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From his humble beginnings cooking Southwestern cuisine on the Food Network, we’ve watched and heard of Bobby Flay’s cooking for years and years. He’s one of the channel’s most notable chefs, and his fun personality also lends well to his skills in the kitchen. We’ve seen him slay competitors on Iron Chef and Throwdown with Bobby Flay, so of course, fans were also looking forward to seeing him crush the competition on his ongoing series, Beat Bobby Flay.

On Beat Bobby Flay, cooking hopefuls aim to take down Flay in a dish of their choice. Both dishes go head to head, and the panel of judges at the end decide who the winner is. Unfortunately, fans seem to think the show’s rigged — and here’s why.

Fans think producers purposely choose contestants Flay can win against

The show is called Beat Bobby Flay for a reason — and it’s to make it sound like defeating Flay in a culinary battle is a rare and seriously difficult feat. In order to maintain the status quo that Flay really is that good at cooking, fans have caught on that this means he has to win the majority of the time. And while fans do think that the judging is fair and real on the show, Reddit user Scrappy_K points out that producers definitely only pick contestants they believe Bobby can win against.

The Reddit user points out the theory that there are many Beat Bobby Flay hopefuls that most likely have a winning dish that Flay would not be able to replicate (any dessert could probably win against him, since they have in the past). Unfortunately, these hopefuls are unlikely to ever appear on the show, as the producers want to maintain the illusion that Flay is a chef who can rarely be beat in the kitchen. And while it seems like the only person on the show who knows what dish they’ll be cooking is the competitor at first, the producers definitely know ahead of filming, as they’d need to ensure they have the appropriate judges and a well-stocked kitchen for the dish.

Fans don’t believe it when Flay claims he hasn’t cooked many of the dishes in the competition

Even with Flay’s impressive resume, plenty of contestants come on the show with a dish they think will blow Flay’s out of the water. And there are plenty of times on the show when it seems like the competitor may actually pull out a win, especially when Flay acts like he doesn’t know how to cook the dish when it’s announced. As a writer for TV Overmind notes, the most dishonest part of the show is when Flay acts like he hasn’t cooked a dish before and has no idea what he’s doing.

It’s reasonable to think Flay is a little rusty on some of the dishes he’s asked to prepare, but TV Overmind reminds us he’s been cooking for decades, so it’s hard to believe there are any dishes he’d be totally bamboozled by. As the publication notes, “The guy’s an Iron Chef. There isn’t much he hasn’t cooked.”

It’s unlikely the show is actually rigged, however

Fans certainly have their doubts about how “real” certain aspects of the show are, but in terms of the show being totally fake, it seems like there’s a pleasant amount of authenticity that goes in to production. As the writer for TV Overmind says, “I haven’t found one occurrence of a chef that appeared on the show saying that it was staged.” And even Redditors have admitted that while the producers may strategically choose opponents Flay can win against, the competitor typically ends up being their own worst enemy. They often go overboard to try and beat Flay, and since simplicity is often king in the culinary world, Flay usually reigns supreme. As for the judging, all of this appears to be fair as well.

Maybe Flay really is that good of a chef that barely anyone can beat him — or maybe he just hasn’t come across enough competitors on his show who challenge him in a bake-off (we know how much he hates making desserts). Either way, with nearly 20 seasons, it seems fans are pleased with the show no matter how real or fake it may be.

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