On Saturday, March 1, Dan and I saw Food Network Chef Bobby Flay give a cooking demonstration at the Norfolk Scope in downtown Norfolk. It was a lot of fun, except for the part where I fell down the steps at the bottom because I was admiring the “Mesa Grill Cookbook” I had just bought instead of watching where I was going. They called a paramedic, but I was fine – just needed some ice to keep the swelling down on my knee We had great seats – on the floor of the Scope, about 20-30 feet from the kitchen set-up. Very nice
He was friendly and funny, teasing the chef who had won an Iron Chef-like competition about his tall toque, and invited the audience to ask questions about the shows, the restaurants, ingredients, anything they wanted to know about.
He started by making a lovely appetizer: Lobster/Avocado Cocktail from his restaurant Bar Americain in New York City. He described its flavor as including all the ingredients in a shrimp cocktail except for the tomatoes – horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and lime, among other things.
He moved on to put together a fabulous-looking seared steak finished in the oven, with a rub and two sauces – one red and one green. This is the closest recipe I can find to that.
All the time he was cooking, he was answering questions from the audience. Just shout something out and he would answer – on any topic: one of his shows, a cooking question, the Food Network, something personal. He was very open.
Dan asked him if anyone had ever refused a challenge to a Throwdown. In case you don’t watch the Food Network, it’s one of Bobby’s shows where he finds out who is the best cook in the country of a specific dish, he figures out how to make it, then the Food Network sets up the person to think they’re going to be on an episode of a Food Network show, but it’s really a set-up for a Throwdown challenge. In his chefography (video biography on the Food Network), Bobby says he likes doing the Throwdown because he’s able to use his celebrity to bring fame to other great cooks across the country. I think that’s pretty cool
He said he’s never been refused, but there was one guy (and we saw this episode – it was pretty funny) who almost refused. “We had to talk him down,” he said. It seemed to me, watching that episode, that the guy was mad that he wasn’t the center of attention anymore. I don’t remember who won, though.
So while we were there, I got an autographed copy of “Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook: Explosive Flavors from the Southwestern Kitchen.” I’ve made a few recipes from the book, and they were all very good, although I “kicked up” a couple, since we’re eating more spicy food than we used to. So I added some cayenne here, some hot sauce there … I’ll post about those separately.
If you have the chance to see Bobby Flay do a cooking demo, I’d recommend it. We had a great time.