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Iron Chef America
Posted to Teevee at 04:28 PM on Jan 23, 2005

Bobby Flay vs. Rick Bayless

I guess this is actually the third or fourth episode. There was previously a mini-series of matches, but this episode, it seems, is being publicized as the first of the "real" series. It is, of course, an offshoot of the tremendously popular Japanese show.

Instead of Ohta-San and Fukui-San providing the commentary, we have Alton Brown (yay!) and Kevin Brauch (ehhhhh). I'm sure Brauch is a lovely person, but he's not as well-read and articulate as Ohta was in the original series. In fact, in this episode, he murders the pronunciation of a type of chile, causing the challenger, Rick Bayless, to nearly have a heart attack.

On the other hand, we have Alton Brown. Now, I personally consider Alton a genius. Good Eats is my favorite show. I think anything with Alton in it is automatically better. Along with genius comes a certain amount of arrogance, and I, as one of his biggest fans, can admit that on occasion, Alton tiptoes over the line that separates brilliance and smugness. Here, though, Brown is almost nauseatingly humble and self-effacing.

Bayless, the challenger, is very cute and favorite uncle-ly. He is, apparently, the godfather of Mexican cuisine in the U.S., and it shows. He kicked ass. I, personally, think he deserved to win.

Bobby Flay is the Iron Chef specifically chosen by the chairman (Mark Dacascos, a B-movie actor who, for the show's purposes, is Kaga's nephew, but is actually not related to him at all) to battle Bayless. I don't know how I feel about Flay. I think his tough badass New York swagger is just an act. He's toned it down a little in recent months. Compared to his stint onHot Off the Grill, he is positively mellow now. Have you ever watched HOTG? It's painful. In the beginning, Bobby obviously didn't have much of an opinion of his co-host, Jacqui Malouf. In the later seasons, he is openly hostile toward her. I think that show is what gave many people a negative impression of him. I thin that when he doesn't have a co-host to abuse, he's quite fun to watch.

There are more professional food-type people on the panel than the original. There are two food writers, whose names escape me at the moment, and there's TV personality Julie Chen. Now, why would you invite a person who clearly does not eat onto your food game show? She is the size of a toddler. She rivals Giada DiLaurentiis in the Food Network lollipop-head sweepstakes.

This show is a good way to kill an hour, but it lacks the campy sense of humor of the original. The silly theatrics of the Japanese series are a big part of the fun and this version takes itself very, very seriously.


Hey PoP, I haven't seen the series, but I did see the 3 specials with the American chefs going against the Japanese chefs. But I couldn't shake the feeling that there was some bias amongst the judges as all the American chefs won their battle if I remember correctly. I like Bobby Flay, and I agree that he seems to have mellowed. But on HOTG, Jacqui Malouf was kind of annoying I thought. I can see why she probably began to bug the crap out of him. But I will confess to having had a crush on the little blonde girl Allison that was always in the audience of HOTG. I think BF seems to be a pretty good chef though. What really bugs me about some of today's TV chef's though is how they gush over their cooking, specifically Paula Deen, and Giada De Laurentiis. A little modesty goes a long way, you don't really see the more professional cooks like Jacques Pepin and Julia Child having an orgasm when they try their own cooking :) I like Alton too, but I wish they'd come out with some new shows, I'm tiring of the same old. I think he makes a great host for the Iron Chef show though. Cheers!
Posted by LeV at January 26, 2005 9:55 AM

I finally caught this show. Rick Bayless made some incredible looking dishes. I was really surprised he lost since a lot of the panel complained about BF's buffalo being tough. All in all though, this was a good show.
Posted by LeV at April 4, 2005 1:19 PM

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