The series entertains not only with its storytelling, but also with its amazing characters. The series has beautiful animation and a beautiful soundtrack. The fanservice isn't too bad after a few episodes and, although it's an over-the-top series, it's so in a comedy style (rather than a super crazy dramatic plot style). I'm not a shounen person either but I was hooked.
While my love for this anime is overwhelming, it's a tournament-style show, which means repetitive gameplay. The food emanates an aroma-aura that fills the room, and viewers cheer for these moments as if they've just witnessed a dominant dunk in a close basketball game. Food Wars deserves a couple of episodes, at the very least, and, despite its major flaws, it's an easy viewing experience, good for background while you get on with another task, like googling. While most of the lurid moments are reserved for the B-plot and brief asides, even the film's main story - about a woman, Tampopo, on her quest to make great ramen - approaches food with a sensual gaze, treating food as a sacrament.
However, once the battle pattern has been discovered, the food loses much of its flavour, the rice turning to ash in the mouth. Although it's just about cooking, Food Wars treats the cooking competition as a big battle, with rabid audiences included, with secret recipes and techniques for battle strategies. In Food Wars, everything is perfect (Soma slips up once, but recovers better than Heston Blumenthal). After watching it, it was in my top 5 favourite anime (I had also watched more than 80 shows at that point).
In the tradition of turning everything into a battle anime, Food Wars takes the culinary arts and slathers them in honey and butter over a slow roasting fire, with juices dripping from the cracklings and meat about to fall off the bone, until the opponent orgasms in ecstasy and defeat. Watching this feels dirty, a violation of intimacy mixed with disgust and intrigue, the cross-wiring of food and lust sizzling in a moment of pleasure turned into something utterly absurd.