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Jun 27, 2007 05:09 AM

Anybody catch Throwdown with Mark Israel of Doughnut Plant?

A few days ago, I caught an episode (probably rerun) of Flay against the Doughnut Plant guy. Normally, I'm always on the side of the challenger, but I was really bothered by Israel's childish behavior that I actually ended up rooting for Flay. Unbelievable!

btw, I'm not a fan of his doughnuts -- I find them too heavy and greasy.

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  1. Yea, I saw it and found the guy's behavior a bit off-putting. At the same time I can only imagine how shocking it must be to think you are getting profiled and really elevating your status only to find out it was a throwdown ploy.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ArikaDawn

      The thing is, the episodes usually do profile the throwdownees as some of the best at what they do.

      1. re: youngho

        Yes, but I am a bit of a bleeding heart and I can't help but sympathize with them and their potential disappointment at not getting their complete profile shown. Then again, considering that typically the people who get challenged end up winning, it is still quite a coup for them. I had actually seen a show featuring the donut guy on the travel channel awhile back. He certainly has an interesting story and does not seem to be in short supply of publicity.

    2. I could see being annoyed but I was salivating at the doughnuts. We do not have anything crative like that in San Diego.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ela0427

        I did see that episode some time back and met Mark when I visited the Doughnut Plant last November. I was touring the Lower East Side and stopped in for doughnuts in the morning and he was there and I met him. He is a pleasant and engaging fellow, and I asked him about his experience on the throwdown. I asked him if he knew that Bobby Flay was coming, whether the throwdown was real, and he said he did expect Bobby to visit, but not the throwdown. I asked him for a doughnut recommendation, and he recommended tres leche, which he made on the Throwdown. It was quite good. I love his doughnuts, the ingredients are quite unusual and creative and everytime I visit Zabar's on the UWS, I try another new doughtnut from the Doughnut Plant. I have enjoyed them all.

        1. re: Ela0427

          Strangely enough, you can get Doughnut Plant doughnuts in...Seoul, Korea. There are a bunch of branches there.

        2. I actually liked him for that. It was an honest reaction. I mean, these people are told that the FN is doing a special profile of them, and they set up a party and it's a celebration of what they do, and then they're trapped into this whole other setup. I liked how his friend convinced him to be a good sport.

          I didn't think I liked his doughnuts for the same reason, but then I tried the cake doughnuts and those are quite good.

          4 Replies
          1. re: traceybell

            I've only tried his yeast doughnuts. Guess I should try a cake doughnut as well, perhaps the infamous tres leches.

            I don't like the premise of the throwdown shown -- taking the very thing that people have a lot of pride in and making them go head-to-head with Flay who has a team of two chefs by his side. However, I thought that Mark Israel could have handled that situation with a lot more grace. These throwdowns are also great publicity for them -- whether they win or lose. Believe me, I am no fan of Flay. I've found him egotistical ever since I saw the first Iron Chef (Japanese version) battle with Morimoto. But I felt a lot of sympathy for him when I saw the doughnut episode.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              Yeah, but Flay always loses! It's really a total sendup of the person- Flay shows you a few pointers of what it takes to make amazing whatever, then shows someone in the field who does it their own way and impossibly good! I think that's the strength of the show is that these places always win. And he picks the best of the best.

              I think he should go into some of the crappier restaurants for throwdowns and maybe teach a couple of chefs a thing or two. Burrito throwdown, Chop Suey Throwdown (at a butlletproof glass chinese place, Diner throwdown.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                it was flay standing on top of the cutting board, wasn't it? yeah, that guy (bless his heart and his medicore restaurants and his numerous tv contracts) is terrible and the show itself, interesting, but it couldn't possibly ever be neutral judges, just because of the way he always does his challenge (traditional style versus his southwest fusion thing) so its always obvious which entry is his.

                re: mark isreal, ya he's nuts, but really, that tres leches kicks ass. someone bought over two dozen donuts once for a party at my house and we sampled a bunch of them (I like how he has filled yeast donuts which still have holes in them) but yeah, tres leches all the way.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  Okay. As I was the original poster of this thread and somebody brought this thread back alive, I should mention that I have indeed tried his cake donuts and they are indeed marvelous.

                  But I still think Israel is a childish a**. I just try not to think about it as I bite into these heavenly morsels of deliciousness.

              2. I saw that episode and I concur... I usually don't root for Bobby, but this guy really acted childish and like he needed to be talked into something - it seemed like the guests at his Doughnut Disco party really had fun though!

                1. i gave some weight to the fact that there was probably some editing after the episode was shot. do you think that every other chef other than mark israel is not taken by surprise when bobby presents the challenge? every other episode seems to have the chefs completely on board within a split second and i don't think such reaction is w/o video editing... so then, of course, the question is why the producers chose to play up mark israel's reaction vs. making it less of a deal... actually, i think they had to include it so that it would explain why mark then didn't make fresh donuts for the throwdown but instead used the ones he brought for the party...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nyc_cravings

                    Interestingly, after watching last week's episode with Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston, I was struck by how gracefully she accepted the challenge, and looking back, it does seem as though the female throwees (if there is such a word) have all taken up Bobby Flay with apparently little hesitation but instead good cheer and spirits. If I recall correctly, it's the guys, like the ice cream guy (who seemed genuinely upset at having gotten "Punk'd" in his own words), the buffalo wings guy (who obviously had second and third thoughts about accepting the challenge), and the diner guy, who really don't come "on board within a split second," so Mark Israel certainly isn't alone. Even Tony Luke, who was one of the best guys, called for backup supplies. Many of the chefs DO seem to be taken by surprise. Again, although the throwees don't end up being the sole focus of a half-hour special all about them, I think that they really do receive good publicity and recognition for being good at what they do. If a chef, after talking about how great he is, is challenged on his home turf in front of his fans making his signature dish to be evaluated by judges from his home town...I mean, come on!