Thursday, November 15, 2007

Michael Symon Iron Chef Conspiracy Theories

So by now many of you must know that Michael Symon won the competition on the show The Next Iron Chef. I have only seen clips of the show online and watched as people posted information on Wikipedia and what not, but I had some incite previously to the show prior to parts of it airing and I have to say that then and now I was not all that surprised by the outcome. I also have to say I am not all that pleased by the way the show seemed to progress.

Michael Symon is a great chef and I don't really think anyone can argue against that fact. I am actually looking forward to going to one of his restaurants in Cleveland, OH when I go out to Akron to compete with the ACF next year. I do however find a bit of irony in the show, just as I do with many chef oriented shows these days (see Kitchen Nightmares). One must think about what Symon's background is and what got him his "chance" on Next Iron Chef. For those of you that watch the Food Network on a regular basis, you may recall that Symon had his own show on the channel at one point that eventually went off the air. It actually was quite a good show and as with all good shows on the Food Network, the demise comes quickly, but I find irony in the fact that he was already a Food Network initiate.

My second notion was where the first episodes were taped and the final three who were in the competition. All three of them were graduates of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Now one might say, "well of course they were, the CIA puts out some of the top chefs." How much money did the CIA invest into the Food Network though, would it have been bad for advertisement and business to not have all three of them be grads? Would it help get more advertising dollars from the CIA by getting these three to the top. What great advertising for the school in general, to have the show tapped there and then to have a CIA grad win (whether or not Symon was the best choice)

Finally, isn't it ironic that Michael Symon was a big part of the book Soul of a Chef? For those who have never read Soul of a Chef, it is a great book, but it was also written by none other than Michael Ruhlman, who just so happened to be a judge on the show. Ruhlman also happens to live in Cleveland, which is where Symon's restaurant is. Does this not play a bias into the judging? I trust Ruhlman's choice without a doubt because once you read all of his books, and then see who he has written books with (Like Thomas Keller for the French Laundry), but you just have to ask yourself about the irony again.

Maybe I am just doing the Tanner cynicism on culinary television again, but after the catastrophe that Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmare's has turned out to be and the removal of many of the best culinary shows on TV to make way for "culinary lifestyle" shows, I am suspect. I for one have not been a fan of watching all of the new Iron Chef episodes, I often find the judging suspect itself and loaded with pre-conceived bias.

On a regular basis I watch dishes made by far superior chefs that look, and surely must taste better than the Iron Chef's dishes fail. Heck, but the Iron Chef must win on a regular basis to be an Iron Chef, otherwise why are they the Iron Chef? Most of the public doesn't know the difference anyways, so what if Cat Cora makes a Moussaka out of potatoes, when the key ingredient is eggplant and an eggplant is no where to be found.

Maybe Symon will be the key to improving the show. From what I have heard, they will be replacing those awful denim chef coats in favor of a more glamorous designed coat. But a glance at the shows website on the Food Network has the "team" all wearing the same old denim coats. As I am back in New York for the next few days, I will get a chance to watch Symon in full action for his first battle as an Iron Chef and hoepfully get to see some reruns of The Next Iron Chef show (for those of you that don't know, I don't own a television, I watch all my shows and movies on my 20" screen computer otherwise I'd be in front of the TV all day.

No comments:

Free Blog CounterHandelshaus ...