New York-based chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay's talents in the kitchen led to a string of popular restaurants across the United States, as well as enduring status as a media personality on countless cooking shows, including "Beat Bobby Flay" (Food Network, 2013-) Born Robert William Flay in New York City, he hailed from restaurant industry family - his father, Bill, was a partner at the famed Joe Allen restaurant in the city's theater district - and displayed an aptitude for food at an early age, crafting his own after-school snacks and even requesting an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas at the age of eight. School held less interest for him, and Flay dropped out at 17 to work in various fast-food establishments before taking a job as a bus boy at his father's eatery. Flay soon moved up to kitchen helper, and so impressed the restaurant's owner with his work ethic that Allen paid for his training at the French Culinary Institute. After graduating in 1984, Flay worked in a variety of positions in several New York restaurants, but soon realized that he needed more experience before running a full kitchen. He worked briefly as a stockbroker before returning to the culinary world; among these positions was as chef for restaurateur Jonathan Waxman, who introduced him to flavors and foods of the Southwest, which would come to define Flay's style of cooking. In 1991, he served as executive chef at Mesa Grill, where he would eventually become a partner; the location was named Best Restaurant in 1992 by New York Magazine, while Flay himself was given the James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef of the Year Award in 1993. He opened a second establishment, Bolo Bar and Restaurant, in 1993, which also drew rave reviews from critics. Flay soon expanded his brand to include cookbooks, beginning with "Bobby Flay's Bold American Food" (1994), and hosting duties on cooking shows like "The Main Ingredient with Bobby Flay" (Lifetime Television, 1996). His on-screen duties were soon divided between hosting on series like "BBQ with Bobby Flay" (2004-2006) and guest appearances on competition programs like "Iron Chef America" (Food Network, 2005-), where he famously battled Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto on several contentious occasions. Flay soon issued his own challenge programs like "Throwdown! With Bobby Flay" (Food Network, 2006-2010) and "Beat Bobby Flay." But he also continued to maintain a steadily growing empire of restaurants, including a second Mesa Grill in Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Bar Americain in midtown Manhattan, and Bobby Flay Steak in Atlantic City, New Jersey, all between 2004 and 2009. Flay also operated a chain of burger establishments, called Bobby's Burger Place, which expanded to 19 locations in 11 states. In 2012, he ventured into creating his own reality competition series which included "3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay" (Food Network, 2012) and three seasons of "Worst Cooks in America" (Food Network, 2010-); these in turn led to producing programs for other celebrity foodmakers and personalities, including "Kelsey's Essentials" (Cooking Channel, 2010) and "Sandwich King" (Food Network, 2011-2012). All of these efforts were feted in 2015 with his induction into the Culinary Hall of Fame and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His longest running series, "Beat Bobby Flay," returned for its 16th season in 2018.