Bobby Flay earned acclaim almost as soon as he opened Mesa Grill in Manhattan in 1991. His explosion onto the national scene coincided with the advent of the Food Network. Now the esteemed chef, restaurateur and television personality has a several restaurant concepts, including Bar Americain and Bobby’s Burger Palace. On November 18, we spoke at Raleigh Studios. Flay was in L.A. to judge the finale of Aetna Healthy Food Fight and shared several insights.
What measures do you take to stay healthy?
The two things that I do that I think are most important are to obviously exercise, constantly. I run about five or six days a week. I just got finished running the New York City Marathon last Sunday. I’d sort of been in training for that. For me, running is the best way to stay in shape and keep off the calories because I’m surrounded by food all the time. I’m in my restaurants all the time, cooking and obviously tasting the food constantly. One of the hazards of being a chef is that you’re constantly around food. The other thing that I do is that when I go out to dinner, I only eat about three-quarters of what’s put in front of me. I think that makes me eat in moderation. And that’s a word that gets over-used a lot, but that’s a word that’s incredibly important. If you are able to really be focused on moderation and exercise, then you have a good sense of being healthy.
What’s a go-to dish that you like to prepare at home that fits with that theme?
One of the things I don’t do, I don’t just try to create healthy – so to speak – healthy meals all the time. A lot of times you’re not cooking for flavor, you’re just cooking for health. I think it’s the things that you don’t eat that are important. I don’t have any fast food in my diet. I’ll have a hamburger every once in awhile, but maybe I’ll eat half of it, as opposed to all of it. And I’ll only do that once every couple weeks, or something like that. I try to stay away from fried foods as much as I can, but that doesn’t mean that I completely leave them out of my diet. A couple French fries here and there is totally fine. I think it’s important to not just decide to cut everything out of your diet. A lot of times people will cut all the carbs out of their diet, but we need carbohydrates to stay energized and to live a healthy life. Moderation is very important.
You mentioned burgers. I know you have burger restaurants. What is the key to a great hamburger?
The key to a great hamburger is treating it like the quintessential sandwich that it is. You have to pick the right bun, you have to pick the right meat, and then the way you cook it. I cook mine on a griddle so it gets a really nice crust on the outside of it. And then of course the condiments are incredibly important as well. In our burger restaurants, there’s no processed food. It’s all healthy and natural ingredients. When you’re deciding to eat a burger, there are healthy choices to make in that department as well.
What’s your favorite burger? What cuts of beef would it involve, and what sort of bun and condiments?
It’s very simple to me. I like chuck and sirloin, and then, I think the important part about the bun is that it has to be a soft bun, so that it actually becomes part of the sandwich. If you use a firm, more artisanal roll, it doesn’t play well with the rest of the burger. The bun has to be soft, and I think that if you have those two components, you’re off to a good start.
What have you learned from competing on Throwdown?
July 13, 2011 at 11:47 AM
I’ve wondered what the Bobby Flays of the world were cooking at home. Thanks for this.
December 21, 2010 at 10:46 PM
Keep posting stuff like this i really like it
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