|"The 30% Iron Chef"|
|Episode no.||Season three
|Directed by||Ron Hughart|
|Written by||Jeff Westbrook|
|Original air date||April 14, 2002|
|Opening caption||"If Accidentally Watched, Induce Vomiting"|
|Opening cartoon||"Toys Will Be Toys" by Fleischer and Famous Studios (1949)|
"The 30% Iron Chef" is the 22nd episode in season three of Futurama. It originally aired on April 14, 2002.
Bender aspires to be a cook for the Planet Express crew, but the meals he produces are awful. One day he cooks brunch for the crew but uses disgusting ingredients: a pony for Amy and at least two containers of salt in each meal (which, according to Bender, is 10% less than the lethal dose). Bender accidentally overhears Fry complaining about the meal and after the whole crew agrees with him Bender starts to cry and runs away, dropping his drinks (which have mop water in them), making an acidic hole in the floor.
Meanwhile, Zoidberg destroys the scale replica of the universe's largest bottle that Professor Farnsworth has just made. He frames Fry for the damage and the Professor demands that Fry pay $10 for the material cost. Fry repays him with ease, not having the wherewithal to defend himself. Because Zoidberg is so poor, he sees $10 as a huge sum of money and is riddled with guilt.
After running away, Bender asks Elzar to teach him how to cook, but Elzar refuses. Bender then finds two hobos who take him with them on the spacerails. Bender and the hobos end up in the biggest hobo joint in the universe ("not Eugene, Oregon" according to Bender). There, Bender meets Helmut Spargel, a legendary cook who lost his TV show when a young, upcoming Elzar replaced him. Spargel (meaning asparagus in German) begins to train Bender how to cook in order to get revenge on Elzar.
Once Bender is finished with his training, Spargel gives Bender the final test: whether he can cook an edible meal for Spargel. Spargel eats the food and tells Bender that it is "acceptable". As a result of eating the food, his stomach explodes, and he dies. With his dying breath, Spargel reveals the secret to perfect cooking and gives him a vial of unknown liquid ("the essence of pure flavour") to use whenever he needs to spice up a food.
Bender challenges Elzar to a cook-off on Iron Cook (a parody of the show Iron Chef). The main ingredient used in this cook-off is Soylent Green. Bender prepares terrible looking food, but he applies the liquid that Spargel gave him and somehow wins. As Elzar scrubs dishes, Bender declines the title of Iron Cook and takes the lesser title of Zinc Saucier, which he made up at that moment, stating that it also comes with double prize money.
During the contest, Fry is unable to pay for a commemorative turkey baster, having given the Professor his last $10. Zoidberg becomes remorseful for framing Fry, and publicly apologizes before trying to commit seppuku using the Chairman's ceremonial Wakizashi. Instead, his hard shell damages the $5000 sword, and before running away, he falsely says it was Fry who did it.
When the Professor examines the liquid in the bottle Spargel gave Bender, it turns out the liquid was ordinary water. Fry says that all Spargel gave him was confidence, the confidence to beat Elzar — then the Professor adds that the water was laced with LSD. The episode closes with Bender proposing a meal for his co-workers. The characters are unsure, but when Bender adds that the meal will include plenty of "confidence", they joyfully accept.