All Posts By Debra Puchalla

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Judge’s Tables: Next Iron Chef’s Donatella Arpaia, Pizza and Prime Time

by in News, Shows, October 1st, 2010
Next Iron Chef Judge Donatella Arpaia--courtesy Caroline Owens
Next Iron Chef Judge Donatella Arpaia looks relaxed--but she's in the midst of super-busy times.

No matter how you slice it, this is an exciting moment for New York City restaurateur Donatella Arpaia. Doors opened this past week to her eponymously named pizzeria, Donatella, and Sunday starts her reprise run as a judge on the new season of The Next Iron Chef. “Donatella is my most personal project to date–it’s the first to carry my name. I wanted to create a rustic but glam environment and to use authentic ingredients,” says the attorney-turned-culinary-mogul and author of Donatella Cooks. “For some time I’ve wanted to go back to my roots, so I traveled to Naples and had in mind that I wanted to make the most authentic Neapolitan pizza possible.”

Donatella and her chefs traveled to Naples, where she spent summers in her youth, returning with tried-and-true artisanal techniques, ingredients (Caputo flour for the pies), and volcanic salt, sand and rock from Mount Vesuvius for the gilded wood-firing oven. It’s early, but her efforts are paying off with a big dose of attention to her plate-sized pies and antipasti (see for yourself at Zagat, Eater and Slice). “I didn’t really understand that other people are as obsessed with pizza as I am,” she says.

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FoodNetwork.com Exclusive: Aarti Party Renewed for Second Season

by in News, September 17th, 2010

Aarti begins shooting season 2 of Aarti Party next month.

The afterparty is on. You heard it here first: Bubbly Next Food Network Star winner Aarti Sequeira will shoot her second season of Aarti Party in Los Angeles in October, with 13 all-new episodes to premiere in December. Just a few weeks into her debut season’s run, it’s clear that her crowdpleasers-with-an-Indian-feel are resonating—her Bombay Sloppy Joes have drawn more than 500 comments and a five-star rating from fans. (And who could resist a gently spiced warm-and-cozy Huggy Buggy Bread Pudding as the temperature dips into fall?)

As she looks ahead to the next season, the new star is settling into a rhythm of cooking and teaching and smiling for the camera. “I hope to take you deeper into the Indian flavours you’ve been loving,” Aarti tells the FN Dish. “I’ll show you how to make a few Indian classics that you’ve been asking for, as well as experiment with a few Middle Eastern and Asian flavours. And, you’ll finally get to meet some of the most important people in my life! Intriguing?! Why, yes!”
Aarti, her husband Brendan, and her family and friends have had a super-busy month following her August 15 win. On her to-do list: celebrating at Bobby Flay’s Bar American (check out details in her diary from Food Network Magazine), putting together a pantry list of Indian essentials for new-to-Indian-cooking cooks, celebrating her 32nd birthday, keeping her fans updated on Facebook and Twitter, and a whole slew of media events (the former CNN producer sat down with their food blog, Eatocracy, plus EW.com and PopEater.com, just for starters). And that’s all while she’s been dreaming up new recipes to share.

She’s saying an ecstatic thank-you to everyone who watches, comments and tries her recipes. “It blows my mind to think that people across America are cooking the way I do,” she says. “If you saw the size of my little kitchen at home, you would understand how bizarre this is — to have the dishes that are borne out of my little brain coming out of a kitchen so small that I have to breathe in when Bren walks behind me, flying out into kitchens across this enormous country … well, it just takes my breath away.”

The gracious hostess is inspired to know that home cooks are willing to try something new and different. “In doing so, you’re giving me the chance to do the job of a lifetime for another season. I mean, seriously. How much better can my life get right now?”

Send Aarti your congratulations and ideas for season two!

Tune in for Aarti Party Sunday at Noon/11c

Tie-Breaking Dad’s Day Grub

by in View All Posts, June 15th, 2010
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How about Bobby's chipotle-spiked sliders for Dad?

Right around when your little boy or girl is three years old, buying Dad a tie—again—for Father’s Day feels tired. Instead, grab the grilling gear and win him over with Food Network as a revved-up sous chef. Guy’s on a family roadtrip with killer roasted turkey sandwiches, packed and ready to go. Big Daddy Aaron McCargo, Jr. is grilling marinated flank steak. And King of the Grill Bobby Flay has smoky chipotle baby sliders on the menu. That’s just the start of options for what to feed him.

bacon-spoon
Very special utensils from Etsy: Everything is better with bacon.

But what to give him? Our younger sister site, Food2, is showing off a gallery of handmade gifts to buy for food-loving fathers from our crafty pals at Etsy. Choose from a rugged retro bottle opener or a hot-shot grilling mitt, or splurge on a high-end hand-hewn meat cleaver. My pick? Well, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but can be sure the Dad in our house has one (a bacon-gilded one) in his.

What are you doing for Father’s Day this weekend?

p.s. Cooking Channel is sifting through Father’s Day ideas, too–look at what they found.

Duff Has His Cake, Eats It Too

by in View All Posts, December 17th, 2009
"Meat" Duff's cake
"Meat" Duff's cake

What is the one thing the Ace of Cakes has always wanted? A Meat Cake! Dreams do come true: Duff Goldman was presented with a breakfast cake this morning at FN headquarters in New York City, in honor of his birthday.

The icing on the cake: Happy Birthday, Duff!
The icing on the cake: Happy Birthday, Duff!

Skip the buttercream and pass the prosciutto. Happy Birthday Duff! (We included the original diagram in case you want to try this at home.)

–Margie Gilmore and Norina Li

Chefs Give Back: Share Your Season

by in View All Posts, December 15th, 2009

snowflake-cookie
I’m always dazzled at how the holidays bring out the impulse for people to give to others. And I love the fact that the Food Network community takes part in giving good causes, too. This year, Food Network and our partner Share Our Strength are sponsoring Share Your Season, a program that aims to help end childhood hunger in America. As part of the festivities, we asked some chefs to share favorite holiday memories. Maybe Boston restaurateur Chef Andy Husbands’ reminiscences below will spark some of your own-and to share them with others. Enjoy!

Having a four-year-old niece is the best thing ever. I adore Tessa and this year I am looking forward to spending the holidays with her (and, of course, the rest of my family) in Seattle.

Seattle invokes memories of my childhood. I grew up there. It’s where I learned to make doughnuts in the fourth grade, watch my mom make popovers, and spent long days picking blackberries until my hands were stained reddish black with the sweet-and-sour juices of the best berries ever. It’s where I started to develop a passion for food.

Little Tessa loves to spend time in the kitchen with me and I with her. Maybe one day she’ll be a chef, but if nothing else I’m sure she’ll have a love for food, a passion for cooking. She’s fascinated by dough, stirring, and of course anything sweet.

This year I am planning to make sugar cookies with her. I bought ‘gingerbread’ people, snowflake, and snowmen cookie cutters; green, gold, pink, and silver sprinkles; and we’ll make sticky white icing. No matter how they look, they will be beautiful; and whether they are burnt, undercooked or perfectly done, they will be delicious. Because we made them.

This will be the best present I can give my niece. In return, I will have my time with her. Kids and holidays are the gifts that keep giving. . .

I wish everyone the best holiday,
Andy O.C. Husbands
Chef/Owner
Tremont 647
Boston, Massachusetts

gingerbread-cookiesHungry for cookies, thanks to Andy’s inspiration? Here are a few to bake and savor in this week before Christmas.

Great Garces! Congrats, Next Iron Chef

by in View All Posts, November 23rd, 2009

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When the Chairman announced last night that Chef Jose Garces was The Next Iron Chef, the victor didn’t look battle worn for his winning moment. He looked mighty proud, despite a rough-and-tumble battle against runner-up Chef Jehangir Mehta. He seemed ever so slightly overwhelmed, too—who wouldn’t be? Check out what he had to say about his victory in the clip above.

Garces, the owner of several restaurants in Philadelphia, brings a Latin pedigree with an eye on the world, looking to excite viewers and judges alike as he joins the ranks of Michael Symon, Cat Cora, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali and Masaharu Morimoto, who will continue to defend their titles in the coming weeks and months. I can’t wait to see what Garces creates with the exotic secret ingredients that come his way, but also what they dream up with familiar ingredients I can use in a new way in my own kitchen.

Much as I loved the drama (for more, see what Alton had to say), I was psyched over the weekend to see Battle Thanksgiving on Iron Chef America—I won’t give away who won in the standoff between Team Morimoto/Cora and Team Flay/Symon, but I know that my Thanksgiving feast will include a cranberry, citrus, vodka and bubbly concoction modeled after what I saw Symon make. Maybe over the weekend I’ll whip up Chef Garces’s signature recipe, too. Next big headline to watch for, Iron Chef-wise, is the upcoming Iron Chef Super Battle in early January. Next big headline to watch for at my house is the upcoming post-Turkey Day battle—who will use Thanksgiving leftovers best?

–Deb Puchalla
Editorial Director

Iron-Clad Interview: The Last Battle

by in View All Posts, November 21st, 2009

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Forget New Moon’s team Edward versus team Jacob, Red Sox versus Yankees or even vanilla versus chocolate. In the green room, we’ve caught up with Mehta versus Garces. You can cut the tension between these last two rivals for The Next Iron Chef with a santoku knife. Not really, since grace under pressure is a quality they share, one that helps make them the only remaining contenders to become the next chef to join the roster at Kitchen Stadium.

Stovemates since the top of the season, Chef Jose Garces and Chef Jehangir Mehta boast innovative culinary styles but also a full menu of Iron Chef qualities, including fearlessness, integrity and a gut instinct for innovation. No wonder the final battle for Sunday night’s season finale (9pm/8c) is between them, a world of flavor with a jolt of competitive spirit. Check out the video above for their take on the competition, portion sizes and how the show has changed their cooking; go here if you want to see what they talked about during a live Facebook chat earlier this week.

Garces, executive chef and owner of several Philadelphia restaurants, says Chef Mehta would bring a “refreshing approach” to Kitchen Stadium. Mehta, executive chef and owner of New York City’s Graffiti restaurant, is equally gracious: “Chef Garces would be an excellent Iron Chef.”

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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

by in View All Posts, November 5th, 2009
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My friend's farm: Rachael's destination

What do you cook when Rachael Ray’s coming to dinner? That’s what I asked my pal Brent Ridge when I heard Rachael Ray visited his farm to film a Food Network special, Rachael’s Vacations: Farm to Table, which airs tomorrow at 11 pm EST/10 C. I’d lean on comfort, just to make myself comfortable: Something seasonal, mac-n-cheese or chili, probably. But whose? Would making my own offend? Would making hers be odd? Brent had a different approach, one I appreciate. Menus must be more clear from the outset when you spend days growing your own food and minding your own herd of goats, which beget luscious creamy goat cheese.

A few years ago Brent, a physician, blogger and all-around interesting guy, and his partner, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, parlayed their New York City love of terrace-grown tomatoes into an ex-pats’ paradise Upstate called Beekman Farm. Their “experiment in seasonal living,” as they call it, has become a full-on way of life, with 60 acres of land to tend, dozens of animals and 110 different kinds of heirloom veggies to sow, grow, harvest, can, freeze, pickle and share.

brentsfarmBrent’s always cooking up something fun, but I’m sure he had a few moments of panic at the idea of entertaining Food Network.  “Sharon Springs is a very, very small town,” Brent says, “and of course the news that Rachael was coming couldn’t be kept a secret…”

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