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Bobby ''Flay's Day''

Updated on July 31, 2011

Breaking Barriers


Food Network icon Bobby Flay has taken the cooking craft to a new level by becoming the Grand Marshal for this year's Kentucky Derby.Flay has been called many things, as a restaurant and TV personality, The new york native has held about every title using the word ''chef,sous,executive,celebrity,iron. Life in the kitchenled to ongoing stints as chef\owner,cookbook author, Emmy Award winner,reaity show judge and now Grand Marshal. born December 10, 1964 in New York City) is an American celebrity chef, restaurateur, and television personality. He is the owner and executive chef of five restaurants: Mesa Grill and Bar Americain in New York City, Mesa Grill Las Vegas (Caesars Palace), Mesa Grill Bahamas (Atlantis Paradise Island, Nassau), and Bobby Flay Steak (Atlantic City, New Jersey).

Flay has hosted six Food Network television programs and appeared regularly on a seventh. He has also appeared as a guest on other Food Network shows and hosted a number of specials on the network.

He married Debra Ponzek, another well known New York City chef, on May 11, 1991. Flay and Ponzak divorced in 1993. He later married Kate Connelly on October 1, 1995, who subsequently divorced him. Flay's daughter, Sophie, was born on April 19, 1996, Mariska Hargitay set up Flay on a blind date with actress Stephanie March, her co-star on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, in March 2001.The two began dating, and Flay proposed on December 19, 2004 while ice skating at Rockefeller Center.They were married February 20, 2005 exactly four years after their first date at Nobu restaurant.

For a long time, Flay was known to hate lentils. As The New York Times reported, "An early draft of Bar Americain's menu had a beet and goat cheese salad with lentils, but Mr. Flay rejected it before the restaurant opened. 'When I go on vacation, they run specials on lentils,' he said In 2007, Flay stated that he had "made peace" with lentils.[6] Flay also dislikes fiddlehead ferns, stating that they "taste like grass (as in the kind you mow).

Flay dropped out of high school at age 17 after he was permanently suspended. Flay 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 decided to pay his tuition at the French Culinary Institute.

Flay received a degree in culinary arts was a member of the first graduating class of the French Culinary Institute in 1984. After culinary school, he started working as a sous-chef. 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 cuisine, which came to define his culinary career. Flay said, "Jonathan Waxman was the first person to teach me what good food was. After a short time working on the floor at the American Stock Exchange. Flay's first job back as a chef was 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.

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 has hosted six cooking shows and specials on Food Network, of which four continue to run:

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

Grillin' & Chillin' (no longer airing)


Boy Meets Grill

BBQ with Bobby Flay

Throwdown! with Bobby Flay

Flay's newest Food Network show, Grill It!, is filming in New York City May 18 to May 30, 2008.[14]

Flay served as a judge on 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 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 sacred 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, are now friends. They even 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.

Food Network Specials

Bobby's Vegas Gamble - Covers the opening of Mesa Grill Las Vegas

Restaurant Revamp - Bobby 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.[2]

Other Television and Movie Appearances

Flay cameoed in the Disney Channel original movie Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-Off. 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 has authored several cookbooks, including:

Bobby Flay's Bold American Food (Warner Brothers, 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 28, 2008) - ISBN 978-0-30-735142-5

Flay was mentioned as the celebrity chef at a club opening in the novel Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis.


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)

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

Bobby Flay has open many doors for up and coming chefs like my self he has truly made our jobs worth while


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    • Handicapped Chef profile image

      Handicapped Chef 8 years ago from Radcliff Ky


    • profile image

      Isabella McNally-Sezer 8 years ago

      I would love to obtain a copy of the show that aired on 3/10/10 @ 8:00 pm....I believe it was A Taste of Ireland.

      I think I was in the photo of a woman kissing the Blarney Stone.

    • profile image

      jaydahsmama 9 years ago

      he has really done alot and is so great to watch on tv

    • Handicapped Chef profile image

      Handicapped Chef 9 years ago from Radcliff Ky

      he truly is a awsome person