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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Over 50 of America's favorite dishes PLUS Chef Bobby Flay's version of them, October 20, 2010
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This review is from: Bobby Flay's Throwdown!: More Than 100 Recipes from Food Network's Ultimate Cooking Challenge (Hardcover)
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay delivers a stunning "one-two punch" in his latest book, "Bobby Flay's Throwdown". Based on the cooking challenges from his Food Network show, this book not only contains 50 classic American recipes, like Southern Fried Chicken, Philly Cheesesteak, Muffuletta, and Mac n' Cheese but also Chef Flay's take on them. It's like two cookbooks in one!

Bobby Flay is well known not only for his restaurants, cookbooks and T-V shows, but also for his New York cockiness (does anyone remember his first appearance on the Japanese version of Iron Chef when Bobby infuriated Chef Masaharu Morimoto by striking a victory pose while standing on his own cutting board?) which makes him an unlikely candidate for a show that most chefs would avoid like two day old sushi. In the series Throwdown, Chef Flay surprises cooks that are famous for a particular dish and challenges them to a one-on-one contest on that very food, using local judges to determine the outcome! Sounds like a recipe for failure and Bobby does lose most of his contests (and loses in style, I must add), but it makes for great culinary entertainment.

The book includes recipes gleaned from 7 seasons of the television show and details the cook or cooks featured, their specialty and both their and Chef Flay's dishes with the recipes for each. Every dish is photographed by my favorite food photographer, New York's Ben Fink. Good food photography is not only rare but it's also expensive, and the publisher spared none when he commissioned Mr. Fink for the studio shots of both the featured cook's dish and Bobby Flay's version.

I really like having two recipes showing variations of the same dish. Some of Bobby Flay's recipes in this book are inspired, some seem a little contrived (as if he was making his dish different just for the sake of being different by using exotic ingredients), and others are somewhere in-between. I have made several of the recipes in "Throwdown" and find myself "mixing and matching" the ingredients, using some of his and some of his competitors. For instance, I used his choice of bread but his opponents filling when I made the grilled cheese sandwich featured in this book.

The only complaint that I have is with the design of the book itself. Each "Throwdown" is shown as a dossier of sorts, with a manila file, a label-maker style title and candid photos (that look like they were taken with a Polaroid SX-70) laying on top of each other. The food featured here and the people that made it deserve a classier presentation than they received with this book's design.

I would have purchased this book for the classic recipes alone and to get Chef Flay's interpretation of them doubles the value for me. Even though I don't like the layout of this book, I give it 5 stars for it's content.
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