All Posts By FN Dish Editor

Worst Cooks Exit Interview: Jeff Longcor

by in Shows, January 10th, 2011
After the first Skill Drill, Jeff quickly became known as the guy who tore chicken with his hands.

Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
My last girlfriend stormed out when I tried to serve her pasta for the sixth night in a row. Eventually she started making me do all the dishes and clean the floors instead of making meals. When I go on outdoor trips, my friends will actually starve themselves instead of eating my food. I mean, that’s just dangerous, when starving people won’t eat your food even when their life depends on it. I owe it to them to learn how to cook a decent meal and I owe it to myself to improve enough to avoid embarrassing myself in front of friends, family members, coworkers, and cute girls.

What was the most valuable tip/piece of advice that you learned from Chef Robert?
The chefs forced us to prepare everything in advance to make sure all the ingredients were ready before we needed them. This high level of forethought and preparation is a great strategy for approaching any challenge in life.

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Sandra’s Saturday Savings: Choose Wisely

by in Shows, January 8th, 2011

Sandra Lee Every Saturday morning in January, Sandra Lee teams up with the FN Dish to bring you budget-friendly tips for creating delicious dishes and meals for your family. From the supermarket to the stove, she’ll help you stretch every dollar and minute.

This week, Sandra shares five surprising grocery store swaps that will save you money and time.

1. 80% lean beef costs nearly half the price of 93% lean beef.

2. Using spicy brown mustard instead of Dijon will save you 53%.

3. Use conventional brown rice over instant brown rice and save 82%.

4. Canola oil is 70% less expensive than peanut oil, so try that for frying.

5. Buy sliced mushrooms. They cost the same as whole mushrooms and you save time by not slicing.

Want more tips? Sandra’s shows are full of ‘em. Catch Money Saving Meals on Saturdays at 9am/8c and Semi-Homemade Cooking on Sundays at 11:30am/10:30c.

Worst Cooks Exit Interview: Lina Yu

by in Shows, January 3rd, 2011

"Hopefully I'll get to a point where I can actually make a full meal without feeling like I just had a nervous breakdown," says Lina, one of the first recruits eliminated.

When you presented your final dish, Chef Anne’s Chicken Cacciatore, how did you feel about it?
When I presented my dish I felt that since it was incomplete there would be no way that I would make it through. Chef Anne wasn’t able to accurately critique me since one of the key ingredients of the dish was missing, which was the sauce. That’s half of the dish right there! I felt pretty upset that it was the timing and not the actual cooking, I feel, that got me eliminated.

If you could have a do-over of the challenge that sent you home, what would you do differently?
If I could do-over the challenge I would have been more aware of the time on the clock because at the end of the day I think that is what got me eliminated. I took too long trying to get things perfect and then it was too late when I found out my plating dish was missing. I would have grabbed everything I needed before I started cooking.

What was the most valuable tip/piece of advice that you learned from Chef Anne?
The most valuable tip that I think I received is to prep the kitchen and ingredients before you start the actual cooking. I also figured out which is the chicken’s front side versus back side. I don’t think I can ever forget now.

What did you take away from the experience?
I learned that cooking doesn’t have to be a stressful experience and that not everyone is the perfect cook. The goal is to improve each time and hopefully I’ll get to a point where I can actually make a full meal without feeling like I just had a nervous breakdown.

Will you continue to work on your culinary skills?
I’ll continue to try to learn a little at a time and I’m sure I’ll have a lot of practice in our house. We have to learn how to cook since my family expects us to host some holiday dinners.

What advice would you give to future Worst Cooks competitors?
I would say be alert of your surroundings and remember that even though this is a cooking show it is a competition as well. Be careful and watch what is happening around you or you might miss something.

What was the first dish or meal that you attempted to cook back at home after being eliminated? How did it go?
I cooked an easier chicken dish that required only soy sauce and sprite. Sprite soy sauce chicken! I am still all about simplicity. All you have to do if put some chicken drumsticks into a pot and pour a can of sprite and soy sauce on it and let it cook. It turned out pretty decent according to my husband. I’m happy with it.

What was your most memorable or funniest moment while shooting the show?
The most memorable part of shooting the show was just getting to know all the other contestants. Everyone was from different walks of life and no matter what you do for a living, cooking is something that everyone can relate to. For our group that was the frustration we all found with not being able to cook particularly well. We were all there for the same purpose which was to improve our ability to cook food which is so key to our everyday lives.

Read Eric’s Exit Interview, find out more about Worst Cooks in America and catch the show on Sundays at 9pm/8c.

Worst Cooks Premiere: He Said, She Said

by in Shows, January 3rd, 2011
Chefs Anne and Robert brace themselves for their first tasting on Season Two of Worst Cooks in America.

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. Up first, it’s Eric from Robert’s Team and Lina from Anne’s Team. These two barely survived day one. What went wrong?

Lina looks pretty proud of her plate, but the missing sauce was her downfall, says Chef Anne.

Anne on Lina: Lina never finished. She never got all the food on her plate. She butchered her chicken upside down—a couple of people started trying to take the breast off by going through the backbone. Erika did it too, but Lina didn’t finish and that’s why she had to go home. There was no choice. I think Lina was just smiley and happy and cheery, she was like “I just got back from my honeymoon.” She was super sweet—I don’t think she realized how intense it actually was. Everybody when we showed up was so excited. It wasn’t until the first set of people got sent home that people realized how serious this is and actually how hard it is. Everybody kicked into gear after that.

Eric just didn't want to be there, says Chef Robert. Plus, his chicken with maraschino cherries scared the judges.

Robert on Eric: Eric, he didn’t really want to be there. He was trying to save his bar business, but the attitude wasn’t there. When he was doing things, it was haphazard. He didn’t care about it. He didn’t want to do it period. He was touching the chicken, then didn’t wash his hands. He was like, “What do I care?” He’d already checked out before he checked in.

Who do you think should have been the first Worst Cooks recruit sent packing?

Sandra’s Saturday Savings: Market Strategy

by in Shows, January 1st, 2011

Sandra Lee Every Saturday morning in January, Sandra Lee teams up with the FN Dish to bring you budget-friendly tips for creating delicious dishes and meals for your family. From the supermarket to the stove, she’ll help you stretch every dollar and minute.

This week, Sandra’s tips are all about smart shopping strategies. Read on, then hit the grocery store!

1. Grocery stores put higher priced pre-packaged meat on top for hasty consumers. Look underneath and save.

2. Don’t forget your reusable grocery bags. Many stores will give you a $0.05 credit per bag used. 

3. Avoid convenience items like pre-chopped fruits and vegetables and the pre-package deli meats and cheeses. You pay extra for the convenience.

4. Buy generic! Store brands are typically 20-30% less expensive than name brand items.

5. Make menu-planning a routine and save money on spontaneous spending and too many trips to the grocery store.

Want more tips? Sandra’s shows are full of ‘em. Catch Money Saving Meals on Saturdays at 9am/8c and Semi-Homemade Cooking on Sundays at 11:30am/10:30c.

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

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

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

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.

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