​Bobby Flay's recipe for success

Flay's new restaurant, Gato, in New York City, is white-hot, with reservations hard to come by
Flay's new restaurant, Gato, in New York City... 07:18

If anyone has figured out a recipe for success, it's chef Bobby Flay. Not that there wasn't a lot of trial-and-error along the way. He shares some of his recipe now with our Tracy Smith:

At Gato, Bobby Flay's white-hot new restaurant in Manhattan, don't be surprised to see the man himself behind the stove. If you're lucky enough to score a reservation here, chances are Flay will cook your dinner.

CBS News

"I said to my business partner this is a passion project," he told Smith. "We're going to do this because we want to do it. We're not going to make any money in this restaurant. But it's what we want to do."

"Are you making money?" Smith asked.

"A tiny, tiny bit."

And right now, money does seem to be taking a backseat to Flay's obsession with wowing his customers: The night Smith was there, he put together a massive seafood dish, as a kind of a warm-up for his Christmas Eve "Feast of the Seven Fishes." Then, he served it to his bar patrons -- for free.

"You can call it an obsession, but to me it's my job," he said. "It's my work. It's a thing I love to do. Way more than television -- no offense."

"Do you think that some people didn't see you, or don't see you, as a legitimate chef because you're on TV?" Smith asked.

"It's really easy for people to discount you because you're on television," Flay said. "I'm not really sure why that takes your skills away. But I understand it. And I stopped fighting that fight a long time ago."

Does it bug him? It used to a lot, he said. "It doesn't bug me anymore."

Good thing: For most of the past 20 years, Flay has been a nearly-constant TV presence on a number of networks, CBS among them.

He also, it seems, has confidence to burn, and is known as a kind of kitchen gladiator. On his latest Food Network show -- the aptly-titled "Beat Bobby Flay" -- people are lining up to take him down.

But before he was a household name, you might say Bobby Flay's toughest enemy was himself.

Born in Manhattan in 1964, Robert William Flay showed an early interest in cooking, and not much else -- except killing time with his pals on a New York City street corner: "That's what kids did then in New York. We hung out. We ate pizza. We got into some fights. We played some video games. We got chased by the cops because our boom boxes were too loud."

Bobby Flay with correspondent Tracy Smith. CBS News

He flunked out of a series of New York Catholic schools, some more than once.

Smith asked, "Were you bored? Were you angry? Were you like the angry young man who just didn't have time for school?"

"Not really," Flay replied. "I had nothing to be angry about, really. Maybe I was bored. I mean, I guess I was, 'cause I wasn't interested at all."

He did manage to show up on a regular basis at Mimi's Pizza on New York's Upper East Side, where he a got as a delivery boy at age 12.

He tells people he graduated from UCLA: "Yeah -- University of the Corner of Lexington Avenue!"

Truth is, he quit high school, and his father made him get a job doing grunt kitchen work at another restaurant. But instead of scaring him back to school, that little restaurant job changed his life forever.