All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an editor at Food Network, now living in New York City after being born and raised in the great state of Michigan. She likes her eggs runny, her pasta cheesy and has been known to throw back dozens of oysters at a time.

From Kitchen Stadium to the Gauntlet: Alton Brown Returns to the World of Iron Chef, and We’ve Got the Scoop

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, March 23rd, 2017

Iron Chef GauntletLet’s get one thing straight: No one knows food quite like Alton Brown. Whether he’s dishing on the internal organ structure of snails or explaining the etymology of soy lecithin, his ability to school us on all matters culinary is simply uncanny, and it’s for largely that reason he made a top-notch host of Iron Chef America for the 12-season run of the series. But now, for the first time since 2013, Alton is returning to the world of Iron Chef, this time as the host of Iron Chef Gauntlet, the all-new elite competition in which seven challengers are set to compete against not only each other but also a gauntlet of Iron Chefs for the chance to join their ranks.

We checked in with Alton as he prepared for this much-anticipated premiere, and he gave us the inside scoop on what’s to come on Iron Chef Gauntlet, plus his take on how to succeed in this unique beast of a contest. Read on below for an exclusive interview, with Alton, then look back on some of the best culinary fun facts he’s ever shared on Iron Chef America.

In many ways Iron Chef Gauntlet will be similar to The Next Iron Chef, but the idea of a three-tiered gauntlet in the finale is new. What are you most excited to see from these six episodes?
Alton Brown: Straightforward cooking at its highest level.

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The Journey to the Gauntlet: Chatting with Challenger Stephanie Izard from Iron Chef Gauntlet

by in Shows, March 22nd, 2017

Iron Chef GauntletThis. Is. It. The fight to become an Iron Chef is unlike any other culinary competition, with the demands for precision, expertise, intuition and downright excellence the most rigorous in the business. On Iron Chef Gauntlet, seven of the country’s most-elite chefs will come together to prove that their skills are the sharpest — but ultimately just one will earn the right to the run the gauntlet for the chance to join the ranks of the great Iron Chefs.

Before the competition begins on Sunday, April 16 at 9|8c, we’re giving you, Iron Chef fans, the first introductions to the crop of challengers ready to do battle. Today we’d like you to meet Stephanie Izard, a chef from Chicago. Read on below to get to know her style in the kitchen, and be sure to come back to FN Dish all week long as we present a new contender every day this week.

What’s your style of cuisine, and do you have a signature dish?
Stephanie Izard: I wouldn’t say I have a signature dish, because I just make a lot of different things and I think my favorites kind of change, but I like to cook foods from all over the world and just keep trying to learn more and more about different flavors. So a lot of focus on Asian cuisines, I would say, whether it’s Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese. But I try to dabble in some other areas too.

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The Journey to the Gauntlet: Chatting with Challenger Shota Nakajima from Iron Chef Gauntlet

by in Shows, March 21st, 2017

Iron Chef GauntletThis. Is. It. The fight to become an Iron Chef is unlike any other culinary competition, with the demands for precision, expertise, intuition and downright excellence the most rigorous in the business. On Iron Chef Gauntlet, seven of the country’s most-elite chefs will come together to prove that their skills are the sharpest — but ultimately just one will earn the right to the run the gauntlet for the chance to join the ranks of the great Iron Chefs.

Before the competition begins on Sunday, April 16 at 9|8c, we’re giving you, Iron Chef fans, the first introductions to the crop of challengers ready to do battle. Today we’d like you to meet Shota Nakajima, a chef from Seattle. Read on below to get to know his style in the kitchen, and be sure to come back to FN Dish all week long as we present a new contender every day this week.

What’s your style of cuisine, and do you have a signature dish?
Shota Nakajima: My style of cuisine is Japanese cuisine. Old-school Japanese cuisine. Not a lot of powder, not a lot of the new-age stuff. Old-school, old-school.

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The Journey to the Gauntlet: Chatting with Challenger Sarah Grueneberg from Iron Chef Gauntlet

by in Shows, March 20th, 2017

Iron Chef GauntletThis. Is. It. The fight to become an Iron Chef is unlike any other culinary competition, with the demands for precision, expertise, intuition and downright excellence the most rigorous in the business. On Iron Chef Gauntlet, seven of the country’s most-elite chefs will come together to prove that their skills are the sharpest — but ultimately just one will earn the right to the run the gauntlet for the chance to join the ranks of the great Iron Chefs.

Before the competition begins on Sunday, April 16 at 9|8c, we’re giving you, Iron Chef fans, the first introductions to the crop of challengers ready to do battle. Today we’d like you to meet Sarah Grueneberg, a chef from Chicago. Read on below to get to know her style in the kitchen, and be sure to come back to FN Dish all week long as we present a new contender every day this week.

What’s your style of cuisine, and do you have a signature dish?
Sarah Grueneberg: My style of cuisine is Italian, pasta focused. Signature dish would be something with pasta. But what everyone knows me for in Chicago is called Ragu alla Napoletana, and it’s like an Italian grandmother cooked it. It’s the big Sunday sauce, but it’s in a big bowl and it has a big pork shank, housemade meatballs, sausage and then we make a pasta with all the sauce and the meat. And it takes four days to make, and it’s like a big bowl of love basically.

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The Journey to the Gauntlet: Chatting with Challenger Nyesha Arrington from Iron Chef Gauntlet

by in Shows, March 19th, 2017

Iron Chef GauntletThis. Is. It. The fight to become an Iron Chef is unlike any other culinary competition, with the demands for precision, expertise, intuition and downright excellence the most rigorous in the business. On Iron Chef Gauntlet, seven of the country’s most-elite chefs will come together to prove that their skills are the sharpest — but ultimately just one will earn the right to the run the gauntlet for the chance to join the ranks of the great Iron Chefs.

Before the competition begins on Sunday, April 16 at 9|8c, we’re giving you, Iron Chef fans, the first introductions to the crop of challengers ready to do battle. Today we’d like you to meet Nyesha Arrington, a chef from Los Angeles. Read on below to get to know her style in the kitchen, and be sure to come back to FN Dish all week long as we present a new contender every day this week.

What’s your style of cuisine, and do you have a signature dish?
Nyesha Arrington: My style of cuisine is called progressive California cuisine, so food that’s very globally inspired. We cook through the seasons and really understand how food affects the body as fuel. … One of the dishes I’ve been known for is the Honey Mustard Black Cod throughout the years. I just put a dish on the menu when we opened at Leona that’s our Braised Lamb Belly Wontons that has become one of the signature dishes as well.

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The Journey to the Gauntlet: Chatting with Challenger Michael Gulotta from Iron Chef Gauntlet

by in Shows, March 18th, 2017

Iron Chef GauntletThis. Is. It. The fight to become an Iron Chef is unlike any other culinary competition, with the demands for precision, expertise, intuition and downright excellence the most rigorous in the business. On Iron Chef Gauntlet, seven of the country’s most-elite chefs will come together to prove that their skills are the sharpest — but ultimately just one will earn the right to the run the gauntlet for the chance to join the ranks of the great Iron Chefs.

Before the competition begins on Sunday, April 16 at 9|8c, we’re giving you, Iron Chef fans, the first introductions to the crop of challengers ready to do battle. Today we’d like you to meet Michael Gulotta, a chef from New Orleans. Read on below to get to know his style in the kitchen, and be sure to come back to FN Dish all week long as we present a new contender every day this week.

What’s your style of cuisine, and do you have a signature dish?
Michael Gulotta: Well, right now my style of cuisine is Southeast Asia meets Southeast Louisiana. It’s my shtick. That’s what I enjoy cooking.

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The Journey to the Gauntlet: Chatting with Challenger Jonathon Sawyer from Iron Chef Gauntlet

by in Shows, March 17th, 2017

Iron Chef GauntletThis. Is. It. The fight to become an Iron Chef is unlike any other culinary competition, with the demands for precision, expertise, intuition and downright excellence the most rigorous in the business. On Iron Chef Gauntlet, seven of the country’s most-elite chefs will come together to prove that their skills are the sharpest — but ultimately just one will earn the right to the run the gauntlet for the chance to join the ranks of the great Iron Chefs.

Before the competition begins on Sunday, April 16 at 9|8c, we’re giving you, Iron Chef fans, the first introductions to the crop of challengers ready to do battle. Today we’d like you to meet Jonathon Sawyer, a chef from Cleveland. Read on below to get to know his style in the kitchen, and be sure to come back to FN Dish all week long as we present a new contender every day this week.

What’s your style of cuisine, and do you have a signature dish?
Jonathon Sawyer: We have a range of restaurants in Cleveland, so it’s really more of a narrative that we follow, which is looking at traditional food, experiencing it, and interpreting it through our farmers and modern technique. It’s reverential to the past but also looking to the future. I think The Greenhouse’s signature dishes are whole roasted pig’s head, Foie Gras Steamed Clams and our Crispy Chicken Wings Confit. Noodlecat is a ramen shop. Everything’s under $11, so our signature dishes really are probably pork miso ramen, college ramen, spicy octopus, udon and our crispy lake fish steam bun. Trentina’s fine-dining, Italian. Signature dishes [there] are beef jerky bucatini, the egg de Trentina, the huevo de Trentina, which is cooked in a spoon over charcoal, and our pane pizza with an edible candle, which is a candle in bread.

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The Journey to the Gauntlet: Chatting with Challenger Jason Dady from Iron Chef Gauntlet

by in Shows, March 16th, 2017

Iron Chef GauntletThis. Is. It. The fight to become an Iron Chef is unlike any other culinary competition, with the demands for precision, expertise, intuition and downright excellence the most rigorous in the business. On Iron Chef Gauntlet, seven of the country’s most-elite chefs will come together to prove that their skills are the sharpest — but ultimately just one will earn the right to the run the gauntlet for the chance to join the ranks of the great Iron Chefs.

Before the competition begins on Sunday, April 16 at 9|8c, we’re giving you, Iron Chef fans, the first introductions to the crop of challengers ready to do battle. Today we’d like you to meet Jason Dady, a chef from San Antonio. Read on below to get to know his style in the kitchen, and be sure to come back to FN Dish all week long as we present a new contender every day this week.

What’s your style of cuisine, and do you have a signature dish?
Jason Dady: I think that my overall style of cuisine would be considered Modern American cuisine, so it’s pretty well versed in a lot of different techniques, whether it’s French or Northern Italian, but really focused on farm-to-table, fresh, local ingredients. My signature dish would probably be a dish called Nutella Times Three, which is like a flourless Nutella torte, chocolate Nutella mousse, Nutella ganache. It’s pretty delicious.

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Monti Carlo to Boost Restaurants’ Online Reputations on New Series Help My Yelp

by in Shows, March 9th, 2017

Monti CarloIf you’ve ever found yourself scouring the web for the latest reviews of a new restaurant in town — and deciding to either book or cancel a reservation because of what you found — then you know firsthand the importance of positive reputations online. On sites like Yelp, restaurant guests can post their thoughts about service, ambiance and, of course, food, leaving potential customers able to make future dining decisions based on what they’ve read. So it’s no wonder that it’s in an eatery’s best interest to do what they can to boost their favorability online. And for some struggling businesses, Monti Carlo is just what’s needed to bring them back into good standing.

On the all-new series Help My Yelp, premiering Monday, April 10 at 10|9c, Monti will work with chefs and business owners to overhaul their poor practices, given the feedback they receive from members of Yelp’s Elite Squad that have secretly visited their restaurants. The recommendations, critiques and ideas from those anonymous visitors, plus the behind-the-scenes antics that Monti sees on hidden cameras, will ultimately influence what Monti does to help set up the businesses for success. As a chef and restaurant consultant, she knows the inner workings of the industry, so she’ll be able to troubleshoot problems, ease tensions and offer concrete solutions on the spot — which will be crucial to do before a fresh batch of Yelp Elite Squad members stops by, ready to evaluate the business.

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4 Ways to Hack Weeknight Cooking

by in Recipes, Shows, March 4th, 2017

Honey Chipotle Chicken Wet BurritoAt the end of a long day, it can feel daunting to walk into the kitchen and stare down a complex, multi-step recipe when all you want is some dinner. But, of course, despite the time crunch, you’re still craving a satisfying meal — and perhaps a sweet treat too. The good news: You can, in fact, enjoy all the food you want while retaining your weeknight sanity. The secret is to take a few welcome shortcuts, both in terms of store-bought ingredients and tools that make the process of prep work speedy and simple. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the cast showcased an entire menu of weeknight-friendly recipes, and with those how-tos came helpful kitchen hacks. Read on below for all the details.

1. Save time with store-bought ingredients.

Sunny Anderson’s Honey Chipotle Chicken Wet Burrito (pictured above) can be on the table in a hurry, thanks in large part to a ready-to-go rotisserie chicken. By starting with already cooked meat — chicken that’s juicy and tender straight off the bone — she cuts her prep time significantly, though she doesn’t sacrifice taste or texture. Similarly, a can of honey-chipotle beans goes a long way in boosting the flavor of the hearty filling, while a flavor base of adobo sauce, barbecue seasoning and fresh scallions adds homemade comfort.

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