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Bobby Flay


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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 10 restaurants: Mesa Grill in Las Vegas, New York City, and in the Bahamas (Atlantis Paradise Island, Nassau); Bar Americain in New York City and Uncasville, Connecticut; Bobby Flay Steak in Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Bobby's Burger Palace in Lake Grove, New York, Paramus, New Jersey, Eatontown, New Jersey, Uncasville, Connecticut, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Flay has hosted seven Food Network television programs and appeared regularly on an eighth. He has also appeared as a guest on other Food Network shows and hosted a number of specials on the network. Flay is also featured on the Great Chefs television series.

Early life

Bobby Flay was born in New York City to Bill and Dorothy Flay, where he was raised and continues to live. He is a fourth generation Irish American.


Flay dropped out of high school in 9th grade at age 17. Flay said that his first jobs in the restaurant industry were at a pizza parlor and Baskin-Robbins. Flay then took a position making salads at Joe Allen Restaurant in New York's Theatre 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.

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 also 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. This 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.

Bolo Bar & Restaurant closed its doors on December 31, 2007, to make way for a new condominium.

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 (BBP) 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. Leases have been signed for locations in Washington, D.C., and College Park, Maryland, planned for a late 2011 opening.

Television, film, and radio

Great Chefs

Flay has been featured in several episodes of Great Chefs television including:

Great Chefs – Great Cities

Mexican Madness DVD

Great Chefs Cook American

Food Network

Flay has hosted nine cooking shows and specials on Food Network, of which five continue to run:

Hot Off the Grill with Bobby Flay (no longer airing)

Grillin' & Chillin' (no longer airing)

FoodNation (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

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.

Iron Chef

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. Not realizing that cutting boards and knives are respected in Japan, he offended Morimoto who 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.


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 cameoed in the Disney Channel original movie Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-Off as the host of the cook-off. Bobby 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. Flay 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 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.

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 978-0-44-651724-9

Bobby Flay's From My Kitchen to Your Table (Clarkson Potter, March 31, 1998) – ISBN 978-0-51-770729-6

Bobby Flay's Boy Meets Grill (Hyperion, May 19, 1999) – ISBN 978-0-78-686490-4

Bobby Flay Cooks American (Hyperion, September 30, 2001) – ISBN 978-0-78-686714-1

Bobby Flay's Boy Gets Grill (Scribner, May 18, 2004) – ISBN 978-0-74-325481-6

Bobby Flay's Grilling For Life (Scribner, May 3, 2005) – ISBN 978-0-74-327272-8

Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, October 16, 2007) – ISBN 978-0-30-735141-8

Bobby Flay's Grill It! (Clarkson Potter, April 18, 2008) – ISBN 978-0-30-735142-5

Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries and Shakes ( Clarkson Potter, April 11, 2009) – ISBN 978-0-307-46063-9

Bobby Flay's Throwdown

Horse racing

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.

Personal life

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 were later divorced. His daughter, Sophie, was born on April 16, 1996. Flay married actress Stephanie March in 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)





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