Fame & Fortune: Bobby Flay

Bankrate: What are the inherent skills required to be a great chef?

Bobby Flay: First of all, they have to want to do it, and have to want to do it for the right reasons, meaning that they have to want to always learn and discover about food. There's no one in the world who knows everything about food, and that's one of the things I just love about it. You're constantly going to school to learn about other things and other cultures about food, which is what I like to do. So I think you need patience, and you need to want to taste and constantly make things better.

Bankrate: Considering how much cooking you do at work, do you still enjoy cooking at home?

Bobby Flay: I do. I love cooking, period, so whether it's at home or the restaurant, I always look forward to it.

Bankrate: How do you juggle the business end of your empire with the creative end?

Bobby Flay: I have lots of great people that work with me, and I try not to take on too much. I feel like when I'm working on one particular thing, that's the thing I'm focused on. There's only one way to do things, which is to show people as opposed to tell them. So I always show people what I want in the kitchens. I've been training the same people for many, many years to move up the ladder and take the next step in the kitchens, and that's the way I'm able to inspire people to stay so they're part of my company for a long time. This way I'm able to expand with basically the same people.

Bankrate: Do you enjoy the business end of what you do?

Bobby Flay: Yes, I absolutely do.

Bankrate: Did you picture yourself, when you were younger, running a business one day?

Bobby Flay: Yes. I like looking at the big picture. I like creating environments where other people can do well. That's why I like creating new opportunities, so that those who really put in lots of hard work and time can flourish.

Bankrate: It would seem that the skills required to be a great creative chef and those required to run a high end business would be very different. Are they, or is there overlap there?

Bobby Flay: I think there's definitely some overlap. Obviously, as a chef, you need to be able to cook, but you also need to be able to manage. So I think as a chef you need to be able to do lots of things that make up the full picture.


Bankrate: Does having to think too much about the business ever get in the way of just being free and creative in your thinking?

Bobby Flay: Yeah, of course, but that's the balance. You have to be able to do both. If you're just a good cook, you're not gonna have a successful business, and if you're just a successful business person, then you're gonna need to find somebody else who's gonna take the culinary reigns or you're gonna have a tough time of it.

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