3 PR lessons from ‘Iron Chef’

Montreal-based chef Chuck Hughes won the top prize from the Food Network show, beating the popular Bobby Flay. Here’s what you can learn from that victory.


Chuck Hughes recently defeated Bobby Flay on the popular cooking show “Iron Chef.”

If you come to Montreal and can get a reservation, eat at his restaurant Garde Manger.

But whether you make it to Montreal or not, PR professionals can learn three lessons from Hughes’ victory over Flay. Bon Appétit.

1. You can pitch the big media outlets—even if you’re not a major firm. Goliath is a construct. Had Chuck Hughes been in awe of Bobby Flay, he’d have lost. If you don’t think you can’t get a client in The New York Times or on CNN, then guess what—your client’s not getting that coverage. If you understand the news value of your pitch and make the right contacts in the media world, anything is possible.

2. Give your audience (media, consumer, or business) something to remember. Hughes secured victory with a lobster poutine dish. Lobster AND poutine. Yes, it sounds weird, but I’ve had it and it’s delicious. More to the point, it is unique and memorable. If you want to succeed in PR—whether as a content creator or a media relations pro—you had better produce or pitch poutine with crustacean. Give them something they won’t soon forget (in a good way, of course).

3. Your client’s back story will affect your success. Hughes won with a twist on the Quebecois classic, poutine. That he was from Montreal—and perceived as knowledgeable about the dish—surely mattered. Moreover, the table-side romance quotient (that is, the story behind the food) was off the charts. When you plan a new campaign, one of the first questions you should ask is: “Do existing perceptions about our identity/our client’s identity bolster our strategic and tactical plans?”

Jackson Wightman is PR Daily‘s contributing editor in Montreal. A version of this story first appeared on his blog, Proper Propaganda.

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