People Who Can't Stand Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay is the kind of guy people either love or hate. The polarizing figure has been on the food scene since opening his first restaurant, Mesa Grill, in 1991. In 1994, he made his first Food Network appearance, where he's been a fixture ever since. With fame comes a lot of scrutiny from fans and haters alike, and Flay soon found himself embroiled in more than one feud.

While it's safe to say Flay is not the most hated celeb chef on the scene today, he has accumulated more than his fair share of critics. Of course, his cocky demeanor and brash attitude have brought a lot of it upon himself. Let's just say that Flay isn't exactly the most well-liked of the celeb chef bunch — not that he seems to care. The following is by no means a concise list of all the people who can't stand Bobby Flay, but it does provide a pretty good insight into why he's so reviled.

Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay is not known for keeping his opinions to himself. His brash personality has made him a widely disliked figure, but it might be possible that he hates his fellow chef Bobby Flay even more than other people hate him. He's had some particularly nasty things to say about Flay and clearly has no respect for the man.

Ramsay dissed Flay in an interview with Men's Journal, boasting that he is the superior chef and could easily out-cook his rival. "...I can still look at a box of raw ingredients and put together the best f***ing dish you'll ever eat," he said. "That's why I laugh when they say, 'Let's see if he's a real chef. Let's get him up against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef.' I'm like, 'F***ing do me a favor... come on. I've forgotten more than he's known!'" He isn't exactly subtle, is he? It seems safe to say that there is no love lost between the two chefs. 

Masaharu Morimoto

Flay isn't exactly the most gracious of celebrities. He pretty much does what he wants, when he wants. This attitude hasn't done much to gratify him to the public, and has also alienated Japanese chef Masaharu Morimoto. Morimoto competed against Flay on an episode of Iron Chef, and to say things did not go smoothly would be an understatement. Flay declared victory toward the end of the episode, jumping up on his cutting board in celebration. Not only was it a jerk move, but it was also a premature one — Morimoto ended up being the actual winner of the showdown.

Morimoto accepted his win with grace, although he couldn't help but throw a little bit of shade at Flay. "He's no chef," Morimoto told a reporter after the win. "He stood on the cutting board. In Japan, the cutting board is sacred to us." Flay's antics proved that he's a sore winner... and he didn't even win!

Stephanie March

Flay is not the easiest person to get along with — just ask his ex-wife. OK, exes are notorious for hating on their former significant others, but in Stephanie March's case, the anti-Flay sentiments are definitely justified. The Law and Order: SVU actress didn't exactly have the best relationship with Flay, even when they were  still together. In 2014, March's appendix burst and, instead of staying by her side, Flay allegedly sent his assistant in his place so he could head to work.

Flay's track record with women isn't great. His split with March was his third divorce. Flay was also accused of cheating on March with his assistant, Elyse Tirrell. Divorce battles can often get pretty heated, and it's always best to take rumors with a grain of salt, but considering just how much of a jerk Flay can be we can't help but feel sorry for what his ex-wife probably had to put up with.

Anthony Bourdain

The late chef Anthony Bourdain's contempt for celebrity chefs was legendary, but his take-down of Bobby Flay might have been some of the most brutal tongue-lashing we ever saw from him. Bourdain threw everyone from the (admittedly dislikeable) Guy Fieri to the sweet Ina Garten under the bus. Bourdain openly mocked Flay in a talk at The Academy of Music (via Delaware Online), saying the show "Beat Bobby Flay sounds promising until you realize it's about cooking."

While much of the talk sounded like a stand-up routine, we're not so sure Bourdain was actually joking. We're talking about a guy who considered Sandra Lee "stupid and talentless and messed up" and Paula Deen "The worst, most dangerous person to America." The closest Bourdain ever came to complimenting Flay is saying that he can "make a better chili than a supermarket ground beef-bearing amateur." It's not exactly the harshest criticism of the chef, but grudgingly admitting that a celebrated chef has some actual cooking chops and could out-cook a newbie isn't exactly high praise, either. That's the kind of backhanded compliment you give to an enemy.

Jamie Stern

When most people buy a product they are not satisfied with, they either return the item or live with their mistake. Of course, Flay isn't most people. Most people also don't spend a whopping $19,000 on a sofa. In 2017, Flay purchased the incredibly expensive piece of furniture from Jamie Stern Designs, but wasn't happy with the leather sectional.

Now, most people would try a sofa out before buying it to determine whether or not it is comfortable. It seems that Flay, however, brought the sofa home before determining it was "intolerably uncomfortable to sit on for any extended period of time," declaring it "unusable." Stern refused to take the sofa back, leading Flay to sue for a refund. Sure, it was pretty big chunk of change, but a lawsuit seems like a drastic measure to take for a sofa. If we were Stern, we wouldn't be able to stand the chef either.

Ben Sargent

Imagine you're a young chef, building up a reputation for yourself. You get invited to do a Food Network segment. This is your moment! Your big break! Only as you start cooking, Bobby Flay jumps out of nowhere and challenges you to a showdown.

That's what happened to Ben Sargent, one of the victims of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. The premise of the show was simple and cruel: A lesser-known chef would unexpectedly be pitted against Flay on TV and have their dish judged against Flay's. Sargent thought he'd be preparing his specialty, clam chowder, for the audience. He was understandably thrown off his game when he realized that he was being dragged into a cooking battle with Flay, and ended up losing to the more seasoned chef. "It was awful," he told Not Eating Out in New York. "I was crying. It was the most disappointing thing in the world."

We're not going to go so far as to call Flay a crusher of dreams, but you've got to sympathize with Sargent.

Alexander Peters

A good deed should be its own reward, but it doesn't hurt to send a nice thank you card. Of course, you could always take the Flay route and, instead of thanking someone, get them fired. That's what the chef did to Alexander Peters, a real estate agent who sold Flay 2.89 acres of land. The Amagansett parcel of land is next to Peters' own property, so Peters did what he thought was a nice thing by letting Flay know about the history of the land. He warned Flay that the land has Montaukett burial grounds and is "full of colonial and Indian relics."

His intent was to give Flay the heads up, in case he didn't want to disturb the burial sites when building a home. Flay, however, didn't see it that way. Instead of thanking his new neighbor, Flay complained to his company that Peters was meddling in his personal business and demanded that he be fired. Peters filed a lawsuit against Flay for an undisclosed amount following his firing.

The producers of Iron Chef

The producers of Iron Chef haven't flat-out stated that they can't stand Flay, but we're willing to bet money that he's far from their favorite person after the stunt he pulled in late 2017. Flay appeared on Iron Chef Showdown and, mid-battle, pulled off his apron and revealed a shirt saying: "THIS IS MY LAST IRON CHEF BATTLE EVER."

No one knew he was going to make the live announcement, and the producers were obviously flustered. Obviously, a star as big as Flay quitting a major show is a decision that needs to be carefully announced after some planning, but Flay didn't give the producers that courtesy. Flay later gave a statement to People claiming that it was a joke. "In hindsight, it was probably not the best decision because it's just creating confusion," he said. 

Looking back, though, the statement was probably just the producers insisting on damage control. Early in 2018, Flay confirmed that he was, indeed, leaving the show.

His employees

While Flay's employees are not exactly announcing their deep-seated loathing for the chef from the rooftops (that would be unprofessional), they made their stance on their boss pretty clear in 2009 by bringing a lawsuit against him. According to the suit, Flay's company didn't fairly compensate his workers for overtime, didn't fairly distribute tips, and failed to reimburse employees for expenses that should have been covered by the company. We might not be able to pin this entirely on Flay (after all, Flay does hire people to handle all of that in his restaurants) but it still says a lot about how he runs his company.

Needless to say, Flay's hard-working employees weren't happy about being stiffed. The lawsuit was settled in 2010, but Flay got off pretty easy. His company agreed to distribute just $800,000 among the disgruntled workers. This is just one more example of how Flay doesn't take others into consideration.

Giada De Laurentiis

They might be friends now, but there was a time when Giada De Laurentiis hated Flay. She was so angry with him that the two didn't speak to each other for nearly a year. An episode of Iron Chef is to blame for causing the rift. The two paired up on the show, competing against Rachael Ray and Mario Batali. De Laurentiis and Flay lost, which crushed De Laurentiis but didn't seem to bother her teammate at all.

"We lost, and he thought it was funny, he didn't think it was any big deal that we lost," De Laurentiis told Delish. Flay's dismissive attitude bothered De Laurentiis so much that she stopped talking to him for a while. "I was really disappointed," she said. "And I think that more than the loss, which I was really upset about, I was upset that he didn't seem to care... And I thought, you're a jerk, and I never want to be around you again."

The internet

If you're a celebrity, it's pretty much guaranteed that you're going to garner some hatred at one point or another. Of course, there are varying degrees of hatred. Some famous people manage to remain fairly beloved, escaping all but the most cynical of haters, while others manage to be widely reviled. Bobby Flay falls into that second category, if the web is to be trusted. Judging by the number of hate sites dedicated to him, Flay is one of the most loathed figures on the entire internet.

There are plenty of Tumblr blogs complaining about Flay, but the hatred doesn't stop there. Flay is also frequently bashed on LiveJournal and Blogspot blogs. Forums are filled with hateful comments about the chef. All the hatred has led people on Quora to wonder why, exactly, Flay is so detested. Even Yelp is packed with hatred for Flay. It looks like the chef just can't catch a break.