If you’re asking us, Memorial Day — not the solstice or any other date on the calendar — kicks off summer. That means grills across the country are being dusted off, scraped clean and fired up, likely for the first time all year. Our FoodNetwork.com staffers have been ogling these charred beauties, both tried-and-true favorites and brand-new recipes from our test kitchens, for months already. Behold the juicy meats, charred veggies and other surprising foods they simply cannot wait to throw on the grill.
Chopped is moving to the Beringer Vineyards in the Napa Valley for the new season of Grill Masters. Premiering Tuesday, July 5 at 10|9c, this special five-part tournament, hosted by Ted Allen, features 16 of the nation’s best grilling experts competing for a chance to walk away with the title of champion and a truckload of money. Each episode starts with four chefs battling through three cooking rounds, with recurring Chopped judges and special guest judges deciding the fate of each. The winner from each heat wins $10,000 and earns a spot in the finale, where only one will walk away the grand champion with $50,000 more.
Chopped fans, ever wonder: Who puts together the mystery baskets? Where does the fourth plate of food go? Does Ted Allen ever get a taste? Do the judges really have to eat that? Chopped host Ted Allen took the time to sit down with Food Network to answer the questions fans have been asking and wondering about through the many seasons of the show. He reveals some of the secrets behind one of the most-popular cooking competition shows on TV.
Can anyone tell which chef is going to win before the cooking begins?
Well, like everybody else, we kind of pick our favorites as they walk in, and just [keep them] in the back of our minds … . I got it right on our show that we shot last Friday, but you can never really tell, and that’s what’s exciting about it. You never can tell, and even if someone has the best resume, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to get a basket that suits them or that’s full of things that they’re going to succeed with.
What is your favorite mystery basket ingredient?
Well, out of about 5,000 of them, that’s going to be sort of hard. I mean, gosh, Rocky Mountain oysters, chicken feet … we’ve even had eyeballs. My favorite mystery basket ingredient remains the whole chicken in a can, not so much because I love the food, [but because] I love the sound it makes when it plops out of the can.
Eight of the country’s finest young barbecuers are taking on the first-ever battle to find the best kid grill master. In the new series Kids BBQ Championship, premiering Monday, May 23rd at 8|7c, hosts Camila Alves and Eddie Jackson lead the young chefs through a series of red-hot challenges that will test the barbecue skills as well as their creativity on the grill. Only one young competitor will take home the grand prize of $20,000 and a feature in Food Network Magazine. With themed challenges ranging from a Hawaiian luau to a cowboy campfire, each episode will also features some of the biggest names in barbecue, such as Tim Love and Graham Elliot serving as guest judges.
Chopped Champions returns on Tuesday, March 29 at 10|9c for Season 5 as 16 returning champions battle it out for a chance to earn the Ultimate Champion title and $50,000 in prize money. Four preliminary rounds will determine who gets a spot in the finale. But only one chef from among the four finalists will be named the winner. Who will rule the mystery baskets? Tune in to watch the competition unfold.
The little chefs are back — with just as much ambition and endless talent as before! The kids are taking over the Chopped kitchen for Season 2 of Chopped Junior, premiering on Tuesday, April 26 at 8|7c. Just as on the original Chopped, these young chefs will face cooking through three rounds of mystery baskets in a limited amount of time. But, one by one, the kids will be eliminated until just two remain to face off in the last round. The single winner will walk away with the $10,000 cash prize.
This season the roster of guest judges is also new. In addition to the rotating panel of regular Chopped judges, fans will see Jerome Bettis, Ayesha Curry, Haylie Duff, Jennie Garth, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Carla Hall, Tony Hawk, Eddie Jackson, Ali Larter, Kelsey Nixon, Andrew Rannells, Rico Rodriguez, Debby Ryan, Alison Sweeney and Christine Taylor, among others.
Known for some of the most-massive, mind-blowingly elaborate cakes, Duff Goldman and his experts in cake design are back on Food Network with the new series Cake Masters, premiering Monday, April 11 at 9|8c. In each of the six hourlong episodes, viewers will get a behind-the-scenes view of how the unconventional cakes come to life in Duff’s shop Charm City Cakes West in Los Angeles. Throughout the season, the incredible and unpredictable cake requests test the talents of Duff and his crew of culinary masters, sculptors, special effect artists and architects, featuring some familiar faces such as Geof Manthorne.
Guy Fieri welcomes back former Triple G competitors for a chance to redeem themselves and prove their culinary skills on Guy’s Grocery Games Redemption Tournament, premiering Sunday, April 3 at 8|7c. Returning contestants will battle it out in some of the toughest games Guy has ever thrown down, for a chance at up to $20,000 in the shopping spree, along with a coveted spot in the tournament’s finale. The one chef who can survive all the challenges will be crowned the Redemption Tournament Champion and earn the opportunity to win up to an additional $20,000 with a second shopping spree!
Spring Baking Championship returns to Food Network on Sunday, April 10 at 9|8c with plenty more sweets, treats and baked goods to savor. Eight of the nation’s best bakers will compete to create impressive springtime treats for the approval of returning judges Duff Goldman, Nancy Fuller and Lorraine Pascale. And back to host this confectionary competition is Bobby Deen. In the end only one baker will rise to the top to win the title of Spring Baking Champion and $50,000.
The competitors must face new challenges, all featuring spring themes and seasonal ingredients. But it won’t be an easy task, and there will be surprise twists along the way. No matter what the competitors bake, their creativity and ability will measured in each of the six hour-long episodes. After the first round one baker has the opportunity to earn a special advantage for the main challenge, but will it be enough to help gain a win? Find out more about the baking challenges ahead in Season 2.
You’ve toured her Oklahoma ranch, explored her her town and even had breakfast with her family. But how well do you know The Pioneer Woman when it comes to her kitchen favorites and go-to meals? Recently FN Dish caught up with Ree as she launched her new line of serveware, and she dished on some of her culinary picks, plus what she’s listening to — and watching — while she cooks. Read on below for the answers, as well as a bonus rapid-fire session with all of Ree Drummond’s favorite flavors.
What dish or ingredient will we never catch you eating?
Ree Drummond: Anything remotely related to bananas. Banana splits, banana cream pie, banana bread … I want nothing to do with them. BLECH.
What’s your favorite midnight snack?
RD: I’m never awake at midnight! I’m a morning person. Read more