The Next Iron Chef vs Battle POTUS

Posted By: 'Okie' | 4:18 pm — 11/13/2007 | 3 Comments See comments below:

The Next Iron Chef -- Mike Symon
  Chef Michael Symon
Via the ever appreciated magic of Tivo I got to sit down last night and watch the hour of Sunday’s Next Iron Chef finale in about 36 minutes — Hoot! Hoot! Gotta “luv” Tivo. Out of the two finalists, Louisiana’s 39-year old John Besh and Cleveland’s 38-year old Mike Symon I didn’t actually have a favorite to win, I liked both these guys, so either way would work out for me — as if that meant a hill o’ beans.

According to his bio, Besh is a combat seasoned Marine who came home, married his sweetie, who then worked like the devil to give him the opportunity to follow his dream of becoming a great chef. Owner of four restaurants, acclaimed by the culinary press, active in local civic efforts such as the rebuilding of eating establishments after Katrina, and bester of Iron Chef Mario Batalli in ’06, Besh seems to have that dream firing on all cylinders and in my mind was the favorite to win. Symon’s resume is not quite as full as Besh’s, and he didn’t win his Iron Chef battle in ’05, but he is a successful restaurateur in Cleveland, well respected by the culinary press and is a seasoned TV cooking personality. The secret as they say, must have been in the sauce.

As you have likely guessed by the pic shown at top right, Symon won the final cookoff in Kitchen Stadium and is now the newest American Iron Chef. He won out over the more experienced Besh with a bit more playfulness within his creativity, and I think because of a bit more humble attitude — not discounting that he also didn’t make a swordfish desert, unlike Besh, who took on the challenge from Iron Chef/judge Morimoto to do so — with, to be kind, mixed results. Maybe it was Besh’s catfish truffle early on in the competition that gave him the confidence to play with sweet fish once again, but lightning sure didn’t strike twice in the fish desert category. Yecch!

But Okie, what’s all that got to do with the Presidential primaries? Nothing earth shattering, I’d wager. In the Next Iron Chef competition there were eight contestants, seven guys and one gal, all accomplished in their field, several had competed on the actual Iron Chef show in the past. Most, if not all, have prior TV personality experience. All definitely wanted to win. As the field narrowed, that drive to win just got stronger and stronger. The last two guys standing, seemingly friendly towards each other, really wanted it — and the defeat painfully showed in Besh’s face after his loss, although he was very gracious afterward.

Looking at the POTUS primary races, there are lots of guys, and only one gal, that really, really want to win. At this point, it seems like the will to win overshadows all else, at least in the second tier of the GOP race and throughout the Dems roster. As usual, the donkey party has finally started runnin’ all over the corral, hee hawin’ and kickin’ each other in the head, getting the bloodletting started good and early. It’d be fun to watch if the final outcome of all this weren’t so important.

You see, in the competition to be the next Iron Chef, name recognition, fame (of a sort) and many opportunities to merchandise oneself were at stake. Lots and lots o’ bucks, to be sure. But hey, it’s only a TV show, and none of the other Iron Chefs have gone off the reservation as yet — all still take their restaurant careers seriously. For them, it’s another stepping stone to achieving their life’s ambitions.

Being POTUS pretty much IS the pinnacle of a politico’s life ambition — but why? Why does someone want to be President of the United States? We’ve all got to be glad that someone does, but the psychology behind that desire does need some examination, although a careful look at that is beyond the span of this particular post. From a cursory exam I fear that many of the current crop are like the Robert Redford character in The Candidate and when faced with the reality of being in the general election are gonna be asking themselves, “Wha’ the hell happened?”

Obama IS the Redford character — in the limelight, loved by the media, no experience at all. I don’t know whether to fear that Hillary feels that it always should have been her instead of the philandering spouse that she’s stuck with for her “political” life, or if she’s just desperate to alter the cultural fabric of our society to realize the worst of the ’60s’ jumping off the socialist cliff. Edwards? Trial lawyers give me the heebie jeebies! Too slick by half I say. Why, John? Do you really want all that responsibility, do you really think that you have what it takes to send young men and women off to die? It’s not gonna be the ’90s all over again. There’ll be no partying like it’s 1999 on the next president’s watch. I can’t see how the next eight years won’t be more blood-soaked than the last. Iran, Korea, Darfur, Somalia — the list seems to grow by the day. The rest of the Dem field — who cares?

Rudy? He took on New York City, probably wants some more of that ultimate being in control. Romney, same as Rudy except as a governor and business leader — cue the leader bit big time for both of these guys. Fred? Plays a great attorney on TV, has a great voice — sounds like everybody’s idea of Papa. Why would he want to be POTUS this late in life, with what it does to everyone physically and mentally? Go figure. Same on that for McCain. The rest — who cares?

I’m not being flip about this — I truly want to know the “why”. Our next president most likely will be called to “greatness”, not just to be competent or an efficient manager. How many CEOs or Senators do you know that you’d be comfortable with prosecuting the 21st Century’s first world war? Which of the current crop of candidates has the philosophy and the will to ensure our safety in light of today’s threats? Which of these will lead instead of kowtowing to their base? Being POTUS is a real pup! Only someone with a committed sense of service to their countrymen are worthy of consideration. But, which one is it?

Too bad they can’t just lay out their goods, like an Iron Chef, for tasting and judgement. Too bad their intents aren’t as easy to ascertain and evaluate as a basil foam over a swordfish mousse. Too bad their skill levels in all things POTUS aren’t as readily apparent as that of a well seared piece of meat.

I might not have cared which of the two competitors became the next Iron Chef, but you can bet your left glute that I’ll be of a different mind come the primary and general election days next year. Those I’ll care about — oh you betcha!

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 at 4:18 pm and is filed under Cafe Okie, Decision '08, Here Comes Hillary!, P.O.T.U.S.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.  |  Print This Post Print This Post  |  Email This Post Email This Post

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