Let me tell you a quick story. I have a friend who I grew up with named James. James and I are still very close and he remains one of my best friends today. When we would go to his house as children, everybody knew his mother was a little out there. Before saying hello, how are you doing, or any other type of greeting, she would rush to make sure she got to you quick enough to say “Take your shoes off, please.” I don’t know what it was, but the lady really did not like when people walked in her house with shoes on — not the end of the world, right?
Whatever. I learned quickly that his mother did not like shoes in her house, so I would be sure to take them off before I even entered. Besides this strange little quirk, she is awesome. Did it ever occur to me to say, “I think I’ll keep my shoes on, thanks”? Hell no. Do you know why? It is absolutely minuscule to me and clearly, quite significant to her. Whether I think it is silly or not is irrelevant. I respect her beliefs and wishes because that it what a considerate person does. This is especially true when I am in her house. Okay, now let’s get back to:
I am sure you are familiar with the show “Iron Chef America”. As you might know, this show started in Japan in 1993. In the year 2000, Iron Chef had arrived in America. Chef Masaharu Morimoto would face none other than Mr. Bobby Flay. After complaining that his side of kitchen stadium was not set up properly and he was at a disadvantage, Bobby Flay sees fit to jump up on his cutting board and throw his up his arms, in what we learned was a premature victory. We can quickly look past the humor in him celebrating shortly before the judges announced that Morimoto had beat him. More importantly, humble Morimoto was offended by his gesture and went so far as to say Flay was not a “real chef” due to his disrespect of his cutting board.
Japanese chefs view their knives and the place in which they utilize their knives, their cutting boards, as sacred objects. By jumping up on his cutting board, Bobby Flay was seen as dishonoring the profession and the supreme tools of a chef. Now, I understand that there may have been a cultural gap in this situation. Though Flay made himself look like a fool by jumping up there, in all fairness, I do not think it is fair to call the guy a tool for not knowing this would be offensive. Chances are, he was not aware of how offensive his actions were until after the show and the media started turning. I am not a PR specialist, but perhaps an apology would have served him well.