Whether he's barbecuing on the patio of his fabulous Manhattan apartment on Boy Meets Grill or condescending to the unwashed masses on FoodNation, Bobby Flay pisses me off. I've seen FoodNation only once, because he treated the regular people on the show with such disdain and disinterest that it pissed me off. I watch Food Network to unwind. I don't want to get worked up because a rich jackass on tv is rolling his eyes at an old man's recipe for ribs. He's arrogant and obnoxious and mean, much like another reality tv redhead:
I won't speculate on what other similarities Flay may share with Bonaduce, but I do know that Flay is on his third marriage, with Law & Order star Stephanie March. Veiled Conceit eviscerated their New York Times wedding announcement this spring. Can you imagine if your daughter married this guy?
My dislike for Bobby Flay was always at a low simmer until I recently learned of his infamous Iron Chef incidents, which are succinctly summed up here:
Flay honed this type of social brutality during his storied appearances on "Iron Chef." At the end of his first battle against Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, a smack-talking, posturing Flay jumped triumphantly onto the counter. Standing on his cuttingboard and doing that dorky "raise the roof" hand gesture, Flay lead the crowd in chanting "U.S.A! U.S.A!" All of this, but primarily the standing on the cutting board part, grievously offended Morimoto and the rest of the Japanese contingent.
Hilariously, Flay lost the battle, and afterwards took every opportunity to complain to the press that it was unfair, that his equipment was inferior to his challenger's and that the odds were stacked against him. A year later, he was afforded a rematch, which he ended up winning. As the final buzzer sounded, Flay jumped up and stood on the counter once again. In typically obnoxious fashion, he pointed out that this time he wasn't standing on the cutting board cause he didn't want to offend anybody. "He's so American!" the young Japanese actress on the panel of judges tittered nervously. Morimoto just shook his head in disbelief.
I mean, what do you say about a guy who would do something that obnoxious and then would be clueless enough to think that the only offensive part was that he stood on the cutting board? Allissa Rowinksy's essay articulates all the bad vibes I've ever gotten from Bobby Flay over the years. Check it out.
As far as his food goes, I have no beef with Bobby Flay. His food always looks pretty good, although I find his overuse of mango to be suspicious. But it's barbecue: it always looks good! It is sort of amusing that the most arrogant person on the Food Network has made a name for himself doing exactly what the rest of America does on a Sunday afternoon. This guy says it best:
Arrogant? Why would he have the need to be arrogant? Dude, you f***ing barbeque. My dad barbeques. My mom, the gourmet, won’t go near the grill. How can you be an arrogant asshole about barbequing?
In his defense, Flay may not be a total tool. Flay has a feature on his site called Ask Bobby. I don't know if he is the one really responding to these people's questions, but the answers don't seem too bad. I guess I was expecting him to be openly hostile like he is on television.
Actually, I don't care what he's like in real life, because on tv he makes my blood boil. If you come across as a smug jerk on television, then maybe tv isn't for you. But it's not really his fault: I'd be smug too if I had conned Food Network into giving me four shows.
If the Food Network insists on having a BBQ man, then I suggest Rob Rainford of Food Network Canada. I haven't seen him in action, but the CBC carried an adoring piece about his style of cooking show and, really, he couldn't be any worse than Bobby Flay.