Food & Drink

Bobby Flay serves it up to 'Incredible' crowd

Dinner was probably unnecessary for about 4,000 people who loaded up on samples of cheese, pie, fondue, apple butter, barbecue, fudge, cake, salsa, ice cream and dozens of other treats at the Incredible Food Show Saturday.

"We're stuffed," said Becki Owens. "If you couldn't find a beer cheese you liked, there isn't one for you."

The event, sponsored by Kentucky Proud and held at the Lexington Convention Center, also featured two shows by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, who used several Kentucky products to make ribs, a lobster dish and apple shortcake.

But he seemed a little confused when the audience laughed as he held up a jar of Jif peanut butter, which he used to doctor the barbecue sauce for the ribs.

After a woman explained that the laughter was because Jif is made in Lexington, Flay grinned. "It's a good thing I picked Jif," he said. "I didn't know it."

Flay is a frequent visitor to the Bluegrass and has horses at Denali Stud.

"Do you know how many horses I would have to buy at the sales if I had a restaurant here," he said in response to an audience member's question about whether he'd consider opening a restaurant here.

Flay asked what kind of restaurant he should open.

"A Mesa Grill with a Bobby's Burger Palace around the corner? It could definitely happen," he said.

Gabriel Tarr, a University of Kentucky graduate student impressed the chef by munching a habanero pepper on stage without even a grimace.

"I would never try that," Flay said. "A sliver of a habanero could really change your weekend."

Flay rewarded Tarr with a plate of lobster tail cooked with mango, served over a bed of greens and a sauce made from coconut milk and corn.

"It was superb," Tarr said after the show. "It was wonderful. It was great."

Emilee Hoard, 11, of Somerset helped Flay whip the cream for his apple shortcakes and received one of them at the end.

She said she didn't mind sharing a bite with her mom and friends either.

"It was fun. I was kind of nervous, though," Hoard said.

While Diana Hackenberg of Cincinnati said the yummiest thing she'd tasted all day was a sample of banana pudding-flavored ice cream, she really appreciated the vendor that handed out samples of milk at the show.

"You needed something to wash all that stuff down," she said.

Robyn Brown said her favorite was a goat cheese truffle.

"That's something totally different, but they were really good," she said.

Brown was excited to learn about several companies that she never knew were here, including one offering grain-fed beef and another that sells imported olive oil.

"This is a great advertisement for the small businesses," said Brown's friend Terri Kyles. "It's nice. I hope they do it again."