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America’s Next Great Restaurant: Bobby Flay Interview

April 27, 2011 12:32 PM by Lisa Princ

NBC‘s America’s Next Great Restaurant is heading into the finale this weekend, and just in time, investor and super chef Bobby Flay took some time out to chat in a press conference about the show. Keep reading to hear what Bobby had to say!

America’s Next Great Restaurant investor and Food Network guru Bobby Flay is no stranger to the restaurant business, thus making him a perfect fit for this show. In a press conference today, Bobby took some time to talk about the show. Here is what Bobby Flay wanted to share:

Question: After the finale, can you tell us when the restaurants will open?

Bobby Flay: All three of them will open the very next day, which is Monday.

Question: What made you decide to get involved with this show?

Bobby Flay: I invest in my own restaurants. That’s something that I do for living so I thought it would be a terrific opportunity to help someone else do the same.

Question: What are you looking for in a winner?

Bobby Flay: Lots of things – a great concept, someone who is truly passionate about what they are doing, incredible work ethic, somebody that can be able to make great decisions and throw themselves in front of the bus to stop it if something goes wrong.

Question: How much of the restaurant does the winner get?

Bobby Flay: We don’t talk about that, but it’s a substantial part of the restaurant. They get a salary from day one. It’s a very life changing prize starting with 3 restaurants, which is something that no one has ever done, and it has the potential to grow into 30 or so restaurants.

Question: Will the winner be at one of the restaurants on Monday?

Bobby Flay: Yes, but I am not sure I can tell you where.

Question: Were you going for locations that gather lots of people?

Bobby Flay: Yes we were looking for heavily populated sections as it is going to be a very value oriented restaurant. We have a price point so anyone can eat there.

Question: What’s the formula for a great restaurant?

Bobby Flay: Great food, great service, and value is incredibly important. Also, creating a great environment that people are going to enjoy. Style and service as well as energy – I think energy is very important. People to think of it not as a meal but as an event.

Question: What was the first food you ever prepared?

Bobby Flay: My T Fine chocolate pudding or deviled eggs, not sure which came first.

Question: Did you think many weeks ago that these three would in the finale?

Bobby Flay: In a way, yes. These people kept growing on us more & more. I would say that they are three very interesting ideas. There is Spice Coast which is a great Indian concept, and Soul Daddy is a soul food with a twist in terms of taking some of the calories out and save the flavor – I think that also goes really well with the American public. The meatball concept is something that we all know, a true comfort food and I think that if Joey is able to pull off the concept and make it interesting enough he has a really good chance of making it.

Question: What surprised you the most this season?

Bobby Flay: Across the board, that a lot of people with little or no restaurant experience that were very smart people that had really good ideas but they weren’t really keen on listening to investors advice. It’s a catch 22, when you come in with your concept, it’s your idea so you don’t want to listen to others, but on the other hand we are putting out the money. That could have gotten lost in their vision somewhere, those who had their eyes on the real prize of getting these 3 restaurants did much better.

Question: Was there one concept that you expected to go further than it did?

Bobby Flay: The person we got the most reaction about after asked to go home was Meltworks, the grilled cheese concept. I think he had a very good idea, in fact I tell people if the competition was one day long he would have won – he came in prepared but he had a lot of holes in the concept and when we asked him to make changes he didn’t. I think if he took the advice he would be fighting in the finale this weekend.

Question: How do the judges come to a decision each week on who to send home?

Bobby Flay: What you don’t see is the hours on top of hours of debate, we all come from different backgrounds, and so everyone has a certain amount of success. And we have strong opinions, like a jury room, we hash it out until we come to deliberation.

Question: What did you see the final three early on that led them to the finale?

Bobby Flay: I think that Sudhir that got Spice Coast is a very smart guy – he is smart, savvy and has a good business concept as well as being passionate about the food of his land, which was obvious from beginning. Jamawn who has the Soul Daddy soul food idea, I feel like he’s doing it for all the right reasons – he wants to make better life for him and his family and this is an extension of what he was doing before he got here. Joey, you see how passionate he is about his meatballs, growing up I was always jealous of my Italian friends who had these moms and grandmothers that cooked this all the time. It’s something very true to his heart.

Question: Has the show made you change your mind about what America wants in a restaurant?

Bobby Flay: Not sure yet, we’ll know after its all over. I mean America doesn’t really get to vote, it’s 4 people investing their money, the proof is in the pudding so we’ll get to see as time goes on.

Question: Will you advise the winner later on?

Bobby Flay: As investors we are putting our money up and paying attention very closely, we want this to work. After the restaurant opens, we’ll continue to help them – it’s part of the deal, you sign up for this thing and not just decide who you think is good and bad, instead you stick with the whole thing.

Question: Does health play a factor in choosing a winner?

Bobby Flay: Yes it plays an important decision to all of us. Three concepts, the Indian concept can really lend itself to being healthy, the meatball concept has a little more different chore in that but as long he can add salads it can be healthful. Even soul food can be made in a very healthy way, and the last few weeks you can see that Jamawn was really working towards that as it was important to him.

Question: Where will the home base of the winner be?

Bobby Flay: The winner will have to decide where they wanna live, but they’ll be at one of the locations of the restaurants and they will have to travel to keep tabs on the others.

Be sure to tune in next Sunday for the season finale of America’s Next Great Restaurant on NBC!

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Photo Courtesy of NBC

Topics: America's Next Great Restaurant, NBC Reality TV Shows |

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