Plus, here's the one New Jersey city he's dying to visit
Though he lives in New York City, Bobby Flay is always on the road, as his restaurant (and television) empire spans the country. And while there are plenty of good things to eat in his hometown, including the saffron linguine at his latest restaurant, Gato, Flay has his eyes set on the culinary happenings of one state in particular: New Mexico.
"I think New Mexico had its moment like 25 years ago, when Southwestern food was just becoming an important thing in this country, and now it's having a comeback," Flay told Food and Wine at Savor Borgata Food & Wine Festival in Atlantic City, naming Santa Fe and Albuquerque as two of the state's most interesting food cities. "I think the outer regions of New Mexico are important, too. Don’t forget there’s so much Native American culture there, and it doesn’t get played out in our cuisine very often. Nobody uses the red and green chiles of this country anywhere else in their food, and it's such an important part of what we do in this country."
Flay said he would be remiss not to mention the culinary happenings in Minneapolis, a city that's become a magnet for many of the nation's top chefs in recent years. Gavin Kaysen, for example, was the chef de cuisine at Café Boulud for several years before returning to his midwestern hometown to open his critically acclaimed own restaurant, Spoon and Stable.
"You’re going to see a lot more of this because none of us can afford to open restaurants in New York anymore," said Flay. "So a young chef who doesn’t hae a lot of resources, what does he or she do? They go somewhere that’s not New York. That’s why we’re seeing so much great food all around the country ... Minneapolis is a very cool city."
Next on Flay's eating agenda is a destination a little bit closer to home: Jersey City, which is right over the Hudson from his Tribeca apartment. The chef is eager to visit the city's renowned pizza place, Razza, and Top Chef alum Leah Cohen's fantastic new Piggyback Bar, which features Southeast Asian-inflected bar foods (including some pho waffle cheese fries we can't stop dreaming about).