The Early Days of Stardom — Bobby Flay

by in Food Network Star, May 31, 2013

Bobby FlayThree of Food Network's longest-standing chefs, Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, are no strangers to the demands of stardom, now having years of experience multitasking in front of the camera and cooking. But before they were industry professionals, Alton, Bobby and Giada, too, once had to learn the ins and outs of what this job entails, much like Star finalists will in the early weeks on set. As Star Talk gets ready to kick off an all-new ninth season of Food Network Star, we'll be taking a look back at each judge-mentor's earliest days on the network, revisiting their earliest shows and exploring how they turned their passion for food into a full-time job.

Although he's now the host of Bobby's Barbecue Addiction and Barbecue with Bobby Flay, this New York City chef's range in the industry reaches far beyond outdoor grilling. A longtime Iron Chef, Bobby has been competing on the Chairman's elite team of culinary masters since Iron Chef America's inception in 2005, although he partook in several face-offs with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, an Iron Chef in Japan, before he, too, joined the ranks of Kitchen Stadium stateside.

Bobby FlayWith more than 50 battles under his belt, Bobby's no stranger to the demands and challenges of cooking in Iron Chef America's great culinary amphitheater. He's been known to take sizeable but well-calculated risks in his cooking techniques, testing the boundaries of such familiar and unexpected Secret Ingredients as bananas, chocolate, wild boar and barramundi. No matter his challenges, however, more often than not, Bobby's showing in Kitchen Stadium results in a victory over his competition.

Bobby FlayWhether he's throwing down against a competitor in Kitchen Stadium or cooking for friends and family in his at-home kitchen, Bobby gravitates toward the foods of the American Southwest, specializing in light, fresh twists on tacos, guacamole and more. He's been cooking since he was a teenager, first at Joe Allen's, a restaurant in New York City's theater district. There, he impressed Joe so much so that Joe sent him to The French Culinary Institute for formal training. Bobby quickly climbed the culinary ladder at various restaurants after graduation before ultimately opening his first solo venture, Mesa Grill. Now the owner of two additional Mesa Grills, plus Bobby Flay Steak, Bar Americain and more than 10 Bobby's Burger Palaces, Bobby has created a fleet of approachable restaurants at which his fans can experience the cuisine they know him for firsthand.

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Comments (17)

  1. Kay Alexander says:

    Thursday, I watched the Food Network Marathon with Bobby Flay. I was never a fan of his, but after watching his conduct compared to Alton and Gina's; I have to give Bobby five stars. He didn't lose his cool nor display his lack of professionalism.

  2. joyce says:

    I agree with you. He is the ultimate professional! I respect his judgement and his contribution to the Food Network!

  3. Crouton40 says:

    No doubt about it, Bobby Flay knows food! He's an Iron Chef. He's earned it. He can take whatever you throw at him and think on the fly.

    I also like his Throwdown and Bobby's Barbecue Addiction shows. Some have criticised him in the past but I think he is mellowing a little (in a good way). Last year, on Food Network Star, his mentoring was straight-ahead, matter-of-fact and useful. He seems to be getting more of a "mellow yet authoritative" vibe to him. It would be a honor to have him teach you anything at all in the kitchen.

  4. I was looking forward to this season until I saw that Danuska was on. I understand they need a foil-somebody everyone wants to go home. I find her too annoying to watch for five minutes. She was a horrible cook on Chopped and does not deserve this slot, to the detriment of other better cooks. This show has become not about cooking, but staged reality show.

  5. pastry_pal says:

    The big winner tonight on FNS: the mentors and judges! They were all about talent, performance, and being realistic in assessing the potential talent. It was so much fun to watch--no histrionics or crying.

    Glad that Danuska stayed--she's a hoot!!!!! Talk about being a caricature of oneself.... I don't want to be mean, but she just begs a chuckle. She actually should do a promo while swilling a martini ;D She can stay until the cows come home as far as I'm concerned (she's a sitcom waiting to happen).

    It's a shame that the guy with the fierce cooking skills is not a natural for tv--yet. Maybe we'll be surprised.

    The best premise for a show so far: Meat on the Side. Nobody else does that.

    • spooner says:

      In the surprise finale, Danushka and Penny have a cook-off and slam each others dishes.
      Hosted by Jerry Springer.

  6. Eggpants says:

    is this Food Network or the Bobby Flay and Triple D Network?

  7. Debra says:

    I watched the first episode of Food Network Star & it will probably be my last. I cannot believe they let Daniela go & not Danushka, . If the judges will remember what they said about the dishes that were made I don't think Daniela would have gone. They ALL liked Danela's dish, Bobby Flay even commented that it was good. Maybe her video wasn't so good but I could tell she was so nervous. The judges called Danushka aloof & didn't like what she cooked. Also, here we go again with the same thing on Chopped. Danushka makes rude comments on the other competitors. The judges also have to realize the way she is behaving is her, therefore, if they tell her to smile or talk "happy" it will be viewed as phoney. Also, what happened with the audience votes? Nothing was mentioned on how they voted. I'm sure I'm writing this for nothing because the competition is most likely over but I don't think the judges voting is wrong.

    As for Giada. I no longer can watch her cooking show. She is pleasant to watch but whenever she tastes something she has to eat with her mouth open, drives me nuts. One might think she does it so the audience can hear her obnoxiously crunch in the microphone to allow views to hear it. Believe me we don't need to hear it & she is the only one who does it. When she joins whoever it is she invites to eat, she eats the same way, with her mouth open.

    • Andrea says:

      And showing all that cleavage so often on her show. She is pretty but she can be snarky to other women.

  8. H.Benedict says:

    Boy Meets Grill turned me on to Flay back in the beginning. I've been an avid grilled since my teens and could understand why Food Network didn't cover this style of cooking. Then one day his show comes on and I was hooked. I use some of his cook books often as I don't get to grill as often as I use to.

  9. Carrie Ann says:

    While I have a certain very personal Fn stars I connect with Bobby is the one food network that I've been all 4 of his restaurants and I loved them all . But I think Mesa grill in Las Vegas was my favorite . Very fancy , but excellent and familiar American south west food - that's Bobby's signature after all .

  10. Sheri says:

    I can not tolerate Bobby Flay.. since the day he jumped on the cutting board while on the original Iron Chef with Morimoto --
    Then at the second meeting, he threw the cutting board on the floor like a frisbee...
    it it the ground.. and he danced upon the counter top..
    I have no respect for such a man who calls himself a 'Chef'

    • Wendy R. Holguin says:

      I was just talking to my friend this morning about that episode. Morimoto said he wasn't a real chef because he jumped on the cutting board. .