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As Bobby Flay Cooks Up an IPO, Can He Still Remain the Hands-On Guy?

Used to calling his own shots, Flay will soon find out what happens when he lets everyone else into the kitchen.

This story appears in the October 2017 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's 1 pm on a Thursday, and Bobby Flay is sitting in his favorite spot to conduct daily business: the corner banquette in the front window at Gato, the Lower Manhattan outpost of his fine-dining empire. He is dressed casually in a dark-blue henley and jeans, wrapping up a call as his team gets situated around him for the first agenda item of the day: testing 10 new cocktails.

Photographed by David Yellen; Grooming: Lisa Aharon | Starworks; Stylist: Courtney Fuglien

Marlene is the new bar manager, and this is her first time pitching the boss her own concoctions. She's a bit nervous, but she's done her homework. And Flay is impressed, on the whole, with her creations. But he zeroes in on one drink in particular. "You know what the surprising flavor in here is," he tells her with genuine admiration, "and not everyone's going to pick up on this -- it's the pink peppercorn." But after a further moment's reflection, the garnish in Marlene's drink gives him pause.

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