Bobby Flay attempts to shut down rumors of Food Network friction after 'Iron Chef' drama leaks

Bobby Flay cooked up some controversy while filming "Iron Chef Showdown" earlier this year -- but it's unclear whether or not he intentionally burned Food Network.

A tense scene unfolded on set this summer, according to a Wednesday Vanity Fair story that described "stunned silence" as Flay pulled an on-camera stunt. The longtime Food Network personality was in the middle of a timed battle when he tore off his apron, revealing a t-shirt emblazoned with "THIS IS MY LAST IRON CHEF BATTLE EVER."

The cameras were rolling and food was cooking, so filming proceeded as usual until it was time to cut. At that point, producers "rushed in" to confront Flay, telling him, "We're not going to be able to cut around that" -- to which Flay responded, "I know. That's the point."

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Chef Bobby Flay reacts as his daughter Sophie speaks during his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star ceremony on June 2, 2015, in Hollywood, California. Flay is the first television chef to be accorded the honor. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Chef Bobby Flay stands on his star after it unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on June 2, 2015, in Hollywood, California. Flay is the first television chef to be accorded the honor. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 02: A plane flies nearby the ceremony honoring Bobby Flay as he receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on June 2, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
Chef Bobby Flay reacts as his star is unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on June 2, 2015, in Hollywood, California. Flay is the first television chef to be accorded the honor. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 10: Television personality and chef Bobby Flay arrives at Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit's Grand Tasting event at Caesars Palace on May 10, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Bobby Flay attends Food Networks 20th birthday celebration at Pier 92 on October 17, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 30: Celebrity chef Bobby Flay and wife, actress Stephanie March attend the The New Yorker party during White House Correspondents dinner weekend at the W Hotel Washington, DC on April 30, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The New Yorker)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 09: Celebrity chef Bobby Flay and wife, actress Stephanie March, attend the Heineken Red Star Access G.O.O.D. Music Presented By Kanye West at Skylight One Hanson on June 9, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Kohen/WireImage for Heineken)
DETROIT - JANUARY 7: Chrysler Group President and CEO Tom LaSorda (R) and celebrity chef Bobby Flay perform a skit together at the Chrysler exhibitt during the introduction of the new 2008 Dodge Ram Caravan minivan at the 2007 North American International Auto Show January 7, 2007 in Detroit, Michigan. The show draws nearly 7,000 members of the news media from around the world and opens to the public January 13. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25: Chef Bobby Flay attends 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom' screening hosted by U2, Anna Wintour, Bob and Harvey Weinstein with Burberry at Ziegfeld Theater on November 25, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
More than Real owner Bobby Flay, right, and his wife, Stephanie March, talk to the media after More Than Real, with Garrett Gomez up, won in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, November 5, 2010. (Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images)
Stephanie March, of TV's 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,' and Bobby Flay, New York chef after becoming man and wife. (Photo by Gregory Pace/FilmMagic)
Stephanie March, of TV's 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,' and Bobby Flay, New York chef after becoming man and wife. (Photo by Gregory Pace/FilmMagic)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 2: Celebrity chef Bobby Flay and wife Stephanie March arrive at the Barnstable Brown Kentucky Derby Eve Gala the on May 2, 2008 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Jeff Gentner/Getty Images)
Bobby Flay and wife Stephanie March during 'Glengarry Glen Ross' Broadway Opening Night - Curtain Call and After Party at The Royale Theater and Sardi's in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - DECEMBER 06: Bobby Flay and Stephanie March attend the amfAR Inspiration Miami Beach Party at Soho Beach House on December 6, 2012 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for amfAR)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - DECEMBER 06: (L-R) Stephanie March and celebrity chef Bobby Flay attend the Chopard and W Magazine 'Marilyn Forever' exhibition at Soho Beach House on December 6, 2012 during Art Basel Miami in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Chopard)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 06: Chef Bobby Flay and actress Stephanie March attend the 132nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6, 2006 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 28: (U.S. TABS AND HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) Actress Stephanie March and Chef Bobby Flay arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit Gala sponsored by Gucci April 28, 2003 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New Yor
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 9: Actress Stephanie March and boyfriend chef Bobby Flay attend the Luca Luca Fall/Winter 2003 Collection fashion show at the Theater in Bryant Park during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week February 9, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Evan
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 9: Chef Bobby Flay and girlfriend actress Stephanie March attend the Diane von Furstenberg Fall/Winter 2003 Collection fashion show at her West Village Studio during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week February 9, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 09: Chef Bobby Flay and actress Stephanie March attend the 'Girls' Season 2 After Party hosted by HBO at Capitale on January 9, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
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Less than a day after Vanity Fair broke the story, Flay painted a different picture, telling People that the unexpected moment was just a poorly-received joke:

“This past summer when I was in production on Iron Chef Showdown, I wore a T-shirt to have a little fun during my last battle this season. In hindsight, it was probably not the best decision because it’s just creating confusion," Flay said. "Food Network has been part of my family for over 20 years and will absolutely continue to be, and though there is a talented bench of Iron Chefs to tap, if I were asked, I’d be excited to return to Kitchen Stadium, whenever my schedule allows.” 

But according to Vanity Fair's insiders, the stunt definitely was not all in good fun -- it was instead, they said, a climax of brewing tension between Flay and Food Network, where he's appeared on and off in various shows since 2000.

Producers are still trying to figure out what to do with the footage and are considering blurring out his t-shirt -- "Nothing has been decided or settled," a source told VF -- and people close to Flay said that while they don't know his future plans, he very much intended to display a message that couldn't be easily removed in post-production.

 

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