Dis-Comfort Diner

Things I don’t like:
Making people feel bad
Being wrong
Admitting I’m wrong
Competitive people who want to prove they are better than you
Feeling uncomfortable

Things the show “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” represent:
Making people feel bad
Bobby Flay is never wrong
Bobby Flay never admitting he is wrong
A competitive chef who wants to prove he is better than you
The apotheosis of feeling uncomfortable


I love food TV – Jacques Pepin and PBS, the Food Network and Iron Chef America ,and I will even admit to watching Top Chef, as you know. But enduring Bobby Flay’s latest endeavor is 9,000 times worse than watching Katie Lee Joel try to master the English language. (I know, I know, poor Katie was put out of her misery and there’s a new leggings-wearing sheriff in town, but I will always have a soft spot for making fun of the defenseless wife-of-Billy).

But now:Throwdown. Ugh. The premise of this piece of flung monkey poo is that an unknown but talented chef is given a “Food Network special” because they have gained recognition in their food field, be it BBQ, baking or whatever. The fact that they think they are getting their own special is why they agree to be on the show. Assy Move #1. They are given the opportunity to talk about themselves and what their particular skills are, and the show is to culminate in a party or event where their cooking is shown off to friends and family – a supportive environment but, should something go wrong, quite an embarrassing one.

It is at this event that Assy Move #2 is made when Flay ambushes them, challenging them to a cook-off — may the best chef win. HAHAHA! You thought this show was about YOU, you stupidhead! You were wrong! It is about me being better than you! I have red hair and I compensate by being mean! HAHAHA! When I was a kid people called me Booby Gay! HAHA! I’m lonely.

Bobby thinks he is the best chef, is the thing. He just spent a week preparing for this ambush, and he is excited to make formerly happy people full of that bad, I-might-get-diarrhea feeling. If the underdog refuses, there goes their shot at national exposure. If they agree, they are pitting themselves against a famous asshole. At least if they lose the cook-off, they win the decent-human-being off. I’ve watched several epsiodes of the show, and it’s never been pleasant. But the least pleasant episode is the one I watched this weekend. (Note: I don’t think this episode was brand new, so this could be somewhat outdated). The episode featured the man who founded NYC bakery The Doughnut Plant. He is a Hare Krishna from the looks of his ponytail. So I will call the episode Krishna Kruellers.

Doughnut Krishna founded his company from nothing, just making doughnuts in his basement and then perfecting his recipes. So he is exuberant and normal at the beginning of his “Food Network special”. When Bobby shows up and challenges him in front of his friends and business associates, Doughnut Krishna is visibly shaken and despite agreeing to the challenge, freaks out to his partner and does the whole hand over the camera “Do NOT tape this” move we know and love from watching so many Real Worlders get upset because they have Lyme Disease or are dating a producer. He is, frankly, pissed off. And, in a delicious turn of events, Bobby is the one who feels bad and it is so obvious that he must lie to us to make it seem ok. “This is fuunnn?”

He bumbles his way through the rest of the episode talking about how his doughnuts are going to kick Doughnut Krishna’s hole, but not a single shot for the rest of the show implies “Fun”. Doughnut Krishna is shown scowling, looking menacing, and when Bobby offers an olive branch in the form of a jelly doughnut, Donut Krishna insults it. The coup de grace of Krishna Kruellers came in jelly form when Doughnut Krishna went to shake Bobby’s hand, but not before filling his own hand with the insides of Bobby’s creation, and he squished blackberry jam into Bobby’s hand. “HAHAHA…fun?”

Finally the judges, two of NYPD’s finest, award Doughnut Krishna’s Tres Leches cake doughnut Best in Show and the horrible, humiliating discomfort is brought to an end. At least, it’s over until the next time Bobby chooses to make innocent people who make a respectable (but not Food Network famous) living feel bad about themselves. He may be a chef, but really, that’s what he does best.

    • Raznatch
    • November 1st, 2006

    “does the whole hand over the camera “Do NOT tape this” move we know and love from watching so many Real Worlders..” AND also also quite popular on The Restaurant

  1. Maybe it’s aired already, but apparently he goes out to the Red Hook ballfields and challenges one of the Mexican food stands to a throwdown. It’s one thing to pull a bait-and-switch on the opera lady or the marine or whatever, but the people at the red hook ballfields aren’t really looking for publicity or anything. What a turd.

    You know how Owen Wilson is the Butterscotch Stallion? Bobby Flay is the Ginger Douche.

    That said, I use recipes from his first cookbook all the time.

    -Bill the hypocrite.

    • liz
    • November 1st, 2006

    Thanks for coining my new favorite phrase!

  2. I would just like to add that DP’s “Tres Leches” doughnut is the best donut I have ever had. Ever. It is awesome on at least three levels.

    • Dyna
    • November 2nd, 2006

    A lot of the episodes sort of epitomize all the cliches that the rest of America has about New Yorkers. They have some small town BBQ beardo, all earnest in his love of grillin’, jumped upon by the big city millionaire chef.

  3. I’ve seen the pizza one, and the bbq one. I think I might have seen the chowder one too. as best as I recall the ginger douche has lost all of those. I like to watch bobby lose to the local yokel who’s creepily, passionately into pizza/chowder/ribs.

  4. Eeeerg. I got stressed out just READING this.

    • Becky
    • November 9th, 2006

    I personally like the one where he goes to Minnesota (I think) to throwdown at an ice cream parlor. The best part, other than his losing, is that the ice cream man has never heard of Booby Flay (As I call him) and seems perplexed at the whole situation.

    I would love to see him throwdown with Martha. That would be some show!

    • Felix
    • January 1st, 2007

    Does it matter that Flay has money? I’m not sure I see how that has any bearing. What does have bearing is that these people who are “ambushed” are unknowns outside of their area code and they were profiled for 30 minutes on a show seen by millions of people. This helps their business, like it or not. If they didnt want competition, they should not be in the food business which has the lowest success rate of all businesses. Other than ski shops in Dubai.

    Flay (or the producers) pick these people because they’re great at what they do, not some mutt off the street. Poor BBQ guy? How did he not benefit? Even if some of them lost, and the vast majority dont, so what? A world famous chef beat them. How is that damaging? If I was the best golfer at my club and Tiger came to challenge me, would I be insulted? Would I feel tricked? No, I’d be honored that someone chose me as the person to compete against.

    If you dont like your feelings hurt, dont own a business, dont challenge yourself and just hide in a hole where its safe. Being great, truly great, as all of the subjects of these shows are, comes with the chance that you’ll be called out. In fact they are called out every day. They have to earn their customers with every dish, over and over again. It might be a new store down the street, a new hot chef in town, or just the challenge of coming up with new ideas.

    Isreal and the others with bad attitudes are destined to be small players because they fold under pressure. Their juvenile behavior outed them for what they are, brats.

    I’d love to get ambushed like that in what I do. I’d love to know that my name comes up on that short list. I’d love to be so high on that short list that someone truly great, someone very well known and respected deemed me worthy of challenge.

    The sourpuss on these guys faces and catty comments like “its doughy” show off these guys are sad little children.

    Things I dont like:
    People who dont know a gift when they see it
    People who want the glory of greateness and resent having to fight for the right to keep it

    • Anna
    • January 19th, 2007

    I watched the Doughnut episode tonight and I was downright disgusted. I do not think Bobby Flay is a sore loser, and I don’t think he is rude to the people he is challenging. I think it’s almost an honor to be sought out by Bobby Flay, i mean he wouldn’t have wanted to challenge you if you weren’t talented. My problem with the episode tonight had nothing to do with Bobby Flay. His chosen challenge, aka the Doughnut Jockey, was incredibly rude, insulting, and for the first time in my life he made me slightly ashamed of being one of his diligent New York customers. I was just astounded by the D. Jockey’s actions. Here Bobby Flay is giving him national publicity and all he can do is argue, shoot him nasty looks, bad mouth him to the onlookers, and insult him to his face. After watching this episode , I will never again in my life purchase another doughnut from the Doughnut Jockey. My friends and family feel the same way. Please join me in boycotting the Doughnut Jockey and his Doughnuts!

    • jeffk
    • January 19th, 2007

    “I’d love to get ambushed like that in what I do. I’d love to know that my name comes up on that short list.”

    Felix, when Throwdown gets canceled, I’m sure Bobby will look you up for his new series, The Great American Douche-Off.

    • NJDropIn
    • January 22nd, 2007

    So glad to see others had the same reaction. Flay can be kind of obnoxious, but he’s a talented chef and my take on Throwdown has been that he’s really going out there giving the spotlight to a lot of good but obscure folks. I get the impression that, while he may talk about winning (FoodTV’s gotta get SOMETHING out of him), he really goes out there and puts on a game face solely so the other chefs can shine. Most of the challengers seem flattered – and elated when they beat him. It’s all good. Until – the doughnut show. Wow – what a rude character Isreal was! Unfortunately, he will probably get more business (thanks to Flay) than he will lose – but it won’t be mine.

    • wwDropin
    • January 25th, 2007

    I really enjoy the show, and I really enjoy Bobby. He is the only chef, besides Alton Brown, that keep my attention on the food network.

  5. The Doughnut Jockey was quite catty and bitchy. He seems like the type of person with a huge, but fragile ego.

    Might it be kind of disappointing that this feature you thought was being done on your business is also a throwdown? Sure.

    But in the end, Food Network features your business and ends it with a showdown. If everyone is mature and remains in good spirits – there aren’t any losers.

    But in Mr. Isreal’s case, he was a BIG LOSER!!!!

  6. The doughnut freak, yes he’s Krishna, was such a baby about he whole thing. Most of the people on this show are not home cooks, they’re professional cooks and some are chefs (yes there’s a difference). Bobby is the one who is disadvantaged and it does appear that after people get over the shock that they have fun.

    The biggest shock I believe is not the throwdown but the fact that these people have not actually earned their way into a new series on Food Network or at least a special.

    I can certainly admin that Bobby has come off as arrogant more than once, but he does have the chops and diversity to support his swagger.

    Down with the Krishan freak, but man his donuts rock! Also, stop whining dude!

  1. November 6th, 2006
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  2. April 23rd, 2008

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