Sunday, February 06, 2005

A Flurry of Posts Today

It's the Super Bowl! Every red-blooded Amercun' should be watching this today, and I must admit I will, because it is an important cultural artifact. Plus it's encouraging cooking in tailgating parties that becomes increasingly sophisticated, something that makes me proud. (Unfortunately, the Super Bowl also causes spikes in domestic abuse... but hey).

My first post is going to discuss Iron Chef America. Food Network decided to run the episode I've now seen easily hundreds of times, the Tag Team Special, rather than new material. However, we did get to see Ming Tsai pummel Bobby Flay mercilessly in Battle Duck, something that should make Flay detractors happy. When noticing the judging, I realized something: Americans are spoiled brats.

Compare the point totals given by Japanese judges to American judges. Despite the food being easily comparable to the Japanese food (this has been tested by the fact that the four initial Iron Chef episodes, with the original Japanese chefs, had point totals at about the same level as the point totals now, and will be tested even more conclusively with Morimoto's debut in the new show), the judges have yet to give the performance of anyone above 90%. Let's contrast the best tag team match of the original show, the 2000th Dish Special, with the ICA Tag Team Special. In the original show, both teams scored 77 out of 80, or 96.25%, and Kaga decided the winner. In the ICA special, Morimoto/Flay scored 71 out of 80 and Batali/Sakai (Sakai being the winner of the Iron Chef tournament and ostensibly the best chef in the world) getting 55 out of 80, or 88.75% and 68.75% respectively. The two things to notice: Despite masterful work by every chef, the point totals between the teams were massive, and the winning team scored much less than the losing team.

Aside from the skew in the judging, the judges are regularly rude, such as Steingarten's antics, and in a battle with a sushi chef (Egg, Puck v. Morimoto), one of the judges had something about "something not being cooked". It's gotten better since Vincent, but the American judges are hard to please, acutely aware of incredibly slight differences between two chefs, rude, and closed-minded.

And now, in news from Iraq...


Post a Comment

<< Home