All Posts By Sara Levine

Sara Levine is a Senior Online Editor at FoodNetwork.com and a culinary-school-trained home cook. Several years ago she quit her magazine job to go to Le Cordon Bleu, which led to a stint in Food Network Kitchen. Although cooking professionally wasn’t her thing, she loves frequenting restaurants and putting her own amateur culinary skills to work in her tiny kitchen.

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“Heat and Meat” Fun Facts — The Next Iron Chef

by in Shows, November 2nd, 2011

The Next Iron Chef Episode 1 Heat and Meat Challenge
Behind the scenes on the Next Iron Chef, Food Network’s culinary production team is responsible for making sure that the rival chefs have everything they need to cook and present their dishes — from a stocked pantry to plenty of serving vessels. They shared some fun facts about what it took to pull off the “Heat and Meat” challenge in episode one.

What materials were purchased for the chefs to create heat in the wilderness?
Wood: 2,000 pounds
Fire-safe bricks: 200
Stainless-steel sheet metal: 550 pounds
Rebar rods (carbon steel rods): 25 feet

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Fried Chicken Joins the Fest

by in Events, October 1st, 2011
Fried chicken from Lantern Restaurant
Lantern Restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC brought Korean-style fried chicken with pickled vegetables to the party.

Burgers and meatballs have become mainstays at the annual New York City Wine and Food Festival. Now fried chicken is getting into the mix. This beloved Southern comfort food was served up by restaurants from around the country last night at Hill Country Barbecue Market, the perfect venue for such an event. Guests meandered through the expansive Texas-style barbecue joint, munching on fried birds both classic and unconventional while a live band played on the lower level.

Get more behind-the-scenes photos »

5 Questions With Candace Nelson: Cupcake Wars Judge and Sprinkles Queen

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, May 11th, 2011

Candace Nelson

Candace Nelson, judge and blogger extraordinaire from Cupcake Wars, is about to open her 10th Sprinkles store, finally bringing the “original cupcake bakery” to New York City. We caught up with Candace and got a sneak peek at the new store while she was in town from Los Angeles with the whole family – husband Charles is her business partner at Sprinkles, and they have two young sons.

It’s been a busy week for the Nelsons, who celebrated their first Big Apple store by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange and have been riding around town in their Sprinklesmobile, handing out free cupcakes. Sprinkles New York opens its doors this Friday, May 13: “We’re not superstitious here!” Candace says with a laugh.

Read on for the inside scoop on the new location, Candace’s favorite cupcake flavors and her take on the future of cupcakes.

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In The Kitchens: Royal Wedding Cakes From Last Cake Standing Contenders

by in Behind the Scenes, April 17th, 2011
Jason from Last Cake Standing spent hours in the Food Network Kitchens working on a special royal project.

Last week, three of the talented pastry wizards from Last Cake Standing Jason, Jörg and Richard — were up in Food Network Kitchens working on a special project. It wasn’t totally top secret, so we’ll spill the beans: They’d been asked by Rachael Ray to come up with over-the-top cakes inspired by the upcoming Royal Wedding.

Each cake artist took a different direction; beyond the Royal Wedding theme, they had free rein to follow their own inspirations. Tomorrow, the guys will present the final creations on the Rachael Ray Show and Rachael will declare a winner. We hear the Royal Couple is planning to serve traditional English fruitcake at the reception, but if Will and Kate happen to catch Rachael’s show and see these beauties, I’m thinking they might reconsider.

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Chopped for Charity

by in Shows, April 1st, 2011

All-StarsOur Food Network fans are full of great ideas. In a comment on our blog after an episode of Chopped All-Stars, fan Eric Londergan suggested that we post a list of all of the contestants’ charities. We took him up on it and pulled together this rundown of the organizations that each All-Star chef played for — plus, we asked host Ted Allen to weigh in with his own charity pick. Thanks, Eric!

Of course, there are only four left standing to compete in the All-Stars finale this Sunday night: Aaron Sanchez, playing for the Greater New Orleans Foundation; Anne Burrell, supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Michael Proietti, competing for the Jed Foundation; and Nate Appleman, representing the Kawasaki Disease Foundation. All are beyond worthy causes, to be sure, and all four chefs are hungry to win for their causes.

Which charity will get a hefty $50,000 donation, and who will walk away with bragging rights? You’ll have to watch and see! Don’t miss the super-charged Chopped All-Stars finale this Sunday at 9pm/8c.

 

Behind the All-Star Chopping Block With Geoffrey Zakarian

by in Shows, March 25th, 2011
Chef Geoffrey Zakarian faces off against three of his fellow Chopped judges this Sunday night.

There’s just one spot left in the Chopped All-Stars finale battle on April 3, and four esteemed chefs are determined to lock it down. In the previous three All-Star battles, some chefs didn’t quite know what they were getting into when they stepped onto the Chopped set. In Round Four, however, these chefs are intimately familiar with the intensity of the show — but they’re usually seated on the judges’ panel.

Geoffrey Zakarian, Aaron Sanchez, Amanda Freitag and Maneet Chauhan are accustomed to doing the chopping, not being on the chopping block, but all four were excited to turn the tables and compete for their favorite charities. We chatted with Chef Geoffrey about the experience of being a Chopped competitor, the camaraderie among his fellow judges, and where he’ll be watching the battle unfold this Sunday night.

Did you hesitate at all before signing on to compete on Chopped All-Stars, since you know just how tough it is?
I didn’t hesitate a bit. It was terrific, although it’s very difficult. I’ve done Iron Chef and this I believe is more difficult. Everything is wilderness. I mean, 20 minutes? It’s borderline impossible when you really come to grips with what you’re trying to do. It was as hard as I thought it would be. I was ready to do it, but when you get there in the morning it’s very nerve-wracking.

Did the experience change the way you judge at all?
We always knew it was hard, but this just really emphasized how hard it actually is. The reality is whether you get bad ingredients or good ingredients, it’s hard. It’s almost harder when you get good ingredients! When you’ve got rack of lamb, sometimes all the plates turn out the same. With some wild stuff, you get a small chance of putting together some very interesting combinations.

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Nadia G. Unplugged at South Beach

by in View All Posts, March 24th, 2011
Meet Nadia G., Cooking Channel host and South Beach reporter extraordinaire

At this year’s South Beach Food & Wine Festival, Cooking Channel’s Nadia G. — the hilariously irreverent host of Bitchin’ Kitchen — was on the ground chatting it up with everyone from Duff Goldman to our newest Iron Chef, Marc Forgione. Check out some footage from this Canadian rising star’s whirlwind weekend down South.

At the Best Thing I Ever Ate at the Beach party, Nadia posed a question that’s bound to get any chef fired up: What’s the worst thing you ever ate?

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During the day, Nadia chatted with Guy Fieri about cooking with kids, a subject near and dear to both of these personality-packed chefs, who also share a penchant for tattoos.

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Then Nadia hung out backstage during Guy’s standing-room-only cooking demo, which truly looked like a rock concert. Check out her guest appearance on stage — it was a surprise to everyone, including Nadia!

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Want to see more Nadia G.? Check out more videos from South Beach on our sister blog Devour and catch Bitchin’ Kitchen on Wednesdays at 10:30pm/9:30c on Cooking Channel.

 

On the Triple-D Trail

by in View All Posts, March 22nd, 2011
Louie and the Redhead Lady in Mandeville, LA celebrated its DDD appearance with this tasty tribute to Guy. Image courtesy Louie and the Redhead Lady.

It’s not news to anyone that Guy Fieri is a total rock star. His “Chef-Dude” magnetism has been chronicled by the New York Times: It all started with his win on The Next Food Network Star; then came Guy’s Big Bite and soon after, the wildly popular Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. More recently there’s been Tailgate Warriors, a game show and cooking demonstrations that rival sold-out pop concerts. When Guy’s yellow Lamborghini went missing a couple of weeks ago, it was national news.

Diners at Louie and the Redhead Lady watch Guy's visit to the restaurant on a continuous loop.

But Guy’s rock-star status was never more evident to me than when I stumbled upon a mom-and-pop restaurant in Mandeville, Louisiana (a suburb across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans), that had received a visit from Triple-D. The episode featuring Louie and the Redhead Lady aired this winter, and Chef Louie and his wife Ginger (a.k.a., you guessed it, the Redhead Lady) are still flying high from the experience — and the huge boom in business that it set off.

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