Chef in the Box

February 20, 2008

You’ve got to be among the more gullible of viewers if you think there’s much measurable “reality” in “reality TV”, and Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” has always been among the more obviously pre-rigged.

For a taste of just how staged it is, take a look at Robert Sietsema’s article Iron Chef Boyardee from the Village Voice:

“Like a lightbulb coming on over our heads, we realized that the chefs had known the identity of the main ingredient all along, just as they had known ahead of time which Iron Chef would be paired with the challenger. How else to explain the utter nonchalance displayed by the sous chefs, who fetched ingredients and blended them; toasted, fried, and roasted them; then plated them like they were enjoying a relaxing holiday in the country.”

Not exactly divine revelation here — most of the “secrets” are things that anyone who’s seen the show more than once or twice had to guess were the case (even if you hadn’t seen the Amateur Gourmet article from a couple of years ago) but Sietsema does a credibly entertaining job of setting the record straight.

Not that I care — I’ll still tune in to watch, unless Cat Cora or Bobby Flay (a pox on both their houses) are on. Food porn is food porn, and Morimoto, Batali and Simon are fun to watch.

It does make me wish that more of Alton Brown’s commentary made it to air — it sounds like he was (not surprisingly) among the more entertaining elements of the experience.

Edit — more great commentary on the article at Metafilter

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