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Sur la Bobby

Lakeside Market at Sur la Table in Plano, Texas recently hosted a book signing for Bobby Flay's new cookbook, Throwdown. While waiting for Bobby to make his appearance, my dear friend and fellow Flay fan, Margot and I sampled Sea Breeze Restaurant appetizers and sipped on The Happy Relaxation Drink, listened to a live guitarist play songs like Tangerine and Blackbird. It really set the mood for the perfect day! When Bobby Flay did arrive he greeted everyone in line with a big smile and was quick to mention, "It's hot in Texas !" Flay's wife, Stephanie March, is from Highland Park so he is no stranger to Dallas.
He said this is Stephanie's town and that he loves Dallas. He ate at Fearing's that night and said he had a crazy delicious dinner (lobster nachos and grilled quail salad).

I imagine the cute older women in line behind us were singing in their heads, "Come on Bobby Light My Fire!" We overheard some funny conversation! One of the ladies said, "I wish Bobby would throw me down!"

When Margot and I stepped up to meet Bobby Flay we were delighted to have such a friendly relaxed conversation with him. You can see from these pictures that he truly interacts with his fans.

Ashley: "New York City has the best cheese on their pizza! How can we replicate that here? What cheese do you use?"
Bobby: Laughs and asks, "Do you use a pizza stone or pizza oven?"
Ashley: "Neither, we use a nonstick pizza crisper (you know the kind with the holes in it) and cook it in a regular oven."
Bobby: "Really does that work?" Sounding more serious, "Do you make your own dough?"
Ashley: "Yes and sauce too. My husband and I use Julia Child's recipe."
Bobby: "Well, you need to use a packaged mozzarella (not fresh), don't use provolone (too waxy), and keep it simple. A simple sauce, dough, and a little basil."
Ashley: "Was Julia Child a big influence on you with your French Culinary background?"
Bobby: "Ah, yes! Julia was great! We miss her! I cooked for her 80th birthday party. "

Margot and I walked away floating on air. He was so kind, personable, and easy to talk too. What a treat! Now if we could just get him to open up a restaurant in Dallas! He has plenty of excellent Southwestern company here with Fearing's and Stephan Pyles. I would hope to see all three: Dean Fearing, Stephan Pyles and Bobby Flay work together (maybe open a restaurant, Iron Chef challenge, or better yet a Southwestern Throwdown)!

Flay is the author of ten cookbooks and several cooking shows: Throwdown, Grill It, Iron Chef, and a contributor on The Early Show as well. His latest cookbook, Throwdown, has more than a hundred recipes (including the winning and losing recipes). When Flay first pitched his Throwdown show, he didn't want there to be a winner, just fade out when tasting the great food. He wanted it to be about spotlighting people who are good at what they do. He says he'd rather lose Throwdown, but win Iron Chef. Flay's Throwdown record is only a fifteen percent winning record.

Bobby was discovered at seventeen working at NYC's Joe Allen's and soon after had a paid tuition to The French Culinary Institute. I like the fact that Flay works relentlessly to challenge the way Americans taste and look at food, making it fun and flavorful. His interpretation of Southwestern cuisine was inspired by taking a tour of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. His buddies, Dean Fearing and Stephan Pyles, were an inspiration too.

My favorite Throwdown was the crepe challenge. Throwdown challenges are competitive but they are also friendly. It's a surprise competition that showcases America's delicious regional dishes. You can tell from Bobby Flay's new book that he has enjoyed traveling the around America, meeting cool people, and eating amazing food! My sister-in-law has been in town and as Dana and I were looking at Bobby's Throwdown cookbook, we kept saying yummy, delicious, I can't wait to try that...If my husband has his way it will be mac'n'cheese immediately! I love the cheeses Flay uses: Asiago, Irish white cheddar, American, fontina, and Parmesan. It sounds like the ultimate combination!

I find it interesting that Flay, a native New Yorker, is the most well known griller! My sister Paige lived in New York City for many years and in all the places she lived, she never would have had space for a grill. Perhaps it's because I'm a born and raised Texas girl and grew up with my Dad grilling all the time where I had a backyard. Flay says this about grilling, "Grilling takes the formality out of entertaining. Everyone wants to get involved."

You may find Flay to be a bit "New York" meaning he may make you mad by being: blunt, harsh, competitive, unsympathetic...but he is a team player. I read that he loved being a line cook because of the camaraderie, and he finds being the head coach to be a bit lonely. While waiting in line to see Flay it was interesting to see that his fans are so diverse; there were fairly equal amounts of men and women. He's not only popular with the ladies, but also the "manly" men! He makes cooking for men cool! My friend Margot couldn't wait to show Bobby's cookbook to her husband. She even had Bobby sign it for him!

I would imagine Bobby is a great dad! I read that he said, "If my daughter wants to get into this business, I would support that decision. She's going to have a hard time not being in it. She loves food and she's around it all the time." He also has terrific advice for cooks, career workers, fathers, and children, "Be the best at what you do, do it with passion and do it with a smile."

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