He has held nearly every marker of success by which today’s popular chefs are measured with umpteen restaurants, cookbooks and TV shows. His charisma and single-minded devotion to the art of southwestern cuisine have led to his enduring presence in our food obsessed culture. Yup, I’m talking about Chef Bobby Flay.
Beneath Bobby’s amiable “Every-guy” demeanor is a trained chef with talents of staggering proportions and make-your-head-spin skills. I’ve yet to have the opportunity to visit Chef Flay’s Mesa Grill but I’ve been lucky enough to cook my way though the cookbook. His recipes are accessible yet challenging. At a recent dinner I hosted, I served his Cornmeal Crusted Oysters with Mango Vinaigrette and Red Chile Horseradish. The saltiness of the oysters combined with the crunch of the cornmeal, blended with the sweetness of the mangoes and tang of the horseradish made for a dish that was dance-on-your-tongue pleasurable yet showed remarkable subtlety and depth.
To note that Bobby’s cuisine has had a profound effect on me is not mere hyperbole. I’ve been a dedicated fanboy since the beginning (Remember Hot off the Grill with Bobby Flay? I do). His well-worn cookbooks adorn my shelves and I turn to them ofttimes to WOW my guests. He’s had an unshakable influence on my cooking.
Although I have never met him, he lives in my world through his recipes. They awaken in me a mix of curiosity and willpower and push me to attempt dishes that I’ve never dreamed of doing before. His recipes make my dinner parties hugely triumphant and the kudos I receive from my guests are in large part due to his shrewd vision and creative abilities. He epitomizes the very ideals that I espouse to attain in my cooking. Delectable, artful, comforting and soul satisfying food.
I frequently invoke his spirit while preparing for a dinner and feel as if I am one of his kitchen underlings, striving to do his dishes, and in turn him, justice. It’s a little weird, I know, but there is some inexplicable and subconscious comfort in knowing that Bobby is always by my side. Even if it’s only in print!
|Cornmeal Crusted Oysters with Mango Vinaigrette and Red Chile Horseradish|