by Eddie Morin | March 29, 2017 3:21 am
I don’t remember much from when I was in high school, but one thing does stand out. The Iron Chef New York Special in 2000 is that thing. You see, the popularity of Food Network’s Iron Chef was sweeping the nation. Hardly a day went by that someone didn’t mention the program at school. Humans (especially high school boys) couldn’t get enough of it. So to celebrate its success, the powers that be decided to pit Japan (the originators of Iron Chef) against America (not real Iron Chefs). They aired this special on March 28, 2000. Kings were made and lives were destroyed. Let’s get to it.
The challenger chosen to be the face of the American Iron Chefs was Bobby Flay. He had clawed his way to the upper echelon of the food industry by what I can only assume were nefarious deeds. Bribing critics, back alley deals, and stepping on anyone to get to the top. At the time, he was owner and chef of Mesa Grill in New York. What a dumb name. Oh, well. He specialized in Neo-American cuisine which is a clever way to say fusion for fatties. Sure, Flay can cook, but he is also a turd. Kind of like when people say stuff like, “Did you know that Hitler was actually a pretty good painter?” Oh yeah? You can shut it.
Gordon Elliot announces the start of the competition by first making fun of Japanese culture, and then by botching the pronunciation of Chairman Kaga’s name. We’re off to a great start. Kaga enters Kitchen Stadium like a God among men, while his worshippers toss yellow bell peppers to the audience. It’s quite regal. Damn, I love Takashi Kaga. The Iron Chefs are then summoned: Rokusaburo Michiba (Honorary Iron Chef Japanese), Masahiko Kobe (Iron Chef Italian), Hiroyuki Sakai (Iron Chef French) and Masaharu Morimoto (Iron Chef Japanese). These men stand proud and dignified as the challenger Bobby Flay is announced. Flay then enters kitchen stadium screaming, mouth agape and pumping his arms in the air in the “raise the roof” gesture. More on that later. It has already been decided that Flay will challenge Iron Chef Morimoto.
The theme ingredient is lowered down in a mirrored ball… it’s ROCK CRAB! Chairman Kaga signals to begin, the gong is struck, and the competitors scramble to collect their rock crab. Right into the boiling pots with them. From here on out, things move quickly. The crowd begins chanting Iron Chef Morimoto’s name. He is grinding away at crab meat, while Bobby has a couple of blenders going with sauces being prepared. This is too hard to narrate what is going on. Just watch the episode, it’s free on Food Network’s site (episode 802). The purpose of this article isn’t to give a play by play of the cooking. The focus of this article is to besmirch Bobby Flay’s name. At one point, the television staff puts the microphone in front of Bobby Flay’s mom. She is super bad on camera and has nothing interesting to say. Next, they show Bobby’s girlfriend who must be a disgusting person to date, such an arrogant bozo. She doesn’t have much to say either. No surprise from a morally-devoid Satanist, I suppose. Then the microphone moves to Mr. Michiba who says Flay is making a tomato and bell pepper sauce, which he is good at, while Morimoto is making intricate, impressive, Japanese dishes.
At this point, the commentators mention that Bobby Flay welcomed the Japanese quests by saying, “Welcome to New York. You will take back many memories of my victory in this battle.” They then comment on how cocky Flay is. Right after that, Flay touches a heater and claims to have been electrically shocked. Even if it did happen (I have my doubts), he plays it up like an injured soccer player. All this time, Morimoto is doing just fine. No theatrics from his side.
The cooking continues, as the chefs’ finish up their dishes. The final touches are applied and the commentators begin to identify what the judges will actually be eating. The crowd rises to their feet for the last few minutes and the time is called! What I’m about to report on next is shocking and extremely disrespectful. Steel yourself, and hug your loved ones. At the final second, Bobby Flay jumps up on the countertop, stepping directly on the cutting board, and once again, “raises the roof.” In fact, he literally says, “Raise the roof, yo!” Excuse me, while I pick my jaw up off the floor. Dirty shoes on the cook surface? Outdated, even for the time, gestures? He then complains to the interviewer that he cut himself and was getting electrocuted every three minutes, but was still able to “rock the house.” What a disgrace. In fact, Iron Chef immediately dismisses Flay as a chef for his actions. He was appalled at Flay’s standing on the cutting board. Cutting boards and knives are sacred to a chef, and for Flay to defile one of them means he is no longer a chef in the eyes of Morimoto. This takes us to the judging.
Iron Chef Morimoto’s dishes are crab brain dip, crab rice in sour soup, crab hour d’oeuvres (two flavors), rock crabs grilled in seaweed, and Japanese crab salad. Bobby Flay’s dishes are crab and scallops in coriander sauce, rock crab salad, ethnic crab cake, and spicy saffron soup. The judging begins and they immediately love Morimoto’s first dish. They all continue to enjoy his dishes as they progress. Really, nothing negative at all is mentioned about Morimoto’s food. The judges then move on to Flay’s dishes. They don’t say anything negative about Bobby’s food either. What kind of judges are these?!?
So who’s cuisine reigns supreme? Iron Chef Morimoto! Thank goodness. The final score is 76 to 68. Morimoto announces that he tried his best, and that he got lucky. Even in victory, he remains humble.
Well that’s it then, right? Morimoto becomes a hero with his face on Japanese currency? Bobby Flay is shamed by his behavior and quits cooking altogether? He dies a penniless failure? Think again, mothertrucker. Bobby Flay feels like he was treated unfairly and whines and whines until Chairman Kaga agrees to a rematch. Noooooo! Bobby lost fair and square, I say. And his deplorable behavior hardly merits a rematch. But there is a rematch anyway. This time it takes place in Japan on January 2, 2001.
This time around, the battle takes place in Japan. If Bobby Flay wants a rematch, he better drag his ass halfway around the world. The competition is once again aired as a special, rather than placing it among the more standard episodes. Chairman Kaga calls it the 21st Century Battle, and they really play up the fact that it is now the year 2001. I think they should have called it, “Bobby Flay Demanded a Rematch and Won’t Shut Up About Being Electrocuted, so Here We Are Battle,” but nobody asked me.
The battle begins by showing Bobby’s horrific entrance from the first match. Yeah, the one where he screams and raises the roof. Super embarrassing. His defiling of the cutting board is also touched upon. So far, Flay is already looking like a real ass. To top it off, Chairman Kaga addresses the fact that Bobby has gone to multiple media sources to complain about his treatment in the first match and the fact the he got shocked. Will this guy ever stop complaining?
Bobby Flay is brought out, of course, raising the roof once again. He talks to Kaga, then Iron Chef Morimoto is introduced. He looks determined and serious. Kaga now reveals the theme ingredient of the battle… $10,000 worth of JAPANESE LOBSTER! Both chefs don’t seem fazed by this. The crowd goes crazy as Morimoto and Flay gather up lobsters. As they cook, the commentators mention that while Morimoto has taken the high road, and wished Flay a good, fun match, Bobby is still bitter and angry and is still saying he was treated unfairly a year ago.
Well, as before, I’m not going to give a step by step recount of the match. I’ll highlight a few cool parts though. Morimoto dunks a few live lobsters in a big barrel of sake. There is a huge sumo wrestler as one of the judges. Bobby is using corn again, no surprise there. Morimoto has decided to challenge himself by not using a single drop of soy sauce. Flay has one of his assistants prepare a pomegranate. Bobby’s girlfriend is present again. The flame goes out on Bobby Flay’s grill and he says “You’re doing this to me again!” The commentators notice that he is getting more and more irritable as time goes on. Morimoto makes sushi.
As the timer counts down to zero, Bobby Flay does the unthinkable. He picks up the cutting board, and throws it on the floor! He then climbs onto the work surface with his hands in the air again. What a disrespectful dude! And we wonder why other cultures hate Americans. Morimoto shakes his head in disgust.
Up first for judging is Flay who has prepared five dishes. These are spicy marinated lobster, lobster and fruit salad, boiled lobster tamale, butterflied lobster, and surf & turf (lobster and Kobe beef). Everything is well received except for the boiled lobster tamale. The more traditional of the judges thinks it is too floury. For some reason, the program completely skips over presenting the lobster and fruit salad. I can only assume that it was too horrible to even present. A judge probably puked.
Morimoto’s four dishes are presented next to the judges. He has offered grilled drunken lobster, New Year’s appetizer (caviar, truffles, and lobster), fried sushi rolls, and bouillabaisse shabu-shabu. The judges go absolutely bonkers over the grilled drunken lobster they love it so much. They can’t get enough. While every other dish served by Flay and Morimoto was picked apart and eaten daintily, these guys were sucked down in huge mouthfuls. The fried sushi rolls are also highly praised. The huge sumo guy even cleaned his plate! This has got to be in the bag for Morimoto. While the judges definitely enjoyed Flay’s food, they were gaga over Morimoto’s. Whelp, time to go home. Flay loses again…
WHAT!?! They give the victory to Bobby Flay. What kind of crap is this? I saw the judge’s reactions. There is no way they liked Flay’s food better. The only way I’m buying Flay’s triumph is that Chairman Kaga was so hurt by Flay’s constant slandering and whining that he simply gave him the win. Kaga is no dummy though. Surely he is only biding his time, erasing the motive, and distancing himself before his assassins take care of Bobby for good. Your days are numbered, Flay!
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