Boy Meets Bluegrass (Bobby Flay)

Boy Meets Bluegrass (Bobby Flay)

Chef Jeremy Ashby and Chef Jonathan Lundy were among the local talent competing in top chef/iron chef style exhibitions. Chef Jonathan won the day’s competition.

Chef Bobby Flay introduced himself to the Lexington audience at Rupp Arena this morning by reassuring them he would be finished in time for kickoff (12:30 pm), beginning his demo on a dais with such dignitaries as Ag Commissioner Richie Farmer and Miss Kentucky, who seemed to stumble a bit over the names of some of his restaurants.

Saying that Lexington is the place he spends the second most amount of time (because of his horses here), he shared the events of the evening before when he was disappointed the restaurant didn’t have the 12-year old Pappy Van Winkle he’d ordered—a crisis averted when the Chef emerged from the kitchen to let Flay know he had some 23 year old Pappy IN THE CAR if Flay didn’t mind waiting while he got it.

“That’s what I love about Kentucky, you guys just wanna watch horses, drink bourbon, and eat a lotta great food.”

While he chatted, he prepped ribs, a lobster dish, and a dessert. Audience member Mary McKee asked if the bottom back of the ribs should be seasoned (he voted no). And then another audience member asked when Lexington could expect one of Flay’s signature restaurants. Saying “it’s definitely a possibility,” he asked the crowd, “which one do you guys want?” adding, “I love bourbon, maybe I could just open a bar here.”

When he asked about the prospects of finding a good Throwdown in the bluegrass (he’s already done one at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe in Louisville), an audience member recommended the sandwiches at Wallace Station. He said Hot Browns are on the menu at Bar Americain, where he tells business men who come in for lunch, “You can have the HotBrown. But you’re not goin back to work after. It’s Thanksgiving dinner on a piece of bread.”

Adding butter to his dessert dish to an audible gasp, he responded, “I love this. I’m in Kentucky, and you guys are worried about a couple sticks of butter. It’s Unsalted!” laughing “Paula Deen’s in the house.”

Asked about prospective advice for careers in the culinary arts, he initially joked “Stay out,” saying, “I need my job,” but then added how much the industry’s transformed in his lifetime. He encouraged apprenticeships (working for free) to narrow the field, saying “You could even be a food writer, write a blog…” laughing “I hate those guys. The internet’s tough though.” And he reminded the audience of Tina Fey’s advice that if you’re ever feeling too good about yourself, just go look yourself up on the internet.

When the last speaker Mona stepped to the mic to introduce her gluten-free son Zach, Flay immediately joked, “It’s not my baby! Letterman has it right. Get everything out there!”

The show continues tomorrow, Sunday, October 4.
A few photos are posted at