World Chefs: Bobby Flay sharpens competitive edge on new reality TV show

Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:45am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Celebrity chef, restaurateur and reality television star Bobby Flay is a born-and-bred New Yorker who has made his culinary fortune celebrating the cuisine of the American Southwest.

Flay, who rose to prominence in the early 1990s at the helm of Mesa Grill in New York City, has since forged a culinary empire of reality television shows, cookbooks, high-end restaurants and burger eateries stretching from New York to Las Vegas to the Bahamas.

In "Beat Bobby Flay," his latest venture in reality TV, the 49-year-old competes with another chef for bragging rights to the contender's signature dish.

"I like the competition of it all," said Flay, whose first job, at 17, was cooking at the legendary Theater District haunt, Joe Allen. "I was an athlete as a kid so this is sort of my athletics as an adult. It keeps you sharp."

Flay recently spoke to Reuters about his culinary career, signature dishes and celebrity chefs.

Q: How would you describe your cuisine?

A: I'm known for Southwestern food and I think of myself as an American chef first ... I'm opening a new Mediterranean restaurant in New York called Gato so I would say that I cook American food in half my restaurants and Mediterranean food in the other half.

Q: What is the concept behind "Beat Bobby Flay"?   Continued...

Chef Michael LaScola is seen working with locally farmed Nantucket produce in this June 2004 handout photo. REUTERS/Orla Murphy-LaScola/Handout