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Iron Chef America (Part 1)


bpearis
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I agree with Steingarten, it would be difficult to decide whether something is excellent if one does not like it, yet the quality of the ingredients and skill in handling said ingredients, familiar or not, by the chef should be obvious to the taster, regardless of personal preference. Just because someone doesn't like Picasso, does that mean one doesn't recognize the genius of his paintings? One more thing...how can anyone who claims to know anything about food be so unaware as to not realize that any flesh, and in particular lean meat, like buffalo, is more likely to turn to shoe leather if overdone? He complained and it was cooked to pink red perfection. Let him have jerky next time!

Flay was his usual strutting peacock self. I cannot believe he even found in Bayless's calm a cause for minor irritation. I wasn't really too impressed by his food either: a "chuckwagon breakfeast revisited", a modified "chile relleno" a "faux Mediterrenean" and a "semi Asian dish" don't really strike me as mouthgasmic dishes. Isn't that what a chef should really aim for? To make the taster quiver and tremble with delight, to sigh not only with anticipation but also with satisfaction?

tu autem servasti bonum vinum usque adhuc

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And Bayless was totally robbed.  :angry:

i think so too. damn the rules of TV & IC (personally i don't think flay deserves to be IC but that's tv for ya). most of flay's food looked heavy and unfocused, esp. when they judges dug in. bayless' food made me salivate and very, very hungry (luckily, husband came home with a couple of tarts from Balthazar. highly recommend the hazelnut and caramel one. but i digress)

what i found rahter interesting and suspect was that they cut steingarten's comments on 2 of flay's dishes. there was one positive and one negative and 2 dishes w/o a word from steingarten who's one of the most opinionated ppl on the subject of food??? instead they had the other two judges go on and on about the presentation as they didn't have much to say about flavors, it seemed. i was disappointed by the Zagat guy, he didn't really have that much to say about the food and kept talking about the presentation. maybe it was the editing (those were the most interesting sound bites then? hmmm) or maybe he was just nervous and shy. at any rate, i expected more. since i can't taste the food, i'd like to hear about the taste - i can see the presentation on the screen, thank you very much

on the subject of editing - does anyone think that there were more negative comments aired about flay's food to make viewers think Bayless was going to win and then throw the surprise final verdict or did they just use what they had? i mean, based on the judges' comments flay should have lost - the cowboy breakfast was too salty and the buffalo overdone (ahem, that would be the main ingredient and challenge), the steak was tough, etc. is the IC supposed to have to DEFEND his food in front of the judges - "buffalo has so little fat it's hard," blah blah...??? you are the chef, right? the Iron Chef, master and all ah, forget it :wacko:

i think flay shoud only be allowed on Wickedly Perfect as far as tv shows go

Alcohol is a misunderstood vitamin.

P.G. Wodehouse

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Hey, how about some questions for these guys folks...If you have production questions, they are for Bruce...otherwise send me stuff to ask Bobby.

I'd be curious to know a couple of things from Bobby:

Considering that he has some new restaurants opening and more than one show going on, how does he find time to do ICA? How much of his time does it take up? Does he worry that he could be taking on too much to the detriment of the food? (I know my opinion on what the answer is, but I'd be interested in his).

Also, concerning ICA, is there a chef he's dying to challenge?

Even if you aren't interested in using my questions, I'm delighted that you're doing this. I can't wait to read it!

Edited to account for my own grammatical stupidity.

Edited by Elizabeth Clauser (log)
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Thought I would let you guys know, I have gotten Flay, Batali and Producer Bruce Siedel to agree to answer a few ? each week from the readers of my newspaper column. I know you guys dont live in the same place as I but thats the best part of the "net". You can read the column online at www.dailybreeze.com (Rave section) and e mail me from the link there, I will try to get any eG ? answered. 

Chris

Thanks for a reminder of the daily breeze. I grew up in Santa Monica and I remember that paper well. Can you let us know when the issue is posted? Thanks again.

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Hey, how about some questions for these guys folks...If you have production questions, they are for Bruce...otherwise send me stuff to ask Bobby.

I really do wonder if the Chairman wears shoes in the Stadium?

SB (unless he had a stunt double for the opening shots?)

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Hey, how about some questions for these guys folks...If you have production questions, they are for Bruce...otherwise send me stuff to ask Bobby.

I would love to know if Bobby enjoys cooking more than the celebrity. Is it about the glitz or the food?

"Instead of orange juice, I'm going to use the juice from the inside of the orange."- The Brilliant Sandra Lee

http://www.matthewnehrlingmba.com

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I would love to know Chef Mario Batali's absolute favorite ingredient.

Would like to know how much the typical food budget is per show.

Would like to know what Chef Bobby Flay thinks of the modern Native American foods movement out in AZ.

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Thought I would let you guys know, I have gotten Flay, Batali and Producer Bruce Siedel to agree to answer a few ? each week from the readers of my newspaper column. I know you guys dont live in the same place as I but thats the best part of the "net". You can read the column online at www.dailybreeze.com (Rave section) and e mail me from the link there, I will try to get any eG ? answered. 

Not so much a question, but more of a suggestion for Producer Bruce Siedel.

Two challengers that he should try to get on the show are:

1) Ron Siegel, the only American chef to ever win as a challenger in the original Iron Chef series. (Bobby Flay won in a special show a year or three after the original show went off the air.) Chef Siegel apparently works at the San Francisco Ritz-Carlton at the present time, but has worked at Nob Hill and Masa's.

2) Bill Hufnagle, aka Biker Billy. What could be more American than a Harley-ridin' barbecuer? I'd pay good money to see Biker Billy compete against Morimoto.

* AB drinks one of those "Guiness Pub Draught" beers, with the nitrogen cannister in the bottom of the can.

* AB wonders what Budweiser would taste like with one of those...

<AB> . o O (Like shit, still, I should think.)

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I had a great time watching the first episode. It had enough camp to be entertaining but enough cooking quality to be enlightening.

A couple of questions/comments:

- During the "behind the scenes" special, I thought they said the Iron Chefs were Bobby Flay, Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck but during episode one, I got the impression it is Masaharu Morimoto instead of Puck. If that is correct, what happened to Puck?

- When Julie Chen was using chopsticks.....did I notice the new Chairman using them as well?

- Jeffery Steingarten made a comment that seemed to put down the other judges. I can't remember what it was. Did anyone else catch that?

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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I have a techinical question -- how many cameras are used to shoot the show? How much tape do they have to edit it down into the one hour show?

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I've always wondered how the timing of the service of the food to the judges works. Whoever's food is served second will have been sitting around for quite awhile. Do they reheat the food or hold it under a heat lamp, or what? Especially if it's something fried, it's really going to suffer.

Chris Sadler

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A couple of questions/comments:

- During the "behind the scenes" special, I thought they said the Iron Chefs were Bobby Flay, Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck but during episode one, I got the impression it is Masaharu Morimoto instead of Puck. If that is correct, what happened to Puck?

- When Julie Chen was using chopsticks.....did I notice the new Chairman using them as well?

- Jeffery Steingarten made a comment that seemed to put down the other judges. I can't remember what it was. Did anyone else catch that?

I think the behind the scenes special was done for the original set of ICAs last year, when Puck was the third Iron Chef. Maybe he just wasn't interested in returning?

Yes, both the Chairman and the Airhead were using chopsticks for at least part of their tasting.

Steingarten is amazingly frank with his comments. I'd love to hear what they edited out! He sort of put down the other judges by commenting that they never had anything bad to say about the food. He does seem to be the only honest one.

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the problem with iron chef america is the same problem one finds in the american wine community. when it comes to gastronomy, americans have a certain insecurity that they wallpaper over using either verbosity (see Robert Parker a la the recent New Yorker profile) or vulgar aggressiveness (see Bobby Flay). only mario batali seems to have enough chops and confidence to seem both serious and sedate on this show. i miss sakai from the original japanese episodes but batali eases the pain.

Barbarian at the Plate

Your Gourmet with an Attitude

http://www.barbarianattheplate.com

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- Jeffery Steingarten made a comment that seemed to put down the other judges. I can't remember what it was. Did anyone else catch that?

He did, but it wasn't about the judges he was with on that show. I don't remember the comment exactly, but the jist of it was (and here's the back ground as well): In the original ICA shows, the celebrity judges were mostly interested in sucking up to the celebrity chefs. In Flay vs. Bayless battle, the judges made comments about things they didn't like regarding the food. Steingarten's comment was essentially that he thought he previous judges were trying to get the chef to like them, rather than commenting on the food. It was a good editorial touch to include that comment, because I was thinking the same thing as well.

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Come on, raise your hand if you want to see Tony Bourdain vs. Flay.

Celeb boxing followed by cooking!

I would love to see Tony against Flay. He would also tell the judges what to actually look for instead of letting them say, "It wasn't spicy enough for me." Tony would then reply, put some pepper on it then, you big hunk of steaming crap." Man, that would be great !

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I thought Flay's plates looked horrible, far too much going on. Bayless' plates on the other hand were elegant and simple.

Anyone agree?

Oh, and I would like to see Tony vs Emeril, but then again I think it's a no brainer... :wink:

"You like Thai?"

"Yea, you like shirt?" -Trent Steele & Max Power (From The Simpsons Episode No. 216)

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So glad to see that I'm not the only one who thinks Bobby Flay is a shoemaker and an egomaniac. The chefs in his restaurants must dread the thought of him even being in the kitchen with them. So far I've seen him almost electrocute himself, cut his finger, struggle to make a Waring blender work(and without a lid), blame his staff for his own poor instructions (the chutney and the chops being too big)--which, BTW I still don't understand why his sous chef was butchering the theme ingredient while Mister Flay(sic) was cutting onions and garlic. Not to mention the "Mister Bayless" gaff! Also I'd love to know why he was walking across the kitchen with a flaming pan of bourbon( I can't imagine any reason why he would have needed to flame it anyway--the alcohol would have burned off in the sauce without the flames). I'd have slapped him in the mouth just on general principles for taking my life in his hands that way. I digress...

On a different note I do think the judges so far have been pretty bad. This could point to a fault in the American palette(the Extra sauce and Supersize it mentality) And what happened to discussion of how closely the chefs hi-lighted the theme ingredient? Certainly if this was a criterion for judging(as I believe it was in the original show), Chef Bayless' cuisine would have reigned supreme.

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Without meaning to denigrate the talents of the Iron Chefs chosen, I'd suggest they were chosen for their TV audience appeal as much as, or more than anything else. That they're available and willing to "star" on such a show is undoubtedly yet another factor. Again, no offense meant, but surely one might wonder where Keller, Vongerichten, Boulud, Ripert and a few others might actually fall in the hierarchy of American chefs.

Re: your comments on Ripert, Boulud, Keller et al. It seems to me that there must be some sort of Inverse Law of Food Celebrity whereby:

(Cooking Ability/Amount of FoodTV Airtime) x (EyeMakeup Squared over the Square Root of Foreign Accent) and the hypotenuse of RealChef Credibility plus Actually Breaking a Sweat Over a Stove = Actual Great Food Produced

Your math is actually very good - I would add Rocco Disprito (sic) - going from one the most promising young chefs to becoming this really terrible sad media hungry sap.

As for ICA - I missed the ending and I am absolutely f-ing floored that Flay won - the lack of justice makes me cringe. As for the ewok vs tony - it would be fun fireworks but let's not kid ourselves about the cooking wattage that would be on display - dim.

But I am glad that some of the camp was lowered and the cooking seemed relatively serious. The thing that will be missed will be the semi-porno comments that the actress judges seem to spout on ICJ "the texture felt so good in my mouth... melting on my tongue...."

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