Robert William Flay was born on December 10, 1964 in New York City, and he’s one of the most famous chefs in America, largely thanks to his nearly 20 years as part of the Food Network. His shows have included Hot Off the Grill, Boy Meets Grill, Throwdown!, Beat Bobby Flay, and Cooking Channel’s Brunch at Bobby’s, and his restaurants, Mesa Grill, Bar Americain, Bobby Flay Steak, and Bobby’s Burger Palace, are perpetually packed. While you may think you know everything about this famed chef, we bet that there are some things that you don’t.
He Asked for an Easy-Bake Oven at Age 8
Cooking was always in Flay’s blood. Even though his father objected to it, Flay received the oven and there was no stopping him after that.
He Dropped Out of High School
After dropping out of high school at age 17, his first jobs were at a pizza parlor and a Baskin-Robbins.
Cooking Ran in the Family
Flay’s father was a partner in the venerable Theater District restaurant Joe Allen, and Allen was so impressed with Flay’s natural ability in the kitchen that he agreed to put Flay through culinary school.
Jonathan Waxman was His Mentor
After graduating the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center), Flay took a position working under legendary chef Jonathan Waxman at his restaurants Bud and Jams. It was Waxman who introduced Flay to Southwestern and Cajun cuisine, which became his culinary hallmark.
He Runs a Scholarship
Established in 2003, the Bobby Flay Scholarship awards one student in the Long Island City Culinary Arts Program a full scholarship to the International Culinary Institute. Flay personally helps select the recipient.