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.

Restaurant Revisited: Treading Water at Bryant’s Seafood World

by in Shows, April 23rd, 2014

Robert Irvine and Gail Cox“On a scale of one to 10 of disgusting, this is a 12,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Bryant’s Seafood World in Hueytown, Ala. The decades-old fish house is known for its deliciously authentic hushpuppies, but what Robert found was underseasoned food, a grimy interior and a kitchen with off-the-chart levels of bacteria — not to mention Gail Cox, the owner who had little will to continue in the business. With just two days to work and a budget of only $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible staff overhauled the menu and design at Bryant’s, and taught both Gail and her employees the importance of dedication to the eatery. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Gail to find out how her restaurant is doing today.

“Comparing January 2014 versus February 2014, business increased 32.3 percent,” Gail said, adding that she and diners have been wowed by the updated interior at Bryant’s. “The top-three things working well for us include cutting down the cashier counter to give additional access to that area (which really helps the flow of the servers), adding a hostess stand (which gives us order to the customers waiting to be seated on those weekend busy dinner hours) and removing the carpet.”

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Best 5 Potato Salad Recipes

by in Recipes, April 22nd, 2014

Cold-Fashioned Potato SaladWhile potato salad may be a staple come summertime cookouts, it’s also a go-to way to round out any main dish — no matter what time of year you’re cooking. Think of potato salad as you do grilled chicken or a pizza: It’s a blank canvas that can be customized to your family’s tastes or whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. Plus, because every potato salad starts with — of course — the humble spud, most recipes are economical and can be stretched when you’re cooking for a large group. Check out Food Network’s top-five potato salads below to find classic and creative renditions from some of your favorite chefs: Melissa, Ree, Ina, Bobby and Alton.

5. Grilled Potato Salad — It’s not too early to roll out your barbecue and start grilling, especially when Melissa’s quick-fix potato salad is on the menu. After grilling both red and sweet potatoes, she tosses the spuds in a bold, indulgent dressing made with bacon renderings.

4. Perfect Potato Salad — Sweet pickles and pickle juice add a tart bite to Ree’s mashed potato salad, studded with hard-boiled eggs and laced with fresh dill.

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Inside the Impossible: All-New Restaurant: Impossible Special to Air for 100th Episode

by in Shows, April 22nd, 2014

Robert IrvineWeek after week, fans watch as Robert Irvine and his no-fail team of designers, construction managers and volunteers take over a struggling eatery on Restaurant: Impossible in the hopes of giving the business the second chance at success it deserves. But beyond demolition, recipe testing, painting and, of course, the reveal, what else goes on behind the scenes, and who’s there facilitating the transformation? It turns out that an entire crew is on hand to make Restaurant: Impossible what it is, and for the first time ever, the team will come together next month to celebrate the 100th episode of the show.

In the upcoming special Meet the Impossible, airing Wednesday, May 7 at 10|9c, Robert, Tom Bury and three designers will look back at some of the most-wow-worthy moments of the series and reflect on the most-unforgettable overhauls, as well as on some stubborn owners and dirty kitchens that have left their marks on the group. Hear from the team as they share their thoughts on the nearly eight seasons of the show, and see an insider interview with Marc Summers, the executive producer of Restaurant: Impossible.

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Rachael’s Greek Salad — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 21st, 2014

Greek SaladFresh, simple and vibrant, salads are fuss-free meals that can come together in mere minutes, but if they’re not beefed up with plenty of ingredients and a rich, flavorful dressing, often they’re not satisfying for a main dish. The key to preparing a hearty salad is opting for hefty add-ins with bold tastes — but you don’t need meat to do that.

Rachael’s Greek Salad (pictured above) is a colorful take on the classic recipe that can be on the table in less than 15 minutes. Instead of relying on a bed of lettuce for the base of her salad, Rachael fills the plate with fresh vegetables, like juicy tomatoes, cool cucumber, and both crunchy bell and Cubanelle peppers. Traditional kalamata olives offer a salty bite to the salad, while parsley adds brightness. No Greek salad is compete without tangy feta cheese, and Rachael opts for slices of authentic Greek feta for a decadent topping before finishing the dish with a simple red wine vinaigrette. Serve warm pita bread as a hearty accompaniment, and use it to sop up the oregano-laced dressing.

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Chicken, or Something Like It — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, April 20th, 2014


Chicken has a storied past on Cutthroat Kitchen: Just last season when Giada De Laurentiis stopped by for a special episode, one rival was gifted a whole chicken in a can, which she was forced to turn into chicken and waffles for the guest judge. And on tonight’s all-new episode, subpar chicken — or something like it — once again appeared on the auction table, this time during a General Tso’s Chicken challenge. After being gifted a sabotage of MREs, which Alton deemed “meals ready to eat,” one chef was forced to pick through the innards of such prepared and packaged dishes as “a chicken stew [and] a chicken fajita,” according to Alton.

For Antonia, these products were “mushy,” and on the host’s After-Show, Alton told her with a smile, “It’s the best kind of sick that you could possibly imagine.” It turns out, however, that for the competitor who worked with this sabotage, the inferior meat wasn’t a hindrance at all. “She really didn’t have any choice but to make a fritter,” Alton explained to Antonia. “And it looked just like General Tso’s chicken.”

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Judge Marc Summers Previews Rewrapped

by in Shows, April 20th, 2014

Marc SummersFor years, Marc Summers revealed the whats and hows of timeless snack foods on Food Network’s Unwrapped. And beginning tomorrow, he’ll be part of the all-new series Rewrapped, wherein three hopeful contestants must re-create a sweet or savory treat, then use the original item in an inspired dish all of their own. Marc will sit on the judges’ panel alongside two other culinary experts, and together they must determine which competitor’s offerings are worthy of the prize: a lifetime supply of snacks. FN Dish was recently on the set of Rewrapped, and we caught up with Marc to look back on Unwrapped and to get his insider’s perspective on what’s ahead on Rewrapped. Read on below to learn his thoughts on both series, then hear from host Joey Fatone.

What are you most looking forward to in this competition?
Getting back on television would be No. 1, on fresh shows. I just think it’s fun. All the other competition shows on Food Network are pretty intense. This one, you smile during the whole thing. It’s snack foods, it’s junk foods, it’s kind of everything we ever did on Unwrapped, but I think when you see the Twinkie or the Hostess cupcake or the Bloomin’ Onion or SpaghettiOs, you think … “I identify with them.” And then seeing if somebody can duplicate it is just fun. We kind of hit the ground running on day one. It just seemed like we’d been doing it forever. Joey’s a great host. He brings a certain energy to it. It’s effortless.

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Get a Sneak Peek at Rewrapped with Host Joey Fatone

by in Shows, April 19th, 2014

Joey FatoneThe all-new series Rewrapped starring your favorite sweet and savory snacks premieres on Monday night (8|7c), where host Joey Fatone will be leading the competition between three eager contestants. It’s up to them to first re-create the snack of the day, then invent a new dish incorporating the original item for a panel of judges, including Marc Summers of Food Network’s Unwrapped. FN Dish was recently on the set of Rewrapped and caught up with Joey to find out more about what’s in store this season. Read on below for an exclusive interview with the host, then hear from judge Marc Summers.

What are you most looking forward to in this competition?
I’m looking forward to seeing how creative these people get. That’s the cool thing about it. You get the re-creation of the actual snack, but the Innovate challenge sees how inventive they can be with the snack. [It] is really kind of cool to see how they get really crazy with the ideas.

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Enter for a Chance to Win a Cutting Board Signed by The Kitchen Co-Hosts

by in Contests, Shows, April 19th, 2014

This morning, The Kitchen co-hosts Geoffrey ZakarianJeff MauroKatie LeeMarcela Valladolid and Sunny Anderson kicked off a brand-new second season of The Kitchen with an episode full of fresh springtime recipes and a special guest appearance. Just in time for the Easter holiday, they showcased holiday-worthy classics like hard-boiled eggs and seasonal-vegetable salads, and Food Network’s Marc Summers dropped by to dish on his upcoming series, Rewrapped. After a jam-packed hour, Geoffrey, in true 5 o’clock fashion, shook a signature cocktail, his GZ Gin Fizz.

Now it’s time for fans to partake in the celebration of Season 2 as well. FN Dish has a cutting board signed by all five members of the cast, and we’re giving it away to one lucky person. To enter to win, all you have to do is leave a comment telling us your favorite recipe ever featured on The Kitchen (you can find them all here) and include the URL of the recipe.

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The Kitchen Co-Hosts Look Back on Season 1 and Preview What’s Ahead

by in Shows, April 15th, 2014

Jeff Mauro, Geoffrey Zakarian, Sunny Anderson, Marcela Valladolid and Katie LeeJust a few months ago, five of your favorite Food Network chefs came together on The Kitchen to celebrate what is arguably the most-important room in the home. Now after a premiere season jam-packed with an over-the-top snackadium, special guest chefsTool Takedowns and one unforgettable Double Provolone, Geoffrey, Jeff, Katie, Marcela and Sunny are gearing up for a second round of go-to recipes for eats and drinks, timesaving cooking strategies and kid-friendly meal solutions. FN Dish was on the set of The Kitchen recently and we caught up with the group as they looked back on their most-memorable moments from early episodes and revealed what’s to come in new episodes, beginning this Saturday at 11a|10c.

For many of the co-hosts, the top unforgettable moment was when Jeff donned a sandwich-themed bodysuit to perform an impromptu routine he called The Double Provolone for Brian Boitano. “I mean, I saw it on the monitor ’cause I wasn’t actually in that segment, but I was crying I was laughing so hard,” Marcela admitted. Jeff and Katie, too, recounted that scene, Jeff deeming it “very risky” and Katie saying simply, “That was special.”

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