In case you don’t know this about me, I’m an avid fan of the Food Network. I have at least half a dozen shows on my Tivo Season Pass and I remember watching it for 6-8 hours whenever I’d stay home sick from school. I accredit half my cooking prowess to the absorption of ideas from that network. Even though as a geek I’m required to like Alton Brown more than any other food network star, today I want to talk about my #2 &emdash; Iron Chef Bobby Flay.He was one of the few personalities on the channel that seemed like he actually knew what he was doing. My first favorite show on Food Network was Boy Meets Grill. I loved the other show he had, the one with the female co-host that he’d harass the entire episode. I was ecstatic when he became an iron chef and I think Throwdown is a great concept even though I’ve missed most of the episodes.
I’ve worked in a few restaurants and known quite a few chefs and I can say with conviction: chefs are all assholes. That’s what makes Bobby Flay so believable, he’s just the right amount of arrogant prick. He’s the guy that you hated in college because he always got the girls. Just like that guy, he seems to have a very vocal group of haters.
Several sites on the net feature anti-Flay sentiments. Whatever. Much of the distaste seems to stem from an incident on the original Iron Chef where Bobby Flay jumped onto his cutting board in celebration. Let me elaborate on that incident.
A year or so later Flay was back on Iron Chef. The host asked him how he felt after offending Morimoto on his last visit considering the cutting board being sacred to the Japanese chef and if he planned on doing it again. Flay said “I don’t know”. At the end of this battle, he grabbed the cutting board, threw it toward the camera and crowd, and jumped up onto the bare counter to perform his now signature celebration. When interviewed after the stunt he said “..didn’t want to offen Morimoto, so we got rid of the cutting board.” Now that’s respect I can get behind.
I don’t know if it was right or wrong and it was definitely insensitive. Here’s what I say to all the people that were so offended: get over it. He’s a damn good chef and if he wants to jump on the counter, let him. It’s not hurting anyone. Before we start the pyre, let’s look at Morimoto’s reaction. When asked what he thought of the new stunt, he did say that it was still an insult, that a chef should not behave in that way. He also said, when asked what he thought of Flay personally, “Oh I like him a lot.”. Maybe he was just being polite, but I think this was probably true. That makes Morimoto a bigger man than these whiny turds on the Internet. Humility is all well and good, but there is an undeniable attraction to the American Asshole and Bobby Flay is a great example of that persona. If I had to pick a food network star to hang out with… it’d be Rachel Ray, but if it had to be a dude, it’d be Bobby Flay.