The two chefs, who co-host Food Network Star together, now maintain a solid friendship, but De Laurentiis recently revealed that there was a time when they weren’t on speaking terms.
In the season two premiere of the podcast Beyond the Plate, the Giada’s Italy cookbook author said the point of contention came after she famously teamed up with Flay for Iron Chef America in 2006 to take on Rachael Ray and Mario Batali.
“We lost and he thought it was funny,” De Laurentiis told the podcast’s host, Ray’s Director of Special Projects Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan, during the the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in February. “He didn’t think it was any big deal that we lost. I did not talk to him for eight months‚ eight months! I did not. Nothing. Silence.”
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The Italian-born chef, who got her start on the Food Network in 2003, says she put her best effort towards the culinary competition, unlike Flay and Batali who she felt that because they “had been doing it for so long, for them, they didn’t care.”
“I thought, you know, I took this very seriously. It was a very big show, especially at that time, and I’ve cooked, I’ve gone to culinary school, I worked on my own dish all by myself and I felt like he sort of half-assed it,” she said during the podcast, which has also hosted chefs like José Andres and Tom Colicchio. “It was just TV [to him]. I took it very seriously. I think Rachael took it very seriously, and I was really disappointed.”
Rather than simply being upset that she missed out on her chance of becoming an Iron Chef, De Laurentiis added that Flay’s unapologetic attitude after the episode’s cranberry challenge was what really caused her to question their friendship. “He didn’t say, ‘Hey I’m sorry that we lost,’ or ‘Hey, you know we’ll do it again,'” she said. “Nothing. He’s just like walked away and I thought, you’re a jerk and I’m never—I never want to be around you again. Now of course we’re best buddies and we hang out but…”
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De Laurentiis, who first met Flay around 2004 at a food expo in Philadelphia, also went on to share some of the things she loves about her close friend, like his dedication towards his family, friends, and his restaurants.
“I think that Bobby is one of those people that if you are his friend, he has your back forever and he will stand up for you,” she said. “He’s one of those guys you can call in a pinch and he will get you out of it. He’s special in that sense.”