Q&A with Halloween Baking Championship Judge Damiano Carrara

by in Shows, September 27th, 2016

Damiano CarraraOn the new season of Halloween Baking Championship, expect to be blown away by the extremely creepy creations the bakers make, but even more than that, be ready for probably the scariest panel of judges you will ever see — and a host who’s not afraid to deliver some deadly news to eliminated bakers. Judges Carla Hall, Damiano Carrara and Sandra Lee will be dishing out critiques, while Jeff Dunham will be sending home the bakers who don’t meet the spooktacular criteria of the $25,000 competition show. Before you tune in for the premiere on Monday, Oct. 3 at 9|8c, hear from Damiano.

Damiano is a very successful baker of Italian specialties, and he’s also familiar with competitions. He competed in Spring Baking Championship, Season 1 and Food Network Star, Season 12. FN Dish recently caught up with him to chat about the holiday and the championship.

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5 Meaty Mains You Can Make in Your Slow Cooker

by in Recipes, September 27th, 2016

Preparing an impressive meal after a long day at work or school is a big ask. Bring a slow cooker into the equation, however, and your weeknight dinner routine will be truly transformed. We recommend setting aside some time on the weekends to prepare a meal that you can pack for lunches or reheat for dinners throughout the upcoming week. Spicy chili, chunky stew, meaty pot roast — the options are so varied and satisfying. Here are five of our favorite meaty mains to cook low and slow.

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
You’ll never run the risk of serving a tough or dried-out pot roast when you use this easy, slow-cooked method. Sear it first to create a savory brown crust, then transfer your beef chuck to the slow cooker and allow it to simmer in a simple tomato, Worcestershire and red wine broth. After 8 hours, the meat will be fall-apart tender.

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Master Saboteur Alton Brown Previews the Cutthroat Kitchen: Tournament of Terror

by in Shows, September 27th, 2016

Cutthroat Kitchen: Tournament of TerrorFresh off a whirlwind (and wild) summer at Camp Cutthroat, Alton Brown is heading back to the evilicious arena tomorrow night, but what awaits isn’t his usual lot of diabolical escapades. Instead, he’s set to kick off a five-part Tournament of Terror (Wednesdays at 11|10c), complete with all manner of ghastly, horrific and simply scary-good sabotages, just in time for the upcoming Halloween holiday. The 16 chefs that will face off in four preliminary heats and one over-the-top finale know to anticipate competitive rivals, trying challenges and judges’ commentary. But nothing can prepare them for the fear that Alton will instill.

We caught up with Alton about the new tournament in an exclusive interview, and he previewed the kinds of next-level Halloween shenanigans on deck for the Tournament of Terror. “Cuddles the Clown,” is one particularly incredible costume he’ll debut, he noted. Read on below to hear more from Alton and find out his take on homemade Halloween candy.

You’ve done Halloween-themed Cutthroat Kitchen episodes before but never a full tournament like this. What can fans except to see?
Alton Brown: We’ve built five shows that are essentially a bunch of love letters to Halloween. We’ve taken every scary movie trope and tactic and twisted them into sabotages. Oh, and they can also expect a lot of costumes.

We’ve seen a sneak peek of some of the costumes you wear in Tournament of Terror, and they’re pretty extravagant (and amazing). Do you have a favorite?
AB: Three words: Cuddles the Clown.

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Chatting with Amber Kelley About Her New Web Series, Kids Menu Makeover

by in Shows, September 27th, 2016

Fresh off her momentous win on the premiere season of Food Network Star Kids, Seattle eighth-grader Amber Kelley is back in front of the camera, only this time she’s not in a competition. As part of her prize for besting nine other young kid cooks, Amber became the host of her own web series, Kids Menu Makeover, and now that series is live on FoodNetwork.com.

In keeping with her culinary point of view on Food Network Star Kids, Amber made sure the recipes in all three episodes of Kids Menu Makeover were fresh, approachable and easy. She teamed up with famed restaurant chefs Alex Guarnaschelli, Dale Talde and Ariane Duarte to present her take on their beloved intricate dishes, making them not only ideal for kid palates but also adult tastes.

We caught up with Amber on the set of Kids Menu Makeover and chatted about what it’s like for her to host her own web series and work with all-star chefs. Find out what she had to say below and learn her advice to other budding cooks, then watch the other two episodes of Amber’s series here.

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Exclusive: One-on-One with the Winner of Food Network Star Kids

by in Shows, September 26th, 2016

Food Network Star KidsCulinary competitions are difficult for even the most-skilled chefs in the business, as past seasons of Food Network Star have proved. But for the young cooks — really, really young ones, in fact — who took on the challenge of Food Network Star Kids this season, the contest was not only doable but actually fun. Mentors Donal Skehan and Tia Mowry challenged the 10 eager recruits to six weeks of camera and kitchen challenges, each designed to ready them for the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to star in their own Web series on FoodNetwork.com. Tonight the top-three hopefuls — Amber, Isaiah and Liam — faced-off in a final showdown, before one of them earned the coveted title of Food Network Star Kid.

If you haven’t watched the episode yet, don’t read any further until you do. We’re about to chat with the winner in an exclusive interview.

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Judge Sandra Lee Sheds Light on the Sinister New Season of Halloween Baking Championship

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, September 26th, 2016

Halloween Baking Championship judgesExpect some gore, some surprises, and lots of scintillating sweets on the new season of Halloween Baking Championship, premiering Monday, October 3 at 9|8c. The seven multitalented bakers competing sure know their way around Halloween tricks and treats, and baking feats. But what may be even scarier than the challenges are the three intimidating judges: Carla Hall, Damiano Carrara and Sandra Lee, whom everyone knows as the maven of Halloween entertaining. This season comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham hosts with a deftly creepy hand, doling out good and bad news to the bakers competing for $25,000.

FN Dish recently chatted with Sandra about the new season. In this exclusive interview she details the difficulties involved in judging a baking competition, and reveals her favorite things about the hallowed holiday, her favorite costume and more.

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8 Speedy Pasta Dinners to Get You Through Monday Night

by in Recipes, September 26th, 2016

It’s Monday, friends, which means no one has given a single second of thought as to what they’re making for dinner this evening. But as long as you’ve got pasta, olive oil, garlic and a few mix-ins tucked away in your pantry (think Parmesan, canned tomatoes, jarred vegetables, etc.), there’s no need to panic — or resort to pricey takeout. Whether you’re cooking for yourself, two people or a panel of picky youngsters, these beat-the-clock pasta dishes offer quick and flavorsome solutions to your Monday night dinner obstacles.

Pantry Pasta
Time: 30 minutes
As the name suggests, Ree Drummond’s skillet pasta won’t require a long and expensive trip to the grocery store — just a pantry raid. Canned tomatoes, jarred artichoke hearts and olives, plus some store-bought chicken stock will take the labor out of this quick and comforting weeknight meal.

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Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, September 26th, 2016

Quinoa with Roasted Butternut SquashMuch like salads with traditional mixed green lettuces, quinoa salad on its own is a culinary blank canvas. The grainlike seeds impart a flavor all their own — subtle nuttiness — but they pair well with countless other tastes, textures and ingredients, and you can dress them up or down depending on what ingredients you happen to have on hand. Bonus: Quinoa is filling, since it’s full of protein, which means that you can skip the meat and still feel satisfied.

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Enter to Win a Copy of Alton’s New Cookbook, EveryDayCook

by in Contests, Food Network Chef, September 26th, 2016

Alton Brown: EveryDayCookYou know he’s the master of all things food science and the unequivocal expert of eviliciousness on Cutthroat Kitchen. But do you know what Alton Brown makes himself for breakfast? Probably not — but that’s about to change.

His brand-new cookbook, Alton Brown: EveryDayCook, is a collection of the eats and drinks he preps at home on a day-to-day basis, the tried-and-true picks that are all his own. Including new takes on morning staples like oatmeal, a kale salad you’ll actually want to eat, sweet treats like spiked bread pudding and much more, EveryDayCook features the best of Alton’s personal recipe repertoire, all up for grabs for you, his fans.

“I was trying to rediscover myself as a cook and as always (for me) find a new way to approach an accepted form,” Alton told us recently of the inspiration for this book. In the exclusive interview below, he shares more about what writing EveryDayCook taught him about his style of cooking and he details an over-the-top menu for cooking from the book for the first time. Read on to hear what he has to say, then find out how to be entered to win a copy of EveryDayCook for free.

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Beating Guy at His Own Games: Introducing the First Triple G Superstar Champion

by in Shows, September 25th, 2016

Alex, Richard and GuyFor the first time ever, eight chefs of the highest caliber and Food Network fame entered Guy’s Grocery Games for a five-part superstar tournament. Every week one chef unceremoniously checked out, until four remained in the finale. In the last round, Richard Blais, a highly skilled technician of cooking, and Alex Guarnaschelli, a chef with finessed French training, remained to cook for the $40,000 check for charity and the title of Guy’s Superstar Grocery Games Champion. After the chefs created their winning dishes based on the game 1 Ingredient Per Aisle, the judges had a difficult job ahead of them, but they chose a winner of immense experience and culinary excellence.

Spoiler Alert: Get the Exclusive Interview

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