Bobby Flay Biography

Meet Robert William “Bobby” Flay, the celebrity chef known for his innovative cooking style and love for Southwestern and Mediterranean cuisines. From a young age, Flay developed a passion for cooking and turned it into a successful career. With a chain of restaurants under his belt, he has proven that pursuing your passion can lead to great success. As a host of popular cookery shows on Food Network and the Iron Chef on “Iron Chef America,” Flay has become a household name in the culinary world. He is also an accomplished author, with several cookbooks to his name.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Robert William Flay
  • Age: 59 Years, 59 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Kate Connelly (m. 1995), Stephanie March (m. 2005), Debra Ponzek (m. 1991–1993)
    • Father: Bill
    • Mother: Dorothy Flay
    • Children: Sophie Flay
  • Born Country: United States
  • Quotes By Bobby Flay
  • Chefs
  • Ancestry: Irish American
  • Notable Alumni: French Culinary Institute
  • U.S. State: New Yorkers
  • More Facts
  • Education: French Culinary Institute
  • Awards:
    • 2005 – Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host
    • 2009 – Emmy award for Best Culinary Program
    • 2005 – James Beard Foundation’s National Television Food Show Award
    • 2007 – James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America
    • 1995 – International Association of Culinary Professionals Award for Design
    • 1993 – James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year Award

Childhood & Early Life

Bobby Flay was born to Irish American parents, Bill and Dorothy Flay, who divorced when he was young. He was raised in an affluent neighborhood. From a young age, he loved the kitchen and would manage his mother’s grocery lists and make snacks after school. At the age of eight, he asked for an easy-to-use oven for Christmas. He was not interested in academics and dropped out of school at the age of 17.


In 1982, Flay was offered a job making salads at Joe Allen Restaurant in New York. His father, a partner at the restaurant, had ordered him to work there. Joe Allen was impressed by Flay’s work and arranged for him to attend the French Culinary Institute. He graduated from the institute in 1984 and started working at the Brighton Grill. He eventually became the executive chef but later quit.

Flay then found work as a chef at Bud and Jams under renowned restaurateur Jonathan Waxman, who introduced him to southwestern and Cajun cuisine. Waxman greatly influenced Flay’s career. Flay briefly tried working as a stockbroker but found it unfulfilling. He then worked as the executive chef at the Miracle Grill from 1988 to 1990.

Impressed by Flay’s cooking, restaurateur Jerome Kretchmer appointed him as the executive chef at Mesa Grill. Flay became a partner in Mesa Grill in 1991 and later opened Bolo Bar & Restaurant in 1993. He continued to add more restaurants to his chain, including a second Mesa Grill in Las Vegas in 2004, Bar American in 2005, and a third Mesa Grill in the Bahamas in 2007. He also opened Bobby’s Burger Place in 2008, with several more locations opening in the following years.

Television Career and Cookbooks

Flay has hosted 13 cookery shows and specials on Food Network, including “Boy Meets Grill,” “BBQ with Bobby Flay,” “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and “Bobby’s Dinner Battle.” He has also made appearances on shows hosted by Emeril Lagasse and Paula Deen. Flay is also the author of several cookbooks, including “Bobby Flay’s Bold American Food” (1994), “Bobby Flay’s Boy Meets Grill” (1999), “Bobby Flay’s Grilling For Life” (2005), and “Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries and Shakes” (2009).

Personal Life

Flay has been married three times. His first wife was Debra Ponzek, a famous chef. They married in 1991 and divorced in 1993. He then married Kate Connelly in 1995, but they also divorced. In 2005, Flay married actress Stephanie March, but they separated in 2015.

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