“I think that Triple G is a first of its kind,” Guy recently told FN Dish. “There are two common concepts here: cooking and shopping. But we’ve never really highlighted the shopping before. We’ve seen shopping competition shows before, but now we’re taking the shopping component and the chef’s creativity and mixing in time, money and challenges. Bundle it altogether and you’ve got a super high powered, family-friendly show on Food Network. That’s what this show is going to be.”
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Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri are back together again to battle it out, but this time it’s not with celebrities — it’s with kids. Last Sunday, for the first time, they started mentoring eight of the most talented kid chefs in the new series Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off (Sundays at 8pm/7c).
“No one gets eliminated in this series. This competition is about educating, mentoring, encouraging and empowering the kids,” Guy recently said in an interview. “You’ll sit there, watch them and just be amazed. Whether you have kids or not, you’ll watch this show and ask yourself, ‘Why wasn’t this done 10 years ago?’ That’s the kind of show it is. That’s the kind of energy it brings.”
Fall is right around the corner and it’s perhaps my favorite season. As a child, I always loved how the air cooled just the tiniest bit when I would open the front door and head out to my first day of school, almost as if nature recognized the rhythms spelled out in my school district’s calendar. (Looking back, I wonder if it was simply chillier at 7am than at 10am?) I knew the tiniest wisp of cooler air meant the holiday season would soon follow, and I have always been someone who enjoys the anticipation of an event as much as the event itself. (I love sleep so much that I actually enjoy being tired, and I have been known to stay up an extra hour just to relish the thought of sleep to come.) I loved entering a new grade, finding out who my new teacher would be and scoping out the classroom on the first day for familiar faces. I welcomed routine and structure — beyond just goofing around with my sister at the local Woolworth’s, playing on the carts and enjoying free pong, much to the chagrin of Jan, the store manager in a mustard-colored smock.
My daughters started school this week: third grade, second grade and two girls in first grade. All four girls are at the same school now, which means we can ride our bikes together. School supplies and fresh fall outfits are bought and tucked away in their closets. I’ve stocked up on lunch-packing supplies (LunchBots for four girls can set you back a bit!). Back to School Night is in two days, and there will be signups, forms to fill out and probably a few more checks to write. But it’s all just part of the routine — the seasonal cycles of growing up.
You’ve seen her host her own Food Network series, including Giada at Home, and mentor budding talent on Food Network Star. She’s an Emmy award winner, a six-time cookbook author and a mom. Now the Italian-born Giada De Laurentiis can add one more accomplishment to her long list of accolades: restaurant owner. After years of speculation regarding if and when this Food Network superstar would launch her very own eatery, Giada announced yesterday that she’s set to open her premiere restaurant in Las Vegas. “Ever since I was a little girl hanging out at my grandfather’s restaurant, I’ve dreamed of having a restaurant of my own,” Giada said. “Now, I couldn’t be more excited about working with Gansevoort Las Vegas and Caesars Entertainment to turn this dream into a delicious reality.”
Perched high above the glamour of the shining Sin City, Giada’s restaurant will take over the second floor of the not-yet-opened Gansevoort Las Vegas and offer outdoor dining, plus striking views of the Las Vegas Strip. The menu, of course, will keep with the style of classic yet innovative Italian fare fans have become familiar with on Giada’s shows and in her cookbooks; freshly baked breads, antipasto, signature pastas, flatbreads and custom desserts are just a few of the specialties she’s promised to unveil at her sure-to-be-hot spot when it opens early next year.
I took my girls shopping for boogie boards the other day. I walked into the store and discovered that summer was over. Too bad I wasn’t shopping for dorm supplies: twin bed sheets, color-coordinated towel sets and bright plastic baskets for lugging toiletries down the hall were everywhere. I was immediately taken back to my own freshman year of college. I remember exactly what I was wearing (a blue sweater and flowy skirt that projected confidence in my 17-year-old mind) when we pulled up to my assigned dorm, Hamilton Hall. Mom took pictures of me making up my bed with my new twin sheets (extra long), and I placed unused pens, pencils and erasers neatly along the top of my desk. I set up a gift from my mom: a manual typewriter (the kind where the “k” and “b” keys would get stuck and I’d have to pop them back into ready position), a few spare ink ribbons and a tiny box of white out sheets. (No, this wasn’t a vintage objet d’art; this was the actual typewriter I would use all freshman year. I am that old.)
What followed was four years of studying, but also friendships made, laughter shared, milestones achieved (and others, missed) and lots of cooking. I cooked from the minute I landed in Hamilton Hall and made my first stroganoff in a hotpot. Later, in my sorority house, I hung out in the kitchen with Linda, the cook, and even signed up for KP duty once a week, my first pro gig in the kitchen I suppose. When I lived in an apartment junior year, I cooked so much that my roommates and I couldn’t eat all the food, so I would deliver random care packages to friends all around campus.
Tyler Florence is back to host the fourth season of The Great Food Truck Race. Like last season, the food truck teams are made up of newbies who dream of one day operating their own mobile restaurant business. There’s a lot at stake: the winning team gets $50,000 and gets to keep their truck. Tyler guides the teams on their coast-to-coast journey, and along the way doles out challenges, with each new one more difficult than the last. And this year the route is the longest yet, so these teams are in for the ride of their lives. FN Dish recently caught up with Tyler to chat about the new season, his take on the food truck scene and his advice for the teams.
Watch the season premiere of The Great Food Truck Race on Sunday, Aug. 18 at 9pm/8c.
What are you looking forward to most on the new season of The Great Food Truck Race?
It’s the first year we have a team from Hawaii, which is really exciting, and we also have several all-female teams. The teams were so good this year, even as rookies. I think the teams are actually watching past seasons and taking notes. Although they’ve never done it before, they’ve seen the other people start from scratch and they’re taking those notes to heart.
Back-to-school ads are already airing and we’ve only just started our family vacation (anyone else?). I’m writing this blog from the balcony of a rental on Balboa Island.
Since we’re on vacation, we are bending the rules. The other day the girls and I all ordered lemonades with our lunch, instead of our normal tap water. (I am not the Ten Dollar Dinners lady for nothing.) Another rule I’m bending: Instead of planning our regular reasonable snack every day about 3pm, the whole family is venturing around the corner to Dad’s Original Frozen Banana shop and indulging in a chocolate-dipped, sprinkle-nut-brickle-laden frozen banana. (I say “bending” the rule and not “breaking” because I often use frozen bananas and cocoa in my smoothies.)
As the chef at New York’s The Lambs Club and The National restaurants and the leader of dining services at The Water Club in Atlantic City, N.J., and Ocean Blue aboard The Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship, Chopped judge and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is surely not one to sit still. This Kitchen Stadium superstar works best when his plate is full of projects, and it’s a good thing he does, because just this week he earned another title: the Culinary Director at The Plaza hotel in New York City.
One of Manhattan’s most iconic hotels, The Plaza boasts a prime location in the heart of the city, a 100-plus-year tradition of luxury and a reputation for culinary excellence that Geoffrey will only serve to improve upon in his new role. He’ll be in charge of the hotel’s Palm Court and Oak Room restaurants, plus the Oak Bar, The Champagne Bar and The Rose Club, in addition to its in-room dining menus. The Palm Court will likely be the first to see modifications, but they’ll be subtle. “I want to leave as much as we can in place, the way they do with the great old restaurants in Paris,” he told The New York Times.
I grew up in Tucson, Ariz., and summertime meant one thing: drinking sun tea. My mom constantly had a huge jar of water with teabags sitting on the hot concrete in our backyard, blinding sun beating down on the teabags. She was a purist: She brewed it so strong the tannic acid was mouth-puckering and she drank it unsweetened, without even a slice of lemon. I would drink the tea with only a few ice cubes to cut the taste, sitting alongside my mom, just treasuring our time alone together, two ladies sipping tea on a hot summer day.
Now that I’m an adult, I’ve developed my own palate for unsweetened flavored waters (which is what tea is really, right?). I love water with a hint of flavor because it refreshes without being boring. Plus as a bonus, flavored waters make me feel like I’m at a spa — for a lot less.
Try it yourself: Throw a few pieces of fruit and maybe some fresh herbs into a pitcher and add water. (By the way, if you make a lot of spa water, buy a handy pitcher with a steeping basket attached. Just load the basket with fruit and herbs, and fill the pitcher with water.)
It’s probably no surprise that if you ask Bobby Flay to choose between a burger and a hot dog, he’ll probably laugh and expect you to know better. But if given the choice between barbecue chicken and steak — what do you think he’d say?
FN Dish caught up with Bobby, Michael Symon, Guy Fieri, Marc Forgione, Masaharu Morimoto, Aarón Sánchez and Andrew Zimmern to ask them several grilling rapid-fire questions, perfect for the hot summer months.
Click play on the video above to hear what each had to say about charcoal and gas grills, hot dogs versus burgers and barbecue chicken versus steak.