Ree Drummond Beat This Iconic Food Network Chef in a ‘Cutthroat’ Food Competition Way Before ‘The Pioneer Woman’ Debut

Although it seems like there wasn’t a time Ree Drummond didn’t appear on Food Network, the redheaded celebrity chef was once a newbie on the channel. Ahead of starring in The Pioneer Woman series for the cable channel, Drummond was once just a blogger, mother to Alex, Bryce, Todd, and Paige Drummond, and ranch wife to Ladd Drummond. However, her celebrity status rose after beating this iconic Food Network chef in what she claimed was a “cutthroat” food competition.

Ree Drummond on the set of her Food Network series 'The Pioneer Woman.'
Ree Drummond | Discovery Press/Food Network

When did Ree Drummond start her Food Network career?

Ree Drummond’s first episode of The Pioneer Woman aired on Saturday, August 27, 2011.

Titled “Home on the Ranch,” Drummond speaks of her life on her family ranch. She speaks of her love for gardening and shows off her home, including her lodge, where her series is filmed. However, during those first episodes, Drummond’s family home was featured.

In this episode, Drummond makes chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, and a marinated tomato salad.

Since that very first episode, Drummond’s career on the channel has exploded. She has filmed her 29th season of the series, authored six cookbooks, and opened up a hotel, a sweet shop, a pizzeria, and The Mercantile in her Pawhuska, OK, hometown.

However, Drummond appeared on the food channel way before she became a household name and beat a celebrity chef in what she called a “cutthroat” food competition.

Drummond took on Bobby Flay in a throwdown in her lodge

Bobby Flay on the set of 'Beat Bobby Flay' on the Food Network.
Bobby Flay | Discovery Press/Food Network
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Bobby Flay is one of the longest-running personalities on the Food Network. He has served up sixteen different series since 1994.

However, in Nov. 2010, Flay faced then-unknown Ree Drummond at her lodge for a Thanksgiving dinner contest.

Drummond wrote on her Pioneer Woman website, “Many of you might remember that I participated in a Throwdown with Bobby Flay a few years ago. It was a raucous, riotous experience marked by cutthroat competition and many tears, and it truly was a blast. And when it was all over, I slept for a month.”

“I started out by warning Bobby that if he wound up winning, he had to arm wrestle Marlboro Man. I can’t remember if he laughed or not,” she said in a separate post about the event.

“One of my other first impressions with Bobby was almost taking him out with my knife. I gesture a lot when I talk. Sometimes I forget to put down my knife first,” Drummond quipped.

Ree Drummond won against one of Food Network’s most celebrated personalities

Drummond shared that she wasn’t very nervous once the throwdown started.

“That’s not because I was self-assured or convinced I would win the Throwdown. On the contrary, I knew I was going to lose. I just wanted Bobby Flay to come to the ranch and cook for me, and I figured this was probably the only way that would happen,” Drummond quipped.

“Over the next many hours, I would compete against Bobby Flay in a Thanksgiving Day cooking competition,” she continued. “I would lose my entire body weight in sweat. After thinking about it for five days, I’d gain back all the weight eating Bobby Flay’s Thanksgiving meal because I was so sick of my own food.

“I’d visit with friends and acquaintances who showed up to cheer me on, and I would enjoy the overall experience of getting to spend a surreal, incredible day with some guy known as Bobby Flay,” Drummond concluded.

Ultimately, Drummond won the competition, and she never let Flay forget it.

‘The Pioneer Woman’ star judged Flay on his ‘Throwdown’ series in 2019

In a sweet 2019 post, Drummond shared a scene still from Beat Bobby Flay.

She posted a photo from the event with a caption where she made the following statement.

“Nine years ago, I (inexplicably) beat Bobby Flay in a Thanksgiving-themed “Throwdown.” Tonight, I’m on Beat Bobby Flay, where I try really hard to cheer on his demise (but am not very good at it because I like the guy so much.) So much fun,” Drummond shared.

The Pioneer Woman airs Saturdays at 10 a.m. EST on the Food Network.