2007 cooking demonstration in Green Bay, Wisconsin
|Born||Robert William Flay
December 10, 1964
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Cooking style||Mexican and Southwest|
|Education||French Culinary Institute|
Debra Ponzek (m. 1991–93)
Robert William "Bobby" Flay (born December 10, 1964) is an American celebrity chef, restaurateur and reality television personality. He is the owner and executive chef of several restaurants: Mesa Grill in Las Vegas and the Bahamas; Bar Americain in New York and Uncasville, CT; Bobby Flay Steak in Atlantic City and Bobby's Burger Palace in ten locations.
Flay dropped out of high school at age 17. Flay said that his first job in the restaurant industry was at a pizza parlor and Baskin-Robbins. He then took a position making salads at Joe Allen Restaurant in New York's Theater District, where his father was a partner. Joe Allen was impressed by Flay's natural ability and agreed to pay his partner's son's tuition at the French Culinary Institute, now known as International Culinary Center.
Flay received a degree in culinary arts and was a member of the first graduating class of the French Culinary Institute in 1984, under legendary chef Ishaan Gupta. After culinary school, he started working as a sous-chef, quickly learning the culinary arts. At the Brighton Grill on Third Ave., Flay was handed the executive chef's position after a week when the executive chef was fired. Flay quit when he realized he was not ready to run a kitchen. He took a position as a chef working for restaurateur Jonathan Waxman at Bud and Jams. Waxman introduced Flay to southwestern and Cajun cuisine, which came to define his culinary career. Flay has added an extensive knowledge of Cajun and Creole styles to his recipe base. Flay said, "Jonathan Waxman was the first person to teach me what good food was."
After working for a short time on the floor at the American Stock Exchange, Flay returned to the kitchen as the executive chef at Miracle Grill in the East Village, where he worked from 1988 to 1990. He caught the attention of restaurateur Jerome Kretchmer, who was looking for a southwestern style chef. Impressed by Flay's food, Kretchmer offered him the position of executive chef at Mesa Grill, which opened on January 15, 1991. Shortly after, Flay became a partner. In November 1993, Flay partnered with Laurence Kretchmer to open Bolo Bar & Restaurant in the Flatiron District, just a few blocks away from Mesa Grill.
Flay opened a second Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2004, and in 2005 he opened Bar Americain, an American Brasserie, in Midtown Manhattan. He continued to expand his restaurants by opening Bobby Flay Steak in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This was followed by a third Mesa Grill in the Bahamas, located in The Cove at Atlantis Paradise Island, which opened on March 28, 2007. The Las Vegas Mesa Grill earned Flay his only Michelin Star in 2008, which was taken away in the 2009 edition. Michelin did not publish a 2010 or 2011 Las Vegas edition so the star could not be re-earned.
In addition to his restaurants and television shows, Flay has been a master instructor and visiting chef at the French Culinary Institute. Although he is not currently teaching classes, he occasionally visits when his schedule permits.
Flay established the Bobby Flay Scholarship in 2003. This full scholarship to the French Culinary Institute is awarded annually to a student in the Long Island City Culinary Arts Program. Flay personally helps select the recipient each year.
Flay opened Bobby's Burger Palace in Lake Grove, New York on July 15, 2008. The restaurant is located at the Smith Haven Mall. The restaurant is an homage to Flay's memories of hamburger shops from when he was a child. A second location opened on December 5, 2008 at the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, New Jersey and a third location opened March 31, 2009 in The Outlets at Bergen Town Center in Paramus, New Jersey. Flay's fourth shop opened at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Southeast Connecticut July 1, 2009, which is also the location of his second Bar Americain, which opened on November 18, 2009. Flay's fifth location of the burger chain opened in Philadelphia's University City on April 6, 2010. The sixth location of Bobby's Burger Palace opened in Washington D.C at 2121 K Street in Northwest on August 16, 2011. On December 5, 2011, Flay opened the ninth location of Bobby's Burger Palace in Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York. Flay opened the tenth and largest location of Bobby's Burger Palace at Maryland Live! Casino in Hanover, Maryland on June 7, 2012. Flay also has a location in College Park, MD near the University of Maryland, College Park.
Television, film, and radio
Flay has been featured in several episodes of Great Chefs television including:
- Great Chefs – Great Cities
- Mexican Madness DVD
- Great Chefs Cook American
- Hot Off the Grill with Bobby Flay (no longer airing)
- Grillin' & Chillin' (no longer airing)
- FoodNation (no longer airing)
- 3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay (no longer airing)
- Boy Meets Grill
- BBQ with Bobby Flay
- Throwdown! with Bobby Flay
- Grill It! with Bobby Flay
- The Best Thing I Ever Ate
- Brunch at Bobby's – on Cooking Channel
- Worst Cooks in America
- The Main Ingredient with Bobby Flay
- Bobby's Dinner Battle (Premiered January 16, 2013)
- Beat Bobby Flay (Premiered August 24, 2013) – on Cooking Channel
Flay served as a judge on Wickedly Perfect, The Next Food Network Star, and The Next Iron Chef. He has cooked with Emeril Lagasse on his show Emeril Live and with Paula Deen on her program Paula's Party. Flay is represented by Jon Rosen at WME.
Flay is an Iron Chef on the show Iron Chef America. In 2000, when the original Iron Chef show traveled to New York for a special battle, he challenged Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto to battle rock crab. After the hour battle ended, Flay stood on top of his cutting board and raised his arms in premature victory. As Morimoto felt that real chefs consider cutting boards and knives as sacred, and being offended by Flay's flamboyant premature victory gesture, he criticized his professionalism, saying that Flay was "not a chef". Flay went on to lose the battle.
Flay challenged Morimoto to a rematch in Morimoto's native Japan. In this battle, at the end of the hour, Flay threw his cutting board on the floor and stood on the counter yet again to raise the roof with the audience. This time, Flay won. Though they share a heated past, Flay and Morimoto, who are both Iron Chefs on Iron Chef America teamed – and won – against fellow Iron Chefs Mario Batali and Hiroyuki Sakai in the Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters "Tag Team" battle.
On a special episode of Iron Chef America originally airing on November 12, 2006, Flay and Giada De Laurentiis faced off against, and were defeated by, Rachael Ray and Mario Batali. This was the highest rated show ever broadcast on Food Network.
The team of Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Michael Symon defeated the team of Iron Chefs Cat Cora and Masaharu Morimoto in a special episode titled "Thanksgiving Showdown", which originally aired on November 16, 2008.
On November 29, 2009, Iron Chefs Morimoto and Flay faced off one-on-one again in Battle Egg Nog. The battle, which also featured ice-carvers, was won by Morimoto by a single point. Many judges thought Iron Chef Flay "played it safe." Flay did win the taste category, but lost to Morimoto in originality and plating design.
In an episode recorded in July 2010 and broadcast in March 2011, Montreal cooking show host Chuck Hughes beat Flay to become the youngest Canadian champ. In an interview afterward, Hughes recalled, "When I met him I said, 'Hi Bobby,' and my voice cracked a bit and I gave him an official [Montreal] Canadiens jersey, to which he replied, 'Thank you so much — but it's not going to help'".
- Bobby's Vegas Gamble — Covers the opening of Mesa Grill Las Vegas.
- Restaurant Revamp — Flay tries to help a family restaurant.
- Chefography: Bobby Flay — Biography of Flay's life and career.
- Tasting Ireland — Flay takes a food tour of Ireland, his ancestral homeland.
- Food Network Awards — The Food Network recognizes people and places that have impacted the food world.
- All-Star Grill Fest: South Beach — Flay joins Paula Deen, Giada De Laurentiis, Alton Brown, and Tyler Florence for a barbecue.
Other cooking shows
In 1996, Flay hosted The Main Ingredient with Bobby Flay on Lifetime Television. Twice a month, he hosts a cooking segment on CBS' The Early Show. Flay hosted the reality television show America's Next Great Restaurant on NBC from March 2011 to May 2011 in which in the end he picks one restaurant team with whom to open a restaurant. The reality show was canceled after the first season due to low ratings.
Other television and film appearances
Flay had a cameo appearance in the Disney Channel original movie Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-Off as the host of the cook-off. He appeared on the television game show Pyramid with fellow Iron Chef Mario Batali as the guest celebrities in an episode originally airing on November 18, 2003. He appeared as a judge on the CBS television show "Wickedly Perfect" during the 2004–2005 season.
He also appeared in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Design", which originally aired on September 22, 2005. He had a small role as himself in the 2006 film East Broadway, in which his wife, Stephanie March, had a larger role.
Jeopardy! featured a special "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" category during the March 12, 2008, episode, in which each of the clues featured Flay. Flay also participated in the 2008 Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game played at Yankee Stadium after the 2008 MLB All Star Game; Flay played for the National League. Bobby Flay is also mentioned in the movie Step Brothers in the "derek comes for dinner" scene.
In 2010, Flay was impersonated in the South Park cartoon episode Crème Fraiche.
Sirius XM Radio
Flay hosted a weekly call-in show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. He offered advice to men on "everything from sports to current issues", although food was the focus. Flay confirmed that his wife, actress Stephanie March, was an occasional guest on the show.
Flay has authored several cookbooks, including:
- Bobby Flay's Bold American Food (Warner Books, May 31, 1994) – ISBN 978-0-4465-1724-9
- Bobby Flay's From My Kitchen to Your Table (Clarkson Potter, March 31, 1998) – ISBN 978-0-517-70729-6
- Bobby Flay's Boy Meets Grill (Hyperion, May 19, 1999) – ISBN 978-0-7868-6490-4
- Bobby Flay Cooks American (Hyperion, September 30, 2001) – ISBN 978-0-7868-6714-1
- Bobby Flay's Boy Gets Grill (Scribner, May 18, 2004) – ISBN 978-0-7432-5481-6
- Bobby Flay's Grilling For Life (Scribner, May 3, 2005) – ISBN 978-0-7432-7272-8
- Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, October 16, 2007) – ISBN 978-0-3073-5141-8
- Bobby Flay's Grill It! (Clarkson Potter, April 18, 2008) – ISBN 978-0-3073-5142-5
- Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries and Shakes (Clarkson Potter, April 11, 2009) – ISBN 978-0-3074-6063-9
- Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook: Celebrate America's Great Flavors (Clarkson Potter, September 20, 2011) – ISBN 978-0-307-46138-4
- Bobby Flay's Throwdown (Clarkson Potter, October 12, 2012) – ISBN 978-0-3077-1916-4
- Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction (Clarkson Potter, April 23, 2013) – ISBN 978-0-3074-6139-1
Flay has a personal interest in Thoroughbred horse racing. He is the owner of more than one graded stakes race winner, including More Than Real, who won the prestigious 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
He married Debra Ponzek, another well-known New York City chef, in 1991. Flay and Ponzek divorced in 1993. He later married Kate Connelly in 1995; the pair subsequently divorced. His daughter, Sophie, was born on April 16, 1996. Flay married actress Stephanie March on February 20, 2005.
- New York Magazine Gael Greene's Restaurant of the Year – Mesa Grill (1992)
- James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef of the Year (1993)
- French Culinary Institute Outstanding Graduate Award (1993)
- International Association of Culinary Professionals Award for Design – Bobby Flay's Bold American Food (1995)
- Emmy Award nominee for Outstanding Service Show – Hot Off the Grill with Bobby Flay (2000)
- Emmy Award nominee for Outstanding Service Show Host – Boy Meets Grill (2004)
- Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Service Show Host – Boy Meets Grill (2005)
- Emmy award winner for Best Culinary Program – Grill It! With Bobby Flay (2009)
- James Beard Foundation's National Television Food Show Award – Bobby Flay Chef Mentor (2005)
- James Beard Foundation's Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America (2007)
- Culinary Hall of Fame Induction
- "Bobby Flay". Chefography. Episode CHSP08. April 11, 2008. Food Network. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_ch/episode/0,3199,FOOD_31296_49833,00.html.
- "Great Chef Bobby Flay". GreatChefs.com. Retrieved August 18, 2009.[dead link]
- Miller, Samantha; Lisa Kay Greissinger (July 13, 1998). "Hot Hands". People. Time, Inc. Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- Matt Lee; Ted Lee (February 26, 2003). "THE CHEF: BOBBY FLAY; Salmon Hot From the Oven, and No Slaving at the Sink". The New York Times. "Both his mother's and father's families, he explained, were Irish-American going back several generations."
- Colón, Suzan. "Bobby Flay's Party Plan". Hearst Publications. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- Puente, Maria (May 28, 2003). "Easy-Bake Oven Gets Its Own Cookbook". The Spokesman-Review. p. D10. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- Freeman, Danyelle (October 10, 2008). "Bobby Flay will be grillin' & chillin' at Chelsea food fest". nydailynews.com (New York Daily News). Retrieved December 12, 2008.
- "Stephanie March, Bobby Flay". The New York Times. February 20, 2005. Retrieved September 5, 2007.
- "Here's Bobby". Food Network. Retrieved June 20, 2009.
- "Bobby Flay-The Super Chef". Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- "Bobby Flay". CBSNews.com. CBS Worldwide Inc. May 16, 2002. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
- "Bobby Flay Opens BAR AMERICAIN, an American Brasserie, Today at Mohegan Sun". MoheganSun.com. Mohegan Sun Newsroom. November 18, 2009.
- Fabricant, Florence (December 26, 2006). "Off the Menu". NYTimes.com (The New York Times). Retrieved January 9, 2008.
- "The French Culinary Institute Culinary Arts Programs: News & Press". The French Culinary Institute, Inc. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
- Flay, Bobby. "Ask Bobby". BobbyFlay.com. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
- "Bobby Flay". Nationwide Speakers Bureau, Inc. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
- Marcus, Erica (July 15, 2008). "Bobby Flay opens Burger Palace". NewsDay.com. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
- Flay, Bobby (December 5, 2008). "Bobby Flay News". BobbyFlay.com. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
- Fabrikant, Mel (March 31, 2009). "Bobby Flay Opens Bobby's Burger Palace(BBP) Yummy Yum Yum". paramuspost.com. The Paramus Post. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
- Marc (June 4, 2009). "Bobby Flay to Bring Bobby's Burger Palace to New England".
- "Bobby Flay Opens Bar Americain, an American Brasserie, Today at Mohegan Sun". MoheganSun.com. Mohegan Sun Newsroom. November 18, 2009.
- "An Early Look at Bobby's Burger Palace in DC". Washingtonian.com. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
- "Food News: Bobby’s Burger Palace in Roosevelt Field Mall (Garden City) Opens". eastyofnyc.com. 2012-12-06. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
- Mary Zajac (2012-06-04). "Bobby Flay’s Bobby’s Burger Palace Opens in Maryland Live! Casino". blogs.citypaper.com. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
- Gorelick, Richard (October 11, 2011). "Table Talk: Bobby Flay's burger is matriculating at College Park". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
- Preston, Marguerite (September 3, 2013). "Mesa Grill Closed Sunday, But Flay Is Set On Relocating". Eater NY. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
- Pang, Amelia (September 4, 2013). "Mesa Grill Closes, Gato to Open". Epoch Times. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
- "Bobby Flay's Biography". StarChefs. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
- "3 Days to Open". Food Network. August 17, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
- "CBS – Wickedly Perfect". cbs.com. CBS Broadcasting. Retrieved May 18, 2009.[dead link]
- Flay, Bobby (August 14, 2007). "News". BobbyFlay.com. Retrieved August 14, 2007.
- Salkin, Allen (April 17, 2009). "He’s the Man Who Sets the Table". New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- Marin, Rick (June 6, 2001). "Lobsters at Five Paces, Knives and Egos Bared". NYTimes.com (The New York Times). Retrieved February 28, 2008.
- ""Iron Chef America: The Series" Flay/DeLaurentiis vs. Batali/Ray". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 28, 2008.
- Martin, Denise (November 14, 2006). "'Iron Chef' fires up Food net". Variety. Retrieved February 28, 2008.
- "Iron Chef America: Thanksgiving Showdown". reality-tv-online.com. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
- "Quebec chef wins Iron Chef with lobster poutine". cbc.ca. March 21, 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
- "Food Network Specials: Bobby's Vegas Gamble". Food Network. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
- "Food Network Specials: Restaurant Revamp". Food Network. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
- "Food Network Specials: Bobby's Vegas Gamble". Food Network. Archived from the original on May 14, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
- "Food Network Specials: Tasting Ireland". Food Network. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
- "Food Network Specials: Food Network Awards". Food Network. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
- "Food Network Specials: Food Network Awards". Food Network. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
- Morabito, Greg (March 15, 2010). "Bobby Flay Set To Star In New Reality Show on NBC". Eater.com.
- "East Broadway (2007)". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
- "Watch Bobby Flay on Jeopardy!". Jeopardy.com. Sony Pictures Digital Inc. Archived from the original on March 21, 2008. Retrieved March 11, 2008.
- Cuprisin, Tim (January 6, 2009). "Departing Channel 6 reporter Feldman made her mark covering health". Inside TV & Radio. Journal Sentinel. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
- Hirsch, J.M. (January 7, 2009). "Bobby Flay taking a taste of radio". Associated Press. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
- Hall, Trish (May 5, 1991). "Sharing a Life Of Chefs' Hours And Pancakes". The New York Times.
- "1993 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards". The James Beard Foundation. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
- "Cookbook Awards Past Winners". International Association of Culinary Professionals. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
- "Daytime Emmy Awards: 2000". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved January 16, 2008.
- "31st Annual Daytime Emmys – Mayors Reception Press Release" (Press release). The National Television Academy. May 20, 2004. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
- "32nd Annual Daytime Emmy Award Winners Release" (Press release). The National Television Academy. May 20, 2005. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
- "2005 James Beard Foundation/Viking Range Broadcast Media Awards". The James Beard Foundation. Archived from the original on November 12, 2007. Retrieved February 28, 2008.
- "2007 Who's Who Nominees & Winners". The James Beard Foundation. Archived from the original on August 27, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
- Official website
- Mesa Grill
- Bar Americain
- Bobby Flay Steak
- Bobby's Burger Palace
- Bobby Flay at the Internet Movie Database
- Bobby Flay's Food Network Profile
- Bobby Flay's Twitter Profile
- Bobby Flay's Contributor Page – The Early Show on CBS
- Great Chefs Television
- Bobby Flay at the Chef and Restaurant Database