I don't watch it regularly, but sometimes it just happens to be on and I'll watch it. It doesn't seem like that much of an ego trip to me.
Yeah, the premise is a little ridiculous. "Yeah, I'm super hot-shot celebrity Iron Chef Bobby Flay. With a few days prep and training I can totally win a challenge against someone who is a master at making ." Not that Flay doesn't try to be competitive, but I've always taken the format as an interesting way to showcase various chefs and cooks (yes, I am aware that they start filming these chefs and cooks by pretending they are doing a showcase on them). Aside from that, it seems that he and most of his "competition" take it light-heartedly and have fun and just want to serve tasty food. And he often loses anyway and seems genuinely surprised and thankful when he does happen to win. It could also serve as a way for him to expand his culinary horizons by cooking things that he doesn't normally cook.
I suppose it could all be an act, but I don't think so. What do you guys think?