In the world of celebrity chefs, few have risen in popularity quite like Bobby Flay. First appearing on the Food Network in 1994, Flay has appeared in dozens of shows and competitions, including the famed "Iron Chef" challenges. Flay also owns a number of restaurants around the United States, including Gato in New York City, Amalfi at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and several burger shops called Bobby’s Burgers (via BobbyFlay.com). Needless to say, if you are at all familiar with the world of celebrity chefs or Food Network, you have heard about Bobby Flay.
As one of the most popular chefs out there, many fans look to Flay for inspiration on how to bring some of his culinary skills into their own kitchens at home. Whether it is crafting the perfect hamburger (Flay’s specialty) or mastering the grill, Bobby Flay has tips for beginner home cooks and helpful advice for budding chefs. Get ready to jot down some notes, because class is in session at the academy of all things Bobby Flay.
1. Add potato chips to hamburgers for added crunch
If Bobby Flay has any signature dish out there, it has got to be the hamburger. He even has his own burger palaces where hungry fans can get a taste of Bobby’s specialty (via BobbyFlay.com). While there are countless ways to dress up a basic burger, Bobby’s tip is to add a layer of crunch. After all, hamburger patties and bread can get a little mushy, no matter how tasty they are.
Bobby’s secret ingredient to adding that burst of crunch is a pile of potato chips. It is how he constructs his signature Crunchburger, or the House Burger if you happen to be ordering off the menu at Bobby’s Burger Palace. Flay insists that it is not as wild of a concept as you might think. Not only do the crispy potato chips offer a more varied texture when you bite into the burger, but they also add a nice dash of saltiness. Give it a try next time you are firing up the grill to cook some burgers.
2. Use two oils when cooking
Every home cook will wind up with some sort of cooking oil in their pantry. It is a necessity if you want to create a nonstick surface on your baking sheets, pans, and pots. But oil can be used in a variety of other ways, including as a base for salad dressings, or as a fancy drizzle on top of your favorite bowl of pasta or another savory dish. There are a ton of different kinds of oils out there, from the classics like olive oil and vegetable oil to varieties that have risen in popularity over the years, such as avocado oil.
Bobby Flay recommends that you have at least two different kinds of oil, not just for stocking up your pantry, but as separate ingredients when cooking your next meal. Flay shared with Food Network that home cooks should use a lighter oil (like vegetable oil) to actually cook with, and save your higher quality olive oil as a garnish at the end. In fact, Flay notes that olive oil should not be used at all for cooking as it is thicker than other oils that are better suited for high temperatures.
3. Buy the freshest meat possible when grilling
Summertime is a great season to fire up the grill and invite your friends over for some barbecue. Whether you are cooking up hamburgers, steak, chicken, or frankly any kind of meat, Bobby Flay urges home cooks to skip the pre-packaged options (via Food Network). Instead, head straight to the local butcher or your grocery’s butcher counter when buying ingredients. For the best results, you are going to want the freshest meat, which means striking up a conversation at the meat counter and seeing what recently arrived.
Stocking up on fresh meat straight from the butcher is about more than just the quality of the ingredients itself. Flay points out that the shrink wrap that is used to protect the packaged meat will trap moisture, which will lessen the quality of the overall meal. Instead, look for fresh, high-grade cuts that are chilled freely in the butcher case.
4. Do not take shortcuts
Prepping and cooking meals, especially on a daily basis, can be time-consuming. Though eating freshly cooked meals at home is a great way to save money and cooking can be quite an enjoyable hobby, it can still be tempting to take shortcuts when in the kitchen. But for the best results, Bobby Flay advises young chefs to follow every step of recipes and avoid shortcuts. He proclaims, "I’m a stickler for the fundamentals. A lot of times I will strip new cooks of their ‘tricks’ for getting food to the plate to make sure every step is taken to get it right."
According to Flay, the priority should not be to have the food ready in as little time as possible. The example he gives involves a chef at one of his restaurants, but the same logic can be applied to cooking at home, too. Every step should be followed carefully. That way, you avoid missing steps or doing them incorrectly so your end result will be as tasty as possible.
5. Cook your bacon in the oven
There are few things as magnificent as the smell of freshly cooked bacon first thing in the morning. This crispy protein is a morning staple, and there are several methods to cook bacon that home chefs can follow. While the sounds of sizzling and crackling bacon in the frying pan might be a nostalgic part of any complete breakfast, Bobby Flay argues that there is a better method of preparation.
While you can absolutely toss bacon into the frying pan, Flay recommends cooking it in the oven instead (via Food Network). One of the big drawbacks of using the stovetop instead of the oven, according to Flay, is that the bacon cooks unevenly. His simple steps to perfect oven-cooked bacon include laying out parchment paper flat on a cookie sheet for easier cleanup and lining up your bacon so there is space in between each strip. Then, bake it at your desired temperature, between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit, making sure it doesn’t overcook. Once the bacon is done cooking, you can add your favorite glaze or just eat it as-is. And because the baking sheet was lined with parchment paper, the otherwise tedious cleanup of bacon grease is much easier.
6. Do not check on or touch your food too much on the grill
Bobby Flay is no stranger to barbecue and recipes that require the use of a grill. It is sort of his specialty, considering one of his many claims to fame is his hamburger expertise. But burgers aside, you can cook just about anything on the grill as long as you have the right tools at your disposal. So, it should come as no surprise that Flay has a slew of tips on how to be your own grill master at home.
In fact, one of his biggest tips when cooking on the grill is one of the simplest things to keep in mind. According to Food Network, Flay recommends that you leave the grill alone and avoid checking on your food too frequently. Trust that the appliance is doing its work and lift the hood as little as possible. Every time you check on the food, precious heat escapes from under the hood, which can impact the meal you are trying to cook. Flay also recommends that you’re only flipping your food once for the best results.
7. Use a dish towel to tighten omelets
One of the tricker breakfast dishes to perfect is the omelet. Sure, the basic components of an omelet are easy enough to assemble, but constructing that impressively-folded plateful of eggs, cheese, and veggies is what separates an omelet from any old scramble. Some omelets are built by flipping the ingredients over themselves to achieve an almost quesadilla-like appearance, but if you want a rolled omelet, look no further than Bobby Flay for assistance.
One of Flay’s signature breakfast recipes is the Rolled Omelet with Gruyere, Ham, Arugula, and Torn Mustard Croutons (via Cooking Channel TV). Flay’s tip for molding the perfect rolled omelet requires a tool that you might not have thought of — a dish towel. You will want to start by folding a third of the omelet onto the center, and then slide it onto your plate. Using the towel, Flay instructs you to then roll the omelet into the perfect shape. This will also help minimize the mess and keep your hands from being covered in eggs.
8. There is an easy way to slice avocado
Avocados are as popular as they are versatile. The superfood can be used on everything from salads and sandwiches to egg scrambles and nachos, and it can also be used as a base for everyone’s favorite dip, guacamole. No matter why you find yourself stocking up on avocados at the grocery store, there’s one thing we can all agree on. They aren’t always the easiest food to access, thanks to their tough skin and the large pit you have to work around.
Bobby Flay takes the guesswork out of slicing into an avocado with a simple way to get the flesh out when making guacamole, or when you just want a diced avocado. After slicing it open into two halves and removing the pit, Flay cuts into the avocado flesh in a diamond pattern, crisscrossing the knife diagonally (via Food Network). The cuts in the flesh make it way easier to scoop everything out, and you are off to the races when it comes to wowing the crowd with your favorite avocado recipe.
9. Do not let your eggs sit in the pan when scrambling
One of the simplest breakfast meals you can make at a moment’s notice is scrambled eggs. With just a few ingredients you probably already have stocked up in your kitchen, you can whip up a tasty plate of eggs in just a few minutes. But for such an easy meal, you may be surprised at how many mistakes you can make along the way. To achieve that perfect fluffy texture, regardless of what other ingredients you add to your eggs, Bobby Flay has an important tip that he wants all home cooks to follow.
As soon as your egg batter is mixed and it is poured into your pan, Flay says that it is crucial to keep mixing the eggs. In short, do not just let the egg batter sit in the pan while cooking. Keeping the egg batter moving will help whip the ingredients together into that ideal texture, not to mention that leaving your eggs unattended could run the risk of everything drying out (via Crown Publishing Group). Another egg tip from Flay — don’t add salt until you are almost done cooking the eggs.
10. You are probably under-seasoning your food
One of the tricks to a tasty home-cooked meal is the seasoning. Everything from the basics like salt and pepper to seasonings will truly add a burst of flavor. Spices like red pepper flakes and paprika can elevate a meal from bland to out of this world. According to Bobby Flay, one of the things he most often observes with home cooks is that most of them drastically under-season their food.
According to Bobby Flay, one of the main differences between home-cooked food and restaurant food is the amount of seasoning that is used. In his words, the home cook is more "timid" than the professional cook when it comes to seasoning (via Rachael Ray Show). If you want your food to be just as good as your favorite meal at the restaurant, go all in with seasoning, and make sure you season on all sides. Even if you are just using salt and pepper, make sure that you are adding enough to bring out the flavors in whatever you are seasoning. You will be thanking yourself when it is time to eat and you have a wonderfully seasoned and tasty meal.
11. Cook your burgers in a flat cast iron pan
While building his burger empire, Bobby Flay has learned a thing or two when it comes to crafting the perfect hamburger. Not only does Flay know which ingredients to use when making one of his signature burgers, but he also knows the best tools that will get the job done. Sure, the grill is the quintessential way to prepare a burger, but what if you’re cooking indoors?
During an appearance on the Rachael Ray Show, Bobby shared his top tips for frying up the perfect patty. Flay recommends starting with quality ground beef to make your patties. Flay also suggests making a small indent in the middle of the patty for even cooking and seasoning them well with salt and pepper. Then, use a flat pan, such as cast iron, to cook your burgers, only flipping them once during the process. Near the end of cooking, you can a small bit of water to your pan and cover your patty with a small metal lid to help melt the cheese.