Sunday, April 5, 2009

April 5, 2009


As some of you who know me personally or read here regularly already know, I'm a bit of a Food Network junkie. I love many of the shows, and I've always loved Iron Chef, dating back to years ago when we would watch the old dubbed Japanese version or the orginal show. It took me a while to warm up to Iron Chef America (Alton Brown takes some getting used to, but now I enjoy all of his shows, and think he's one of the smartest guys around), but now I'm a die-hard.

I was in Las Vegas last February, and as I wrote in my March 3rd post, I happened to walk by Bobby Flay filming part of The Next Food Network Star. In that post, I promised another story regarding the Iron Chef, so I figured it was time to share it.

So, it's Saturday night in Las Vegas, and we're heading over to Caesar's Palace to play poker. When we get there, we see that there is a HUGE crowd outside Pure Nightclub. We find out (from the giant floor-to-ceiling banner in theis cavernous room) that it is Paris Hilton's Birthday Party, and that she's going to be performing on stage with the Pussycat Dolls at Pure.

I'll pause while you get your head around that one.

Now, let's clarify that she's not performing with the recording act The Pussycat Dolls, but the offshoot (and somewhat originating) burlesque show that has taken up residency in Pure. Here's a link to a photo gallery of her 'performance' that night from Popcrunch, where she is accurately decribed as looking 'like a Danish hooker.'

So, there's a big red carpet for entrances, and reserved spots for E!, and Entertainment Tonight, and all the other gossip and entertainment media outlets. It's a pretty big deal. And poker room is right beside Pure, separated and secluded from the rest of the casino floor so that poker players can play in a quieter, reserved atmosphere (because, you know, we're all introspective types who can't stand noise.) But to get into the poker room, you have to get through this crowd of people, and actually walk across the entrance to the 'Red Carpet' photo-op strip. So there's a security barricade blocking the path to the poker room, and you only get through if you're playing in there, so we got through fine, but it was a madhouse.

As we're entering the poker room, some of the celebs are on the red carpet, and who walks by but Mr. Iron Chef Bobby Flay (whose restaurant Mesa Grill is right in Caesar's Palace), and his wife, Stephanie March, who is on Law & Order SVU. Side note: I had no idea at the time who his wife was, but I knew I recognized her from somewhere, and I couldn't place it at the time. I thought at first it was Monica Potter, but found out later that night that it was Stephanie March. Honest mistake, take a look.

So, I see them head into the club and don't really think much of it. I just head into the poker room and settle into my Omaha Hi-Lo table. We could hear 'the performance' throughout the night due to our proximity to the nightclub, and it sounded horrible. (Shocking, I know.)

Now, here's where the story gets interesting. I take a break from my table and I'm in the restroom, which is just at the entrance to the poker room. Well, apparently people 'in the know' don't use the Pure restroom since it is always so packed, and instead step outside for a minute and use the poker room restroom. So, I'm standing at the urinal (you're welcome for the image, but it's an integral part of the story), and who appears at the urinal right beside me?

I know you see it coming...

Yes, of course, it's Bobby Flay. Now I'm not an autograph kind of guy, or really even a 'take a picture with me' type of guy, but if I like a celebrity, if I'm a fan, then I'd like to at least speak to them. And I'm a fan of Bobby Flay, I mean, who doesn't love a good Throwdown? But here's my conundrum. When I saw him filming the TV show at Planet Hollywood, that really wasn't the best time to talk to him. And this is even LESS ideal. When you're standing alone at a urinal, that's 'your' time, and I'm not confortable interfering with that. So I decide I'll say hello to him after he's done, maybe at the sink or as we're leaving.

So I finish, and go to the sink to wash my hands. There's only one other person in this tiny bathroom other than the Iron Chef and I, and he leaves as I'm washing my hands. So, as I'm drying my hands, he comes over to wash his. I'm just about to say something when I see him completely bypass the soap, and just give his hands a quick rinse under the water.


Hold on a second. Did that just happen? Did Mr. Celebrity Chef....Mr. Food Network Celebrity Food Handler just not wash his hands after using the restroom? Um.....yes he did. (Look, I know this is starting to sound like a Seinfeld episode, but these are the facts.)

So I'm stunned. And I immediately decide not to say anything and just let him go on his way. Primarily because I know that if I introduce myself to him, even outside of the bathroom, the first thing that's going to happen is that he's likely going to offer to shake my hand! And after what I just witnessed, I'm going to try to avoid that.

Three times I happen to 'run into' Bobby Flay while I'm in Las Vegas, and I never met the man. What a shame. But what triggered my mind on this story was his new book that came out this week.

We got it in at work, and I started looking through it. In the introduction, there is no mention of proper hand-washing procedures, especially when handling raw meat (insert your own joke here, it's too easy...), and then I turn the page and see a picture of him happily making burger patties with his bare hands.

Now I'm not saying this is a trend with him. On the contrary, I'm quite happy to believe this was an isolated incident. I'm sure he takes every precaution necessary when handling food. But it's almost as if he was looking at me from the page and laughing, as if we shared in a common secret.

If only I would have run into Cat Cora instead. This never would have happened...

1 comment:

Matt said...

Great story, I remember when you first told it to me.

Oh, and I would like to add:

the only thing worse than "insert joke here" is: this .