To Be a Judge on Iron Chef

I am hooked on cooking competition shows. The Top Chefs. Next Food Network Star. Chopped. Iron Chef, and its better half, the Next Iron Chef.

I enjoy watching chefs work under trying conditions to create absolutely great food that pleases a panel of judges — or not. And, that’s where I come in. I don’t want to be a contestant. I want to be a cooking show judge.

I’m not an uber-chef, which seems to be the qualification for the Top Chef shows. I don’t own a vineyard or a high-end restaurant. I’m not an entertainment celebrity.

I’m simply a fiction writer waiting for the big break …. and a newspaper editor by day.

But I know great food when I see, smell, and taste it.

I know how to make a satisfying meal for a family of eight. I can bake a cake at 7,200-feet altitude without it falling. I write about food and cooking shows for the newspaper I work for in Taos, New Mexico.

So what cooking show would I love to judge? Oh, Iron Chef without a doubt. We are talking about two super chefs knocking themselves out over a secret ingredient. The panel of judges gets to taste each one and gives them a score.

If I were a judge, I wouldn’t be a know-it-all like a few are. I wouldn’t be rude. Or prickly. I wouldn’t pick over the minutest detail. I wouldn’t let the power go to my head.

I would be the charming but discerning dinner guest.

Ah, to taste the food prepared by Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Marc Forgione, Geoffrey Zakarian, José Graces, Alex Guarnaschelli — and those brave enough to challenge them.

I have yet to discover where you can volunteer to be a guest judge. So if you or someone you know does, please let them know.

As the chairman says, “Allez cuisine.”


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