How Bobby Flay Helped Alex Guarnaschelli Feel More Comfortable Cooking

Apparently, Bobby Flay doesn't immediately give off BFF vibes. Just ask Alex Guarnaschelli, the celebrity chef who appears as a judge on Food Network's successful reality television cooking competition, Chopped. Guarnaschelli shared with People that before she even met Flay, she had some preconceived feelings about the grill master. "I used to watch Bobby Flay because he was on all the time," she revealed. "And I was like, 'I don't like that guy. That guy thinks he's so cool with his grill and spatula.'"

To be fair, Flay can be pretty intimidating at first glance. Per Biography, Flay has been a part of the cooking scene since 1991 when he opened his first restaurant, and the awards and accolades quickly followed. In 1994, Food Network came a knocking and the rest is, as they say, history. 

The Iron Chef definitely comes across as a celebrity chef with a lot of confidence. Luckily, Guarnaschelli got to know Flay, and found that she actually really liked the guy. "I couldn't have been more wrong," she continued. "He's one of my closest friends now. I realized it was probably just jealousy. He's amazing!" Turns out, Flay believes in chefs helping chefs, and shared some sage advice with Guarnaschelli that made her more comfortable cooking. 

Flay told Guarnaschelli comfort is key

Guarnaschelli went on to share with People that Flay was almost like a mentor, "showing her the ropes" by revealing there actually weren't any. Sounds a little like Neo from the Matrix learning how you bend a spoon only to learn, there is no spoon. But instead of ropes, Flay told the budding chef to instead, "just cook." Flay ended up producing Guarnaschelli's series Alex's Day Off, and while Flay's presence may have been a little daunting — Guarnaschelli shares he apparently stood around wearing "mirrored sunglasses" and "looking like a fire-breathing dragon" — it was worth it. 

That seeming terror that the Executive Chef of New York City's famed Butter Restaurant felt quickly turned to respect. In fact, Flay offered a simple piece of advice that really bolstered Guarnaschelli's confidence and it may surprise you. The cookbook author and Iron Chef shared that Flay told her, "'Make sure you like what you're wearing and make sure you're comfortable.' I know that sounds like a silly thing, but it's really important, and it's something I had to learn. If your shirt's pulling on you or you feel funny in your pants or your shoes are uncomfortable, it really affects your performance." 

Guarnaschelli has clearly had quite a successful career since her first days in the world of celebrity chefs, and it's nice to know Flay encouraged her along the way.