Iron Chef America: Judge Karine Bakhoum


Karine Bakhoum How do we judge Karine Bakhoum?

Remember Quiz Show, the film starring Ralph Fiennes as contestant Charles Van Doren on the game show Twenty-One? He succumbs to the urgings of the show's producers (and his own greed and vanity) and cheats?

This time around, it isn't the contestant who has come into question, but one of the show's judges.

The show is Iron Chef America.

When Graham Elliot Bowles lost to Iron Chef Bobby Flay, the judges included Karine Bakhoum. She voted heavily in favor of Bobby Flay, while the other two judges, journalist Jeffrey Steingarten and author cum Queer Eye star Ted Allen, voted in favor of Graham.

Karine commented to The Chicago Tribune:
My favorite dish of the whole competition was Chef Bowles' bison, because it was the most intriguing, the most original, it was flavorful and for me it was the most satisfying dish.
So started the affair.

The Tribune noted:
For what it's worth, that one person, Bakhoum, owns a public-relations company, KB Network News, that lists Flay as a former client; she has represented one of his restaurants, his catering company and three of his cookbooks. She currently represents an Atlantic City hotel and casino that houses another Flay restaurant. But she said Flay has his own publicist, and she has not received money from him in ages.
BadaBing! from the Sopranos

( -- So, you know, maybe she was hoping, like, Bobby would pay off, like, an old, outstanding bill or something? -- Bada-boom, bada bing, you know? It ain't personal: it's business -- Ching!)

The Food Network said:
Bruce Seidel said via e-mail that Bakhoum's history was "not an issue. Almost all the judges know of, have heard of or eaten the Iron Chefs' food outside of Kitchen Stadium. It's unavoidable, and we feel she is an impartial judge."
There is a difference between eating at a chef's restaurant, and having (or trying to regain) a client service agreement.

Graham has not commented -- yet.

Super Chef believes that Karine faces a serious conflict of interest as a judge: how could she have offered to serve as judge of a former client?

PrimeTimeTables While this scandal takes off in Print, the Blogosphere has been tracking another business scandal involving Karine Bakhoum.

Karine is married to Pascal Riffaud, owner of PrimeTimeTables, a concierge service that receives fees to customers get tables at exclusive restaurants.

Last month, Eater.com lowered the charge of scalping against PrimeTimeTables and has suggested that Karine's restaurant relationship have been helping PrimeTimeTables unfairly. Gothamist has furthe spread the word. Even The New York Times has reported on the story, quoting other publicists, like Jennifer Baum of Bullfrog & Baum, who weighs in against using accepting money for a reservation.
“There’s always that level of who you know,” said Jennifer Baum, one of the city’s most prominent restaurant publicists. “I get calls all the time — can you squeeze me in, can you get me a table? I try to accommodate, but sometimes I just can’t. But I would never take money for a reservation. It’s about a level of integrity.”
Super Chef asks, Why is a publicist serving as a judge on Iron Chef America in the first place?

Forget the past relationship with Bobby Flay: any publicist who serves chefs as clients cannot possibly serve impartially as a judge: every chef is a potential client.

Should audiences urge The Food Network to judge judges more judiciously?

What do you think? Do you agree with Super Chef?

Please let us know in the comments section, below.

Previous articles:
Iron Chef America: Milliken and Feniger v. Bobby Flay
In the Audience of Iron Chef America
Cat Cora Wins on Iron Chef America
The Today Show Emulates Iron Chef America
Anita Lo Defeats Mario Batali on Iron Chef America
Iron Chef Pizza Wars: Batali vs. Puck
Cat Cora: Iron Chef America's First Lady
Iron Chef America: Running on Empty
Iron Chef America v. USA
[Food Television - complete]

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Blogger Thomas said...

How were you able to find out how each judge scored the battle individually? After Flay is done presenting his food and the judges clap, it looks like Jeffrey Steingarten winks and nods at Flay.

11:20 AM, February 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TVFN should never have used KB as a judge. Period. She is a publicist, remember??? Restaurant owners, Food experts, other Chefs, reviewers- they should be judges, not publicists!! What do you expect?? Don't forget that TVFN has a Flay show of their own to promote- why wouldn't they want one of their own to dominate??

8:21 PM, February 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THat Karine woman is biased. She always votes against the challenger and it is obvious that Bowles' cuisine is so much better than Bobby Flay's.

2:37 AM, February 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was watching the ICA marathon today and happened to see that episode with Bowles and Flay. While watching the judging, I thought she was being extremely hard on Chef Bowles considering his dishes seemed very inventive and interesting.

Because of her position, having worked with Flay before, she shouldn't be a judge.

6:37 PM, March 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That fat bitch is always biased. Especially, in Season 3 Episode 5 (Mario Batali vs. Ludovic Lefebvre - Secret ingredient: Tuna), she was unbelievably rude to the challenger. I guess they showed her nasty comments to add more drama to the show, but it proves what an unfair and undeserving judge she is, without an ounce of credibility. Bonus though is Chef Batali calling her a cow! Hilarious!

She should STOP eating and then donate her food budget to the kids in Africa. Someday karma will get her!

1:32 AM, March 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just watched Iron Chef America and she was a judge. The ingredient was clams and she just loved the Iron Chefs meals but always complained about the visiting chef even though the other two judges seemed to really enjoy the meal. I also found her extremely annoying and her comments/expressions really are the worst.

Get rid of her.

4:32 PM, May 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karine Bakhoum is the worst,most biased judge I have ever had the displeasure to witness. Her comments are inane, her voice could peel paint, she is "fugly", and has the intellectual prowess of a gnat. It's not only Flay that she favours, if Adolf Hitler were an Iron Chef, she'd say great things about him. She's nuts.

1:05 AM, July 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that she needs to go. Excluding the fact that she is involved in some way with Flay, she is a horrible judge. It turns into the Korine show everytime. She annoys the crap out of me and I hope she is booted after all is. I cant bare to watch her speak or eat.

10:59 PM, September 22, 2007  
Blogger Noah said...

I have been in a rage over how unbelievably biased, and obviously predetermined Karine's judging has been in the last three episodes i have watched. If there is one judge i have seen on ICA whose culinary expertise i would shun out of hand, it is her. And this is admitting that there have been many guest judges who i think have little authority in the taste department. She is a complete disappointment. Shame on the Food Network for keeping her on for more then one episode. I will be boycotting all episodes where she is introduced as a judge henceforth. Man, im really holding back on how much i hate her.

12:12 AM, November 12, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karine is by far the worst judge on ICA-- and not bad, like, "oooh, what's she gonna say next" bad. More like 'change the channel' bad.
The conflict of interest thing is just another reason why Food Network should drop her. There are thousands of other deserving and more compelling people for the job.

9:01 AM, November 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's Hot.

5:24 PM, January 05, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hotdog down a hallway. Hotdog down a hallway.

2:57 AM, January 20, 2008  
Anonymous seattlesusan2 said...

I agree that KB is biased and quite frankly, a lousy judge. Her credibility goes out the window whenever she attacks a fellow judge. How unprofessional and simply rude and unrefined. She needs to take a hike. I can't even stand to look at her anymore. When I find that she is one of the judges, I quickly turn the channel. Sorry Food Network, but KB is old news.

10:13 PM, February 03, 2008  
Blogger Nicklaus said...

well i like her.
list of other things i like:
-diaper rash
-styrofoam-on-styrofoam action
-nasal throwup aftertaste
-toddler drum line (TDL!!!)
-broken bones sticking out of skin
rock on kb!

1:46 AM, February 04, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I so agree with all the negative press on this fat fruitbat whench. She must have concrete for a tounge. we just watched one where the bastage lady ate a single raw oyster and said... "I can't really taste the oyster" SHE IS SO GAY! she always complains. I just wish I could watch that 3x5 episode where mario calls her a cow!

11:29 PM, February 13, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karine is by far the worst judge on the show. The only thing she has that gives her street cred is that she is fat so she MUST has eaten a lot of food in her life. Bone Crusher a Rap artist was a judge on the show and i wish he was on more often because he was a better judge than her.

10:06 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger zen chef said...

she(KB) is absolutely horrible!! i barley can watch that fattie shovel food into her face and judge unfairly and unprofessionally. the foodnetwork needs to dump her because of her conflict of interests as a publicist representing douchebag bobby flay. she seems enamored with him and doesn't approach judging the others with any sort of an open mind. we need to send more emails/letters/petitions/ whatever to get her off the air. she represents everything that is wrong with america!!!

1:30 AM, April 21, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez, I just watched her on ICA last night. Loved the comments by Andrew, he really seemed to understand food.

I think if Flay had put out a charred piece of spam with tomato on it she would have swooned over it.

Of course I didn't taste the food. so I can't really comment on that, but Flay's presentations were half=assed at best.

2:10 PM, April 21, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am done watching the Iron Chef because of Karine. It's surprising that Chef Rios condescended to be a part of the travesty of this competion. His presentation and innovative approach to the challenge was flawless. Flay's contribution? Tomato soup with oh-so-two years ago tortilla chips, tomato chili with corn bread sticks with burned bottoms (yes, we could see that) and a "greek inspired" fritter for a Southwest theme? Karine should hang out at Denny's which is more her speed and she can get all the BLT's she wants and hopefully the other clients will be kind and not mention her atrocious and disgusting table manners. Want to get her off this show? Write to the sponsors who foot the bills. Chef Rios and staff: we in the Southwest all know of your fabulous talent!

10:15 AM, April 22, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been watching Iron Chef since it was first air on Food Network. I've enjoyed everything the show has to offer. Until recently, since I've viewed the episodes where KB was judging. Without a doubt she has to be the most unfair, one-sided judge I have ever witnessed. Because of her I have stopped watching the show all together and will not watch another until the fat, disguising, horrid, beast is replaced ("IT NEEDS MORE BACON!!! stated by KB on Bobby Flay vs. Chef Rios). Also, referring to the previous blog, Bobby Flay presented tomato soup!!! (it comes in a cans for god sake) how can he get a higher score on originality? It almost seems like KB would prefer to have Bobby Flay as an entree!!!

4:21 AM, April 25, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It blows me away to watch this atrocity of a food competition. I grew up in Santa Fe, NM. I can't imagine life without the beauty of Red and Green chile. To hear that introduction of Bobby Flay on Iron Chef "The man with his finger on the pulse of southwestern cousine", makes my stomach turn. I find it amazing that the world thinks a guy from NY knows better southwestern food than so many chefs from the southwest.

KB could use a bag of sugar and bacon "Needs more Sweetness". Has she ever had an heirloom tomato? I guess not, it has been nothing but sugar and bacon.

Soft Fritters? I think that is called a bad fritter. Ever hear of Falafel you wench? Typically not soft. This show has been a joke for a very long time for me. Right along side Top Chef.

4:19 AM, May 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the fact the kb is "fat" should have no relevance to her ability to judge ica. grow up people. i like her and quite frankly i think she is beautiful. i think it is part of the show to have colorful characters for judges.

4:35 AM, July 31, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

shut up. nobody cares what you have to say fucking judice. KB is a disgusting slob with no culinary expertise. Only a money and rating driven motive. She needs to be removed and replaced with somebody else. ie: a fellow chef, who actually has first hand experience with the ingredients?

10:46 PM, September 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with 01/05/08 and 07/31/08 as KB is the embodiment of the perfect BBW. This is television and entertainment, not Haute Cuisine.

The persona she presents, of vibrancy and sexuality glues one to the screen - wish she were on more.

4:59 PM, September 19, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well it is simple statistics...24 comments and only three good.

There is nothing vibrant or sexual about her TV persona. She is rude, uninformed, and unrefined.

And if you have ever met her you know she is even worse in real life.

12:13 AM, September 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another illusion shattered.

Damn :(

3:13 PM, October 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, at least she has a nice cleavage.

11:20 PM, February 28, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buxom Bakoum has some nice cleavage shots on some episodes. I'd like to see her drop some food on those bosoms and have the Chairman lick it off her ample breasts. :)

3:00 AM, April 12, 2009  
Anonymous kajmom said...

She is an ugly cow and her cleavage make me sick. My whole family boo's when we see her and we change the channel new she had to be "in bed" with someone to get this gig.

12:58 AM, April 13, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just watched the 3x5 episode tonite and lmfao when Batali essentially called her a cow. After listening to the comments from her and that other rude bag it was obvious that they were biased. I couldn't believe how rude they were coming off on Ludovic and had nothing but great things to say about Batali. Not saying there was anything bad to say about Batali, but its hard to recall any good comment that came from those 2 women regarding the challenger. Just thought i'd throw 2 cents out there about an old episode on an old blog post...

12:28 AM, May 29, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geez. They need to get this bag off the show. She is STILL on. Come on, Food Network, DO SOMETHING. Anonymous on 09/30/2008 hit the nail on the head:

"She is rude, uninformed, and unrefined."

6:55 PM, June 01, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karine Bakhoum's link to Flay does make her a questionable judge, but I am amazed at the number of people attacking her because she is fat. I guess those people did not really graduate out of the grade school phase where fat kids were made fun of. Grow up people !

As for Batali calling her a cow, he should take a look at himself in the mirror.

9:43 AM, June 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone should carve her up and turn HER into the secret ingrediant for ICA. Then Bobby Flay could add all the blue corn and ancho chilly to her in the world, but she'd still taste like she was full of sh*t.

12:58 AM, July 13, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree, i find most of the recurring judges like to flame the iron chef. I understand that these are famous talented chefs, but ive seen some challengers place some impressive looking dishes that appear to be delicious. most of the time the judges give the challenger crap like "i like your use of such-an-such, BUT you could've done this-and-that to make it better." and iron chefs get "that dish is truly delectable, a fantastic blend of innovation and ingenuity." thats a little much, its almost as if they think the iron chefs as gods and its best not to find flaws in their dishes. im sure the iron chefs dont nail EVERY dish perfectly.

1:00 AM, December 11, 2009  

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