I don't get it. From the beginning Iron Chef seemed staged and rigged. Even if something were intended to be an honest competition how does forcing someone outside of their niche enlighten or allow us to appreciate what it is they have to offer?
Besides, how it misrepresents what individuals are doing, what does making the format competitive accomplish? You don't get the focus on what's happening in prep to learn anything. Meanwhile, the quality of food product has never been about who's photogenic or even likable. But that doesn't stop the competition shows from nearly taking over the shows with instructive or reflective content.
So what's the attraction I'm missing?