Earth to Chicago: You Lost ‘Iron Chef’ Fair and Square

Still, we're betting Bowles can take Flay in backyard wrestling.Photo courtesy of the Food Network

Monday’s Iron Chef, in which Chicago chef Graham Elliot Bowles lost to Bobby Flay, has occasioned a gale of protest from the Windy City. For proud Chicagoans, it’s just not possible that Bowles could have lost; as A.J. Liebling put it, the prevailing local belief is, simply stated, that “everybody in the world is trying to put one over on Chicago.”

This time, the fix was supposedly in because Karine Bakhoum, the publicist who is one of Iron Chef’s most frequent judges, at one time represented Bobby Flay, and as the Chicago Tribune asserted, “has represented one of his restaurants, his catering company, and three of his cookbooks. She currently represents an Atlantic City hotel and casino that houses another Flay restaurant.” “It’s outrageous,” Bakhoum tells us. “I can’t believe they would say that. I haven’t represented Bobby in ten years! Anyway, I’ve voted against Bobby many, many times. I judge the dish, not the chef.” Bloggers like Superchefblog have taken up the cause, but they should know better. (We have to admit that Bowles really does seem to have bad luck; on top of everything else, he’s now in hot water with PETA for abusing lobsters on the show, as the Tribune reports today.) As any Iron Chef fan will tell you, the challenger is usually the underdog. Of course, Chicago fans were among the first to suggest that David Stern fixed the 1985 NBA draft lottery so that the Knicks would get Patrick Ewing. Bowles’s loss will do nothing to sway his Second City partisans. As Liebling wrote about a Chicago sportswriter after a disappointing boxing match, “he had proved that, like everything else that goes wrong in Chicago, it was New York’s fault.”

Iron Chef America: Judge Karine Bakhoum [Superchefblog]