The One Thing Bobby Flay Won't Do When Dining Out

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay has had an interesting life. According to Biography, the chef quit high school when he was 17 years old and took up a gig at Joe Allen in New York City at a time when his peers were focusing on their education. He progressed to the kitchen in a short period and decided to join culinary school. It was the right decision. He was so good at cooking that he received top honors when he graduated from the French Culinary Institute in 1984. Flay had finally found his calling.

Bobby Flay did well in the food industry and was only 26 when he launched his first eatery, Mesa Grill, in New York in 1991. He has only progressed further over the years and launched many more restaurants and become well-known as a television personality. But for Flay, a few basic rules have stayed the same no matter the popularity he's achieved. There's one particular thing that he never does when he's eating at a restaurant as a courtesy to the chef.

Flay never sends food back

For Bobby Flay, it's really important to not turn down food and send it back to another chef when he's dining at a restaurant, no matter the circumstances. He told Pop Sugar that he doesn't mind it if someone else does that at one of his restaurants, though. He's happy to rectify mistakes and listen to his customers and figure out what's making them feel dissatisfied. "It [food being sent back] happens in all my restaurants for one reason or the other," he explained. "I want my customers to be happy, and I will try to the end of the world to make them happy. That's it."

He has another interesting piece of information to share: when he's eating at a restaurant, he tends to pick something that he doesn't usually get at home. He went on to add, "I don't easily have crushed ice at home, so if I can get oysters or anything else served on ice, that's what I go for."

Bobby Flay knows what he likes

While the acclaimed chef might not send a dish back, Bobby Flay doesn't hesitate to rave about something he likes if he's dining at an eatery that truly impresses him. If Flay becomes a fan of a certain chef, he also makes sure to visit frequently and support the restaurant in his own way. He once told Tasting Table about his fondness for the restaurant Via Carota in New York's West Village. He loved it so much that he visited it five times in less than a year. Flay said, "Order every vegetable dish, a few pastas and a crostino or two, and you'll be in trattoria heaven."

The best chance Flay has for grabbing a meal he doesn't have to pretend to like is by dining out in New York City, which he still considers the culinary destination to beat. "Although there are some very good things happening in Los Angeles for sure," Flay added. "And I just came back from Rome with my daughter, and I had some of my best meals of the year there as well."

Of course, Flay does has a pet peeve when it comes to encountering food trends while dining out. He told Tasting Table that he's frustrated by restaurants focusing on something that's not their speciality. Flay said, "I'm pretty much a fan of everything, but I am tired of seeing Asian dishes in restaurants that aren't serving Asian food." 

But Flay is still diplomatic and self-aware

Now, what if Bobby Flay is over someone's house and the homecooked meal leaves much to be desired? He has a rule: Remain diplomatic when you're a guest at a dinner party. This means that if he's not happy with the food, he'll keep his thoughts to himself instead of being direct. He told The Dinner Party Download, "One thing I can tell you right now: whether it's a chef or somebody cooking at home, no one wants to hear the real story. 'Tell me really?' 'It's great. That's what I think.'" Who could have guessed that even Flay turns to white lies?

Of course, when it's the cookbook author, Iron Chef, and restaurateur who's cooking dinner, Flay also has a trick for getting lingering guests to leave a dinner party. "There is a point where your guests are not being polite," Flay admitted to The Dinner Party Download. "I just start washing dishes. That's always a good sign, and I'm like, 'Does anybody wanna help?' Then everybody's like, 'Where's my coat?'" That's one way to clear a room.