What’s next after losing Chef Bobby Flay?


Starting next year, for the first time in Food Network history, Chef Bobby Flay will not be on the network’s lineup. While he will still be on the network in reruns, new shows featuring the chef and restaurateur and his southwest inspired cuisine will be nowhere to be found.

As we reported earlier this week, this is because Flay and Food Network were unable to agree on a new contract. The two sides were apparently pretty far apart when it came to money and Food Network decided to go ahead without one of their most recognizable stars.

So the question now is whether this is such a great idea and what will happen to Food Network without one of the food stars who put the network on the television map?

In the short term, that likely means we’ll see even more Guy Fieri and his armada of shows he produces for the network. With Flay gone, Fieri becomes the de facto face of Food Network and you can be sure viewers will see a lot more of him in the future.

Bobby Flay leaving Food Network, it’s really the end of an era

Which is really emblematic of one of the big issues Food Network will have in a post-Bobby Flay world. And why it might be better to try and strike a deal with the iconic chef rather than let him go.

When was the last time the Food Network had a foodie star he could call his own? Who was the last chef to make a big splash thanks to the exposure on the network that was offered to them? I can’t think of one over the past few years, can I? Molly Yeah maybe?

That’s because most chefs who go from chef and restaurateur to culinary personality and celebrity do so on shows like Excellent chef. Of course, chefs like Antonia Lofaso and Michael Voltaggio may be known to foodies now, but that’s mostly thanks to Excellent chef and in a much smaller sense, appearing on Fieri shows, not a series of theirs.

Previously, if you wanted to go from chef to culinary personality, you had to be on Food Network. You needed to have a show and you needed the promotional machine that included it. But now that is no longer true.

As a result, there is really no one to take over from Flay and be the face of the network. Because while Fieri is entertaining and funny, no one really considers him a serious chef. And without a chef of Bobby Flay’s caliber, Food Network loses that sense of credibility.

It’s bad enough that in recent years the network has seemingly ditched the cooking show format in favor of endless variations of the cooking contest series. While some, like Champions tournament, were a blast, others were a total waste of time.

Unfortunately, foodies can probably expect even more competitive shows with Flay gone. In a way, the loss of Bobby Flay represents the end of what the Food Network was originally. The cuisine and lifestyle of gourmets will now take a back seat (or disappear altogether) for new Bakery Championship iterations and everything Fieri can imagine next.

It really is the end of an era, and I for one am quite sad to see it happen.

What do you think of the culprit eaters? Do you think Food Network will survive the loss of Bobby Flay? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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