That Time Reddit Revealed A Beat Bobby Flay Judging Secret

In chef Bobby Flay's intro narration for his Food Network show "Beat Bobby Flay," he declares, "Bottom line: Everyone's out to beat me." And between the show's 334 episodes (via IMDb) and the chef's other competitions like "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" and "Iron Chef America," the celebrity restaurateur has established himself as a formidable opponent in the kitchen.

During episodes of "Beat Bobby Flay," a pair of the chef's friends guest-star to pick which of two first-round contestants will ultimately face off against the Iron Chef, but for the second round, the show's rotating judge panel blind-tastes each dish to try to impartially decide whether Flay was bested. And most of the time, he isn't: Flay wins about two-thirds of his matches on the show (via Alex Cates) but is less successful at desserts and Indian dishes, as a doctoral student used data science to figure out.

Although judges don't watch Bobby cook against his competitor, sharp-eyed Flay-watchers on Reddit's r/FoodNetwork forum have theorized that there's more to "Beat Bobby Flay" than meets the eye — or camera.

The truth behind the Beat Bobby Flay judges table

Beating Bobby Flay is a difficult task. And according to people who've been in the room, as Jet Tila revealed exclusively to Mashed, there are parts the cameras don't show — like how hard Flay works and how frustrating the show's surprises can be for contestants. In a recent Reddit discussion about the show, viewers say they've cracked the code to even more secrets behind the "Beat Bobby Flay" blind judging process.

Judges probably taste dishes "in the back before they comment to the contestant/audience," a commenter surmised. "This is how they have so much to [say] despite only seemingly have taken a bite or two." Other Redditors questioned whether the judging could truly be blind given Flay's use of certain signature spice profiles. "You'll never convince me a show is blind tasted and judged when he uses the same base flavors in every dish he makes... It's all Bobby Cliche at this point," one wrote.

However, as plenty of skilled chefs have shown, it is indeed possible to best Flay in his own kitchen. As Giada de Laurentiis advises, "You need to kind of get under his skin, and you also have to really know the dish you're making" (via Food Network). And Anne Burrell says that cooking "from who you are, as from your soul, from your heart, your background" is the actual secret to winning over the judges on "Beat Bobby Flay."