Friday, October 9, 2009

Why does the great chef bite his finger nails?

Belarmino Rico, left, "King of the Cuban Sandwich,"and son Joseph at La Pola in West New York. With a Cuban sandwich as good as the one they make, you can skip Miami.

Last night, I came across a video of chef Bobby Flay sampling Cuban food in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, and it's pretty clear he hasn't been able to stop biting his finger nails. 

Maybe this is how the so-called celebrity chef stays so thin, gnawing on his fingers rather than several snacks throughout the day.

I recall watching many hours of the chef's cooking and grilling shows on the Food Network where he handled and chopped food. 

In fact, it was during one such show several years ago when I noticed during a close-up that his nails were severely bitten, and it disgusted me.

What exactly is he worried about? He's a multi-millionaire who owns many restaurants and has a glamorous wife and New York lifestyle. 

When he opened a hamburger restaurant in Paramus, The Record of Hackensack heaped a ton of  adulation on the chef, as if thanking him for taking pity on all those North Jerseyans who supposedly don't have access to good hamburgers.

What the newspaper failed to mention is how Flay put profits ahead of his customers' well-being by serving a line of beef raised with antibiotics, growth hormones and animal by-products, instead of choosing the same type of beef raised on a vegetarian diet and without additives. 

And he had the nerve to call the place a Hamburger Palace.

In the video, Flay's nail-biting is most evident in the scenes where the unshaven chef samples a Cuban pastry and empanada. 

Later, he watches a cook prepare a Cuban sandwich. Two things are evident besides his nail-biting: he knows zilch about Cuban food and the Cubano served in Miami dwarfs the North Jersey versions.

Here's the link to the video, which is preceded by a brief commercial. (I don't know when this video was made.)


  1. I can't take Bobby Flay or his massive ego on the Food Network, I usually switch the channel. I will never eat at his burger shack and I find it ironic how little he knows about ethnic cuisines.

  2. Yet the media love chefs like him. I much prefer someone like Jamie Oliver, the English chef who is involved in improving school nutrition. The Times did a piece on him that I read online Sunday.

  3. Why is it such an issue that Bobby Flay is a nail-biter? Many talented people bite their nails. It doesn't look nice, but it's not a scandal. Give the guy a break. He's human. Maybe he has a nervous tick. Nail-biting does not make anyone a bad person.

  4. Of course, it's a big issue when you work with food and you are constantly on TV cutting it, touching it and preparing it. I can't think of a bigger turn-off. Who would want to eat food touched by a chef who is constantly putting his fingers in his mouth? To me, good sanitation is a must, and Bobby Flay falls far short.


Please try to stay on topic.