All Posts In Behind the Scenes

Design Spy: Dream of Spring by Reinventing Winter

by in Behind the Scenes, Holidays, January 13th, 2011
Wendy took a green damask tablecloth from Christmas and used fresh irises and pink accents to transform the table setting to spring.

Design Director Wendy Waxman has been at Food Network since its inception decorating sets, designing tabletop displays and special events, and styling cookbooks. Among her projects are the altar displays for Iron Chef America and the sets of Guy’s Big Bite30 Minute Meals, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Cooking for Real and Aarti Party. Wendy’s favorite pastime is sleuthing for colorful objects and she can be spotted pursuing her quest anywhere, anytime.

Like a post-holiday nymph who refuses to leave the party, January never fails to beckon with its tempting array of alluring sales. This is one post-holiday ritual not to be ignored. A plethora of fresh merchandise awaits discerning January buyers who peruse with a careful eye toward the coming year.

The seasonal green linens of December will surely welcome a spring lamb to the table, and a holiday red tablecloth will be the perfect backdrop for the guacamole and chips of that most sacred American celebration: The Super Bowl. And what better time to stock up on ornaments and decorations for the next Christmas season? You’ll save time and money next November. Here’s the original Christmas tabletop that I transformed for spring.

Wendy's Christmas table, with a green damask table cloth, red charger plates and ornaments, can easily be transformed for spring.

I often can be found scooping up discounted platters, plates, and bowls. I ask myself how a particular shape will enhance what I own already. Will that smooth shiny square plate play well with my favorite round matte dinnerware pieces? Glassware always makes my list, especially for replenishing the ever-disappearing stock of wine and Champagne glasses. I love discovering odds and ends. Glasses that look great together but don’t match give me a chance to build on this stockpile during the rest of the year.

I also love parties, so I never forget the cocktail napkin. Decorative paper napkins are on my radar and come in handy for office and birthday parties, or even stashed in the glove box for that last minute treat on the run. Small linen napkins in silver and gold make an anniversary special anytime of the year.

The venerable tray in any color or form is another sale treasure. I use them for everything from hors d’oeuvres to serving platters for larger fare. Don’t forget that when not in service they look wonderful on kitchen counters and coffee tables.

I bank on these January sales and similar ones after each holiday year-round. Shall we meet in the clearance aisle?

Behind the Scenes in Food Network Kitchens: Deep-Fried Turkey

by in Behind the Scenes, Holidays, November 24th, 2010
Recipe tester Leah Brickley (cautiously!) experiments with indoor turkey-frying in Food Network Kitchens.

Sometimes being married to a kitchen gadget geek has its perks. For our November issue of Food Network Magazine, we had to test Cat Cora’s deep-fried turkey recipe. Deep-fried turkeys have become really popular over the past few years and Cat’s is rubbed with a delicious Cajun spice blend. The turkey comes out crispy and really flavorful.

Our test kitchen is located in New York City’s Chelsea Market building, and the outdoor green space available to set up a vat of boiling oil is very limited to non-existent. Luckily, my husband, Paul, had a rather interesting solution to my deep-fryer problems: Why not fry it indoors? At first I thought he was crazy, but then he told me about this new (and safe) indoor turkey fryer made by MasterBuilt. It sits right on your counter, uses about half the amount the oil and has a safety magnetic break-away cord.

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VIP Cocktail Hour With Melissa and Aarti

by in Behind the Scenes, Events, October 28th, 2010
Aarti Sequeira and Melissa d'Arabian, the past two winners of The Next Food Network Star

Fans who took advantage of the VIP travel package for the Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival earlier this month were treated to a special VIP tour of the Food Network Kitchens and a cocktail party with two of Food Network’s brightest stars, Melissa d’Arabian and Aarti Sequeira. Read more

NYC Wine and Food Festival: Grand Tasting

by in Behind the Scenes, Events, October 17th, 2010
Pat and Gina Neely pose with a fan holding a pulled pork sandwich from their restaurant, Neely's Bar-B-Que

Last Sunday’s Grand Tasting at the New York Wine and Food Festival promised to be the ultimate New York City culinary showcase, and that it was. The event featured samples from two hundred of the city’s best restaurants and wine and spirit purveyors offering samples on a pier overlooking the Hudson river. Attendees ate their fill of fabulous food and mingled with their favorite Food Network stars who were all in town for the festival.

Paula and Michael Deen came all the way from Georgia to take in the festival, greet fans and sign copies of Paula’s cookbooks.

Paula and Michael pose for a pic with fans

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Massive Meatfest: NYC Wine and Food Fest’s Meatball Madness

by in Behind the Scenes, Events, October 10th, 2010

Meatballs, meatballs, meatballs!

Who makes the best meatballs? With the answer at stake, the New York City Wine and Food Festival’s festivities opened with the return of the ever popular Meatball Madness, hosted by Food Network’s own Giada De Laurentiis.

Giada at Meatball Madness

Among the mass of hungry revelers mixed Food Network favorites Anne Burrell, Aarti Sequeira, Donatella Arpaia and Cooking Channel‘s Chuck Hughes–all greeting their fans in good cheer.

Aarti with fans

Leave it to Chopped food and wine specialist Ted Allen to bring the focus and the camera lens back to the reason for the event, a smorgasbord of finely crafted, eminently waftable … meatballs.  Iron Chef Judge Donatella Arpaia took the win. But the competition was stiff, and every entry was delicious.

Ted Allen sampling the wares

Find out who was in the running. After the jump, a feast for your eyes.
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Food Network Magazine Lounges With the Stars

by in Behind the Scenes, October 8th, 2010
Cupcake Wars' Candace Nelson; Aarti Sequeira from Aarti Party; Marcela Valladolid, host of Mexican Made Easy; Maile Carpenter, Editor in Chief of Food Network Magazine; Sunny Anderson, host of Cooking for Real and Vicky Wellington, publisher of Food Network Magazine

The stars are all in town for the New York City Wine and Food Festival, and several of them stopped by Food Network Magazine’s lounge party on Wednesday night at Thalassa restaurant. Sunny Anderson, Candace Nelson, Marcela Valladolid, Aarti Sequeira and Melissa d’Arabian all came by, and party-goers drank champagne and snacked on panini inspired by the October issue’s 50 panini booklet, as well as cupcakes decorated with the magazine’s logo.

Sweet party treats

To celebrate the magazine’s second anniversary, we asked the stars about their favorite features in the mag:
Marcela’s favorite section of the magazine is He Made/She Made, where two chefs each put their own spin on a favorite dish (Marcela and Chris Cosentino battled over nachos in this month’s issue). If she were throwing a similar cook-off, Marcela says she would pit Bobby Flay against Ming Tsai to see who makes the best traditional Mexican mole sauce.

Melissa d'Arabian, host of Ten Dollar Dinners, and Marcela Valladolid, host of Mexican Made Easy

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