Interview with Bobby Flay: Italian Thanksgiving and NYC Marathon

Bobby Flay, an Iron Chef extraordinaire, restaurant owner, cooking book author and the boy behind the grill, who is always ready for a good Throwdown is a Hellmann’s Mayonnaise official spokesperson, and I had an opportunity to sit down with him this week in Hellmann’s test kitchen. We chatted about Thanksgiving, him running the NYC Marathon and what he will do after the NYC Marathon on Sunday. Katja Presnal: I remember meeting you last year too around this time, and you said Thanksgiving is your favorite Holiday, is it still that way? Bobby Flay: Yes. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and his family usually has 30-40 guests over for a big Thanksgiving dinner. Every year we have a theme for the dinner, and this year it will be Italian theme. Katja Presnal: Does Italy have a special meaning to your family? What’s your favorite place in Italy? Bobby Flay: We love Italian cooking – who doesn’t? And we have traveled a lot in Italy, and want to remember some of those travels with our Thanksgiving meal this year. Sicily is our favorite place to go on our trips to Italy. Katja Presnal: So if you are having this big dinner for 40 guests, how do you do it? Do you do it all by yourself? Bobby Flay: No, I don’t do it all by myself, I never cook the dessert! I start planning on Thanksgiving meal probably this weekend, right after the NYC marathon, and probably spend an hour planning the menu. Katja Presnal: Wow, so cool that you are running the marathon! Do you know what you are going to eat after the marathon? Bobby Flay: Pizza. It’s hearty and it fills you up fast. Katja Presnal: Are you worried about Jared (from Subway)? He is running this year too? Bobby Flay: Ah, hah, yes, I’m afraid of Jared! Do you happen to know his time? Katja Presnal: No, I don’t know his marathon time, but let’s talk more about your Thanksgiving time plan. How long does it usually take to plan your Thanksgiving dinner? Bobby Flay: It usually takes me about an hour, I plan the dishes and write them down, and I’m really excited about this year Italian theme. We’ll still of course have turkey and it still will be like a Thanksgiving meal, but just with Italian flavoring with Italian herbs and dishes. Katja Presnal: So if it takes an hour for Bobby Flay to plan the Thanksgiving dinner, how long would you estimate it would take an average home cook to plan the meal? Bobby Flay: I would say about three hours, if you want to do some researching and plan a nice menu. Katja Presnal: Could you also give some tips how to make it easier for someone like me to host a big Thanksgiving dinner? Bobby Flay: When you have a good menu planned, you can ask your guests to bring some of the dishes. The key is to give them specific instructions, like not just “dessert” but “a dessert made out of pumpkins”, not just “wine”, but “red wine” – that way you will get everything needed for your dinner, and you won’t have to cook everything yourself. Katja Presnal: Great tips! You mentioned earlier that chicken stock is a key to cooking, and especially cooking Thanksgiving dinner. What do you say to home cooks who don’t know how to make their own chicken stock or don’t have time to make it? Bobby Flay: Really, any chicken stock in a carton is good. I don’t recommend buying chicken stock in a can, because, well, it tastes like can, but you can get good chicken stock in a carton from any grocery store. Katja Presnal: Thank you for your time Bobby, and good luck on your marathon! Bobby Flay: Thanks, it was great to see you again.

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