For Bobby Flay, the food's his thing

June 7, 2009 at 4:08 PM

NEW YORK, June 7 (UPI) -- American chef and Food Network workhorse Bobby Flay, who unabashedly loves food and mentoring, says the network's next star must have the same passions.

"My whole world is about food," Flay, successful restaurateur and Food Network personality, told United Press International.

As the host-judge for the fifth season of Food Network's "The Next Food Network Star" airing Sundays beginning this week, Flay does do some mentoring during during the challenges the 10 contestants undertake by "asking questions to give them something to think about and maybe help push them in the right direction" to win a six-show contract.

This season's "The Next Food Network Star" has been "a fantastic season as far as food is concerned," Flay said. "This group is the best when it comes to food. As a chef, that's incredibly important to me."

For Flay, the 10 aspirants must have great food chops, and be able to teach and convey their passion for food and knowledge to an audience.

"The way I look at it, I want to add something to the roster of the (Food Network) team," said the personality behind "Boy Meets Grill," Grill It!" and "Throwdown with Bobby Flay," as well a resident chefs on "Iron Chef America." "I want that person to last more than six shows -- I want that person to have 600 shows."

One contestant already is known to Flay. He issued (and lost) a mussels-and-fries throwdown to Teddy Folkman, co-owner and executive chef of Granville Moore's Gastropub in Washington.

"The thing about 'Throwdown' is finding someone really good with one particular thing," Flay said. "It's different on 'The Next Food Network Star' because you have to show a repertoire of things. He'll understand that very quickly; very, very quickly."

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