|"The 30% Iron Chef"|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|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)|
Bender aspires to be a cook for the Planet Express crew, but the meals he produces are awful. One day, Bender overhears the crew complaining about one of his meals and is overcome by feelings of worthlessness and self-pity.
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. Zoidberg is riddled with guilt.
After running away, Bender asks Elzar to teach him how to cook, but Elzar refuses. Bender then becomes a hobo and travels to the "biggest hobo joint in the universe". There he meets Helmut Spargel, a legendary cook who lost his TV show when a young, upcoming Elzar replaced him. Spargel trains Bender how to cook in order to get revenge on Elzar. As a final test, Spargel challenges Bender to cook an edible meal. Spargel tries 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: 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 the TV show "Iron Cook". The main ingredient used in this cook-off is Soylent Green. Bender prepares terrible looking food, but applies the liquid that Spargel gave him and wins. As the loser, Elzar is forced to wash the dishes.
During the contest, Fry is unable to pay for a commemorative turkey baster, having given the Professor his last $10. Zoidberg's guilt becomes unbearable, and he publicly apologizes for framing Fry 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 is ordinary water laced with trace amounts of LSD. Fry says that all Spargel gave him was confidence. 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.