Renowned Chef and Comedian Drag Queen “Is my order for table 12 ready yet? ” shouted Chef Bobby Flay across the kitchen filled with chefs and kitchen helpers. Chef Bobby is a reputable chef in a three Michelin-starred restaurant named La Mediterranee in San Francisco. His meticulous and demanding personality tends to be difficult for other kitchen staff to work in but being a perfectionist, he made excellent Mediterranean dishes that kept regulars and new customers coming back again and again. When he was eleven years old and just started junior high school, he hated everything about school and assignments.
He felt it was a waste of time and energy to spend it on meaningless work. The only thing that spark his interest is cooking and he did it most of the time at home without having his mother to make dinner or lunch for the family. He lived with his parents and two sisters, being the oldest and only son in the family, he felt he has the responsibility to take care of his family. Being a comedian in the family, he never fails to bring laughter in their lives and cooking for his family is another way of expressing his love for them and he made sure that every dish accommodates their taste.
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From cooking everyday for the family helps to develop a passion in cooking for him and he knew from then on that he wants to pursue a career in culinary arts. After graduating from high school, he immediately enrolled into a chef school. In the beginning, he excelled in his skill work but struggled on his theory work. He worked extremely hard for his first two years in school and managed to obtain an internship in La Mediterranee. At that time, La Mediterranee was only a one Michelin-starred restaurant but he was ecstatic to be able to work there.
Chef Bobby worked hard during his internship, skipping sleep and working more hours than the rest of the kitchen staff. His enthusiasms in wanting to learn and his willingness to accept criticism gained favor from the then head chef of La Mediterranee. Towards the end of Chef Bobby’s internship, he was offered a position as a station chef. Though the position is low, he accepted it without much thought. After graduating from chef school, Chef Bobby immediately started his work in the restaurant. He was determined to work extremely hard and had the desire to climb up from his position.
His hard work was paid off after four years when he was offered the head chef of La Mediterranee. And the rest is history. Through his stint in La Mediterranee, his creativity and passion brought the restaurant into a three Michelin starred which is exceedingly rare and the highest ranked in the world. He was then named the rising star in the culinary world. In year 2005, it was a turning point for Chef Bobby. He had everything he hoped for; he met his love of his life, got married and has two kids.
He had wonderful family life, good relationship with his parents and sisters and still has strong passion for the culinary art but he felt something is missing. He thought to himself “So what’s next? ” He battled with himself about what is missing in his life yet he still has passion for his cooking but he could not figure out what it was. Until one day, he switched on the television and caught Dress to Kill, a comedy show of Eddie Izzard dressing up as a drag queen comedian. From then on, he had his “Ah huh! ” moment and was intrigued with the idea.
He knew he could be a humorous individual but was not sure how he could go about it. Living in San Francisco, a city with one of the most populated GLBT community, he was intrigued with the idea of dressing up as a drag queen and still being a heterosexual comedian. His wife knew about it and was not fond of the idea but as long as Chef Bobby is happy, she will be fine with it. For two months, almost everyday after his work, Chef Bobby mingled around the drag queens at the local gay bars, trying to understand them and their way of life.
After much practices and impersonation, he adopt a new drag queen stage name called “Lady Buffet”, it came about how he thinks that buffet is an insult to the culinary world and wants to contradict by having that name. He also managed to get a stand up comedy gig at a local gay bar offering free show so that he could gain as much notices from the local people as possible. Then came the day of his gig, he dressed up in outrageously kinky pink outfit, bigwig and in high wedges. Chef Bobby’s supportive families came to support and he put up a great show.
Everyone cheered and immediately caught the media’s attention and they wrote an article on him the next morning. He is known in the media as the “San Francisco Eddie”. From that day on till now, Chef Bobby has countless request to hold a stand up show at various straight or gay bars. He carries on to have weekly stand up show after midnight and still focus on his chef duties in La Mediterranee during the day. Most importantly, Chef Bobby felt completed and he is fortunate to be having two completely different passions in life and excelling it.
He definitely enjoys the idea of being called Chef Bobby in the day and Lady Buffet after midnight. Chef Bobby is a real life example of an individual who knows what he wants in life, worked very hard for it and excel in what he does best. Although having a perfect life; a good wife, healthy kids, good relationships with families, respected chef, passionate with what he does. He still find something is amiss in his perfect life thus he seeks that little imperfection to feel completed and he finally did it from the moment he caught Eddie Izzard’s Dress to Kill.
It was a calling for him and he knew immediately that is the missing part. He found support and courage from his families and himself and embarked on an adventurous encounter with true drag queens and eventually gotten himself a stand up show. From then, he knew he will never turn back what he started on and continue enjoying what he do. He still enjoys being a chef and starting out as a drag queen comedian is an exciting journey. Knowing the story of Chef Bobby, everyone can’t help but think where he found that courage to do what he does without having to care about what others might think of him?
Why is he not contented enough in his life with a reputable name in the culinary world and a happy family life? Most of us battled with these ideas of stepping out of our comfort zone to explore other possibilities and no guts to pursue it. We are afraid of being judged by others with what we enjoy doing. With a story like Chef Bobby’s, it definitely influences like-minded individuals who have no courage to live a life they desire and hoped for, encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone slowly and surely to embark on new life experiences. As you can see, Chef Bobby sure has a fulfilling life with a tinge of fun!