Flay, Bobby 1964–

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Flay, Bobby 1964–

PERSONAL: Born October 9, 1964, in New York, NY; father an attorney and restaurateur; married (marriage ended); married Stephanie March (a television actor), February 20, 2005; children: (first marriage) Sophie. Education: Graduated from French Culinary Institute (New York, NY).

ADDRESSES: Agent—Stephanie Banyas, c/o Mesa Grill, 102 5th Ave., New York, NY 10011; fax: 212-645-5783. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Chef, restaurateur, educator, and television show host. Owner and founder of numerous restaurants, including Mesa Grill, New York, NY, 1991–; Bolo, New York, NY, 1993–; Mesa Grill Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV; and Bar Americain. Host of television shows on Food Network, including Boy Meets Grill, BBQ with Bobby Flay, FoodNation, and Hot off the Grill, beginning in 1996. Master instructor at French Culinary Institute, New York, NY. Food correspondent for Early Show, Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc.

AWARDS, HONORS: Rising Chef of the Year Award, James Beard Foundation, 1993; Outstanding Graduate Award, French Culinary Institute, 1993; TY Award, New York State Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, 2005.

WRITINGS:

(With Joan Schwartz) Bobby Flay's Bold American Food: More than Two Hundred Revolutionary Recipes, photographs by Tom Eckerle, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Joan Schwartz) From My Kitchen to Your Table, photographs by Tom Eckerle, C. Potter (New York, NY), 1998.

Boy Meets Grill, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1999.

Bobby Flay Cooks American, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2001.

Boy Gets Grill, Scribner (New York, NY), 2004.

Bobby Flay's Grilling for Life, Scribner (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Celebrity chef, restaurateur, and entrepreneur Bobby Flay is a well-known figure on cable television and on bookstore shelves. The host of a number of shows on the Food Network, owner of several restaurants, and the author of six successful cookbooks, Flay is a charismatic presence in a world where culinary arts and entertainment intersect.

Flay was born in New York City in 1964 and appeared in a number of television commercials for products such as Dr. Pepper and Oreo cookies before he started kindergarten. He was interested in cooking even as a child, and he loved to bake. After graduating from high school in 1982, he had no clear-cut career plans. One day, however, he received a call from his father, a former attorney who had left the legal profession to become a partner in Joe Allen's, a prominent eatery in New York's Broadway district. The busboy, his father said, needed to visit a sick relative, and Flay was instructed to report to the restaurant the next day to help out. Flay stayed on as a busboy after his first day, and gradually worked his way up through the restaurant's hierarchy to become assistant to the chef. His father's restaurant partner sent Flay to the French Culinary Institute in New York, and Flay worked in several other Manhattan restaurants before becoming head chef at the Miracle Grill. There, he began to develop the interest in southwestern cuisine that would provide the theme for his own restaurant ventures.

In 1991, Flay opened the Mesa Grill in New York City. Two years later, he opened Bolo, which specializes in European Spanish cuisine. The restaurants' quality won over some of New York's toughest food critics, including New York magazine's Gael Greene, who in 1992 named the Mesa Grill the city's best restaurant. Flay went on to open two more establishments: Bar Americain, which serves American brasserie-style cuisine and American regional food, and Mesa Grill Las Vegas, a western version of his famous New York eatery that is located in the gambling and entertainment hot spot, Caesar's Palace. In a review of Mesa Grill Las Vegas, Travel Weekly writer Barbara J. Nosek observed that "Flay is fearless when it comes to incorporating spices and seasonings, and yet it's all executed in such a sure-handed way that the resulting dishes won't flame out the taste buds, instead treating them to complex layers of harmonious flavors."

In 1996 Flay debuted on the Food Network—a channel devoted to cooking and fine dining—and quickly became one of the network's top hosts. His shows include FoodNation, BBQ with Bobby Flay, and Boy Meets Grill. In addition to his own programs, Flay appears regularly on the CBS Early Show and on Food Network specials. When he appeared on Food Net work's Iron Chef America and won the competition, he incensed his Japanese opponent by climbing on top of the counter and standing on a cutting board, a scandalous breach of kitchen etiquette to the Japanese.

Flay is also well known as the author of several popular cookbooks, many of which are direct tie-ins to the shows he hosts on the Food Network. Boy Gets Grill offers preparation and cooking instructions for a variety of ethnic-flavored dishes, including Peking duck, pizza, Caribbean-influenced grilled chicken, lobster, and the griller's favorite, the All-American cheeseburger. Flay "personifies the urban griller," observed Mark Knoblauch in Booklist, and his "fertile imagination for the pairing of smoky and sweet ingredients make this a sought-after title." Flay's advice and technique "show … that there is a sensitive, more elegant side of grilling," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

Bobby Flay's Grilling for Life contains recipes geared toward health-conscious grillers who are watching their weight and monitoring carbohydrate intake. The recipes include fare such as zucchini succotash, beef filet, and grilled apricots with bittersweet chocolate. Flay avoids processed foods and sauces and instead encourages grillers to use natural spices, fresh herbs, multigrains, vegetables, and olive oil. The book's "introduction and headnotes capture Flay's tone and provide clear direction and interesting tips," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor. Library Journal reviewer Judith Sutton predicted the book "is sure to be in demand." The result is "food that's satisfying even if it's reduced in calories," the Publishers Weekly reviewer remarked.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 2004, Mark Knoblauch, review of Boy Gets Grill, p. 1534.

Crain's New York Business, May 30, 2005, Bob Lape, "Bobby Flay's American Way: Bar Americain Flavors Its Brasserie Style Red, White, and Blue," restaurant review, p. 16.

Library Journal, April 15, 2005, Judith Sutton, review of Bobby Flay's Grilling for Life, p. 112.

Meeting News, March 21, 2005, Fred Gebhart, "Superstar Chefs Set to Make the City Sizzle," p. 56.

Nation's Restaurant News, October 4, 2004, Alan J. Liddle, "Celeb Chefs, Top Restaurateurs Steal Show in Las Vegas with New Dining Destinations," p. 8; February 21, 2005, Lisa Jennings, "Chefs Puck, Flay, Mina Place Bets on Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel," p. 8; July 11, 2005, Paul Frumkin, "Bar Americain," p. 52.

People, March 7, 2005, "I Do! Actress Stephanie March Weds Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay," p. 80.

Publishers Weekly, April 26, 2004, review of Boy Gets Grill, p. 55; April 11, 2005, review of Bobby Flay's Grilling for Life, p. 47.

Restaurant Hospitality, August, 2005, John Mariani, "Those Wacky TV Chefs," p. 22.

Time, August 9, 2004, Lisa McLaughlin, "Global Grilling: New Cookbooks Give an International Spin to the American Cookout," review of Boy Gets Grill, p. 99.

Travel Weekly, November 15, 2004, Barbara J. Nosek, "Caesars Adds a Dash of Star Power, Casual Fare," p. L8.

Washington Monthly, November, 2004, Joshua Green, "Grill Seeker: How George Foreman, Ted Nugent, and Bobby Flay Taught Me to Be a Real Suburban Man," p. 44.

ONLINE

Bobby Flay Home Page, http://www.bobbyflay.com (September 19, 2005).

Food Network Web site, http://www.foodnetwork.com/ (September 19, 2005), biography of Bobby Flay.