May Madness hits Food Network this spring as Iron Chefs battle it out — one-on-one — in the first-ever Iron Chef America: Tournament of Champions. With five episodes and a panel of revolving judges, the tournament features high-stakes, bracket-style battles between the best of the best in the culinary world. The tournament begins Sunday, May 5 at 10pm/9c with a face-off between the two newest Iron Chefs, Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian.
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Every Tuesday, Justin Warner, winner of Food Network Star Season 8, is back remixing the Chopped All-Stars baskets as seen in the episode Sunday night in pure Justin Warner style: edgy, intense, passionate and full of wit. If you’ve ever watched an episode and found yourself yelling at the TV, “I would have made this and that instead!” then these are the posts for you.
by Justin Warner
Welcome back to the Rebel Remix, where yours truly will attempt to simulate via text what I would do in the chef shoes of this week’s contestants.
Appetizer basket: Veggie terrine, galangal, banana bread and mango juice
Oh, veggie terrine, you hideous mess. Flavor-wise you aren’t a danger, but what can we possibly do to divert the judge’s attention from your repulsive pigmentation? The answer: Put a banana-bread bag over your head. This basket has a definitive tropical feel to it, aside from the veggie terrine, but the terrine’s carrot flavors will work very nicely with the galangal (kinda like a wicked stepmother of ginger), and banana bread will fit in with mango juice like the Chiquita banana lady would fit in at Carnival. Start by freezing the terrine so we can cut it into batons more easily. Next we’ll make a sauce by chopping up the galangal and adding it to the mango juice. Put this mix on the stove and get it reducing ASAP.
Among locals in the South, it’s common to believe that one style of barbecue reigns supreme, that a signature blend of spices and use of the sauces, rubs and techniques turns out real-deal ribs, pulled pork and brisket, and others’ versions aren’t true ‘cue. In tonight’s marathon of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy‘s delving into the world of Tennessee barbecue with a tour of Memphis hot spots. His first stop is Leonard’s, an almost-100-year-old institution specializing in classics like meaty ribs and chopped pork; then he heads to Tom’s Bar-B-Q for a deliciously speedy meal made with Mediterranean flavors.
After a weekend in Memphis, Guy takes off to discover authentic German dishes in Chicago and a Honolulu food truck serving Island-style fare before setting his sights on the city. He’s at The Sparrow Tavern in Queens, N.Y., known for its elevated takes on bar food, including the Bifteki Burger Sandwich, before moving on to Indianapolis. There he stops by Zest to taste its signature Tomato Bon Bons, stuffed with cheese and coated in sausage.
What can you expect when you put 16 star chefs you know and love on the Chopping Block for charity? Inventive dishes, out-of-this-world ingredients, smack talk, laughs, sweat and a grand prize of $50,000 for the winner’s charity.
Here’s the breakdown: Each Sunday, a new group of All-Stars will compete for a spot in the finale. Tonight, viewers saw four familiar faces from Food Network and Cooking Channel in action in the Chopped kitchen. In the coming weeks, you’ll see mega-chefs, Chopped judges and celebrities battle it out to show the world they’ve got the chops to win the grand prize.
If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — FN Dish is about to break down the episode and chat with the winner.
Tonight an all-new season of Chopped All-Stars began, and what better way to kick things off than pitting Food Network stars against their Cooking Channel counterparts? Stars dashed to deliver dishes before the clock ran out, and competitors bumped into each other, putting one chef’s dish at risk. Needless to say there was no shortage of drama.
If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — FN Dish is about to break down the episode and chat with the runner-up.
Whether Alex Guarnaschelli is cooking at restaurants Butter or The Darby, dishing out top-notch critiques as a judge on Chopped, racing around Kitchen Stadium as the newest Iron Chef or cooking up a storm with her daughter at home, fans of hers know that Alex does comfort food best.
Alex grew up in a home surrounded by a love of cooking, where souffles and cheeseburgers were equally revered. The daughter of a respected cookbook editor and a Chinese cooking enthusiast, Alex developed a passion for food at a young age, sealing her professional fate. In her premiere cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food, she shares her journey from waist-high taste tester to trained chef, along with the 100 recipes for how she learned to cook — and the way she still loves to eat.
Want to get Alex’s secrets to great home cooking? You can pre-order a copy of Old-School Comfort Food here, or enter in the comment field below for a chance to win one. To enter: Tell us which one of Alex’s recipes is your favorite and why in the comments (you must include the URL — find Alex’s list of recipes here). We’re giving away an autographed copy of the book to five lucky, randomly selected commenters.
Justin traveled the back roads of the South in his 1-hour special, Rebel Eats, this past Saturday night (watch the full episode here), but it’s hard to show everything in just 1 hour. Click the play button above to watch never-before-seen Rebel Eats moments and go deeper with Justin as he answers questions about his show and what’s next for him.
Tell us about the deep-fried burger from Dyer’s. What’s the difference in taste between standard oil and the century-old stuff that’s used at the restaurant, and what does it bring to the burger?
Oh man — I could wax poetic about that burger. Imagine if you cooked some garlic in oil and then removed the garlic. What is left? Garlic-flavored oil. The oil then becomes a condiment. Imagine if you put your garlic oil on bread. Nobody would bat an eye. That doesn’t sound wild at all. Now imagine doing this with delicious ground beef instead of garlic, and using that oil to fry all your burgers. For 100 years. The real question is what doesn’t it bring to the burger? Scientifically speaking though, by smashing the patty they are increasing the surface area and getting rid of air. This makes the beefy flavor more concentrated per bite. Also, by frying it, it cooks very quickly to well-done. Now, a well-done burger is murder in my book, but here it actually works nicely because of the thinness of the patty. The more you cook a patty, the more the beefy flavor is coaxed out, but the less appealing the texture. By making thin, greased-up patties, they are letting the beef grease provide the juiciness in the burger. They don’t serve lettuce or tomato because this burger has no room for crunch. It is like eating a puck of beef butter. Maybe that sounds gross to some, but to me this sounds like a great last meal.
Food Network chef Anne Burrell got a thumb’s up from First Lady Michelle Obama Monday at the White House’s Easter Egg Roll, which drew 30,000 people to the South Lawn for fun that went far beyond eggs. “A little love in your food makes everything taste better,” Anne told Mrs. Obama, prepping pasta with broccoli rabe pesto and sausage as a family-friendly all-in-one-meal idea for visitors. “Kids, you would eat this at home, right?” the First Lady asked, getting a big “yes” in reply. Mrs. Obama said the dish — a nourishing mix of protein, veggies, good fat from olive oil and pistachios — tasted cheesy enough to be kid-friendly but sophisticated enough for date night. Watch the video here and get the recipe over on the Let’s Move blog.
“It’s the perfect ratio of pasta to sauce,” Anne said. “When you finish the pasta you should have just enough sauce left to take the last of your bread and get that little bit, wipe it up so your plate’s clean. Then you can put your plate right back in the cupboard because you’re part of the clean-plate club.” Anne was on stage in the Play With Your Food area along with White House chef Cristeta Comerford, White House pastry chef Bill Yosses (pictured above) and other food-famous folks including Al Roker and Ina Garten; there, visitors followed up egg-rolling by peeking into the garden that supplies the First Family with fresh vegetables year-round, eating jelly beans and learning how long it takes to work them off (30 seconds each) and trying out tennis and basketball on the White House courts. The eat-well-move-more activities were in support of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, which aims to reduce the rates of childhood obesity in the United States.
If you’ve ever written to Guy with suggestions for Triple D-worthy restaurants in your neighborhood, know that he’s been paying attention and wants to visit the area standbys that you love most.
During tonight’s marathon of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episodes, Guy sets off to discover some of the local favorites that you, the fans, have recommended to him. He’s off to Eischen’s Bar & Grill in Oklahoma first to taste their decades-old fried chicken recipe, then travels to Kenny and Ziggy’s, a Houston deli that’s making corned beef and traditional Jewish comfort food just like they do in New York City.
Later, Guy finds the best of the best in Basque, Salvadorian and Spanish fare — all without leaving the country — with tastes of oxtail stew, tomato-chile pork and spiced tasso at spots from Florida all the way to California. He then sets off on a Hawaiian adventure to sample Windy City-style hot dogs on the island of Oahu before partaking in a luau that’s special to locals.
Join Guy on his coast-to-coast journey starting at 6pm/5c — follow along and bookmark the restaurants as he goes, and then try your hand at the recipes.
Justin Warner fans are in for a treat tonight (10pm/9c). The Rebel With a Culinary Cause is hitting the road in his new show and biggest challenge yet — finding the real culinary rebels of America on Rebel Eats. Armed with $300 (for gas), a car and a nose for good food and crazy characters, Justin will travel the back roads of the South to try everything from moonshine and bacon beer to deep-fried PB&J, jellyfish pasta and bowling alley barbecue served in a Mason jar. We recently caught up with Justin and asked him to dish a little on his special, catch us up on what he’s been eating and teach us how to be food rebels ourselves. Before tuning in tonight, read his interview below (and go behind-the-scenes with these photos).
How did your experience on Food Network Star prepare you for making Rebel Eats?
Given that I had no television experience prior to Star, I would say that every facet of the show helped me prepare for Rebel Eats. In Star, we were constantly fighting against the clock. It has made me much more concise and efficient when conveying ideas or developing dishes. In addition, having Alton as a mentor was really a life-changing experience. He taught me how to understand where the camera is, what it’s picking up and how to make it my best friend.