Monday, March 19, 2007

Chefography - Now I Know Why Bobby Rocks My World

What a great guy - hard-working, loyal, innovative and romantic too. I learned all that and more from the Chefography on Bobby Flay. He grew up in New York, was a child model for minutes, struggled in high school, and eventually flourished at The French Culinary Institute all in New York.

Bobby brought to the city its first really high fallutin' taste of Southwestern cuisine, which he learned at Bud's, owned by Jonathan Waxman, one of his early mentors. The New York part is interesting because we never learned of even ONE trip that Bobby made to the region that made him famous. I'm sure that was just an oversite, but the impetus for his specialization happened right in the middle of The Big Apple.

Happily for him, Jerry Kretchmer, the impresario of Gotham Bar and Grill, was looking for a chef that could do the southwestern thing. He found him in spades with the 25 year old Bobby Flay. Together they opened Mesa Grill.
And the rest, as they say, is the stuff of history or at least shrimp tamales and blue corn pancakes.

His television success, since then, demonstrates his talent for "informing and educating" at the same time, according to Jerry. And when he met the big daddy of The Iron Chefs, Masaharu Morimoto, in a special contest in New York City in 2000, he thought he was ready for the really big time.


Well-documented was the Battle/Rock Crab between the 2 men with Bobby doing his country's and his own reputation some damage. He jumped up on the workstation - on top of the cutting board, which the Japanese view as somewhat sacred - and celebrated simply FINISHING his dishes against enormous odds (a very badly cut finger, a large electric shock, little stuff like that).

Morimoto won and the Japanese frowned on Bobby's behavior. He explained afterwards that his sous chefs were so impressed by his valiant efforts to keep going that they lifted him up onto the counter never realizing that they were insulting their hosts.

Bobby Flay brought himself to Japan and they staged a rematch (Grudge Match, it was called). Again, he jumped up on the counter, this time removing the cutting board, and triumphed over the Iron Chef Supreme. In time, they became friends, these two amazing chefs.

Bobby does it all now, more restaurants, more television shows, more books under his belt. And he did one more thing in 2002. He married the lovely actress Stephanie March with a rapacious Texan appetite, who exclaimed that she couldn't believe she had found the ONE southwestern chef in New York City. Good for them.

His Chefography made me appreciate Bobby even more. He's a talented hard-working chef, who has alot to communicate about food and erotic, sorry that should be exotic, flavors. Rock on Bobby.

1 comment:

Alex said...

nice blog, I enjoyed his Chefography as well.