We’re all about grilling and outdoor entertaining this month. Who better to tap for barbecue tips than Bobby Flay? Here, the chef, TV host and author of the new book Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction tells us all about his ideal cookout and his most memorable Throwdown ever. Read on, and get ready to grill.
Tell us about your first cooking job. When did you know you were interested in a culinary career?
My first cooking job was at Joe Allen in the theater district of New York City. I was 17 years old and I was filling in for a busboy when he was on vacation. When he returned, the chef asked me if I would like a job in the kitchen. I said yes, he put me on the salad station, and I just kind of fell in love. From there I went to the French Culinary Institute and the rest, as they say, is history.
What do you love about grilling and cooking with fire?
Cooking outdoors is fun and casual and lends itself to really good times. I also just love the aromas of food cooking on the grill and the taste and texture once it comes off.
How would you describe your cooking style?
Regional American cuisine prepared with big, bold flavors.
What has been your most memorable Throwdown?
There have been so many. I thoroughly enjoyed each one for different reasons (i.e. food, location, competitor). I loved traveling the country and meeting so many amazing people and tasting some really incredible food prepared by very talented cooks. If I had to choose one, it was probably the Coconut Cake Throwdown in Charleston, SC. Charleston is one of the most beautiful cities in this country and coconut cake is one of my favorite desserts.
What’s a great trick or technique you use in the kitchen that people may not know about?
I love oven-to-table cooking. Use sizzling platters or cazuelas to cook the food in and then bring it to the table and serve it.
What’s your ideal summer menu?
Fish tacos with assorted relishes and guacamole, big pitchers of margaritas, and vanilla ice cream with crushed blackberries and caramel sauce.
If you could only eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It’s a tie and I refuse to choose one: cheeseburgers or lobster rolls.