Bobby Flay was in town yesterday (March 9) for another Throwdown show. You may remember that the Food Network cooking star was here not too long ago filming an episode with our local cooking priest Father Leo Patalinghug. This time, we find out that real men do eat quiche.
Here’s senior editor Evan Serpick’s experience at yesterday’s cook-off:
Late last week, Food Network producers asked me to come to Luckie’s Tavern on Tuesday morning for a new show they were filming called Rock n’ Kitchen, about chefs who also play in bands. They said they were doing a segment on Baltimore’s own Rodney Henry, the founder of Federal Hill’s Dangerously Delicious Pies who also plays in his own rockabilly band, the Glenmont Popes. It wasn’t entirely clear what my role would be—especially since my food expertise doesn’t go much further than Pepe’s vs. Papa John’s (totally Pepe’s, btw)—but it seemed to have more to do with my previous job as a music writer at Rolling Stone.
It seemed like an odd concept for a show—are there that many chefs who also play in bands?—but I checked on Luckie’s website, and there was a call for people interested in watching a taping of Rock ‘n Kitchen to come to Luckie’s at 9 on Tuesday morning.
When I got there, the place was filled with about 100 people, many of them heavily tattooed friends or fans of Rodney’s band. Also, there was Bobby Flay—my first clue that something was amiss. With all of the people and the production lights, it was pretty hot, but Flay and Henry were both working away on quiches: Flay’s had broccoli and jalapeños, while Henry’s "cowboy quiche" was filled with potatoes and bacon, among other ingredients, (he called it his "kitchen-sink quiche").
Finally, slices were passed around, and, I’m sorry to say, it was night and day: Flay’s quiche had a delicious, creamy texture and just the right amount of heat—I could’ve easily downed another slice or two. Rodney’s quiche wasn’t terrible—a bit bland with a more solid texture—but it truly suffered by comparison. To ask the assembled to try our local boy’s fare after giving them a taste of Flay’s masterpiece seemed downright unfair.
I was interviewed briefly about the Flay quiche—luckily, this was before I tried Rodney’s, so I didn’t have to compare them. Then, the crew began setting up for a judging table, including our local food celebrity Cindy Wolf. I was told that they might want to interview me again after the judging, but that it would likely be a while—maybe a couple hours—and at this point, I still wasn’t sure what show they were filming. I don’t watch the Food Network and I’ve never heard of Throwdown with Bobby Flay, but I’ve since learned that it’s a show where Flay faces off with local chefs. The network has since confirmed to me that that’s, in fact, what they were filming. In any case, I was full of quiche and way behind on work, so I left.
I’m not sure why all the subterfuge was necessary, but it was a great boon for Baltimore and for one of our more colorful local chefs.