The Food Network has grown astronomically over the last few decades, and we’ve been introduced to some of our favorite chefs over the years thanks to the channel. One of the chefs that continues to capture audiences is Bobby Flay. From his humble beginnings as a master of Southwestern cuisine to his current standing as a serious competitor in Beat Bobby Flay, we’ve watched Flay cook his way to victory more often than he hasn’t. And many fans can’t imagine the network without him.
After a few incidents with the network over the years (and since he’s well into his 50s now), some may wonder if Flay is planning on leaving the channel altogether. Could it be true? Here’s what we know.
Flay quit Iron Chef in a totally unexpected way
Flay’s been a staple of the Food Network for years, so he totally threw everyone for a serious loop when he pulled a wild stunt that will go down in Iron Chef history forever. Vanity Fair reminds us back in 2017, Flay decided he was going to announce that he was finished with Iron Chef despite being a top contender on the show for 17 years. Instead of telling the network he was planning on quitting, he had his own idea — and that was to wear a shirt announcing his departure on live television so audiences would have no choice but to see it.
During the Iron Chef battle, Flay tore his apron away to reveal a shirt that said, “THIS IS MY LAST IRON CHEF BATTLE EVER.” The cameras kept rolling, of course, and the audience and judges seemed stunned by the stunt. While production ultimately made the choice to blur out what the shirt said, the damage was done — and Flay had already made his decision loud and clear to the network and to his fans.
The Food Network wasn’t happy with his antics
Since the incident, Flay has had to backtrack, explain himself, and state his motives for wanting to leave the show behind — and it had many worried this would mean he’s also randomly quitting the Food Network altogether. People reports that Flay said he wanted to leave the show with a bang, so that’s why he pulled the stunt with the shirt despite the network obviously taking issue. While Flay maintained that the network had always been supportive of him, he added in regards to the T-shirt incident, “The network was not thrilled. I thought it would be good TV. They didn’t think of it that way, and that’s obviously their prerogative.”
As for why Flay would want to leave the Iron Chef crew after nearly two decades, he explained at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival how exhausting the competition was. “When I do a season, I do between 6 and 8 [battles] in a week and it crushes me because it’s 60 minutes of pure energy, creativity and execution,” he said. “And so at some point I was like, ‘I’ve been doing this for a long time and I want to go out on a high note.’”
Flay seemingly has no plans to quit the Food Network altogether
Was Flay ever planning on quitting TV altogether back during the T-shirt incident, or is he planning on quitting now? It seems highly unlikely. Flay has stated he’s excited for all of his upcoming ventures, as he’s still filming Food Network Star and Beat Bobby Flay. And while he may not be a regular on Iron Chef anymore, at the time, Vanity Fair notes he assured, “Food Network has been part of my family for over 20 years and will absolutely continue to be, and though there is a talented bench of Iron Chefs to tap, if I were asked, I’d be excited to return to Kitchen Stadium, whenever my schedule allows.”
Flay also seems to have a new cooking show with his daughter, Sophie Flay, in the pipeline. Today explains the chef signed a three-year production deal with the network at the end of 2018, so there’s no way he’ll be leaving anytime soon.
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