In S1E16, Rory comes home to find Lorelai sitting at the kitchen with a baking mix in her hands. Rory says, “No, put that away!” Lorelai replies, “I wanna cook!” Rory says, “You can make soup.” Lorelai says, “No, I wanna really cook, like on the food channel. I wanna saute things and chop things and do the ‘bam!’ And I wanna arrange things on a plate so they look like a pretty little hat. I wanna be the Iron Chef!”
Ok, let’s unpack this. The food channel is actually called “Food Network” and was launched in 1993 (“Food Channel,” strangely enough, is a website and not a television channel).
The “bam!” comment was referring to Chef Emeril Lagasse, a celebrity chef who has hosted multiple cooking shows on the Food Network. “Bam!” is one of his catchphrases.
Iron Chef America was not created until 2005, so Lorelai was talking about the original Iron Chef, a Japanese cooking show that premiered in 1993 on the Fuji Network. In the show, visiting chefs compete against a master “Iron Chef” to create the best dish centered around a specific ingredient.