All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an associate 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.

Happening Saturday: Geoffrey Zakarian’s Twitter Takeover

by in Community, Shows, January 2nd, 2014

Geoffrey ZakarianGeoffrey Zakarian may be an all-star Iron Chef, a no-nonsense Chopped judge and, most recently, one of five co-hosts to join Food Network’s brand-new series The Kitchen. But for one hour this Saturday, Jan. 4, he’ll prove that he’s a social media maven too.

To coincide with Saturday’s series premiere of The Kitchen, Geoffrey will take over Food Network’s Twitter account, @FoodNetwork, beginning when the show starts at 11am/10c. He’ll be live tweeting until noon, giving fans an all-access look at the making of The Kitchen and sharing behind-the-scenes snapshots of him and his fellow co-hosts, Jeff Mauro, Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid and Sunny Anderson, and insider tidbits about what fans can expect from the group this season.

Stay tuned to Food Network’s Twitter page this Saturday beginning at 11am and tweet @FoodNetwork using #TheKitchen to hear from Geoffrey and ask him your most-pressing questions about The Kitchen. He may answer some of them online.

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Restaurant Revisited: Clueless in the Country at Heather’s Country Kitchen

by in Shows, January 1st, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleWhile the inferior food and uninspired decor were in desperate need of Robert Irvine‘s attention when he arrived at Heather’s Country Kitchen in Plains, Mont., owner Heather Worrall’s lack of leadership was of far more concern to Robert, given how little Heather seemed to know about running her business. With just two days to work and a budget of just $10,000, it was up to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to overhaul all aspects of Heather’s Country Kitchen and to give Heather the tools she needed to manage her business alongside her family so they could ultimately reopen Heather’s as a welcoming business with a confident leader at the helm. Read on below to hear from Heather and find out how her restaurant is doing today.

“Business was really steady” immediately after filming, according to Heather, who says that the updated design “makes you smile when you walk in the door.” She adds, “People just love the new flooring. Everyone wants to know where it was purchased so they can put it in their homes.”

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Enter for a Chance to Win an Apron Signed by the Cast of The Kitchen

by in Contests, December 31st, 2013

Enter for a Chance to Win an Apron Signed by the Cast of The KitchenFor the first time ever, five of your favorite Food Network stars are coming together every weekend for the ultimate celebration of everyone’s favorite room in the house: the kitchen. On their all-new Saturday-morning series, The Kitchen, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jeff Mauro, Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid and Sunny Anderson will cook their favorite tried-and-true recipes together while sharing their top tips for making easy family meals, saving money at the supermarket and getting the most out of everyday kitchen gadgets.

Just in time for the premiere this Saturday, Jan. 4 at 11am/10c, FN Dish is giving away aprons signed by all five co-hosts of The Kitchen to four lucky, randomly selected fans. To enter to win an apron, leave a comment below telling FN Dish what you’re most excited about seeing on The Kitchen.

Read official rules before entering

Guy’s Ginger-Carrot Soup — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 30th, 2013

Carrot-Ginger SoupWhile some soups and stews require hours of slow simmering to achieve their fullest flavor, long cooking times aren’t always required, and it’s indeed possible to turn out a ready-to-eat bowl in well under an hour. Guy Fieri’s big-batch recipe for Ginger-Carrot Soup (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine is one such fuss-free dish, as it can be simply and quickly prepared on a weeknight.

The flavors of fresh carrots and subtle spicy ginger naturally complement each other, and in Guy’s family-friendly soup, they’re combined with sweet caramelized onions and garlic for added depth of flavor. Thanks to a few russet potatoes, Guy manages to make the texture of this soup creamlike, although there’s no heavy cream used; when the potatoes are cooked and pureed along with the rest of the vegetables, their starch will naturally thicken the broth. Just before serving, top each bowl with a tangy mixture of Greek yogurt and thyme, and finish with a sprinkle of pine nuts for welcome crunch.

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Watch the Top 5 Design Updates on Restaurant: Impossible

by in Shows, December 30th, 2013

While much of Robert Irvine‘s Restaurant: Impossible mission involves him overhauling the menu and bettering the interpersonal relationships among business owners and staff, time and time again one of the most-striking elements of his transformations proves to be the all-new decor of the restaurants. From fresh coats of paint and hand-laid flooring to knocked-down walls, custom artwork, signature signs and improved lighting, Robert and his design team will take on almost anything when it comes to updating the interior of restaurants, and they’re committed to working within their budget to giving eateries the best look and feel within their space.

Since owners are often sequestered from the transformations taking placing inside their restaurant, most are simply overwhelmed with surprise and emotion when Robert reveals their brand-new business. Tears, hugs, wide eyes and dropped jaws are just a few of the reactions Robert has witnessed when they’re finally able to see their revitalized restaurant for the first time.

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Cooking Without Necessities — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 29th, 2013


While Cutthroat Kitchen judges are quick to taste the food before them in each round of evilicious competition on the show, they don’t know exactly how that dish came to be, what ingredients were used to prepare it and which methods were undertaken to produce it. For help in clarifying the unknown, host Alton Brown sits down with the judges in his Web-exclusive After-Show to break down the ins and outs of the challenges; this week, he and Antonia Lofaso chatted about the latest contest to unfold.

Traditional wonton wrappers may seem like a must-have ingredient for chefs tasked with preparing pot stickers, but in Round 1, three of the four competitors were forced to work with wontons in other forms, like honey-soaked wontons, frozen wontons and wonton soup. Thinking about the offerings she had just tasted, Antonia correctly guessed that Chef Velez was the one fortunate enough to work with the fresh product. Although she was initially hesitant about Chef Miranda’s dish, which was crafted out of frozen wontons and featured cabbage-wrapped bites, Antonia ultimately told the finalist, “I’m not mad at it.” Later she explained to Alton: “When someone says ‘pot sticker,’ you have this idea in your head of exactly what you want. So when I walk over and there’s cabbage, and I’m like, am I going to get that texture on the outside? Am I going to get that little bit of, like, char? And then I really enjoyed it.”

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A Southern New Year’s Celebration: Ringing in 2014 with Damaris Phillips

by in View All Posts, December 29th, 2013

Damaris PhillipsWhile some may be content to watch the Times Square ball drop on New Year’s Eve from the comfort of their pajamas while cuddled on the couch, Southern at Heart host Damaris Phillips is no such celebrator. In fact, this Louisville, Ky., native dons her most-elaborate outfit and her fanciest footwear for a night on the town as she prepares to ring in the new year. FN Dish caught up with Damaris toward the end of this year to find out more about her New Year’s traditions and best memory of the holiday. Read on below to learn her New Year’s resolution from last year and get her top tips for easy party fare.

How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve these days?
Damaris Phillips: I love going out. I love getting dressed up fancy. I love sparkly clothing. Like, there’s not a lot of occasions to wear sparkly heals, and I have maybe 15 pairs, so I love New Year’s because it’s the perfect time to put on sequins and rhinestones and glitter and get real dressed up. And I love to dance; I like to go to places where they have, like, an old-time ball kind of New Year’s, and my gentleman loves New Year’s. Like, it’s his favorite holiday, so I know how special it is for him, and it’s always fun to be celebrating together. I come up with New Year’s resolutions. For sure.

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Best 5 New Year’s Recipes

by in Recipes, December 28th, 2013

Roasted Shrimp CocktailWhether your New Year’s plans include mingling with friends at a swanky late-night bash or watching the ball drop from the comfort of your living-room couch, it’s best to be surrounded by a spread of celebratory eats and drinks as you say goodbye to 2013 and welcome in the New Year. Champagne is a must-have sipper when the clock strikes midnight, but beyond straight bubbly, what munchies and cocktails should you serve? Look to Food Network’s top-five recipes for New Year’s to find sweet and savory picks plus a dressed-up cocktail from some of your favorite chefs, like the Neelys, Rachael, Giada and Ina.

5. The Neelys’ Pigs in a Blanket — Made with just a handful of everyday ingredients, the Neelys’ two-bite snack is ready to eat in a hurry thanks to store-bought crescent dough, which serves as the blanket for mini hot dogs.

4. Whoopee Pies — The beauty of these part-cake, part-cookie treats is that they’re eaten like a sandwich — with soft cocoa shells surrounding fluffy marshmallow filling — so guests can pick them up to enjoy while they’re mingling.

Get the top-three recipes

Watch the Top 5 Owner Arguments on Restaurant: Impossible

by in Shows, December 24th, 2013

Whether or not they’d admit it, most owners who welcome Robert Irvine to their eatery on Restaurant: Impossible realize the need for change in their business. But that doesn’t stop some from fighting with Robert every step of the transformation, yelling at him in frustration or embarrassment, accusing him of sabotage or resisting his help along the way. True to his mission of giving restaurants a second chance at success, Robert embraces the challenges these owners pose and continues to offer them his and his team’s support, even if that means getting screamed at along the way.

Click the play button on the video above to watch the top-five owner arguments ever featured on Restaurant: Impossible and see Robert go head-to-head with business owners, then catch up on more of the top-five video roundups from the show for a look at the dirtiest restaurants, most-emotional reveals and best sledgehammer moments.

Bobby’s Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 23rd, 2013

Cauliflower-Goat Cheese GratinVegetarian eating during the holidays can be tricky, as so many classic main dishes are meaty picks, like turkey, ham and beef. If you’re hosting the celebration this year, you can plan ahead and make a selection of meatless favorites (in addition to beefier items, if you’d like). But if you’ll be gathering at someone else’s house and can’t guarantee what the host will be serving, it’s a good idea to bring at least one vegetarian dish to pass; this way you’ll know you have at least one dish to eat come dinnertime.

Bobby’s Cauliflower-Goat Cheese Gratin (pictured above) is a go-to pick, as it’s every bit as rich and satisfying as a traditional main dish, but it’s wholly meat-free. The beauty of this casserole is that it’s relatively hands-off to prepare. After arranging cauliflower florets alongside a trio of creamy, nutty cheeses and decadent heavy cream, he simply bakes the dish until the vegetables are soft. Your vegetarian guests will enjoy having a comforting, filling dish available, while meat eaters will appreciate the creamy cheese sauce coating each floret.

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