He may be a revered Iron Chef, an unapologetic mentor on Food Network Star and a restaurant owner many times over, but when it comes to facing off against some of the best chefs in the country, Bobby Flay isn’t indestructible. Just a few weeks ago on Beat Bobby Flay, the host fell to Chef Brian Tsao in one challenge — Battle Taco — that would have seemingly been Bobby’s for the taking; after all, the Iron Chef is known for his affinity for and mastery of Southwestern cuisine. He offered guest judges his version of a puffy taco, and while they indeed offered praise for the dish, it was no match for Chef Brian’s Korean-inspired plate.
It turns out, however, that Bobby has a long history with puffy tacos. FN Dish recently caught up with him and he revealed that his 2007 puffy-taco challenge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay is among his most-memorable cook-offs to date — but not necessarily because of the result of the battle.
“It was outdoors at this great restaurant called Los Barrios in San Antonio,” Bobby said of the throwdown. “And the people who own it — the Barrios family — are friends of mine, actually. And they didn’t know I was coming, and it was just great.” Although he ended up succumbing to Diana Barrios Treviño’s famed puffy tacos, Bobby held his head high, telling FN Dish, “The food was great, and the place was gorgeous.”
The rest of Bobby’s unforgettable throwdowns slant toward sweet treats: doughnuts, wedding cakes and coconut cakes. While the wedding-cake challenge forced him “so out of my realm that it was just kind of funny and difficult” and the coconut-cake battle conjured pleasant memories of that episode’s host city of Charleston, S.C., it was the guest on the doughnut episode who was most memorable for Bobby: “The guy who owns Doughnut Plant, who I respect so much, was really freaked out about the whole thing. And he really gave us a hard time. … We made it memorable, for sure.”
To relive Bobby’s puffy-taco throwdown and watch a highlight from that episode, click the play button on the video below. Then, tune in to a brand-new episode of Beat Bobby Flay on Thursday at 10|9c.