but those were all filmed before he opted to head to Netflix for the new “Iron Chef.”

Brown tells Variety that he caught wind of Netflix rebooting “Iron Chef” a few years ago, and was immediately interested in joining the series.

“That took a little bit of convincing on a lot of different people’s parts. But I knew that the show was going to be happening, and I was sick with jealousy over the idea that I was at the wrong network at the wrong time,” Brown tells Variety. One day, my agent finally called me up after I had nagged him almost daily, and that was it. It was done. There was never a second thought for me. It meant removing myself from one network, but that was not a hard decision. Timing just worked out that I was able to extricate myself from that.”

Brown, who co-hosts the new “Iron Chef” with Kristen Kish, the TV chef known for winning the 10th season of “Top Chef,” is not the only familiar face who has reurned to Kitchen Stadium. Mark Dacascos is also back as the chairman, who introduces the secret ingredient at the top of each episode. The cast of Iron Chefs includes Curtis Stone, Marcus Samuelsson, Dominique Crenn, Gabriela Camara and Ming Tsai.

The competition series moved to Netflix after it wasn’t renewed at Food Network, where it had aired for 13 seasons. “Iron Chef” debuted on Food Network in 2005, after becoming a major phenomenon on Japanese television where the series originated with Fuji Television.

“Iron Chef” executive producer and director, Eytan Keller, shares how the show landed at Netflix, telling Variety he began his association with the series when it first launched on Food Network, which is when he met Brown, now one of his close friends.

“I actually acquired the international rights to ‘Iron Chef,’ so I was involved beyond just being on Scripps, at that time, and I

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