Saturday, November 20, 2010

Iron Chef is Super Balls

So, I'm sitting at the house, flipping through the channels when lo, and behold I stop at the cooking channel. Shocker. I'm watching some rando with a boner for seafood and tribal tats put out some plates for the purveyors of his restaurant; when, after ten minutes of way too many bamboo smokers, and an unnatural love for halibut, a commercial informing me of my next viewing choice blankets the screen. Iron Chef.... JAPAN. That's right, the real deal. Not the horrific American abomination featuring Bobby Frrray. He lost twice to those slick, Japanese, ninja chefs for the record. It was only when the good ole' US of A made their own version, that he got his "revenge".

My inner child-chef squeals in delight. I watched this show like it was my job when I was 14. My friends had posters of Cindy Crawford on their bedroom walls. I had a poster of this guy. Needless to say, I endure the remaining ten minutes of Chuck's Day Off, wherein he made a mojito that was less adult beverage and more fourth grade cafeteria fruit salad.

Iron Chef comes on, finally. The chairman is swallowing food whole, grinning maliciously, and making yellow bell peppers frightful that they're next... because they always are. He's monologuing about the culinary bad ass that's about to compete against his gang of veritable cooking yakuza. The only thing that could make the gastro-bout more fantastic is if the loser committed seppuku, and who knows, some of them probably did. It's no wonder this show caught on in America, it's completely over the top.

I was unprepared for what happened next: I was wholly uninterested. I was fighting to enjoy myself, to relive my teenage years of staying up way too late to watch Hiroyuki Sakai, the French Samurai, completely dream crush Bobby Flay, but I just couldn't do it. It probably has something to do with the fact that I went to culinary school, and am in the industry. It forces me to see through the mystique of creating five plates of insanity in an hour. I know that a good portion of their food is already prepared. I know that they have a week to plan their menus. I know that they have an army of cooks at their disposal, peeling garlic and scrubbing potatoes.

It saddens me that the show that was a childhood inspiration to make amazing food for a living has devolved to, at best, a guilty pleasure. It's like finding out Santa isn't real. I'm ecstatic at the amount I've learned about my job in such a short time, but I am nostalgic for that fourteen year old feeling. Knowledge is power, but ignorance is bliss.