Saturday, March 5, 2011

An Open Letter of Apology to Bobby Flay

I have spent most of this morning in a state of conflict.  Conflict over a recipe. Normally, I am not the type to hesitate before embarking on a new recipe, preferring to jump in with both feet and knives blazing, without an ounce of fear for the outcome.  As a mater of fact, I would have to say that decisiveness is one of my defining characteristics, but not this time. Nope.  This recipe finds me unable to pull the trigger.  My hesitance is not due to the complexity of the recipe or due to exotic ingredients that fall outside of my culinary comfort zone, it is simply authored by Bobby Flay.

You might ask the obvious question, "But Diary,  shouldn't that be a good thing?", and you would be right, if I were normal.  However, even more painfully obvious to any regular reader of this little blog concern, is that I am clearly not normal.   So why is my apron in a twist about this recipe?  Well, let's just call it a tasty case of the guiltburgers.

You see, as a long time watcher of Food Network (and I mean long time, like Nina Griscom and David Rosengarten long time), I was an early hater of Bobby Flay as a TV personality.   I would watch Hot Off the Grill and cringe at what seemed to be a smarmy, arrogant presentation style.  Similarly, Grillin and Chillin seemed like a lot of territorial pissing between him and his cohost, Jack McDavid and there was something condescending in the way that he treated him.  This was probably all part of the intended shtick, but it was lost on me.

Because of these early offerings, I had a bad taste in my mouth for him and his cooking.  Intellectually, I understand that his TV presentation style has nothing to do with the man's ability to cook.  I mean this guy is obviously a baller when it comes to rockin' a skillet.  There's no doubt about that.  However, as unfair as it may seem, my perception of him as arrogant and self-important, tainted my willingness to give his food a try.   However, all of that has changed for me, thanks to two things - The Borgata and Throwdown.

The Food Network has thrown shows at Bobby Flay like a conventioneer throws dollars at a Vegas stripper, and as I mentioned, not all of those offerings have been what I would call "favorites".  But with Throwdown, there is a kinder, gentler Bobby Flay, one who seems humble and not afraid to lose to what is often a less trained, less experienced cook, who does one thing REALLY WELL.  There is a sense of reverence for his opponents and what they do and a genuine good-naturedness about the process, including the losses.  This exposes Flay as something that he has probably been all along, but I missed the cues - a fan of good food.

The second thing that has me on the Bobby Flay love train is Flay Steak at the Borgata.  I would choose his
PHILADELPHIA STYLE STRIP STEAK with provolone cheese sauce, caramelized onions, along with his delectably decadent sweet potato gratin as my last meal.  Now, I'm not gonna say that being housed in my favorite casino is working against him in my gustatory gaganess, but I am pretty sure that I'd endure a sh1thole casino like the Claridge, if it housed Flay Steak.

So here I am, on the precipice of putting sugar to pan for the caramel sauce that laces Mr. Flay's Peanut Butter Caramel Brownies and despite my improved attitude toward and patronage of Mr. Flay, I hesitate.   I even bought some of his bowls from Kohls.  What gives?

I think it's just the fear looking like a hypocrite.  When I was a hater, I was a vocal hater. Now that I'm a lover,  I think it only fair that I be a vocal lover as well.  So Mr. Flay, this is my mea culpa.  My opportunity to level the playing field and show you the outward respect that you so rightly deserve.  To admit to being a judgemental bitch in your beginning days on TV and to praise your evolution as a legitimate and skillful television presenter.  Now that I have exercised my "woman's right" to change my mind and offered up my sincere aplologies, it's time to rock the sh1t outta your Caramel Peanut Butter Brownies, cause . . .DAMN!

21 Your comments, banter and witty repartee:

Rachel said...

Its kinda lame but I got it and now I have to pass it on. I've nominated you for an award so please visit my blog to claim it and check out the details. If you don't, I understand.

P.S. I feel the same way about Bobby Flay- too much swagger.

Lin said...

I'm with ya on this roller coaster of love, but mine is currently on a downhill turn with a loop-de-loop that makes my stomach turn. What made my ride sour? A little visit to Bobby's restaurant in NYC a couple of years ago.

Getting reservations is hell, but we got them and went. Nearly died when I looked at the menu and the prices. We got a wee piece of protein for some exorbitant amount of dough--and it was waaaayyy to spicy for even the most tolerant of taste buds. Teeny tiny bowls of sides were available for more ridiculous prices. I distinctly remember getting 8 brussels sprouts for $9. Them is some expensive sprouts at over $1 each.

Okay, so it was the experience and it WAS NYC after all, but it was the attitude that went with it. One of the girls I was with had a photo of her and Bobby together. She asked if she could leave it to get signed by Bobby and returned to her. the tune of $25 plus postage and handling. AND they wouldn't promise that he would even do it.


So, yeah, he might have some appeal on the tube and in his recipes might be great---but that ego is still there smoldering.

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Rachel - Thanks for the award.

Lin - The paying for the autograph thing is just wrong. WTF?

~ Lyndsay The Kitchen Witch said...

I had the same problem with early Bobby Flay. And remember when he jumped onto the cutting board during the premiere of Iron Chef America. I thought poor Morimoto was going to have a coronary.

Let us know how the burger is. I have never tried any of his recipes but have also looked over his burgers ;)

400 Wakeups said...

I am so with you on this that I may be unable to actually accept this letter to Bob. Well except for Throwdown, where he does actually show a little bit of humility. But wow...took awhile, didn't it? I kind of think he and the Barefoot Contessa should just ship off to another island and be there for a year...or 10. Maybe take Paula Deen's ego with them. But I don't have cable anymore so this is really no longer my problem. What IS my problem is now you have me jonesing for caramel brownies and that is NOWHERE on this freaking paleo eating a bear...

MiMi said...

You get mad props for doing this. I can never admit that I like BF. Cuz I don't. See, he irked me with his crap and then I quit watching him so I haven't seen this newer, softer version of the BF that you are talking about here. : )

Sex, Drugs and Bacon Sandwiches said...

I hate admitting when I'm wrong... but caramel peanut butter brownies sound like they are worth it!

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Lyndsay - Oh yeah, the "Cutting Board Incident". Yeah, Morimoto looked like he was about to give birth to a litter of kittens.

400 - Paleo? Lithic? Like a caveman diet? How about Chicken Scarpariello? That is full of Hunter/Gatherer ingredients. Want a recipe for that?

MiMI - I truly believe that he has sanded some of those prickly edges off and he is much better. He's good on the Next Food Network star as well, showing a real concern and support for the contestants. He just got a network gig with NBC for some kind of restaurant battle. We'll see how that goes.

Sex, Drugs, Bacon - They were actually a great recipe. Well worth the slice of crow pie.

The Empress said...

You know what? I'm sending you an email.

This was fantastic writing.

I was so lost in everything here: how clever it was, how funny, how hip and cool, that I can't even remember really what it was about.

I know 2 places where this would be perfect.

It's so good.....

The Empress said...

ALSO: you may think I say, "Dear diary" when I speak to you, but just so you know, I say, "dear mad."


DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Empress - Your salutation is far more apropos ;)

Sarah Lindahl said...

I HATE Bobby Flay! I have the exact opposite feeling about Throwdown. He's a professional and he feels the urge to challenge amateurs, no SURPRISE amateurs, and then challenge them and put it on TV. He's a douche. I think he must have a micro-weenie.

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Sarah - Micro-weenie is the official word of the day!

linlah said...

I want Flay bowls just so it makes me look like I can cook.

Angelika said...

You know, I've never really "liked" Flay either. I also wonder if he EVER wins "Throwdown" because every time I see it, he loses.

Linda Medrano said...

I don't know Bobbie, but now I'm starving! I want some of that stuff!

blueviolet said...

I just taped his show the other night about the restaurant. I need to watch that and then I'll decide if I'm in your former camp or your current one!

tattytiara said...

I've done that 180 so many times that now as soon as someone gets on my nerves, I just resolve to like them. Saves me a lot of backpedaling down the lane.

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

In my house, my husband calls him Bobby Filet. No really, he thinks that's his real name.

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Linlah - They come in sassy southwestern terracotta colors that scream "COMPETENT COOK"!

Angelika - Yeah, maybe his frequent losses are all a spin tool to revamp his arrogant image and make him seem likable.

Blue Violet - I'd love to know what you thought.

Tattytiara - I think that's a great policy.

Meg - I might have to adopt that name for him. . ..

~Wendie said...

Did you ever watch Scrubs? the Doctor Elliot was afraid of red heads - like little monsters to her - I was truly expecting this rant to turn out like that and in the end found myself agreeing with you 100%. I'm a new follower!

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