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Take That, Bobby Flay

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I have been here once, decent burgers. It's about 50 miles away.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Take That, Bobby Flay

By Matt Andazola

Journal Staff Writer

SAN ANTONIO, N.M. — After the judges wiped their lips clean, it was the native New Mexico restaurant owner who triumphed over the New York-based celebrity chef in a battle for green-chile cheeseburger supremacy.

Jim Thompson/JournalBobby Olguin and wife Debby, owners of the Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, N.M., watch "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" on Wednesday night. Bobby Olguin, third-generation owner of the Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, about 85 miles south of Albuquerque, won over the two judges. Food Network personality Bobby Flay was sent packing on his show, "Throwdown with Bobby Flay."

"I thought it was going to be a pretty close one," Olguin said after the episode aired Wednesday night. But winning, he said, "puts the icing on the cake."

Olguin's restaurant was closed for business Wednesday night but open to about 20 friends and family for a viewing party of the show at 7 p.m.

Everyone chuckled as the TV chef removed the seeds from his green chile and added red wine vinegar with olive oil. The room crackled with cheers, clapping and whoops of victory when Olguin was declared the winner.

Flay travels in secret for "Throwdown," pitting himself against unsuspecting master chefs in culinary contests.

When Olguin filmed the episode in May at a chile festival at Bosque del Apache, he thought he was being featured on a special called "Burger Nation." He said he suspected he was being lied to and asked the film crew repeatedly when Flay would be there. Still, he said, he was awed when the New Yorker pulled up in a limousine and issued the challenge.

"I was like, 'You know what? Just being next to this guy and being associated with him is winning to me,' " Olguin said. "But inside, I was like, 'Oh, he's going down.' "

Flay put up a decent fight, said Antonio Perez, a Buckhorn cook who was at the filming.

"I thought he was a real challenger," he said, pointing to Flay's burger, piled with chile peppers from New Mexico and Mexico, gourmet cheese and pickled onions. It was intimidatingly fancy, Perez said.

But Olguin's Buckhorn burger is no pushover: It has earned him the No. 7 spot on Gentlemen's Quarterly's list of the best in America, as well as the No. 3 "Baddest Burger in the Land" on's Nightlife Flavor Roundup.

In the end, judges Stephanie Walker, chile spe******t at New Mexico State University, and Al Lucero, owner of Maria's New Mexican restaurant in Santa Fe, found more to love in the New Mexico powerhouse.

Flay was a gracious loser though, Olguin said, lavishing praise not just on Olguin but also on New Mexican food in general, noting his respect for chile that comes from using peppers to create many of his world-famous dishes.

If you didn't get to see the New Mexico "Throwdown" on Wednesday night, you can catch it again on Food Network at 9 p.m. on Aug. 2.

post #2 of 13
I am NOT a fan of Bobby Flay. But I give him a lot of respect for his throwdown show. It takes some guts to challenge people who are the best at what they do. He does usually lose but my hat goes off to him for trying. These people are really good at one dish. Bobby is really good at a lot more than that.
post #3 of 13
I love a good hamburger and with green chili or Japs just makes it better-I got into grinding my own chuck for my crave of burger-and it went from there.hats off to the local folks ron.
post #4 of 13
Im not a huge fan of that guy either but I have caught a few of the shows and I happened to see that one last night. That guy in NM looks like he just loves life all the time. Would love to get a chance to run a rest. and love life like that ... soooo many many rest.'s and fast food joints in CT its real hard for the little guy to survive in this state plus theres not much of a market for BBQ... Ive got some great menu ideas and rest theme ideas but in this world they say it takes money to make money and CT is one of the most expensive states to live in... dont know why im so rooted here but hey living check to check is better then No Check .. lol
post #5 of 13
I didn't see the show but will look for it, on the endless reruns foodnetwork serves up.

re: Bobby Flay, I like him, I rem. his first or second show Grillin & Chillin with Jack McDavid. I read they filmed the whole show in one week in Florida something like 80 episodes (can't rem exact number). That show inspired me to use my Weber Kettle more.

For a kid who never graduated from High School to renown restaurateur, celebrity chef, and cooking author, he as accomplished a lot. Its funny watching him be critical on "Next Network Food Star" when chefs rely on their tried and true techniques and personal favorite food styles. Flay constantly does exactly the same thing on Iron Chef, everything is Southwestern flavors or similar and same ingredients.

It would be interesting to know if Flay is as friendly and open as he appears on TV. 3 wives and a class action lawsuit from his employees may reveal he is hmmmmm, well if there is someone that knows him can comment that would be better than conjecture.
post #6 of 13
I've met him a few times. Like everyone else he has his quirks, and those are multiplied for anyone as driven as he. That said, he seems to be a good guy.
As to the lawsuit.... the policies at his restaurants (pooled tipping, maitre d' skim, clean your own uniform, etc) are typical of almost every upscale restaurant around! It comes with the territory, because high-end restauranting is a high-risk business. But a waiter gig at one of Flay's joints will pay better than at a local joint in any event. All that said, if indeed there was a conspiracy on Flay's part to rip off the hired help then my opinion of him will change.
post #7 of 13
Score one for the homeboy, and Nuevo Mexico. While Bobby Flay may have a a certain uncared for personality, he does come up with some interesting dishes.
post #8 of 13
I think I have been there!! Is there dollar bills taped on the walls?
post #9 of 13
I got chuckles from the episodes where he challenged one rib man with his oven cooked version of ribs and lost, then challenged another rib man with his smoked version of ribs and lost that too.
post #10 of 13
Dang...I need to get cable!
post #11 of 13
I'm a fan of Bob Flay and have been to a taping of Grilling with Bobby in Brooklyn where you can see the brooklyn bridge in the back ground and it was really cool. He's a nice guy was very talkative with us and didn't act all uppity. I have been to one of his restaurants "Mesa" and it was nice but not worth the money. But then we have been to Mario Batalli's restaurant "Bolo" also very nice but to houti touti for my taste but I just wanted to eat there. If you want a good place go to the Bronx and (I think 121st Street) Dinasour bbq it's really cool and low key but great smoked meat. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #12 of 13
It is easy for a big business to get sued due to a bad upper management person abusing or not taking care of business.
post #13 of 13
I am a big fan of Bobby's. Love Throwdown and Gillin w/ Bobby Flay. I have seen shows where he talks about cooking for his wife or friends and read lots of positves about people meeting him in person. Like others have said, takes guts to compete against others best dish. He usually loses but keeps on taking the challenges.
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