All Posts By Sarah De Heer

Chatting With Alton Brown, Master of Ceremonies for the 2012 James Beard Awards

by in Events, Food Network Chef, May 3rd, 2012

alton brown
This coming Monday, the James Beard Foundation will host its annual Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception at Lincoln Center to honor the chefs and restaurateurs who made the food industry unforgettable in 2011. This year, the foundation has asked Food Network’s own Alton Brown to host the awards. A true entertainer and culinary superstar, Alton’s no stranger to hosting gigs. Between Next Iron Chef, Iron Chef America and previous seasons of Food Network Star, the James Beard Foundation should rest easy knowing they have a pro on stage.

Last year,  Alton Brown was awarded the Best TV Food Personality Award for Good Eats. Prior to that, in 2003, he was awarded the Book Award in the Reference category for his first book, I’m Just Here for the Food (2002).

We recently caught up with Alton to ask him about this honor, especially since the foundation will be celebrating their 25th anniversary this year.

 

You’ve hosted numerous shows on Food Network, but this somehow seems different. What are you doing to prepare? Are you nervous?
Prepare? Absolutely. A couple of jokes and an escape route. Nervous? Let’s say I’m appropriately aware.

More from Alton after the jump

Top 5 Things Susan Ungaro’s Looking Forward to at This Year’s James Beard Awards

by in Events, May 2nd, 2012

susan ungaro
This weekend, the James Beard Foundation will host it’s Journalism Awards dinner on Friday and Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception at Lincoln Center on Monday to honor the chefs and restaurateurs who made an indelible impression on the food industry in 2011. While this is a special occasion any year, this year it’s extra special as they celebrate their silver anniversary: It’s been 25 years since the James Beard Foundation officially opened the James Beard House as an American center for the culinary arts.

You’ve heard it before that these two events are like the Oscars of the food world. While we look forward to the food and newest , we wanted to know what Susan Ungaro, president of the foundation, was looking forward to the most.

1. Red Carpet Celebrity Chef Moments: It’s so exciting to greet all the special guest presenters and chef nominees as they arrive at Lincoln Center. Every one of them is a star for the evening. I’m especially looking forward to welcoming our Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Wolfgang Puck, who is being introduced this year by Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts.

More from Susan Ungaro

The Other Side of the Chopping Block: One Chopped Judge Moves On, Three Say Goodbye

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, April 30th, 2012

chopped judges
Last night we watched one of the most anticipated Chopped All-Stars episodes of the series. Four Chopped judges — Alex Guarnaschelli, Marcus Samuelsson, Marc Murphy and Chris Santos — took their place on the Chopping Block to compete for the fourth and final spot in the finale and $50,000 for their charity.

If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — we’re about to break down the episode, divulge the winner and chat with the runner-up.

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Chopped All-Stars Caption It: What Did We Get Ourselves Into?

by in Shows, April 26th, 2012

alex guarnaschelli and chris santos
In possibly one of the most anticipated Chopped All-Stars episodes of the series, four Chopped judges — Alex Guarnaschelli, Marcus Samuelsson, Marc Murphy and Chris Santos — will take their place on the Chopping Block to compete for the fourth and final spot in the finale. Pictured above, all-star chefs Alex Guarnaschelli and Chis Santos look curiously at each other as they enter the kitchen. Will the judges be pleased with their colleagues efforts or will their dishes leave more to be desired?

The winner of this episode will join Iron Chef Michael Symon, Cooking Channel’s Jeffrey Saad and Food Network Star finalist Penny Davidi in the grand finale for a chance to win their charities $50,000.

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to watch the action unfold, we’re challenging you, Chopped All-Stars fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

Hey, Daddy Bloggers! #PullUpaChair for Mother’s Day

by in Community, Events, April 25th, 2012

ree drummon The Eggbert's Sunriser
In honor of Mother’s Day, FN Dish is asking daddy bloggers to come together to celebrate a virtual Mother’s Day called The Communal Table, on Thursday, May 10, at noon EST.

Yes, our Communal Table events are usually open to everyone, but we wanted Mom to sit back today and watch as we aggregate recipes for a meal she’ll always remember. This is her big day, so we have to make sure we cover our ground for all possible meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

Whether you’re a dad, grandfather, uncle, cousin or brother, we want you to participate. On Thursday, May 10, we’ll be launching our first dad-only Communal Table on the blog. Whether you write for a popular food website or you’re the owner of a small food blog, help us spread the word and pull up a chair.

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One Shining “Star” Joins the Chopped All-Stars Finale Lineup

by in Shows, April 23rd, 2012

chopped all stars food network stars
Vic “Vegas” Moea, Penny Davidi, Justin Balmes and Chris Nirschel know the pressures of competition cooking. They also know what it’s like to be in front of a camera. These four Food Network Star finalists gave it their all last season, but still came up short in the end. That wasn’t enough for them, though. They’re still out to prove that they’ve got what it takes and they’re still out to take down each other — they did just that on last night’s episode of Chopped All-Stars.

If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — we’re about to break down the episode and chat with the winner.

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The Chopped Basket Revealed: The Masterminds Behind the Mystery Ingredients

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, April 20th, 2012

chopped basket rob bleifer
“Ugh! Who comes up with these crazy basket ingredients?” This is a statement that I commonly hear and read after watching an episode of Chopped. But the truth is, someone does have to research and choose what four ingredients will go into a Chopped basket — three different baskets per episode. Do the ingredients get tested first? Has there ever been a repeated ingredient? And why are four ingredients the magic number and not three or five? These are all questions I asked Food Network Executive Chef Rob Bleifer last week when I sat down with him in Food Network Kitchens.

How are the ingredients picked?
Sara Nahas, the culinary producer of the show, and myself sometimes work together, sometimes work apart, but then come together to compare each other’s work. We’ll sit across from each other weeks in advance and knock out themed shows or random baskets — potential flavor and color combinations that will end up on the plate and, of course, that one ingredient that will get people talking. We have a list of ingredients we’ve already used in front of us, which is around 15 pages long, so I cross-reference that. In the past, we may have used an ingredient twice, but sometimes it’s intentional.

Is there a secret to a good Chopped basket (one part this, two parts that, etc.)?
While we’re creating the baskets, if we have to think too long about the possibilities of dishes, the baskets go away. If it takes us more than 15 seconds for a solution, it’s out. The contestants don’t have that much time.

We’ll often try, certainly in an entrée, to have a grain or starch or one ingredient that is substantial, whether it’s a protein or produce. But there’s no hard and fast rule that there has to be this, there has to be that.

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Spring Clean Your Supper

by in Community, In Season, April 18th, 2012

spring peas with dates and walnuts
Let’s face it, spring cleaning isn’t the most exciting chore of the season, but it’s so gratifying after it’s all done. The same notion also applies to making over meals, especially when the produce starts to become so abundant. Our friends over at Yahoo! Shine have invited FN Dish readers to join their Supper Club. This month, they’re challenging readers to make weeknight dinners that are as fresh and bright as the season.

Don’t know where to begin? Food Network’s Spring Produce Guide is a good place to start. From asparagus to rhubarb, you can find tips and recipes for cooking up spring produce at its peak.

Spring Peas With Dates and Walnuts from Food Network Magazine (pictured above) is a market-fresh salad that calls for not one but three kinds of spring peas: English, sugar snap and snow peas.

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Four Gourmet Globetrotters Take on Chopped and We Chat With the Winner

by in Shows, April 16th, 2012

gourmet globetrotters
What do Marcela Valladolid, Keegan Gerhard, Jeffrey Saad and Aarti Sequeira have in common? They are masters in global cuisine and they spent several nerve-wracking moments together on the Chopping Block last night during the second episode of Chopped All-Stars. Last week, Michael Symon advanced to the finale as he took on his fellow Iron Chefs. This week’s episode was just as competitive, and some would argue that the ingredients were more challenging. If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — we’re about to break down the episode and chat with the winner.

The baskets:
Appetizer: pancake mix, strawberry papaya, blue foot mushrooms and precooked chicken feet
Entrée: maraschino cherries, peas in the pod, parsley root and tripe
Dessert: ostrich eggs, plantains, dried strawberries and galangal

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What Is Sour Trahana?

by in How-to, Shows, April 13th, 2012

sour trahanaLast Sunday night on the premiere episode of Chopped All-Stars, the Iron Chef contestants opened up their baskets to find sour trahana. I quickly found myself Googling the term, only to find out several minutes later from Ted Allen that it’s a traditional Greek pasta that is essentially flour kneaded with sour milk, buttermilk or yogurt and some salt.

 

 

I couldn’t get a good glimpse of the grain on TV, but imagine a substance similar to couscous.

According to The Food and Wine of Greece by Diane Kochilas, “Until a generation ago, sour trahana was the shepherd’s and farmer’s breakfast. It was made at the end of every summer all over Greece in preparation for the winter months.”

So what can you do with sour trahana? Try cooking it in a soup, like Cat Cora’s Chicken Soup. The longer you cook the grain, the thicker it becomes.

If you can’t find sour trahana in the international aisle of your local supermarket, try searching for it online at a Greek specialty store.

Tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c when four gourmet globetrotters — Keegan Gerhard, Marcela Valladolid, Jeffrey Saad and Aarti Sequeira — take their place on the Chopping Block.

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