I really cannot stand to watch Iron Chef America. I am a huge fan of the original Iron Chef show. I have had the opportunity to work with several of the Chefs at James Beard Dinners and really had a great time working with Chef Morimoto (have a great photo of he and I). Rick Bayless is a true Master of Authentic Mexican cuisine and each year he close both of his restaurants down and takes his entire crew from dishwashers to managers down to Mexico to imerse themselves in the food and the culture.
I think that on the original series the creativity level is extremely high. Sorry Bobby Flay Fans, but Bobby's dishes always seem to be similar in flavor. His use of limes, avocados, corn and of course cilantro.
While I rarely agree with the judges decisions thats ok because I have not tasted the food. But I do know what flavors work and which ones don't.