Saturday night at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival food celebs and fans attended a party inspired by the popular FN show Best Thing I Ever Ate, with a little South Beach twist — “Best Thing I Ever Ate at the Beach” hosted by Duff Goldman. Food Network and Cooking Channel chefs didn’t cook but instead picked their favorite beach foods to be served up at the event and then mixed and mingled with hungry fans.
What’s better than a beachside barbecue? One sparkling with celebrity chefs and lots and lots of champagne. The stars came out last night for South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s Bubble Q to meet up with host Bobby Flay and sample smoky wares from Giada De Laurentiis, Todd English, Al Roker, Chris Lilly, Iron Chef Cat Cora and more. We also spied Guy Fieri and Michael Symon at the event — take a peek at the action!
Last night Iron Chef Michael Symon reigned supreme at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash. The field was tight and the competition tough, but Symon scored the People’s Choice award with his Yo! Burger, a towering artform of provolone cheese, fried salami, onions and a hot Hungarian mustard sauce. Symon stood front and center at the B Spot table to greet fans as they stepped up to get their hands on the juiciest burger at the bash. One bite of the burger left them searching for napkins while simultaneously going in for bite number two.
Anne on Joshie: If you had asked me at the beginning if Joshie was going to win, I would have said no way. But at the same time, I had a little glimmer that this was going to be my Rachel Coleman [last season’s winner]. You know, I really did. I said it on the first day, Robert, when you put him on my team.
He got it together after a while of me being like “Dude, take this seriously.” He came in to do his flambé or something and he’s like “I’m not going to that…” and I’m like “You’re what?” And he’s like “I mean, I AM going to do that.” His girlfriend was like “Wow, how did you get him to do that?” I whipped him into shape. I put the fear of Chef Anne into him. He grew not to irritate me.
I wouldn’t say that Joshie and I are going out to drinks anytime soon, but at the beginning I thought I was going to kill him. He kind of grew on me like a wart. He was not the crowd favorite, the team favorite, or my favorite. That he could transform himself and buckle down and take it seriously, I have to applaud him for that. I think he really wanted it; his eyes were opened up to so many different things. On the first day, when he was making his mess of a dish and brought it up to us, he said “I feel bad because my station was so messy and someone had to come behind me and clean it up.” I thought, that right there is the door opening. That right there, that is my Rachel Coleman. I can probably do something with this kid if he can get out of his own way.
Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
When I initially found out that I had been nominated by my beloved wife, I did not believe that I needed to be on Worst Cooks in America. After giving a grand attempt at cooking for the audition process, my perception quickly changed. The chefs were eager to point out that processed foods are not of the greatest quality for my family, especially my toddler. They also helped me see that cooking with only myself in mind (my likes/dislikes) might actually be contributing to the tension in my marriage around domestic responsibilities and that my wife might actually have a valid point. I now realize that I still prepare foods and eat like a bachelorette – that I really need some guidance in how to be a better partner and mom when it comes to cooking. I have always liked food prepared on the caramelized (burnt) side – and have set off many a fire alarm to prove it. If I did not get on WCIA, there is a good chance that my marriage would have been doomed.
What was the most valuable tip or piece of advice that you received from Chef Robert?
I learned so many valuable tips and tools from Chef Robert. Three things are most prominent in my mind from my experience on WCIA. One of the most important pieces of advice he gave was how to keep my fingers out of the way when cutting, chopping and preparing foods to cook. I am still not the greatest at this… but have a lot more awareness. A second tidbit of information that was emphasized and reemphasized during the show was ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’ regarding keeping our stations clean. However, the most valuable tip I personally received from Chef Robert was to cook with confidence… no matter how it all turns out!
What did you take away from the experience?
I took away so much more from this experience than I ever bargained for. I went into the show thinking that I would learn some great cooking skills from the top chefs on the Food Network, that I would have at least a few days in NYC, and that I would possibly meet some cool people. What I came away with was a new perspective on cooking, my family and life overall. I walked away from WCIA a transformed person in many ways. Being in such intimate circumstances with virtual strangers forced me to bring forth compassion, understanding, tolerance and acceptance in ways I have never known before. I have been married for 5 years… and this was a more intimately challenging situation that lasted a lot less than 5 years. That being said, I developed friendships that will last for a very long time as a result of mutually sharing such a bizarre and awesome experience. I would not be able to adequately articulate what I experienced to anyone who was not there to share it with me. It was the experience of a lifetime and one I am so grateful to have had.
Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
I really needed to be on Worst Cooks because of my background and personality. I grew up a Hasidic Jew, so I was limited to eating only strictly kosher foods. While the community I grew up in did a reasonable job (considering the limited ingredients available) in presenting edible food, in no way did it prepare me for the range of food options I was presented with when I entered the normal secular world. Additionally, I have a childish palette that prefers chicken fingers and french fries. Combine all this with a healthy dose of A.D.D. and sprinkle in some A.D.H.D. for good measure and you can understand the horror that is me in the kitchen. I would love nothing more than to overcome my idiotic food issues and confront my fears of strange foods. My relationship and social interactions literally depend on it.
What was the most valuable tip or piece of advice that you received from Chef Anne?
The turning point for me in boot camp was when it Chef Anne finally got it through my thick skull that I can have fun in the kitchen without needing to resort to my usual shenanigans. Preparing food and adjusting recipes can incorporate all of a person’s creative energies without the need to be a comedian or clown. Focusing my positive energies on producing restaurant quality meals is a great challenge and the results are a lot more rewarding than the laughs I know I can get elsewhere. Bottom line: if you’re having fun in the kitchen, the food will reflect that.
What did you take away from the experience?
It sounds quite cliche, but this experience was really life-altering. Cooking, and food in general, is such an important part of our lives and having confidence in preparing delicious meals changes you in so many ways. I am an extremely extroverted and social person, and making meals and preparing dinners is something that I love doing routinely. I have very little patience at restaurants and always preferred to eat at home, but ordering in was usually the method employed in the past. Being able to now sit around and entertain and chat while preparing food is a wonderful aspect of hosting. When my girlfriend comes home after a long day’s work, she can rest while watching me cook for her. This is something I cherish and find cathartic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still fun and loud, but it’s a lot more tolerable when I’m producing great results.
Every week in this spot, FoodNetworkFans.com will give you the latest dish about chefs on the web.
We love to watch our favorite chefs on the Food Network, but celebrity chefs are about so much more than their restaurants and TV shows. Being a fan is so much easier these days with chefs updating us about their lives on Facebook and Twitter. Faithful followers can find out what they are having for dinner in their own homes, the specials running in their restaurants and who they pick as their favorite sports teams.
Bobby Flay’s Horse Habit You already know Bobby is fast in the kitchen, but did you know he races horses? In November his horse, “More Than Real” won the $1 Million Juvenile Fillies Turf at the Breeders’ Cup. In this HULU video he shares the details of his stable. He and his wife have been spotted at the Kentucky Derby and you can watch a YouTube video of Chef Flay calling a race at Saratoga. Bobby credits his grandfather for developing his love of horse racing. “My grandfather first took me to Belmont one summer and then took me to Saratoga, where I really fell in love with racing” he said. “Most people who go to Saratoga for the first time become fans for life. The magic of Saratoga does that to you.”
Food Network Banned? Recently the AFP reported that Iranian state run television has banned cooking shows that feature western cuisine. According to the report, cooking shows are very popular with the Iranian people and many shows featuring foreign foods and cooking styles have aired on daytime television. But in an effort to fight “western influences” any show featuring non-Iranian dishes will be banned. Perhaps they fear the demand for butter would become too great if Paula Deen makes her debut?
We at Food Network Fans are constantly looking for info and sharing links on where we can find our favorite stars, discuss our favorite show, visit a book signing, or see an appearance in other venues. We invite you to stop by and visit with us at FoodNetworkFans.com
After each elimination on Worst Cooks in America this season, chefs Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine share their candid impressions of the booted recruits with the FN Dish. In the last challenge before the finale, they bid farewell to Kelsey from Robert’s Team and Carlos from Anne’s Team.
Anne on Carlos: This is when their families came! It was a little fire; it boosted them. They were really lonely; it had been a long time. I can’t imagine doing what they did, quite honestly. They completely had a breakdown when they saw their family members. Carlos was really cute; his sister came and he cried. We asked them what do they like to eat, and Carlos’s sister said a Thai dish. I gave him a lob; that’s how easy this dish was. I was begging him the entire time: Show us your personality. Let it come out. This is the time to let it rip. I remember saying that to him so many times. He’s like, “I love spicy food,” and then he made the drippiest, personality-less Thai dish. There was no spice, no big flavors. He was great; his mise en place was always so good; his shrimp was cooked perfectly. I really thought for a while that Carlos was going to be my guy.
Robert on Kelsey: I was shocked that Anne sent Carlos home. I thought this was going to be her soldier. Kelsey’s husband came. He was deer hunter guy. He loves to hunt, so she wanted to make him venison. She went from burning everything to serving it raw, still bleeding. And it was such a shame because she knew how to cook it. She did well when she moved over to my team; she turned a corner. The pan wasn’t hot when she seared it; all the things that she had been taught, she didn’t do. That was heartbreaking. She was so afraid of burning everything, so she overcompensated.