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.

Sabotaged Chefs Return to Battle — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, February 23rd, 2014

Even if a competitor manages to secure a win on Cutthroat Kitchen, it is likely only earned after some of the most-painstakingly fierce cooking in his or her career. From mandatory ingredients to forbidden appliances and inferior tools, Cutthroat sabotages are notoriously grueling, and most chefs will only endure this kind of face-off once. But on tonight’s all-new episode, four previously eliminated competitors returned to the kitchen for a second chance to overcome sabotage. These chefs had fallen in battle before, but with experience on their side, they took their places in front of Alton, ready to attempt to prove themselves once again.

“All of these people learned the first time they were on the show that at the end of the day, you got to secure the win, or you don’t win anything at all,” Alton told judge Jet Tila on the host’s After-Show. ”I would rather walk out of here with a grand than walk out of here with nothing.” He didn’t make the chefs’ return to the contest any easier this time around, auctioning off waterlogged buns during a hot dog challenge and the forced use of strainers as mixing bowls during a brownie challenge. Jet deemed the mixing bowl sabotage “amazingly diabolical,” and indeed it ultimately contributed to Chef Zadi’s elimination.

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After Buying This Restaurant: Moochie’s Tavern

by in Shows, February 23rd, 2014

Keith Simpson on Buy This RestaurantWith a shared wish to own their own eatery, friends and colleagues Jody and Rhonda looked to Buy This Restaurant‘s Keith Simpson for help in finding the ultimate location to launch their would-be business. They wanted a spot in which they could run a sports-themed restaurant with a communal, family-friendly focus, and after exploring three options with Keith, the clients purchased Skinnyz Bar & Grille, an existing business they later transformed into Moochie’s Tavern.

FN Dish checked in with Rhonda a few months after she and Jody opened Moochie’s to find out how the restaurant is faring today. Read on below to hear from Rhonda, and learn about her experience in buying a restaurant and how it’s been to run it so far.

How is Moochie’s Tavern doing today? What have the monthly sales been at the restaurant? What is the greatest expenditure at your business?
Rhonda: Moochie’s is doing really well! We have more than doubled our business in two short months; monthly sales are presently $50,000. We are extremely excited about the sales growth, especially as the increase in business has been organic — all word of mouth. We have done no advertising while we establish our menu and get our team up to speed.

Believe it or not, signs are really expensive. The sign, the addition of 11 TVs, and reorienting the booths have been the costliest for us.

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Iron Chef Marc Forgione Leads DIY Lobster Dinner

by in Events, February 23rd, 2014

Iron Chef Marc ForgioneWhile there’s hardly a replica for the kind of pressure Iron Chefs feel when sprinting around Kitchen Stadium during battle, Iron Chef Marc Forgione and Chef Lorenzo Boni of Barilla cranked up the heat in the makeshift kitchen during last night’s Barilla Interactive Dinner when they tasked partygoers to prepare dinner for their tables. The duo welcomed a sold-out crowd to The Biltmore in Coral Gables, Fla., for an elegant but relaxed meal as part of the 2014 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, but it was only after guests arrived that the all-star chefs revealed to them the multicourse menu they would be cooking.

Outfitted with aprons and chef’s hats, and with pre-prepped ingredients at the ready, seemingly novice and experienced amateur chefs alike manned the saute pans and took charge of dinner, but lucky for them, help wasn’t far away should they need it. Chef Boni led the crowd with detailed suggestions for creating the pasta course, a richly decadent cheese tortellini with morel mushrooms, Marsala wine and prosciutto, while the Iron Chef tackled the entree.

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Vote: What’s Your Favorite No-Bake Dessert?

by in Recipes, February 22nd, 2014

No-Bake Chewy Truffle CookiesOn this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, Katie Lee proved that when it comes to sweet tooth-satisfying desserts, sometimes preparation and assembly can be just as productive as baking. She welcomed her mom, Kim, to the set, and together they made a duo of no-bake desserts: No-Bake “Cow Pile” Cookies, featuring a crave-worthy combination of chocolate, peanut butter and oats, and No-Bake Banana Pudding Pie, a simple but comforting classic.

Whether you’re looking for fuss-free treats to make with your kids or just need a go-to dessert for a last-minute get-together, no-bake recipes like Katie’s offer endless quick-fix options. Since you don’t need to account for baking time, most dishes can be fully prepared in mere minutes (although they may need to cool) and are simple to execute, even in a hurry. Cheesecakes and tarts become even easier if they’re started with a store-bought crust, while trifles, mousses and mix-and-drop cookies guarantee wows from the crowd despite being nearly effortless to put together.

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Beach Eats Meet Comfort Food at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, February 22nd, 2014

ZeppoleWhen you imagine classic shoreline snacks and sips, you likely picture buttery lobster rolls, crispy golden-brown fried shrimp and umbrella-adorned frosty cocktails. But at last night’s Life’s a Beach, Then You Eat! Dinner at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, the hosts and chefs, including Chopped judges Aarón Sánchez and Marcus Samuelsson, FN Dish contributor Hedy Goldsmith and New York City-based Chef Jonathan Waxman, proved there’s more to snacking in the sand than these tried-and-true picks when they rolled out their menus of comfort food favorites.

Gathering underneath the palm trees and hanging lights on the beach of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami, this group of fan-favorite chefs and stars served hearty, satisfying dishes that not only wowed the sold-out crowd, but also held special significance for those who made them.

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Alex Guarnaschelli Celebrates Bella Cucina at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, February 21st, 2014

Alex GuarnaschelliWhile she may be known for her fierce competitive spirit in the kitchen — both while facing off against rivals as the newest Iron Chef and judging the latest Chopped contest — Alex Guarnaschelli enjoyed a culinary partnership last night at the 2014 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Kicking off the weekend-long celebration of all things eats and drinks, Alex teamed up with Chef Dena Marino to host Bella Cucina, an intimate yet lively Italian-themed dinner at Chef Marino’s MC Kitchen in Miami’s Design District.

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#TBT: Ted Allen

by in Food Network Chef, February 20th, 2014

Ted AllenIt’s Thursday, and while that means everyone is just one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time to throw back — to an earlier period in Food Network’s history. Check back on FN Dish every Thursday to find the latest #tbt of your favorite chefs and get a retro look at their earliest days on TV.

While contestants, guest judges and mystery ingredients may come and go in the Chopped kitchen, Ted Allen is reliably present, having been a fixture of the show since its very first season premiered in 2009. The long-standing host knows the competition like few others and has delivered fateful elimination results to some of the most-famed chefs in battle.

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Best 5 Beef Stroganoff Recipes

by in Recipes, February 19th, 2014

Beef Stroganoff Over Buttered NoodlesA tried-and-true classic that you’ve likely been enjoying for decades, beef stroganoff is a comfort food favorite that’s rich, creamy and satisfying. The secret to a successful stroganoff is letting the dish develop as much flavor as possible, which is why most recipes suggest cooking it on a low temperature for a long time. After a while, the mushroom sauce will develop full, robust flavors and the meat will break down and become deliciously tender. And because stroganoff is most often served alongside noodles, it’s a go-to dish if you’re looking to stretch your beef purchase. Check out Food Network’s top-five beef stroganoff recipes below to find traditional and contemporary takes on this timeless dish that’s ideal for a hearty Sunday supper.

5. Skillet Hamburger Stroganoff — Try swapping lean ground beef in place of traditional sirloin or chuck roast, and opt for low-fat sour cream and enriched pasta to offer a lighter take on traditional stroganoff without sacrificing the taste or texture of the classic meal.

4. 5 Ingredient Beef Stroganoff — The beef in this recipe is sliced thinly, so the dish takes only 30 quick minutes to prepare from start to finish. Just sear it first, then simmer the sirloin in a meaty combination of onions and beef stock, and finish with sour cream for richness.

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Updated Waldorf Salad with Apple Vinaigrette — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 17th, 2014

Updated Waldorf Salad with Apple VinaigretteRemember the overly sweet Waldorf salad your aunt would bring to the annual potluck picnic when you were young — the salad so drenched with creamy dressing that all of the other ingredients couldn’t be tasted? This Waldorf salad isn’t like that. Giada’s new-age version, her Updated Waldorf Salad with Apple Vinaigrette (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine, is everything your aunt’s isn’t, with a fresh mix of colors and textures, plus a made-over topping that only enhances the best flavors of this tried-and-true dish.

While the old-fashioned recipe largely features fruit and nuts, Giada’s salad goes several steps further by incorporating grains and lettuce. She starts by making whole-wheat pearl couscous, then adds to it crunchy fennel, as well as the requisite green grapes, apples and toasted walnuts so it doesn’t lose that traditional taste. These ingredients become married with a simple dressing of apple cider vinegar and honey. For an additional spin on the classic, Giada serves her Waldorf salad in individual lettuce cups — the leaves of bright-purple radicchio — to offer added crispness. Perhaps best of all, because Giada’s salad takes only 25 minutes to prepare and doesn’t need to chill in the refrigerator before serving, it’s a go-to last-minute recipe for when you’re tight on time.

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Simon’s Starch Demonstration — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, February 16th, 2014


“Let nobody ever say that I am not a risk taker,” Simon proclaimed on Alton’s After-Show following this week’s brand-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen. He and Alton were catching up after the latest rounds of sabotage had unfolded, and they reflected on Simon’s no-holds-barred maneuver of testing the viscosity of Chef Billy New England clam chowder in Round 2.

During what Alton deemed “one of the finest moments,” Simon picked up Chef Billy’s bowl of soup and held it upside down directly on top of his head. “Chef, there’s thick,” Simon told the rival of his soup during tasting, “and there’s you-can-hold-it-over-your-head-without-danger-of-it-splashing-on-my-bald-bonce thick.” According to Alton, Chef Billy “had some starch manipulation issues,” which ultimate turned his chowder into a nearly solid soup. “It was just kind of wobbling there rather threateningly for a while,” Simon explained.

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