Flay has hosted several Food Network television programs, appeared as a guest and hosted a number of specials on the network. Flay is featured on the Great Chefs television series.
Flay was born in New York to Bill and Dorothy Flay. Flay was raised in the affluent Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. He is a fourth generation Irish American.
At age 8, Flay asked for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas, against his father's objections, who thought a G.I. Joe would be more gender-appropriate. He ended up getting both.
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.
Bolo Bar & Restaurant closed its doors on December 31, 2007, to make way for a 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 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.
Television, film, and radioEdit
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 (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
Worst Cooks in America
The Main Ingredient with Bobby Flay
Bobby's Dinner Battle (Premiered January 16, 2013) 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 Flays 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'".
In December 2011, Flay competed against Chef Rhett Bourgeois, of the world renowned "Rhettstaurant" (located in Baton Rouge, LA), in a holiday turkey cook-off. The competition aired on a special holiday version of Master Chef. Chef Bourgeois, with his innovated use of Asian spices, was able to dominate the contest with his "Asian-Zing" Turkey.
Check out Bobby Flay's recipe page!