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.

The “Seance Board” Speaks — Alton’s Tournament of Terror After-Show

by in Shows, September 28th, 2016

No matter the day or time, the Cutthroat Kitchen arena is often brimming with eviliciousness. But in tonight’s premiere heat of the Tournament of Terror, Alton Brown-turned-Hannibal Lecter upped the diabolical factor immeasurably and brought in spooky spirits to control a sabotage. After two rounds of downright scary-good challenges, the host introduced the “CTK Seance Board,” which let the spirits, not the doomed chef, select ingredients for a blood orange dessert in Round 3.

Chef Richard Blais, the judge of the day who donned a “Clarice Darling” getup like a champion, tried his hand at the board on the After-Show — and let’s just say that he was all too eager to partake in the experience. “The spirits are with me!” he proclaimed, with his eyes closed and head thrown back as the spirits (or rather the spirits of the Bob hidden in the table) took control. “What do the spirits want you to have?” Alton questioned, as Richard’s hand was dragged across the board on a figure before it ultimately landed on blood oranges. The judge took his fruit in stride, but little did he know the horrors that awaited him: first a clown sidekick, then a menacing shower prep station that required careful manipulation.

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Master Saboteur Alton Brown Previews the Cutthroat Kitchen: Tournament of Terror

by in Shows, September 27th, 2016

Cutthroat Kitchen: Tournament of TerrorFresh off a whirlwind (and wild) summer at Camp Cutthroat, Alton Brown is heading back to the evilicious arena tomorrow night, but what awaits isn’t his usual lot of diabolical escapades. Instead, he’s set to kick off a five-part Tournament of Terror (Wednesdays at 11|10c), complete with all manner of ghastly, horrific and simply scary-good sabotages, just in time for the upcoming Halloween holiday. The 16 chefs that will face off in four preliminary heats and one over-the-top finale know to anticipate competitive rivals, trying challenges and judges’ commentary. But nothing can prepare them for the fear that Alton will instill.

We caught up with Alton about the new tournament in an exclusive interview, and he previewed the kinds of next-level Halloween shenanigans on deck for the Tournament of Terror. “Cuddles the Clown,” is one particularly incredible costume he’ll debut, he noted. Read on below to hear more from Alton and find out his take on homemade Halloween candy.

You’ve done Halloween-themed Cutthroat Kitchen episodes before but never a full tournament like this. What can fans except to see?
Alton Brown: We’ve built five shows that are essentially a bunch of love letters to Halloween. We’ve taken every scary movie trope and tactic and twisted them into sabotages. Oh, and they can also expect a lot of costumes.

We’ve seen a sneak peek of some of the costumes you wear in Tournament of Terror, and they’re pretty extravagant (and amazing). Do you have a favorite?
AB: Three words: Cuddles the Clown.

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Chatting with Amber Kelley About Her New Web Series, Kids Menu Makeover

by in Shows, September 27th, 2016

Fresh off her momentous win on the premiere season of Food Network Star Kids, Seattle eighth-grader Amber Kelley is back in front of the camera, only this time she’s not in a competition. As part of her prize for besting nine other young kid cooks, Amber became the host of her own web series, Kids Menu Makeover, and now that series is live on

In keeping with her culinary point of view on Food Network Star Kids, Amber made sure the recipes in all three episodes of Kids Menu Makeover were fresh, approachable and easy. She teamed up with famed restaurant chefs Alex Guarnaschelli, Dale Talde and Ariane Duarte to present her take on their beloved intricate dishes, making them not only ideal for kid palates but also adult tastes.

We caught up with Amber on the set of Kids Menu Makeover and chatted about what it’s like for her to host her own web series and work with all-star chefs. Find out what she had to say below and learn her advice to other budding cooks, then watch the other two episodes of Amber’s series here.

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Exclusive: One-on-One with the Winner of Food Network Star Kids

by in Shows, September 26th, 2016

Food Network Star KidsCulinary competitions are difficult for even the most-skilled chefs in the business, as past seasons of Food Network Star have proved. But for the young cooks — really, really young ones, in fact — who took on the challenge of Food Network Star Kids this season, the contest was not only doable but actually fun. Mentors Donal Skehan and Tia Mowry challenged the 10 eager recruits to six weeks of camera and kitchen challenges, each designed to ready them for the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to star in their own Web series on Tonight the top-three hopefuls — Amber, Isaiah and Liam — faced-off in a final showdown, before one of them earned the coveted title of Food Network Star Kid.

If you haven’t watched the episode yet, don’t read any further until you do. We’re about to chat with the winner in an exclusive interview.

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Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, September 26th, 2016

Quinoa with Roasted Butternut SquashMuch like salads with traditional mixed green lettuces, quinoa salad on its own is a culinary blank canvas. The grainlike seeds impart a flavor all their own — subtle nuttiness — but they pair well with countless other tastes, textures and ingredients, and you can dress them up or down depending on what ingredients you happen to have on hand. Bonus: Quinoa is filling, since it’s full of protein, which means that you can skip the meat and still feel satisfied.

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Enter to Win a Copy of Alton’s New Cookbook, EveryDayCook

by in Contests, Food Network Chef, September 26th, 2016

Alton Brown: EveryDayCookYou know he’s the master of all things food science and the unequivocal expert of eviliciousness on Cutthroat Kitchen. But do you know what Alton Brown makes himself for breakfast? Probably not — but that’s about to change.

His brand-new cookbook, Alton Brown: EveryDayCook, is a collection of the eats and drinks he preps at home on a day-to-day basis, the tried-and-true picks that are all his own. Including new takes on morning staples like oatmeal, a kale salad you’ll actually want to eat, sweet treats like spiked bread pudding and much more, EveryDayCook features the best of Alton’s personal recipe repertoire, all up for grabs for you, his fans.

“I was trying to rediscover myself as a cook and as always (for me) find a new way to approach an accepted form,” Alton told us recently of the inspiration for this book. In the exclusive interview below, he shares more about what writing EveryDayCook taught him about his style of cooking and he details an over-the-top menu for cooking from the book for the first time. Read on to hear what he has to say, then find out how to be entered to win a copy of EveryDayCook for free.

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Ree Drummond’s Best Tomato Soup Ever — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, September 25th, 2016

Best Tomato Soup EverWith bright tomato flavor, rich cream and fragrant fresh basil, you can be sure that this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week lives up to its “best-ever” title. (The 5-star rating and more than 250 fan reviews don’t hurt either, of course.) Since this comforting bowl can be ready to eat in just 40 minutes, it’s an ideal pick for hectic back-to-school season.

For more warming recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook Comfort Food board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Best Tomato Soup Ever

2 Ways to Put Those Cans of Tuna to Good Use

by in Recipes, Shows, September 24th, 2016

Spaghetti and Tuna MeatballsWe’ve all been there. You’re slowly perusing the aisles at the grocery store, picking up odds and ends here and there, with no real plan for them in mind, and before you know it, you have a pantry packed with cans of this and jars of that. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts introduced their favorite ways to showcase those items in recipes that aren’t just resourceful but satisfying, too. When it comes to those straggler cans of tuna, for example, think beyond the salad sandwiches and macaroni salads — we’ve all had those before, right? Instead, use them in easy recipes that breathe new life into them, as Katie Lee and Marcela Valladolid do in their must-try recipes below.

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“Crockett” and “Short Bob” Go to War — Alton’s Camp Cutthroat After-Show

by in Shows, September 21st, 2016

Though Alton Brown frequently makes the Bobs endure all manner of evilicious escapades in the name of sabotage on Cutthroat Kitchen, on tonight’s After-Show, two of his sidekicks suffered nothing short of an epic battle following the Camp Cutthroat 2 finale.

To celebrate the fifth and final heat of his wild camp tournament, Alton waged a down-and-dirty war on the top-two chefs in Round 3, complete with barbed wire, fox holes and “grenades” (aka water balloons). Just like chefs Daniel and Gabriel had to face off, so too did two Bobs on the After-Show, only the Bobs weren’t tasked with outcooking each other; they simply had to scurry their way through Alton’s makeshift “race course,” as the host called it. But just because Alton and judge Richard Blais weren’t about to race through the dirt doesn’t mean they didn’t enjoy a little competition of their own. “I’m putting all of [my money] on Crockett,” Richard proclaimed, betting on the Bob who donned a Davy Crockett-style faux-raccoon hat to win the race. Alton, however, showed his support for “short Bob,” he said, before moving to a rock perch to launch water-balloon grenades at the Bob with Richard.

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Giada’s Chicken Saltimbocca — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, September 18th, 2016

Chicken SaltimboccaThere’s no question that chicken is a go-to pick for weeknight dinners and dressed-up meals alike. But sometimes the beloved grilled chicken breast just doesn’t cut it, and when that happens, it’s time to inject bold flavors, as Giada De Laurentiis does in this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. Quick to prepare and healthy to boot, these chicken roll-ups feature a savory filling of prosciutto and spinach, plus a sprinkle of nutty Parmesan cheese for a welcome bite. Round out the chicken with a lemony sauce for an impressive finish.

For more dinner ideas, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Main Dishes board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Saltimbocca