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.

The Best Before-and-After Transformations From Restaurant: Impossible

by in Shows, June 1st, 2013

Robert IrvineAfter more than six seasons of budgeted, on-the-clock renovations on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine has seen seemingly everything — the good, the bad and the ugly — in eateries across the country. From unpalatable food and unsafe cooking conditions to creepy-crawlies covering the furniture and floor, the scenes at some of these restaurants are simply shocking, to Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible team and at-home viewers alike. No matter how dirty or downright disheartening a situation may be, however, Robert has never walked away from a challenge, successfully transforming nearly 70 eateries to date.

Over the years, Robert has proved his trademark to be his ability to breathe new life into once-failing establishments and give them the second chance they deserve. In the form of revamped menus and updated designs, plus tried-and-true techniques for food buying, handling front-of-house management and overseeing day-to-day operations, he outfits businesses with everything they need to not just survive but thrive. And ultimately his commitment has led to awe-inspiring transformations, especially given that his updates must be started and completed in just two days and can cost no more than $10,000.

See before-and-after photos

Barbecue Without a Grill — Weekend Cookout

by in Recipes, June 1st, 2013

The Ultimate Barbecued RibsThis summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Friday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s spread features authentic barbecue made without a traditional barbecue grill.

Memorial Day has come and gone, and for the next three months, the focus will be on enjoying all things grilled — those quintessential warm-weather favorites that all but define summertime. But what if you simply don’t own a grill, or if you live in the city and don’t have access to outdoor space? Are you resigned to a summer of boiled dogs and sauteed chicken? No way. Even if you’re confined to cooking with a basic stovetop-oven setup, you can indeed indulge in classic seasonal recipes for saucy ribs, moist burgers, juicy chicken and succulent steak. It just takes one key piece of kitchenware: the grill pan. Heavy and sturdy, grill pans are placed atop stovetop burners like a standard pan, but they boast raised ridges similar to the grates on an outdoor grill, guaranteeing those sought-after grill marks.

Keep reading for recipes

Star-a-Day: Viet Pham

by , May 30th, 2013

Viet PhamYou heard it here first: Food Network Star is kicking off an all-new ninth season on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, and returning judge-mentors Alton BrownBobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there at the helm. This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly Mentor and Star Challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job: their own show on Food Network. While the contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds — including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging — they have but one dream, which is to become the next Food Network Star. From now until next month’s premiere, Star Talk will introduce one finalist a day until you, Star fans, meet them on camera during the show.

Viet Pham, 34, was born in Malaysia and moved to California when he was a child. This James Beard Award semi-finalist grew up cooking for his brother at home and later graduated from the California Culinary Academy. Now the owner of a Salt Lake City restaurant, Viet was victorious over Bobby Flay in Iron Chef America Battle Ground Meat and is known for creating globally inspired cuisine.

Click the play button on the video below to watch Viet’s casting video.

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Star-a-Day: Stacey Poon-Kinney

by , May 29th, 2013

Stacey Poon-KinneyYou heard it here first: Food Network Star is kicking off an all-new ninth season on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, and returning judge-mentors Alton BrownBobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there at the helm. This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly Mentor and Star Challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job: their own show on Food Network. While the contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds — including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging — they have but one dream, which is to become the next Food Network Star. From now until next month’s premiere, Star Talk will introduce one finalist a day until you, Star fans, meet them on camera during the show.

Having grown up cooking in a food-focused family, Stacey Poon-Kinney, 34, became familiar with the restaurant scene at a young age, thanks to her great-grandfather and great-grandmother, who worked as a chef and a diner owner, respectively. She eventually pursued her passion for dance and performance, but she later teamed up with her father to open The Trails restaurant, which was featured on Restaurant: Impossible. This mother of two now lives in San Diego and runs The Trails.

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Star-a-Day: Russell Jackson

by , May 28th, 2013

Russell JacksonYou heard it here first: Food Network Star is kicking off an all-new ninth season on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, and returning judge-mentors Alton BrownBobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there at the helm. This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly Mentor and Star Challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job: their own show on Food Network. While the contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds — including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging — they have but one dream, which is to become the next Food Network Star. From now until next month’s premiere, Star Talk will introduce one finalist a day until you, Star fans, meet them on camera during the show.

Owner of a San Francisco underground supper club, Russell Jackson, 47, competed against Iron Chef Jose Garces in Iron Chef America Battle Rhubarb. He’s been cooking since he was 3 years old, when he first experimented with applesauce in the kitchen. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Russell now specializes in using local, seasonal ingredients to inspire unconventional meals with individual style.

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Grilled Vegetables With Couscous and Yogurt Sauce — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, May 27th, 2013

Grilled Vegetables With Couscous and Yogurt SauceWhether you choose to avoid meat just on Mondays or you follow a strict vegetarian diet every day, the key to enjoying any meatless meal is eating something that offers as much flavor, substance and simplicity as a meaty main dish. Vegetables are go-to picks, of course, since many are naturally quick cooking, and they are full of sweet and savory tastes, plus they feature a range of textures. But for most, a plate of veggies alone hardly constitutes a complete dinner, no matter how fresh and well-seasoned the produce may be. To bulk up vegetables, try serving them with rice and tofu in a stir-fry, with noodles and olive oil in a pasta dish, or with eggs and cheese in an omelet; not only will you’ve stretch the value of the veggies, but you’ll have made the meal more deliciously satisfying, as well.

Food Network Magazine follows a similar notion in its 30-minute recipe for Grilled Vegetables With Couscous and Yogurt Sauce (pictured above) by treating earthy shiitake mushrooms, seasonal squash and mild bell peppers as the meaty entree of the plate and complementing them with a side of couscous, much like you would chicken or steak. Although these vegetables are indeed grilled, you don’t need an outdoor barbecue to prepare them, as they develop a similar char and smoky flavor from an indoor grill pan after just a few minutes of cooking. Finish the dish with a sprinkle of sliced almonds for a textured crunch, and serve it with a creamy, tangy sauce of Greek yogurt, grilled pepper and fresh garlic.

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Star-a-Day: Rodney Henry

by , May 27th, 2013

Rodney HenryYou heard it here first: Food Network Star is kicking off an all-new ninth season on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, and returning judge-mentors Alton BrownBobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there at the helm. This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly Mentor and Star Challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job: their own show on Food Network. While the contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds — including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging — they have but one dream, which is to become the next Food Network Star. From now until next month’s premiere, Star Talk will introduce one finalist a day until you, Star fans, meet them on camera during the show.

Owner of several Dangerously Delicious Pies shops, Rodney Henry, 47, lives in Baltimore, and he is known for challenging the meaning of everyday pies by creating sweet and savory interpretations of this all-American classic. This father of two is a former musician who’s appeared on multiple Food Network shows, including Chopped, Down Home With the Neelys and Paula’s Home Cooking.

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