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.

Watch the Top 5 Meltdowns on Restaurant: Impossible

by in Shows, October 23rd, 2013


No matter their reasons for emotional collapses — financial stress, relationship conflicts, personal pressures, employee anxiety — countless restaurant owners and staff members featured on Restaurant: Impossible have experienced meltdowns on the show. They’ve ranged from minor disagreements and temper tantrum-like behavior to full-blown screaming, door slamming and people ultimately walking out during filming. Robert Irvine and his team of designers and contractors have been there to witness each disastrous falling apart, and together with the help of staff members’ friends and family, they’re almost always able to remedy the situation. But before peace is restored on set, cameras capture each calamitous moment.

Click the play button the video above to watch a video mash-up of the five most unforgettable meltdowns ever featured on the series. Then tune in to the Season 7 premiere of Restaurant: Impossible tonight at 10pm/9cto see the owner of Mama Campisi’s Restaurant struggle to contain her emotions on set. Watch more top-five video mashups from Restaurant: Impossible, including emotional reveals, dirtiest restaurants and stubborn owners.

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Catch Geoffrey and Food Network Friends on the Radio Tomorrow

by in Food Network Chef, October 22nd, 2013

Geoffrey Zakarian on Food TalkYou’ve surely seen him on television as a Chopped judge and as an Iron Chef  America superstar in Kitchen Stadium, and you may have even seen him in person at some of his restaurants. But come tomorrow you can hear from Geoffrey Zakarian in one of the most unlikely of places: the radio. For only the third time ever, Geoffrey is teaming up with SiriusXM radio to host a Food Talk broadcast, and the latest show premieres tomorrow, Wednesday, at 7am EST on Stars Channel 106.

This past weekend brought together the most renowned names in the culinary industry at the sixth annual New York City Wine & Food Festival, and Geoffrey kicked off the celebration last Friday by bringing together some of your favorite Food Network stars, including Bobby Flay, Sunny Anderson and Jeff Mauro, plus his fellow members on the Chopped panel, for relaxed chats — and plenty of laughs. Huddled in a studio at the SiriusXM headquarters high atop Manhattan, Geoffrey and his guests munched on sweet and savory bites from his restaurant The National, and dished about some of the most-talked-about topics in the food industry today.

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Alton Brown Is Bringing Back the Bow Tie

by in Food Network Chef, News, October 21st, 2013

Alton BrownHe may be a famed food-science guru, the longtime host of Iron Chef America and a revered judge-mentor on Food Network Star, but for the first time, Alton Brown is stepping out of the kitchen and designing something other than food. In partnership with hook + Albert, a brand specializing in men’s accessories, Alton’s launched an all-new line of bow ties called The Alton Brown Collection.

The Alton Brown Collection“Basically, these are ties I wanted for myself but couldn’t find,” Alton told Food Network of his idea to begin this venture. He’s been a frequent wearer of bow ties for years, but until now, they’ve been designed and styled by others. This look, however, is wholly his own.

Pieces of The Alton Brown Collection include neutral-colored blacks and whites, plus bright hues like blues, oranges and reds, but what makes the bow ties unique is their patterns and textures. They feature a mix of stripes, specks and plaids, and all come together in harmonious looks. “They’re eccentric but wearable and very clothes-friendly,” Alton explains. “What we’ve done with this collection is hopefully made bow ties that will even appeal to guys who have never given bow ties a thought.”

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Lentils with Fried Eggs — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, October 21st, 2013

Lentils with Fried EggsWhen it comes to vegetarian cooking, sometimes all it takes is a little extra protein to transform a seemingly sidelike dish into the star of any meal. Red, black, or white beans, seasoned tofu or a scoop of quinoa all beef up green salads, simply roasted vegetables and whole grains quickly, churning out a finished product that was not only easy to prepare but also hearty enough to count as a full meal. Eggs, too, are a go-to source of filling protein, and given their versatility — think options for scrambling, poaching and frying — they pair well with a myriad of dishes.

Food Network Magazine uses this idea to create its Lentils with Fried Eggs, a quick-to-make recipe full of bold flavors. Start by sauteing shallots and celery with thyme, then add a splash of vinegar and pinch of sugar to balance the acidic taste, and mix in diced tomatoes and brown lentils for substance. After just a few minutes of cooking, add tangy Dijon mustard and fresh parsley, and top each serving of lentils with a butter-fried egg. You’ll want something to sop up the remnants of the rich runny egg yolk and sweet-savory tomato sauce, and for that, soft pita bread is just what’s needed.

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Struggling for Simplicity — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 20th, 2013


While the sabotages dealt to chefs on Cutthroat Kitchen may be downright devious and may cause the competitors to rethink their culinary approaches, the dishes they’re tasked to cook are, in fact, straightforward. Common plates like tacos, cupcakes, fried chicken and burritos have made appearances in the past, and all Alton asks of the contestants is that they create these meals for the judge. It sounds easy enough — until he reveals unknown curve balls, like mandatory ingredients and inferior cooking utensils, of course. It’s these challenging sabotages that cause — or, perhaps, force — the chefs to abandon all aspects of simplicity and ultimately reinvent the dishes as next-level versions.

Although this week’s battle indeed featured its share of sabotages, judge Antonia Lofaso told Alton Brown on the host’s After-Showthat the chefs’ culinary offerings could have been stronger, if only they had not tried to make the dishes complicated and too unlike the originals. In Round 2, one chef was given leftover fried rice to feature in jambalaya, and rather than merely steam it to outfit it with the proper texture, he or she turned it into rice patties, but the rice wasn’t apparent. “You would have been starting with a product that you can have control over,” Antonia told Alton. “[The chef] could have just resuscitated it, but instead [the competitor] ground it into a paste,” Alton added. “I would have simply just used it.”

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Guy Throws the Ultimate Broadway Bash at Times Square Restaurant

by in Events, October 20th, 2013

Guy FieriWho knew that Guy Fieri was such a Broadway enthusiast? Turns out that the host of Guy’s Grocery Games (Sundays 8pm/7c) is a theatergoer after all, and on Saturday he celebrated his love of the live stage by hosting a party inspired by one of his favorite shows, Rock of Ages, during the New York City Wine & Food Festival.

Guy FieriStanding tall atop the second-floor bar at his restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, Guy told the packed crowd that he and his family have seen the musical and enjoy its ’80-style jams, so it was only fitting for him to invite the cast to belt out some of their signature tunes right then and there, as the show’s theater is located just steps away from his Times Square eatery. It didn’t take long for the scene soon to turn into a dance party when Guy manned the microphone on stage and added his own rock-and-roll twist to the cast’s performance.

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Sandwich King Jeff Mauro Awards Soup’er Sandwich Trophy to Delicatessen

by in Events, October 20th, 2013

Jeff MauroWhen it comes to sandwiches, no one knows or respects the intricacies of this timeless favorite quite like Food Network’s own Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro. At Saturday’s Soup’er Sandwich event during the 2013 New York City Wine & Food Festival, Jeff gathered more than two dozen of his fellow sandwich enthusiasts at Manhattan’s Hudson Hotel, and together they celebrated all things meaty, cheesy and saucy between bread, as well as the ultimate accompaniment to sandwiches: soup.

Not one to stick with ordinary PB&Js or the everyday ham-and-cheese, Jeff offered the crowd of guests a dinnerlike sandwich, The Sloppy Greek (pictured left). FN Dish caught up with the host at his station, and he broke down each component of his signature sandwich: “Ground lamb, slowly seared and cooked with red wine, a bunch of spices [and] garlic, homemade feta tzatziki sauce with a little mint in there [and] cucumber-banana pepper relish served on a Martin’s potato roll.” What resulted was a bold, flavorful “Greek-inspired spin on a sloppy joe,” according to Jeff. “It’s delicious,” he added, and his fans surely agreed, given that he ran out of bread not long into the afternoon.

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Beyond Tricks and Treats: Savory Recipes for Halloween

by in Holidays, Recipes, October 19th, 2013

Ghostini with Bloody Murder Sundried Tomato TapenadeFor kids — and kids at heart — Halloween may mean just one thing: candy. But beyond all things chocolate-covered and caramel-filled there lies an entire array of savory eats and drinks to celebrate this spooky holiday. Whether you’re hosting a fright night bash with friends or simply entertaining fellow moms and dads before trick-or-treating begins, opt for Halloween-inspired bites to set the theme. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite party-ready recipes below, then tell FN Dish in the comments what you’re serving at your Halloween party.

Just as the party’s starting, put out a platter of Ghostinis with Bloody Murder Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade (pictured above) from Food Network Kitchens. Just like traditional crostini, these toasts are served with a blend of sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and capers, but the bread is cut into ghosts to achieve an eerie effect. This fuss-free appetizer can be eaten with your hands, so it guarantees a relaxed, mingle-friendly atmosphere all night long.

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Robert Irvine Celebrates Barbecue and Blues at NYC Wine and Food Festival

by in Events, October 19th, 2013

Smo-ConesGuests could smell the sweet, smoky scent of barbecue well before they could see it as they made their way into the depths of New York City’s Hudson Hotel on Friday night. More than 15 chefs and restaurateurs from the Big Apple and beyond gathered on day two of the 2013 New York City Wine & Food Festival, all to celebrate Thrillist’s Barbecue & The Blues, hosted by Food Network’s own restaurant reviver, Robert Irvine.

BBQ CannelloniRobert led his fellow masters of meat with an offering that was anything but common to true ‘cue enthusiasts. He presented BBQ Cannelloni (pictured right): rolled sheets of pasta that were filled with ricotta cheese and a combination of beef cheek, brisket and oxtail, then topped with tomato chutney and finished with barbecue powder. “That’s sexy food,” Robert told FN Dish at the event, the fourth of its kind since the festival’s inception six years ago. “Everybody else is doing brisket …. We took that and took it in a different direction.”

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Aarón Sánchez Tackles Tailgating

by in Events, Food Network Chef, October 17th, 2013

Aaron SanchezHe may be a renowned chef, cookbook author and no-nonsense judge on Chopped, but when it comes to tailgating, Aarón Sánchez is just like every other footfall fan on game day. “Everyone thinks that, ’cause I’m a chef, I’m going to want all this really decadent stuff,” Aarón told FN Dish recently. “No, sometimes you can’t mess with the formula of a tailgate.” We recently caught up with him in New York City at an event hosted by Ortega, where he was celebrating his partnership with the Mexican food company, and he explained that there should be just a few classic eats at every tailgate spread — not over-the-top dishes or fancy fare.

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