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Next Iron Chef Exit Interview: Runner-Up Marco Canora’s Parting Words

by in Shows, November 22nd, 2010

marco canora
What did you take away from the experience of competing on The Next Iron Chef?
The coolest thing I took away from the experience was dozens of new friends and acquaintances. Obviously amongst my competitors, but also from “behind the scenes.”  I also learned how long and tedious the world of shooting reality TV can be. I have a newfound respect for anyone working in that world, as it’s certainly not as glamorous as it may seem.

How did you feel about the dishes that sent you home when you presented them?
As far as the finale goes, I felt I respected the Chairman’s directive and delivered a nearly flawless meal that “honored tradition.” At this level of cooking, unless someone makes a technical error, it really does boil down to personal preferences.

If you could have a do-over, what would you change about that fateful dish?
In retrospect, I think the “tortelli di zucco” risotto may have been too unfamiliar to the judges’ palates and, while they all thought it was perfectly executed, there was some discussion about using sweet flavors in savory food. Obviously, not everyone enjoys that.

What advice would you give future Next Iron Chef contestants?
Don’t overthink your dishes…less is more! Go with your gut. Focus on the basics. If the secret ingredient triggers an idea, go with it and don’t look back. And remember, no matter how poorly or how well you do, it is not a reflection of your talents as a chef. Cooking as competition and being the chef of a restaurant have very little in common.

Look inside Chef Canora’s Next Iron Chef journal and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from the finale.

More about Marco Canora:
Chef Canora on Facebook
Follow@MarcoCanora on Twitter
Hearth Restaurant
Terroir Wine Bar

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Next Iron Chef Exit Interview: Chef Caswell’s Parting Words

by in Shows, November 8th, 2010
Chef Caswell's advice for future NIC rivals: "Keep your head down, work within your comfort zone and push, baby, push."

What did you take away from the experience of competing on The Next Iron Chef?
I walked away with the satisfaction of being able to compete at this high level, and knowing I was competitive. It also gave me the opportunity and platform to do what I do best: Show off my region, the Gulf Coast, and my hometown of Houston.

How did you feel about the dishes that sent you home when you presented them?
I don’t think any chef feels great about dishes that have to be judged two hours after you plate them.

If you could have a do-over, what would you change about that fateful dish?
Probably should have stayed away from the crab.

What advice would you give future Next Iron Chef contestants?
The competition is just as much about endurance as anything else. Keep your head down, work within your comfort zone and push, baby, push.

Look inside Chef Caswell’s Next Iron Chef journal and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from Episode 6.

More about Bryan Caswell
Follow @wholefish on Twitter
Reef Restaurant
Bryan’s blog: Whole Fish

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Next Iron Chef Exit Interview: Chef Chauhan’s Parting Words

by in Shows, View All Posts, November 1st, 2010
Chef Chauhan's one regret about her final dish: Adding pineapple. "It was the jinx fruit for each and every eliminated contestant so far!"

What did you take away from the experience of competing on The Next Iron Chef?
I walked away feeling that there was little that I couldn’t face and conquer. Some of the situations that we were put in were challenging to say the least, and being able to overcome these obstacles gave me the strength and resilience to believe in facing anything that comes in front of me with grace and pride. Even though those three weeks were stressful, and an emotional roller coaster if I’ve ever been on one, it made me a much stronger person and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything. I walked away from this competition feeling richer in experience, in friends and in life.

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Next Iron Chef Exit Interview: Chef Estes’ Parting Words

by in Shows, October 25th, 2010
Chef Estes' advice to future rivals: "Never have a bad day."

FN Dish: What did you take away from the experience of competing on The Next Iron Chef?
Duskie Estes: I loved the chefs I met. I loved going out to dinner with all of them—we all are voracious eaters. I did not think I would like anyone going into it, so I was thrilled that I was so wrong. In restaurant life, you are not challenged to think about food in that way—ever. It was fun to stretch your skill set into unknown direction.

Dish: How did you feel about the dishes that sent you home when you presented them?
D.E.: I hated them. I’d never serve them in my restaurant.

Dish: If you could have a do-over, what would you change about that fateful caramel apple?
D.E: I would not have done a caramel apple on that fire. I would have only done vegetarian food with fair ingredients. That would have been the safest with bad protein sources.

Dish: What advice would you give future Next Iron Chef contestants?
D.E.: Never have a bad day.

Look inside Chef Estes’ Next Iron Chef journal and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from Episode 4.

More about Chef Duskie Estes:
Zazu Restaurant and Farm
Chef Estes on Facebook

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Next Iron Chef Exit Interview: For Chef Pagan, An “Amazing Ride”

by in Shows, October 11th, 2010
Chef Mario Pagan on the meatloaf that sent him home: "I felt that having been given the most labor-intensive dish, I did a good job."

FN Dish: What did you take away from the experience of competing on The Next Iron Chef?
Mario Pagan: Competing in The Next Iron Chef has been the most amazing and exciting highlight of my career! It’s an honor to have been picked as one of the ten best chefs in the United States. Being amongst so many talented chefs is an opportunity that is hard to come by.

Dish: How did you feel about the meatloaf and potatoes dish that sent you home when you presented it?
M.P.: I felt that having been given the most labor-intensive dish, I did a good job.

Dish: If you could have a do-over, what would you change about that fateful dish?
M.P.: If I had to do it all over again, I have to say that I should have used arrowroot instead of cornstarch to thicken my sauce.

Dish: What advice would you give future Next Iron Chef contestants?
M.P.:
The best advice that I can give is to make sure to pick your proteins first and then set up your “mise en place” for your planned dish. Ask for the remaining time in the battle at all times. But, until you’re there, you’ll never understand the overwhelming feeling of being in that kitchen. What an amazing ride! Stay and cook strong!

Look inside Chef Pagan’s Next Iron Chef journal and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from Episode 2.

Super Bowl Party Picks: For Saints Fans

by in View All Posts, February 2nd, 2010

emerils-wings
I’ve got lots of family in New Orleans, so we’re pulling hard for the Saints to bring home their first-ever Super Bowl victory. I’ll be watching at home in New York, but my Big Easy-inspired Super Bowl party menu is all set, courtesy of Food Network Magazine.

The January/February issue has dozens of great game day recipes, plus a Mardi Gras-themed feast. No matter where your football loyalties lie, it’s hard to deny that New Orleans has the culinary advantage! Here’s my plan for a delicious Super Bowl spread:
saints-potato-skin
Muffuletta Potato Skins: The next best thing to the original sandwich from the French Quarter’s Central Grocery.

Emeril’s wings: These may not be very Cajun, but a version of Emeril’s Vietnamese-flavored wings is on the menu at his excellent restaurant NOLA.

Pimiento Cheese Dip (#9 of 50 Dips): It’s popular throughout the South, but always reminds me of my visits to Louisiana.

New Orleans Cocktails: Sazeracs will class up our football party (yes, there will also be beer!)
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Bourbon Praline Cake: A festive dessert to break out after the Saints win!

Colts fans: Check back in with the FN Dish later this week for our Indy-themed menu picks.

Impartial? For a taste of the tropics, try our Miami-inspired menu.

–Sara Levine

From the Magazine: Last-Minute Picks

by in View All Posts, December 23rd, 2009

White-Bean Soup Shooters

Life as a Food Network extern certainly has its perks…a big one being the chance to taste some of the delicious food that the test kitchens put out on a (several-times) daily basis.

But here at Chelsea Market, recipe testing for the magazine‘s December issue took place back in August, while I was still chopping away in culinary school. Since I missed out on the cookie madness—50 recipes made the cut; dozens more were tested—I’m psyched to bake some of recipe developer Sarah Copeland’s treats for friends and family over the holidays.

Don’t let the culinary degree fool you…I’m always looking for quick, no-fuss recipes to make in my miniature NYC kitchen. We don’t have room for a dining table, so finger-friendly appetizers and desserts are always my friends.

To snack on during impromptu holiday get-togethers, right now I’m thinking about making Ted Allen’sWhite Bean Soup Shooters with Bacon and Crostini with Thyme-Roasted Tomatoes. Ted’s appetizers are great for grazing and look restaurant-style impressive, but the recipes are straightforward as can be.

For libations, I’ll stir up a pair of cocktails in festive Christmas colors, both super-simple: the cucumber-infused Mama’s Little Helper and a strawberry-cranberry concoction called the Wally World.

I’m also intrigued by the Lightened-Up Eggnog; it too may make an appearance this week.

The first but not last batch of Butterscotch Blondie cookies, a perfect snow-day treat.
The first but not last batch of Butterscotch Blondie cookies, a perfect snow-day treat.

Chocolate chip cookies are non-negotiable—I’m leaning toward the Chip Chubbies with big chunks of good chocolate—and for the chocolate-haters in my life (they’re crazy!) I’ll make Sarah’s addictive Butterscotch Blondie variation. Two batches, minimal work—and the best part? Most of the ingredients are already in my (very small) pantry.

–Sara Levine

Our Spooky Spread

by in View All Posts, October 30th, 2009

Ghost Brownies

The Foodnetwork.com staff — and pals from our sister sites Food2, Recipezaar, Fine Living and Healthy Eats — kicked off the wicked weekend with a Halloween sweet swap.

The FN Dish’s own Secretary Confidential led the sugar charge with these ghastly goodies (above). She claims she’s no cooking pro, but these chocolate-y brownies, drizzled with icing in the shape of ghosts, tasted frightfully good. (Try making similar treats with Ina’s Outrageous Brownies.)

graveyard cake
Our resident baking goddess, Alexis, built this clever graveyard cake from her mom’s chocolate cake recipe and homemade chocolate frosting. Then she used assorted candies, marshmallows and shortbread cookies to make spiders, ghosts and tombstones. (By the way, we were mesmerized by the new Blood Orange Dots candies she found at the market.)

See more of our tricky treats »

What’s Shooting Now?

by in View All Posts, August 27th, 2009

It’s time for another round of “What’s Shooting Now?” It looks like last time we made the game a little too easy, so the clues are a bit trickier this time. For new players, here’s how to play. We give you clues, and you guess what show is shooting in the Food Network studios. In a few days, we’ll let the cat out of the bag!

THE CLUES

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