Food Network loves having chefs who aren’t famous compete against Bobby Flay. The Iron Chef America and former Throwdown! with Bobby Flay star now has a new show, Beat Bobby Flay, which is a combination of the former two shows. While Beat Bobby Flay feels derivative, so does everything that Food Network airs nowadays. Only, this time it doesn’t get boring because they took the some ideas from both Iron Chef and Throwdown! and left the unnecessary exposition on the cutting room floor.
Of course, every show begins with a segment that introduces the chefs to viewers. Since Beat Bobby Flay is only a half hour, each chef of the two chefs competing in the first round gets about a minute to describe themselves, which means no long, dramatic life stories. Life stories are limited to “this is my cooking style, this is how and why I chose it, and this is how I developed it.” It’s a cooking show. No less would be kind of odd. Any more would border on tedious and risk veering into uninteresting.
Chopped has four competitors take unusual ingredients and attempt to make the best dish possible. After each round, one person is eliminated. At the end of the third round, a winner is decided. Skill and creativity win Chopped. There is no sabotage. Cutthroat Kitchen‘s producers took one look at that format and said “forget skills, let’s give the contestants money and have them screw each other over repeatedly,” resulting in a show that targets the coveted aspiring sadist demographic and everyone else finds off-putting. Even if you find the concept intriguing, anyone with a conscience will watch five minutes and give up because they have standards.