Superstar chef Bobby Flay sounds amused by critic and fan response to his daughter, Sophie’s appearance on NBC’s “The Next Great American Restaurant” last week. Words such as “harsh,” “toughest judge,” “disturbingly mature” and “the first 14-year-old who’s intimidated me” have been filling the blogosphere in the wake of her crisp critiques of the restaurateur wannabes’ food and plans for giveaway toys on the show’s kid-centric installment.
“I think she was fair. I don’t think she was harsh. We told her, ‘Just be honest about what you taste and what you see,'” says Dad.
According to Flay, Sophie’s involvement “just came about at the last minute. I didn’t know the rundown of all the challenges, and when I was reading that the next show was going to be with kids, I said to the executive producer, ‘If we’d thought about this, it would have been fun to get my daughter to come out and comment…She’s grown up around food. Food is really important to her.’ She said, ‘Let’s get her on a plane.’ Sophie is pretty relaxed about everything. She liked the idea of coming to L.A. and doing a little shopping.”
So, can we expect another Chef Flay in future years?
“No, definitely not,” he answers. “Her clear vision is, she wants to be a fashion editor at some point. That’s what she really wants to do. People have always asked her whether she wants to be a chef like her dad, and she always says, ‘We already have that covered in our family.'”
MEANWHILE: With just a couple weeks to go before “ANGR’s” season finale May 1, Flay acknowledges getting caught up emotionally with some of the contestants. “I think you can’t not,” he says. “It’s just a natural thing that happens. I have to admit, I have some people who – I wouldn’t say they’re favorites, but whose stories definitely pull your heartstrings a little bit more.” He adds that he finds it interesting that viewer favorites “seem to change from week to week.”
Flay also finds himself getting peppered with questions wherever he goes, pertaining either to 1) Who is going to win, or 2) How to sign up to audition for the next season of the show. Of course, he avers when it comes to Question 1. “People would really rather see how it plays out for themselves,” he notes. As for Question 2, first we’ll have to find out whether there’ll be another season of the reality series. Despite its obvious ratings challenges, he feels, “We’ve picked up traction as we’ve gone along.”