When Judges Compete: The Top Moments of a Special Beat Bobby Flay Episode

See what happens when Alex Guarnaschelli and Michael Symon face off for the chance to beat their friend Bobby.
Save Collection

Photo By: Scott Gries ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Scott Gries ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Scott Gries ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Scott Gries ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Scott Gries ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Scott Gries ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Scott Gries ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Scott Gries ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Scott Gries ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Scott Gries ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Scott Gries ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

The Tables. Have. Turned.

Instead of the special guests bringing in chef competitors to face off against Bobby, Alex and Michael pulled a fast one over the host when they made themselves contestants for the day. Yep, that's right: Either Alex or Michael would get the chance to face off against Bobby in a head-to-head, Iron Chef-versus-Iron Chef culinary battle. "Today we slay the Flay," Michael said slyly.

Meet the Day's Judge

Who better to oversee the Round 1 cook-off than someone who knows the strengths and weaknesses of all the fierce faces, right? Katie Lee joined the party as the judge of the day, and it was up to her to decide whether Alex or Michael would advance to compete against Bobby in Round 2.

Bobby's Pick: Spinach

Though Bobby would be at the mercy of his competitor's signature dish come Round 2, in Round 1 it was up to him to select the secret ingredient the rivals had to showcase. And for this special contest he opted for spinach. "What a crappy ingredient," Alex said simply. "I mean, this is an ingredient that has no taste no matter what you do."

Bacon and Eggs Reimagined

"My game plan is not to lose sight of the spinach," Alex explained of her approach to her dish. She featured the leafy green several ways — wilted, fried, in a pesto and in a vinaigrette — with bacon, toast and a quail egg.

The Making of a Dumpling

Michael used the flavors of his childhood to inspire his plate, which featured homemade spinach-laced dumplings in a brown butter sauce with guanciale. "Just 'cause you don't know what to do with flour and eggs doesn't mean that I don't," Michael joked with Bobby.

The First Verdict

After Katie selected Alex's dish as the superior one of the duo — "It's hard to find anything wrong with this," Katie admitted of Alex's offering — Alex was set to battle Bobby in a no-holds-barred competition. Her pick of signature dishes? Lobster Newburg. "I think I've made lobster Newburg once in my life," Bobby admitted.

Lobster the Flay Way

"The hardest part of lobster Newburg is the lobsters have to be cooked and cleaned," according to Bobby. "There's a lot of steps to the sauce itself." In true Flay fashion, he delivered bold flavors in his dish, creating a sauce with peppercorns and anchovy fillets. "We're going to make sort of a new-style Newburg," he said, opting to serve the lobster with rice.

An Authentic Execution

For Alex, it was all about sticking to tradition as she worked on bringing the tried-and-true flavors of the dish to life. "Super-classic French stuff," she said, building a sauce with vermouth and cream. Just before serving, Alex revealed her self-proclaimed "secret ingredient" of white truffles. "I'm just going to put them right on top to kind of accentuate the earthiness," she noted.

Overcoming Obstacles

With just minutes left on the clock, Bobby hit a mental stumbling block as he made his next steps in finishing his dish. He explained, "I'm just not getting any momentum 'cause I'm not really sure where I'm supposed to be going with this dish." But of course it was only a matter of time until Bobby found what Michael observed to be his "swagger," and he managed to complete his lobster Newburg on time.

A Blind Panel

Chefs Michael Lomonaco, April Bloomfield and Wylie Dufresne were on hand to taste Alex's and Bobby's presentations — but they didn't know who'd prepared which dish. Though Chef Lomonaco appreciated the nontraditional use of rice in Bobby's dish, ultimately Alex won the title and beat Bobby once and for all, as Chef Bloomfield deemed Alex's dish "vibrant" and "decadent."

Bobby Gets Beat

"I feel like I'm dreaming. I think I just beat Bobby Flay," Alex said, seemingly overcome with the victory.

Want More Beat Bobby Flay?

Check out Food Network's Beat Bobby Flay headquarters to hear from Bobby's closest friends and his fellow chefs, and see what they think it takes to beat this master of flavor.

More: Beat Bobby Flay

More from:

Beat Bobby Flay