I recently attended a taping for one of Bobby Flay's three current Food Network offerings, Throwdown! I had been nursing a grudge against Flay for a week, ever since I purchased his Grilling for Life cookbook on Sunday at the SoBe Fest and stood in line in the direct, burning hot sun just for his signature. After 45 minutes, he didn't show, and I left.
When Paula of Mango and Lime told me about this taping, I made a mental note of it, hoping for the chance to see this dude for myself. This show will air over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and is a one-hour special, pitting Flay against three tough "opponents". One is famous for BBQ, one for mac and cheese and one for Jamaican cuisine. With the huge kettle grills and the competition heating up, the crowd of mostly Johnson & Wales students barraged Flay with questions regarding food, freshness, grilling methods and estimating doneness. Bobby Flay really took his time to answer all of the students' questions- and I thought that was pretty cool. He stressed the importance of throwing yourself into cooking, of trial and error, of tasting as you go. It was the only real part of the day, and was a welcome distraction from the hokey-ness and silliness of the whole taping the television show part. Bobby Flay also cooked, from the time the taping started all the way through. He worked the grills, prodding and testing his food. He made sauces and marinades, he tended coals. He gave us his theory as to why certain cuts of meat dry out when cooked on a grill and how to counter-act that.
There was also plenty of silliness- razing and fun-making between Bobby and the opponents, to make the throwdown a good-humored but real-seeming competition. Here's Bobby, getting in his barbs.
All told, it was a fun day. Look, the Bobby Flay name might be over commercialized (an understatement), but there's something to him that any food lover can appreciate. Almost sixty percent of Americans own grills and Bobby Flay knows what they want to see, smell and taste coming off of those grills. I wish I had thought of it...and the eggs.