For the past 11 seasons of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine has given seemingly hopeless restaurateurs second chances at success, completing dream transformations, both within the four walls of the eateries and beyond, as he’s worked with owners to evolve their business savvy. On the brand-new season of Restaurant: Impossible Ambush, he’ll do all of that again — but this time, the owners don’t know he’s coming.
Premiering Thursday, Oct. 22 at 9|8c, Restaurant: Impossible Ambush will show what happens when Robert and his team drop by unannounced, all set to take over an unsuspecting owner’s business, and what results simply cannot be anticipated. From pure elation to downright dissatisfaction, the reactions to Robert’s impromptu renovations are as variable as the issues plaguing the failing eateries. If you thought that owners were shocked — and perhaps a bit annoyed — by Robert’s advice even when they requested it, imagine what might ensue when he shows up without an invitation.
Just in time for this month’s premiere, Robert gave FN Dish an insider’s look at what’s ahead on Ambush. Read on below for an exclusive interview with the host and find out what he wants to say to the stubborn owners he’s met along the way.
What can fans expect from the Ambush renovations? How are these episodes different than past Restaurant: Impossible shows?
Robert Irvine: Crazy! For 11 seasons [of] Restaurant: Impossible, the viewers knew that the guests, or the people I was going to help, knew I was coming. I was the only one that didn’t know where I was going. Season 12 Ambush, let me tell you, they have no idea I’m coming, and I have no idea where I’m going. And what happens when I walk in the door truly is up to them: how they react, how I speak to them, how they lose their cool. And do they want me there? That’s the big question. … I’ve got to tell you, it’s not like any other Restaurant: Impossible we have ever, ever done. It’s exciting. It is gripping. It’s chilling. It’s nail-biting. And you’ll never know what’s going to happen, ’cause every turn is something different.
My first encounter with Boston cream pie was in doughnut form when I was in middle school. My best friend Melissa’s family had a standing Saturday doughnut-breakfast policy. It was one of my favorite parts about sleeping over her place on Friday night. Her parents would go out early Saturday morning and bring the treats back for us. While they drank coffee, we ate doughnuts in our pajamas. I always chose Boston cream and I always wished I could eat more than one.
There is something so magical about the Boston cream combination: cool, creamy custard nestled in fluffy cake and topped with bittersweet chocolate. It’s the perfect dessert for the indecisive. Chocolate, vanilla, cake and custard all wrapped up in one. It’s a genius invention.
Spaghetti squash is the original source of veggie noodles. Unlike other vegetables, it doesn’t require you to use a spiralizer to create perfect, twirlable strands — after a quick roasting time, a fork is all that’s needed. Follow Food Network Magazine’s foolproof roasting guide here. Then, create a comforting low-carb dinner featuring the yellow gourd. Find delicious inspiration from the October issue below.
Spaghetti Squash Alfredo with Pancetta and Peas (pictured above)
You won’t miss the pasta when your squash strands are dressed up with Alfredo sauce. Shallots, white wine and fresh thyme balance the creaminess of the classically decadent dish.
While some recipes require a bit of (worthwhile) finagling to make them meatless, macaroni and cheese isn’t one of them. Kids and adults, meat eaters and vegetarians, picky eaters and voracious culinarians — seemingly everyone is pleased when a bowl of piping-hot, ooey-gooey mac and cheese is set before them.
When it comes to classic recipes, this one for baked macaroni and cheese and this one for the stovetop variety are go-to places to start. But for a next-level twist on the traditional version, try Sunny Anderson’s 5-star Spicy Macaroni and Cheese (pictured above). It boasts all of the cheesy richness you crave — there are a whopping three kinds of cheeses in this indulgent recipe — but the pinch of cayenne adds a welcome boost of heat. To add to the creamy texture in this big-batch casserole, Sunny adds a bit of tangy sour cream to the cheese mixture, and then she balances out that texture with a crispy-crunchy topping of buttery croutons.
You may know Alex Guarnaschelli best as a judge on Chopped or for mentoring All-Star Academy home cooks to culinary success. As a skilled Iron Chef, Alex wows fans with her elegant and approachable dishes, which combine the comforting flavors of American, Italian and French cuisines. Keep reading below for more of Alex’s best-ever recipes, like her tried-and-true chocolate cake and her decadent eggplant parmigiana that is sure to please a crowd. Plus, get a behind-the-scenes look at Butter Restaurant in New York City, where she cooks up seasonal dishes when she’s not on camera or at home.
Cook the assigned dishes and win the game — that’s all there is to Cutthroat Kitchen, right? Yes, but of course there are those tricky sabotages to contend with as well. But even in the midst of daunting challenges, many competitors make the rounds harder on themselves by going far beyond what’s asked of them. After tonight’s brand-new episode, judge Jet Tila and Alton Brown sat down on the host’s After-Show to dish about how one chef’s determination to do more and put more on the plate ultimately cost her the competition.
In the first round’s Monte Cristo assignment, Chef Jourdan was saddled with working with bread from a French onion soup to make her sandwich. While Jet suggested ideas for making the sabotage work, Alton noted that Chef Jourdan did not pursue them. Perhaps that was because, as Alton said, she was “too busy making soup and a tomato salad,” neither of which is a required element of a classic Monte Cristo. “A tip to the chefs: Don’t ever do more dishes than what is required,” Jet told Alton as the judge pondered Chef Jourdan’s elimination, and Alton agreed. “Do the required one correctly,” the host added. For Chef Jourdan, no matter the seemingly superfluous items on her plate, her sandwich wasn’t a win either, as Jet found it to be “beefy” on account of the soup sabotage.
When Kids Face the Chopping Block: Ted Allen on the Astonishing Maturity of Chopped Junior Competitorsby Joseph Erdos in Shows, October 11th, 2015
“I’m over-the-moon excited with how fun this series is,” said Ted Allen when we chatted on the set of the new kids’ competition show, Chopped Junior, premiering on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 8|7c. Ted hosts the series, in which 10- to 14 -year-olds compete in a very mature arena. The Chopped set may be decked out in primary colors, but the challenge is the same: Transform a set of basket ingredients into a cohesive dish that’s flavorful and well-presented. But these kids, unlike most, can do just that — they’re halfway to being adults when it comes to knowing food.
“These are kids who really love to cook, who have been inculcated with the values of chefs,” said Ted, adding that just like professional chefs, the kid competitors want to cook real, fresh, unprocessed foods. Give them a frozen pizza bite, Ted gave as an example, and they will “lecture you about the ingredients that are in processed foods.” These kids know their stuff, whether it’s how to use a unique ingredient like lemongrass or how to dice an onion like a pro. And Ted was floored by the kids’ mastery of tastes. “They know that if something’s too sweet, you have to balance it with something acidic, like lemon juice or lime juice or vinegar. They like vinegar. They like things that are bitter.” Is there anything that these kids are bad at?
Let’s chalk this one up to the weather: Now that the air has turned chilly and the days shorter, it seems only right that we’re craving the warming comfort of sweet treats. In this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, two-bite dough balls are laced with fresh banana and tossed in a tried-and-true mixture of cinnamon and sugar while they’re still warm from the fryer. Perhaps best of all is that these next-level doughnuts, featured in Food Network Magazine, can be ready to eat in only 25 quick minutes, making them a go-to dessert when you need something easy yet impressive.
For more ways sweet-tooth-satisfying recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Bake board on Pinterest.
Get the Recipe: Mini Banana Beignets from Food Network Magazine