The Best Beat Bobby Flay Episodes Ranked

Bobby Flay is a favorite among celebrity chefs. The Food Network star is slated to remain at the station until at least 2024, which means new episodes of his hit show "Beat Bobby Flay" can be expected, too. 

The show's format is pretty simple: Two chefs compete against each other, and the winner moves on to battle Flay with a dish of the challenger's choosing. The series is a hit among viewers, and after hundreds of episodes, it's still finding ways to shock audiences and prove there are still chefs in the world who are better than Flay (at least when it comes to cooking one dish).

Have you ever wondered which of the "Beat Bobby Flay" episodes are the best ones to watch? (Spoiler alert: they're all good). That being said, if you're only going to consume select episodes of "Beat Bobby Flay," there are some you should definitely watch.

12. Season 1, Episode 0

The pilot episode of any television show is always more fun to watch in review. Pilot episodes often serve as digital time capsules for the year they were filmed, but they also show us how much a show, as well as those involved, has evolved. "Beat Bobby Flay" began in 2013, and as evidenced by the pilot episode, a lot can change in 10 years (via Food Network). 

Flay was joined Food Network celebrities Alex Guarnaschelli and Jeff Mauro, who were both just beginning with the channel at the time. Flay himself points out that the episode is quite raw, but there's something quite nice about it.

This episode is one of the greatest for another reason: Flay lost. Now, we're not here to celebrate every time Flay loses on one of his episodes, but since it happens so rarely, it's fun to see, especially when it's accompanied by entertaining guests. Since this episode was filmed in the early 2010s, it's a piece of history, and it's a great place to start if you're just getting into the show.

11. Season 22, Episode 6

Because celebrity chefs are typically just seen cooking, it's easy to forget that most of them have connections with some seriously famous people, and Bobby Flay has recruited tons of celebrities to join him for episodes of "Beat Bobby Flay" during its run. For example, on season 22, episode 6,  "Fey vs. Flay," "Saturday Night Live" alum Tina Fey used all the tricks at her disposal to get an unknown chef to beat the eponymous chef (via Food Network). 

Unfortunately for Fey, the tricks were futile: Flay still won the episode with a tasty lamb shawarma. This episode is still one of the best, thanks to the presence of Fey. Fey has long been known for her signature sense of humor, and she brought it with her to the episode. The comedian even made audiences laugh prior to the episode's premiere in the form of fantastic promotional material. 

Fey gave her opinions on food, including whether pineapple belongs on pizza, which way sandwiches should be cut, and whether American cheese is actual cheese. Fey also revealed her restaurant pet peeve: If she orders a glass of wine, she doesn't want to drink it from a tiny wine glass. She hilariously added that she'd rather drink it from a goldfish bowl.

10. Season 28, Episode 1

Every celebrity chef has had at least one viewer question their skill level. But if any celebrity chef has proven they know their way around the kitchen, it's Bobby Flay. On "Beat Bobby Flay," the cook, best known for his work on the grill, is constantly challenged by outstanding chefs, and Flay always proves he's a true professional, just as he did in season 28, episode 1 (Food Network). 

In this episode, Flay faced off against Melanie Moss to create a chocolate eclair, one of Moss's specialties. The episode was full of lighthearted moments, but it was also one of the rare moments where viewers thought Flay might lose, putting some on the edge of their seats. Guest Alex Guarnaschelli said he was worried when Flay was nearing the end of his preparation.

Viewers were really uncertain whether Flay would come out on top when the two eclairs were shown side-by-side. Moss's was picture-perfect, proving she has made this dessert a few different times. Flay's, however, was, as Guarnaschelli put it, "rustic." 

It was clear this was a new venture for Flay, and some might go as far as to call it unappetizing. But after the feedback from the judges, the guests named Flay the winner, much to his surprise. Flay's competitor didn't agree with the judge. A fun episode, indeed. 

9. Season 22, Episode 11

Just because you qualify to compete on "Beat Bobby Flay" doesn't mean you'll necessarily get the chance to cook against the famed chef. Each episode of the show starts with a battle between two chefs, and in season 22, episode 11, those two chefs happened to be married to each other (via Food Network).

A couple from Tampa Bay, Florida, Ricardo Castro and Rosana Rivera, started the episode by making dishes with papaya. Rivera beat her husband and was selected to cook against Bobby Flay in the final round. The chef challenged Flay to an empanada battle.

The chemistry and tension between a husband and wife alone made this episode one to watch, but it became one of the best in the show's history thanks to the outcome: Rivera won, becoming the first Latina on "Beat Bobby Flay" to beat Bobby Flay. 

Rivera said that her winning dish represents culture and Tampa, which has a large Hispanic, Latin, and Cubano community. Rivera, beaming, also noted how incredible the opportunity was for her as a Latina and a female chef. It's a fun episode with an inspiring conclusion.

8. Season 31, Episode 15

A lot goes into the production of a cooking show, and it's endlessly fascinating to learn how producers pull it off, especially with a competition show. Season 31, episode 15 is, by all accounts, just a typical episode of "Beat Bobby Flay" (via Food Network).

Two chefs, Quincy Randolph and Cam Waron, faced off against each other, with Randolph winning and moving on to compete against Flay in a chicken and waffles war. But before you stream this episode, note that Waron dished to The Takeout about his experience on the show, giving us the details we're craving.

Waron spilled tons of details about his time on the competition show. He noted that he and the other chef were taken to the studio by Ubers, and someone from the competing side walked him through the kitchen to help familiarize him with the equipment before use. Waron said that he was impressed by the production team and that he enjoyed his time on the show. Aside from all that, the episode is entertaining, and the food looks incredible. 

7. Season 11, Episode 12

Are we the only ones obsessed with knowing which celebrity chefs are friends? If you're anything like us, learning about Food Network stars' relationships is highly entertaining, and one of our favorite friendships is the one between Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis

Aside from a blip where the two weren't speaking after a fraught "Iron Chef America" appearance, Flay and De Laurentiis have been friends for decades, and their admiration and respect for each other as friends and chefs is so fun to watch on season 11, episode 12 of "Beat Bobby Flay" (via Food Network).

De Laurentiis, along with another one of Flay's close friends, Scott Conant, teamed up to find a chef who could beat the Food Network favorite. As evidenced by this episode, it takes someone who knows Flay's weaknesses to beat him. Conant and De Laurentiis enlisted Vuong Loc and Ian Alvarez to spar in the kitchen, and when Loc came out on top, he challenged Flay to cook chicken pho. 

Clearly, Conant and De Laurentiis know how to find a chef to beat Flay because Loc won the blind taste test, becoming one of the very few chefs to win against Flay. The episode is a blast to watch and highlights the real depth of the relationships between Food Network chefs.

6. Season 8, Episode 5

Although Bobby Flay has mastered several different types of food and has proven he's more than capable of dabbling in nearly everything, French food is not his forte. The few times that Flay has lost on "Beat Bobby Flay," the dishes are of the French repertoire, like eclairs and coq au vin. This is evident in Flay's downfall in season 8, episode 5, "Have Merci!" (via Food Network

His defeat was at the hands of chef Kevin Ashade, a Dallas native who has a history of cooking in fine-dining restaurants. The episode was delightful thanks to Ashade's on-screen persona, and, of course, it was compelling to see Flay lose, especially since it was a unanimous decision. Ashade spoke with the Dallas Observer about his time on the show and noted what it takes to be a contestant, emphasizing that people want to see skills are well as a personality.  

Ashade also spoke about his experience with Flay himself, noting that the chef was exactly as we see him on screen and that it's really, really hard to beat him. Ashade observed that Flay is an excellent cook.

5. Season 30, Episode 3

Bobby Flay knows just what it takes to make tasty meat, but his plant-based dishes could use some work, as evidenced by his performance on season 30, episode 3 (Food Network). Flay's guests included Sunny Anderson and Mark Cuban, a vegetarian who promotes many vegan companies. 

Adyre Mason and Tamearra Dyson faced off, the latter of whom moved on to cook against Flay. Dyson and Flay cooked plant-based burgers for the final round of the competition, and Dyson's was favored among judges. But this episode was unlike any other in which Flay lost.

Plant-based foods are clearly out of his element, but he still used what he knows about food to give the challenge an earnest try. His burger actually crumbled, indicating that even professional chefs fail in the kitchen from time to time.

It was also great to watch a professional vegan chef at work. Plant-based food is an entirely different world if you're not familiar, and watching a true master of the craft is quite intriguing. Even Dyson's competitor was enthralled. Mason told VegNews that he was thrilled to have cooked alongside a vegan legend. This episode is definitely worth watching. 

4. Season 31, Episode 1

There's not much Bobby Flay can't cook. In season 31, episode 1 of "Beat Bobby Flay," Flay was challenged to make chawanmushi, a traditional Japanese dish that he had never made before (via Food Network). Before diving into the cooking process, the cook said that he had tasted the dish before.  

Flay was battling Renata Ferraro, who had bested the first competitor with her dishes containing miso. This episode is a prime example of why Flay has lasted so long at Food Network. Even when he's not completely sure what he's doing, he's doing it well. The man knows food, and he's got a unique ability to create delicious dishes with very little prior knowledge. The experience made for a great episode.

The episode was fun to watch due to the guests, too. Flay was joined by Jet Tila and his wife Ali Tila. The husband-wife combination made for sweet television, and it was especially engaging to hear Jet's commentary on the ingredients and watch the methods used by Flay. The episode is entertaining and educational.

3. Season 27, Episode 5

It's really fun to watch Bobby Flay cook. And while he clearly doesn't know much about a dish, it's even more fun to see an expert come onto the scene and share pieces of their culture with the audience. On season 27, episode 5, Flay hosted Yehuda Sichel and Remy Pettus, who competed with semolina bread as the main ingredient (via Food Network).

After Sichel's win, he chose matzo ball soup as his dish to challenge the chef in the second round. Flay has struggled with making matzo ball soup in the past, and Sichel told the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent that Flay was intimidated by the dish, which was quite funny. Prior to facing off against Sichel, Flay had made the traditional Jewish soup twice in competitions, once on "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" and another time on "Beat Bobby Flay." 

In Flay's defense, Sichel is a pro when it comes to this dish, and he knows it. His grandmother, who used to make it for Passover, taught him how to make it. Sichel's expertise made for a superb episode.

2. Season 9, Episode 1

Anne Burrell is as good a chef as Bobby Flay, and she proved she's better than him in at least one area. Season 9 of "Beat Bobby Flay" was a special episode that opened with  Burrell and fellow Food Network star Scott Conant as competing chefs (Food Network). The prosciutto was the first key ingredient: Burrell beat Conant, and the "Worst Cooks in America" mentor competed with Flay to make cheesecake, a dessert she knew she could make better than her opponent.

It's always exciting to watch two great chefs go head-to-head (hence our love for "Iron Chef"), and this episode was made even better by Burrell and Flay's on-screen chemistry. The two have great banter, and it was part of every second of the episode. We also witnessed someone with a clear tactic for beating Flay. As she told Food Network, the secret to out-cooking Flay is to cook food that is special to your background and your heart.

1. Season 29, Episode 5

We could watch Bobby Flay cook anything, but there's something to watching him grill. It's his specialty, and you can be sure that whatever he's doing on the grill is going to taste amazing, even if it ends in a loss for Flay. On season 29, episode 5, Flay and the competing chefs took to the grill, first with veal porterhouse chops and finally with carne asada (via Food Network). Though Flay came up short in the end, the episode was full of bits of solid grilling advice, as well as some tasty recipes to recreate at home.

Flay wasn't the only grilling expert on the episode, though. The man to whom Flay lost, Larry Delgado, had tons of wisdom to impart, too. But the episode wasn't all serious. The guests, Josh Capon and Laura Vitale, did their best to distract Flay, even using giant grilling tongs as a prop. Still, the episode wasn't without a bit of drama, with Capon telling Vitale that it was the closest he'd seen Flay come down to the wire. "Last Man Grilling" is the best episode of "Beat Bobby Flay," from the great theme to the lively guests and surprising outcome.