All Posts By Joseph Erdos

Joe is the Online Entertainment Editor for FoodNetwork.com. When he's not writing about food you'll find him photographing food, cooking food and/or eating food — oftentimes all at the same time.

Fooling Around in the Kitchen: The Judges’ Take on April Fools’ Baskets — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, March 31st, 2015


The chefs of Chopped were sure surprised to see basket ingredients in disguise in tonight’s April Fools’ episode. Presented with ingredients that appeared to be peas and carrots, grilled cheese, tomato soup and milk, what they actually had were candies, pound cake, strawberry puree and buttermilk. After the episode, the judges — Amanda Freitag, Geoffrey Zakarian and Alex Guarnaschelli — face the dessert round in an all-new Chopped After Hours, cooking with the same deceiving ingredients.

“I have great news! We’re bringing in massage therapists,” says Ted. “I’ve also got vintage Champagne.” But before he goes any further, he blurts out, “None of that is true. It’s our April Fools’ episode!” The baskets were designed to fool the chefs, but the judges feel it’s their duty to bring that same spirit to their dishes. “It’s up to us to have our own version of a reaction to April Fools’,” says Alex, who’s got a few tricks up her sleeve — although Ted may have an even bigger trick up his.

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The All-Star Academy Chefs Reveal Their Most-Influential Culinary Mentors

by in Shows, March 25th, 2015

All-Star Academy mentorsOn All-Star Academy, Sundays at 9|8c, each team of home cooks is mentored by an expert Food Network chef. The four mentors pass on their culinary knowledge to their mentees, teaching them cooking skills, how to react to certain situations and how to deal with the pressures of time management. But the experts weren’t born with this knowledge; they too had to learn it from someone when they were first coming up in the ranks as professional chefs. Their mentors also had to teach them technique and how to find focus in the kitchen.

FN Dish recently caught up with the mentors of All-Star Academy to find out who those influencers were, what they learned from them and how they made a difference in their lives, personally and professionally. Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone and Michael Symon reveal their mentors, and you might be surprised to find out some have even shared the same mentor, or have been one another’s mentor.

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Here’s to a Sweet Season Ahead with the New Series Spring Baking Championship

by in Shows, March 16th, 2015

Spring Baking ChampionshipAs temperatures begin to warm with the turn to spring, the competition in the kitchen heats up as eight of the country’s most-talented bakers compete on Food Network’s new series Spring Baking Championship, premiering Sunday, April 26 at 9|8c. Bobby Deen hosts this sweet competition, in which contestants attempt to rise to the occasion with their springtime treats and win a sweet spot in the hearts of judges Duff Goldman, Nancy Fuller and Lorraine Pascale. Only one winner will take home the grand prize of $50,000 and the title of Spring Baking Champion.

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Guy Fieri Reveals His Five-Ingredient Dish — Guy’s Grocery Games

by in Shows, March 12th, 2015

Guy Fieri hosts Guy's Grocery GamesOn Guy’s Grocery Games, “Five Ingredients or Less” is inarguably the most well-known, difficult and popular game. And why is that? Because “everybody plays the game at home and goes, ‘Here’s my five,'” says the show’s host, Guy Fieri. It’s hard to resist even if it’s just left up to the imagination. “It’s awesome to see what the chefs come up with here [on the show],” continues Guy, especially when there are those who make it even more challenging for themselves by creating a dish with just four ingredients! That’s what makes the game so fun — it can go any which way.

We asked Guy to play along and come up with his favorite five-ingredient dish, but he doesn’t stop at just one combination. He says, “It depends on what day it is, what time it is, what you just had for lunch, what you’re going to have for dinner, what you are emotionally, how you’re feeling physically, what temperature is it outside.” But Guy’s first combination surprised us.

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5 Rules to Cook By — Kitchen Wisdom from the Mentors of All-Star Academy

by in Shows, March 11th, 2015

All-Star Academy MentorsWhat Food Network’s new show All-Star Academy, Sundays 9|8c, does is transform eager home cooks into competitive machines. But all of these cooks had to start somewhere — in their home kitchens, where they honed their culinary skills on their friends and family before they were ready for the competition show. Seeing these competitors made us wonder: What makes a good home cook? What makes him or her ripe for competition? So we went straight to the mentors to find out.

Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone and Michael Symon reveal the traits a great home cook must have to put out impressive dishes. And these are skills that can easily translate to the competitive arena once learned and perfected through practice. The 10 individuals who came into the competition were ready to take on the challenge of All-Star Academy. Are you ready?

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16 Celebrated Chefs Take On Chopped in a New Season of All-Stars

by in Shows, March 11th, 2015

Chopped All-StarsWith the largest prize ever in Chopped history on the line, 16 culinary stars enter the hallowed kitchen for a fourth season of Chopped All-Stars, premiering Tuesday, April 28 at 10|9c. In each episode of the five-part series, four chefs go head to head in competition. Each one hopes to cook his or her way through to the end without getting chopped. The four winners then advance to the finale, where big bucks are at stake. One will walk away the All-Stars champion with $75,000 for his or her charity.

The caliber of chefs this season includes those who are very familiar to competition, having appeared in previous Chopped and Iron Chef America battles. Many are stepping into the Chopped kitchen for the first time. Find out who’ll be competing.

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QUIZ: Which Chopped Judge Are You?

by in Shows, March 10th, 2015

Chopped judgesWhen it comes to the judges of Chopped, Tuesdays 10|9c, they definitely have their own distinctive personalities, and it’s most evident just by the way they deliver the bad news to unsuspecting chefs at the chopping block. If you’ve ever found yourself siding with one judge over the other — especially when there’s a heated disagreement pertaining to the correct use of a mystery basket ingredient — you’re not alone. You’ve probably thought to yourself you could easily hang with one of them. Well, now’s your chance to find out with whom you share the most in common.

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The All-Star Academy Mentors Talk Competitive Strategy — and Some Serious Smack

by in Shows, February 25th, 2015

All-Star Academy mentorsWhen it comes to competition shows, everyone’s got an angle, a competitive strategy in hopes of winning. On All-Star Academy, premiering Sunday, Mar. 1 at 9|8c, each of the mentors has his or her own way of approaching the competition. As culinary instructors, they have different methods for teaching the mentees as they lead them through the many difficult cooking challenges, which test the home cooks’ resolve in order to find the single best one in the nation.

FN Dish recently caught up with Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone and Michael Symon to find out their competition strategies, how they think they’re going to win and what sets them apart from their fellow mentors — and they didn’t hold back with their answers.

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One of These Things Is Not Like the Other — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, February 24th, 2015


Late-night cravings can be pretty weird sometimes, especially when it comes to the types of foods eaten in succession, or even all at once. That was exactly the theme of tonight’s Chopped episode in which the competitors found themselves cooking with mystery baskets full of late-night combinations. And after the episode, the judges — Geoffrey Zakarian, Scott Conant and Maneet Chauhan — face the dessert round in an all-new Chopped After Hours, cooking with a rice and cheese burrito, chocolate milk, whipped cream and apple pie.

“I hate to admit this, but I love these apple pies,” confesses Scott, for what Ted Allen explains is “not the kind your grandma used to make but the kind you might get at a convenience store.” Geoffrey pokes fun at the comment, saying, “I actually got all these things at the gas station on the way here.” Ted underlines the difficulty they might have working with processed foods. But Geoffrey isn’t fazed, as he explains “that any of these foods will taste better with some alcohol.”

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Celebrate the New Kids Baking Champion with a Cake — Cook Along with the Winner

by in Recipes, Shows, February 24th, 2015

Rainbow Cake“Bake your cake and eat it too” was basically what the kids were told by Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli in the finale of Kids Baking Championship. The kids would be making cakes they would want to enjoy at the winner’s party. Interestingly, three of the four remaining young bakers ended up going with lemon cakes to impress Valerie, who happens to love lemon treats. In the end, though, one cake was clearly ahead of the rest, and that cake earned its baker $10,000 in prize money and the title of Kids Baking Champion.

Whether you’re a lover of lemon cakes, too — or any cakes, for that matter — now’s your chance to try your hand at crowd-pleasing celebration cakes at home. We’ve got recipes that appeal to everyone’s taste buds, including chocolate cake, classic yellow cake, red velvet cake, cheesecake, carrot cake and more.

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