All Posts By Guest Blogger

Next Iron Chef Exit Interview: Chef Tio’s Parting Words

by in Shows, November 15th, 2010
Chef Tio's advice to future rivals: "Follow through and listen to your gut."

The experience I had on The Next Iron Chef was “once in a lifetime.” I met and worked with nine great chefs, pushing the boundaries of what I thought I could do each time I approached a challenge. It taught me more about myself and my willingness to take risks in order to make things happen.

I always say you should never look back and say, “What if…?” Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to my own advice. When I was plating my Moi dishes, I literally hesitated when I was on the ginger-braised daikon portion of the dish, thinking I wanted to add a pinch of Maldon salt to add that crunch and add that bright, clean, up-front flavor to the dish. I know Simon Majumdar is more salt-sensitive, so I opted not to add it, and Michael Symon thought that dish needed a touch more salt. If you hesitate, it means you should follow through and listen to your gut. I did not.

In this case, I can’t think about the “what if…”, I focus on the fact that I was a strong competitor who gave all the other chefs a run for their money. I represented myself and my cooking proudly and with integrity every time I stepped into battle.

Celina Tio

Look inside Chef Tio’s Next Iron Chef journal and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from Episode 7.

More about Celina Tio
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Witches’ Brew: 5 Spooktacular Halloween Drinks

by in View All Posts, October 29th, 2010
Claire Robinson - Dark and Spooky Cocktail Recipe
Claire Robinson's Dark and Spooky - Image Courtesy Food Network Magazine

It’s hard to believe that Halloween is almost upon us! Whether you plan on trick-or-treating with the kids or celebrating with more experienced Halloweeners, these frightfully festive drinks will get every ghost and goblin in the spirit.

Try these Halloween cocktails – if you dare….

Next Iron Chef Exit Interview: Chef Dumont’s Parting Words

by in Shows, October 18th, 2010
Chef Dumont on the Next Iron Chef experience: "I take with me amazing friendships with the other chefs and a renewed belief that nothing ventured is nothing gained."

So here it is, the end of the line for me on The Next Iron Chef, but I am walking away with my head held high. I looked at this competition in the way that I have learned to look at all things that life has presented to me: This is no dress rehearsal, so grab life and live it to the fullest for all its ups and downs. That is how I was on the show.

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Next Iron Chef: Duskie’s Pineapple Problem

by in Shows, October 7th, 2010
The enzymes in pineapple were responsible for Chef Estes' mushy pork, says our resident food science guru Alton Brown

Before our 10 rivals landed in L.A. to compete on The Next Iron Chef, each was asked what ingredient they couldn’t live without on a desert island. And what do you know? The chefs’ answers (ranging from corn and limes to chicken and whole pigs) determined their secret ingredient in the very first episode.

While Chef Duskie Estes had done so well in the first round, winning the sandwich challenge, her elimination-round meal landed her in the bottom three. Instead of utilizing the whole pig she received, she ended up preparing only a few cubes of skewered pork loin for her suckling pig surf-and-turf dish. While all the judges loved the broth and seafood components of her dish, even pork-obsessed Iron Chef Michael Symon said he thought the dish would be better without the pork, which tasted mushy—a secret ingredient failure.

What was the problem? Alton Brown mentioned the effect of the enzymes in pineapple on meats. Chef Estes said she thought the pineapple would make a good marinade, and she wasn’t entirely wrong. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which actually breaks down proteins and can have great tenderizing properties. She selected the pork loin because it was the fastest-cooking cut of meat on the pig, but didn’t take into consideration that it was also the leanest, most tender, and most likely to completely break down from the pineapple’s enzymes.

Had Chef Estes chosen a tougher cut of meat, the pineapple may have worked better as the tenderizing marinade she envisioned. Fortunately for Duskie, this “fundamental flaw,” as the judges called it, did not send her home this round.

–Victoria Kabakian

Don’t let Chef Estes’ mushy pork scare you off from cooking with pineapple. Try one of these five-star recipes that showcase the fruit in delicious ways:

Check out all the rivals’ dishes in our behind-the-scenes photo gallery from Episode One.

Which rival chef do you think will get foiled this Sunday? Don’t miss The Next Iron Chef  at 9pm/8c.

Facing Down an Iron Chef

by in View All Posts, August 27th, 2010
Morimoto
Would YOU want to be thown into the shark tank with this guy?

Facing down an Iron Chef is not for the faint of heart (or knife skills).  When she got the call to kitchen stadium, Chef Amanda Cohen’s first reaction was “I don’t think so.”

Having just opened restaurant Dirt Candy in New York City’s East Village, Chef Cohen explains on her blog that she thought “they were looking for chumps to throw into the shark tank with their big time Iron Chefs and I didn’t want to be savaged and mauled on national TV.” However, as the first vegetarian chef asked to be on Iron Chef, she realized it gave her a platform to show that “Dirt Candy is just about food, and it’s about vegetarian food as nothing more than cooking vegetables – no politics, no health claims or virtuous living, just giving vegetables a chance to be treated as seriously as chefs treat pork.”

Pitted against Iron Chef Morimoto, Chef Cohen details her entire experience taping the show (which she calls an “epic tale”) on her blog, which we encourage you to read, as well as learn more about Cohen who also did stints at New York’s famous Angelica Kitchen and Teany.

Can the first vegetarian Chef in Iron Chef America history take down the near mythical Masaharu Morimoto? Tune in this Sunday, August 29 at 10pm/9c to Iron Chef America on Food Network and find out.

– Brandy Shearer

Top 10 Cherry-Picked Recipes

by in View All Posts, July 23rd, 2010
Cherry Claufoutis
Fresh, sour cherries are the star of this Cherry Clafouti from Food Network Magazine.

Fresh cherries are at their peak May through August – don’t miss them! Debating between sweet and sour? Sweet cherries, like deep-red, heart-shaped Bing cherries, are most often eaten raw, but can also be cooked. Sour cherries are smaller and tart – they have a little too much pucker-power to eat raw but they’re the cherry of choice for cooking and baking (you’ll find them in canned cherry pie filling).

Find fresh cherries at your local farmer’s market or supermarket right now. Look for a bright color – they should be bright and glossy with plump-looking surfaces. If you’re cooking up a bowl-full, check out our cherry pitting tips.

Recipe ideas are endless, but here are our top 10 Food Network recipes that will keep your summer sweet – or sour.

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Haute Hot Dog Toppings

by in View All Posts, June 16th, 2010
Grilled hot dog with Michael Chiarello's quick pickle relish
Grilled hot dog with Michael Chiarello's quick pickle relish

I think summertime is all about haute hot dogs hot off the grill! Living in New York City, I have found that street vendors have really upped their hot dog toppings game. My best friend introduced me to Summer Saturdays at the Brooklyn Flea, which has an amazing hot dog vendor called Asia Dog. The varied toppings on their organic beef dogs are out of this world! They serve them with everything from spicy kimchi to exotic daikon and cilantro deliciousness.

Sadly I cannot make a trip to the Brookyn Flea every Saturday, but I have learned to dress up my dogs at home. Michael Chiarello’s quick pickle relish is a ramped-up classic that takes only minutes to prepare. It includes diced dill pickles, hot sweet mustard, pickle brine and fresh chopped dill. The simplicity of this will liven up your spread, and the fresh dill will give it a garden-fresh flavor.

And if you really want to turn up the heat I would try Tyler Florence’s Spicy Slaw. The crunch of the fresh green cabbage and spicy red chili peppers will make any hot dog dance in your mouth!

What are your favorite hot dog toppings?

Reena Mehta

Bobby’s Memorable Memorial Day Burger

by in View All Posts, May 26th, 2010
Watercress is the key ingredient for Bobby's L.A. Burger.
Watercress is the key ingredient topping Bobby's L.A. Burger.

I have to admit I haven’t made many burgers in my life, but in preparation for Memorial Day I wanted to try grilling one up at home. I typically partake in the eating activities at barbecues rather than participating in the grilling. But at some point a person with my burger appetite should have a few recipes and techniques on hand for whenever the craving strikes.

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Dining In With Ina and a Not-So-Perfect Pavlova

by in View All Posts, May 11th, 2010

Ina's Berry Pavlova
Mixed Berry Pavlova from the Barefoot Contessa

One of the most seasonally delicious things about spring is the abundance of fresh berry desserts found on so many restaurant menus. Fortunately, I live a few blocks away from perennial NYC hot-spot Balthazar which serves a Berry Pavlova just as elegant as the ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova, for whom it was named. It is a fluffy delight for any sugar addict, like myself. However my patience for making a dinner reservation is not always in line with the timing of my confectionery craving, so why not try Ina Garten’s Mixed Berry Pavlova at home? Read more

Brian Boitano Vlogs from Vancouver

by in View All Posts, February 25th, 2010

Brian Boitano was in Vancouver this week re-living his Olympic glory. Long before he became a Food Network star, Brian won figure skating gold in the 1988 Calgary games. We’re guessing he had a pretty good seat for some of this year’s figure skating competitions, but he also went up to Canada to do some cooking.

Check out Brian’s Vlog from Vancouver and try some of the fun Olympic-themed recipes he prepared for the Today Show, where Meredith Vieira helped whip up his super-easy bean dip. If you’ve got five minutes and a food processor, you can too! It would be excellent to snack on with some pita chips or raw veggies while watching the Women’s Free Skate tonight.

And for more Brian, catch the new season of What Would Brian Boitano Make, premiering March 7 at 1 pm.

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Garlicky White Bean Dip
Crab and Avocado Crostini
Mini Pastrami Sandwiches
The Gold Medal Cocktail
Baked Vancouvers

-Sara Levine