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.

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Play Time — The Next Iron Chef Caption It

by in Shows, November 16th, 2012

Chefs Nate Appleman and Eric Greenspan
Though it’s true that The Next Iron Chef rivals are known for their unbreakable focus and competitive mindset, they sure know how to let loose and have fun when the clock stops running and the cameras aren’t rolling. Just watch what happened last week when Chefs Estes, Falkner and Freitag completed a 30-minute three-way Secret Ingredient Showdown. Given the stress of what Chef Freitag called a “pressure cooker situation,” they channeled their nervous energy into a no-holds-barred food fight, whipping handfuls of ingredients across the kitchen.

In the above sneak-peek shot from this Sunday’s episode, it looks as if Chefs Appleman and Greenspan aren’t letting the stress of the competition get them down either. They’re proving that it’s not all work and no play on The Next Iron Chef as Chef Greenspan poses with a dish, making a funny face while lightheartedly teasing his fellow rival. Will the chefs let their lively personalities shine as they’re photographed by a special guest on Sunday, or will they come across as subdued and serious?

Write your best caption

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VIDEO: Next Iron Chef’s First Food Fight

by in Shows, November 13th, 2012

If you’ve ever thought that the Next Iron Chef kitchen is home only to neat, orderly, proper chefs, it’s time to think again. When the cameras stopped rolling after last Sunday’s Secret Ingredient Showdown, Chefs Elizabeth Falkner, Duskie Estes and Amanda Freitag indulged in a second battle, this time a physical one. Within minutes of Alton saying “The challenge is over,” the first handfuls of food were flung and a full-fledged food fight was underway. Each of the chefs aimed for her fellow rivals and doled out the leftovers of her dish’s components, and each took the ingredient inundation in stride, becoming covered with marshmallow fluff, flour and more in a flash.

Want to see how it all went down? Click the play button on the video above to watch Chefs Falkner, Estes and Freitag go head-to-head-to-head in the ultimate Kitchen Stadium food fight, then tell us: Who do you think started the fight and which chef became the messiest?

Get behind-the-scenes food fight photos

Spicy Vegetarian Chili — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, November 12th, 2012

Spicy Vegetarian Chili
This time of year, as the days get shorter and the weather turns chillier, few things are more comforting than a hearty, piping-hot meal that’s loaded with rich, bold flavors. A warming bowl that never disappoints, chili is a cinch to prepare and can be easily adapted to your family’s favorite tastes and ingredients.

Food Network Magazine take everyday chili to a hot new level with its one-pot Spicy Vegetarian Chili (pictured above), made with a fragrant spice mixture of chili powder, cumin and oregano and a single, spicy chipotle pepper in adobo. Fresh, seasonal vegetables and beefy pinto beans add so much heft to this thick and hearty bowl that you won’t miss the meat of a traditional turkey or chicken chili. For simple family-friendly serving, set up a chili bar with an assortment of your favorite toppings, like Cheddar cheese, fresh scallions and more, and let everyone build his or her ideal chili bowls.

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VOTE: A Next Iron Chef Pineapple Showdown — Rival Recipes

by in Shows, November 10th, 2012

Chef Mendelsohn vs. Chef Mehta - Rival RecipesOn last week’s episode of The Next Iron Chef, rival chefs Spike Mendelsohn and Tim Love went head-to-head in the Secret Ingredient Showdown. They battled it out with pineapple, otherwise known as “the death fruit,” according to Alton, since it’s ousted all past Next Iron Chef finalists who’ve tried to feature this sweet, juicy fruit in a savory dish. Both chefs tempted fate by cooking decidedly savory dishes, and in the end, this cursed ingredient got the better of Chef Love. Chef Mendelsohn, however, claimed victory over his rival — and pineapple — with a savory seafood dish with pineapple and sweet and sour sauce.

This week’s Rival Recipe matchup forces Chef Mendelsohn to once again bring his pineapple A-game, this time in a showdown against Chef Jehangir Mehta. Both rivals boast standout recipes for pineapple-focused fruit salads: Chef Mendelsohn a colorful Fresh Fruit Salad with red and green grapes, bright pineapple and fragrant mint, and Chef Mehta a refreshing Orange-Marcona Almond Salad With Pineapple Granita featuring juicy oranges, crunchy almonds and pineapple juice.

Now it’s time for you, Next Iron Chef fans, to channel your inner Simon Majumdar, Donatella Arpaia and Iron Chef Zakarian and judge which fruit salad reigns supreme. Would you prefer the classic combination of fruit featured in Chef Mendelsohn’s dish, or do you like the different textures that are offered in Chef Mehta’s offering? The vote is in your hands. Tell us whose pineapple salad gets your pick.

VOTE NOW

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Welcome to The Next Iron Chef: Redemption Kitchen Set

by in Shows, November 9th, 2012

The Next Iron Chef Kitchen SetMore like a culinary amphitheater than an everyday cook space, the Next Iron Chef Kitchen Stadium is, of course, not just a kitchen. Featuring multiple stovetops, a slew of ovens, an ice cream maker and more, the set can accommodate several chefs at a time and is stocked with oddball and classic ingredients alike that allow the rivals to cook up Iron Chef-worthy dishes.

You’ve seen Next Iron Chef finalists sprint from stove to pantry to freezer in a flash and grab exactly what they need, but have you ever wondered what’s on and in those wall-to-wall shelves, deep refrigerators and freezers? We were curious about what it takes to outfit the Next Iron Chef kitchen, so we checked in with Food Network’s culinary team, the group responsible for stocking it with its tricked-out appliances, top-notch cooking gadgets and Secret Ingredients. Read on below to get a behind-the-scenes look at Kitchen Stadium and find out how the culinary department prepared for the fifth season of The Next Iron Chef.

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Calling All Future Stars: Attend a Food Network Star Season 9 Open Casting

by in Community, Shows, November 7th, 2012

Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis and Alton Brown

If you’ve ever found yourself watching an episode of Food Network Star and thinking “I can do that,” now is your chance to show us what you’re made of. We’re currently casting Season 9 of this all-star show and looking for those with top-notch culinary know-how, an infectious television-worthy personality and the willingness to compete in the ultimate multi-month job interview. Think you have what it takes to impress Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Alton Brown and top Food Network executives? If so, submit an online application and either attend an open casting call in one of the four cities below or send in a brief home video in which you strut your best culinary stuff.

Check out this all-in-one guide to Food Network Star casting to find more details on how to apply, rules and eligiability requirements and answers to common questions.

Click here for dates

Fall-Fresh Yams: Not Just for Thanksgiving — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, November 5th, 2012

Baked Yams With Saffron AioliWith Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, you’re surely seeing yams pop up on supermarket shelves and an influx of recipes featuring these bright-orange beauties. But while they’re perhaps most often enjoyed at holiday feasts, yams’ season to shine lasts throughout autumn, and they’re easy enough to prepare that they can be enjoyed with everyday dinners. Serve these yam side dishes with your favorite fall-inspired suppers to create a seasonal spread and round out your meal in a flash.

Food Network Magazine dresses up warm yams by topping them with a cool, creamy sauce in their Baked Yams With Saffron Aioli. An aioli is a fancy name for a mixture of mayonnaise and garlic, and this recipe’s aioli comes together not with from-scratch mayo, made with egg yolks and vinegar, so you can be sure it’s going to be extra-rich and comforting. For subtle orange-yellow color and a bit of sweetness, add just a pinch of crushed saffron threads to the aioli, and mix in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to add a light, refreshing taste.

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VOTE: An Iron Chef Thanksgiving Cook-Off — Rival Recipes

by in Shows, November 3rd, 2012

Iron Chef Rival Recipes: Dressing vs. StuffingLast week, FN Dish introduced Rival Recipes, a weekly series that pits Next Iron Chef rivals, judges and standing Iron Chefs against one another in themed battles to find out whose recipe reigns supreme. In our first installment, Iron Chef Marc Forgione went head-to-head with Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian in an Italian Dish Showdown. In the end, Chef Zakarian’s pasta with bolognese bested Chef Forgione’s gnocchi with brown butter, but only by a few dozen votes. Didn’t get a chance to vote last week? There’s still time to pick a plate.

This week’s mashup features Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Michael Symon, and they’re leaving behind Italian classics and focusing on Thanksgiving favorites. With Turkey Day just a few weeks away, everyone wants to know: dressing or stuffing — which side pairs better with the bird? The chefs themselves are divided on the issue. Chef Flay is bringing an earthy, smoky Sourdough, Wild Mushroom and Bacon Dressing to the battle, while Iron Chef Symon opts for Cornbread Stuffing made moist and luxuriously rich thanks to heavy cream.

The vote is in your hands — are you a loyal stuffing lover or do you prefer the simplicity of dressing? When it comes to bread, does crusty sourdough strike your fancy or will you reach for golden, crumbly corn bread? Vote below.

VOTE NOW

Election Day Eats: A Cross-Country Food Tour of the USA

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 3rd, 2012

Baja Fish Tacos
No matter which side of the political landscape you fall on, there’s one thing that will receive likely everyone’s vote of approval on Election Day: the food scene in America. The United States is a mecca for culinary tastes and traditions, and whether you’re in the Deep South, the heart of the Midwest or the southernmost point of the United States, you’re sure to find cities with classic regional foods all their own. Before you cast your vote on Tuesday, taste some of the best bites this country has to offer with our cross-country tour of cities’ and regions’ favorite foods and flavors.

Start your eating adventure out west and dig into a plate of California-cool tacos, like these Baja Fish Tacos (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine. They come together in just 20 quick minutes, thanks to quick-cooking halibut. The secret to this top-rated recipe is the tangy-sweet slaw that’s added right before serving. It’s made with red cabbage, creamy mayonnaise, zesty lime juice and a bit of honey, and serves as a refreshing complement to the deep-fried fish.

Moving into the Midwest, the food becomes heartier and a tad starchier. In Chicago, it’s pizza that reigns supreme, with the Windy City being famous for its deep-dish pies, many boasting more crust than toppings. Robert Irvine stays true to the classic preparation in his Deep-Dish Pizza, making a from-scratch crust and finishing it with a hearty sausage-laced tomato sauce and creamy mozzarella cheese.

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Chef Estes Makes the Final 10 — The Next Iron Chef Caption It

by in Shows, November 2nd, 2012

For Duskie Estes, the opportunity to compete on The Next Iron Chef didn’t come easily. While the other nine rivals will face their first challenge during Sunday night’s premiere, Chef Estes has already battled — and won — two cook-offs on the Road to Redemption, an online-only Web series that pitted four chefs against each other in a three-round competition. Ultimately, Chefs Madison Cowan, Robert Treviño and Lee Anne Wong fell, but Chef Estes proved herself worthy of Kitchen Stadium glory with winnings in Battle Coconut and Battle Pineapple, and she earned the right to join the cast of The Next Iron Chef.

In this sneak-peek shot from the Next Iron Chef premiere, Chef Estes is seen with a no-nonsense glare and blank expression as she eyes fellow competitor Chef Elizabeth Falkner. Has a twist in the competition caused these chefs to take the spirit of friendly competition too far? Will Chef Estes be able to maintain her focus in the face of week-one stress?

Before you tune in to the Next Iron Chef: Redemption premiere this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out what has these ladies locked in a staring contest, we’re challenging you, Next Iron Chef fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this eye-to-eye moment in the comments below.

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