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.
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In tonight’s new episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (10pm/9c), Guy’s digging into dishes with a personal connection. In Toronto he’ll visit a Jewish deli smoking meats and knishes the old-school way. And in Los Angeles, he’ll hop aboard a funky food truck infusing Singaporean flavors into their chili crab cakes and lamb burgers.
But before Guy takes off, he’s heading out in a marathon of episodes that will suffice any carbohydrate craving your heart desires, with dishes like lasagna Bolognese, pasta carbonara, barbecue spaghetti, and lobster mac and cheese. Beyond pasta, get recipes for Baked Lemonade Pork Chops, Chicken and Dumplings and Sweet Potato Souffle.
Take the trip with him starting at 6:30pm/ 5:30c — follow along and bookmark the restaurants as he goes, then try your hand at the recipes.
Go behind the scenes with Guy Fieri
When it comes to building the ultimate hamburger, Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is doing things a little differently. Forget about everything you know to be true about barbecuing, seasoning and flipping the meat. Chef Zakarian is introducing an all-new method that will wow you with its simplicity and tried-and-true results, so much so that you won’t be tempted to return to the dry, flavorless patties of burgers past. Chatting with fans at a recent event at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, he demonstrated his flawless technique and shared can’t-miss tips that are easy enough for the home cook to master — and you don’t even have to wait until grilling season to try them.
10. Cook hamburgers on a cast-iron skillet indoors, instead of on an outdoor grill.
9. Opt for corn-fed ground meat that features about 25 percent to 30 percent fat.
8. The ideal blend of freshly ground meat includes equal parts chuck, rib eye and either flank steak or brisket.
7. Let meat come to room temperature before you cook with it.
6. Preheat the skillet until it’s screaming hot — only then should the meat be added.
Get Chef Zakarian’s top 5 tips
Having already conquered the professional kitchen as the chef-owner of two New York City restaurants — The Lamb’s Club and The National — and Kitchen Stadium as a member of the Chairman’s elite team of Iron Chefs, Geoffrey Zakarian is setting out to take over the radio airwaves, if only for just one night.
From 8pm-9pm EST tomorrow evening, Friday, March 15, Geoffrey can be heard on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio Stars Channel 107 chatting with an impressive roster of chefs, including Guy Fieri, Anne Burrell, Sunny Anderson, Andrew Zimmern, fellow Chopped judges Scott Conant and Marc Murphy, and more. These industry A-listers came together in Miami, Fla., during last month’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and FN Dish was on hand as the show was recorded live, poolside from The James Royal Palm Hotel.
As one of the most-successful pastry chefs in the country, Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel is known for creating sky-high cakes that are as deliciously whimsical as they are stunningly beautiful. On Sunday’s episode of Worst Cooks in America, however, he was forced to abandon the high-quality demands he prides himself on in his professional kitchen and think back to basics. Stopping by Boot Camp to offer the recruits an in-depth cake-baking how-to, he showed them seemingly simple recipes for creating wow-worthy celebration cakes, but for some of the competitors, this challenge ultimately proved to be nothing short of impossible. We checked in with Chef Ron to find out what it was like helping the competitors turn out their best-possible confections and to learn the most-shocking moment he experienced at Boot Camp. Read on below to get the insider scoop on what went down, plus check out Chef Ron’s easy tips for at-home bakers.
How was your time on the show?
RB: I’m a big fan of the show and always learn something valuable by watching Chefs Anne and Bobby. So I was so excited to be asked to come to the kitchen and teach the recruits how to bake a cake. And they were so sweet and excited to see me! Also, the kitchen was very well equipped with every tool and ingredient that a cake designer may wish for. I was so happy to be there and started demonstrating with great enthusiasm.
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How many times have you searched for the ultimate recipe only to find one that’s nearly what you’re looking for but features perhaps a single ingredient or flavor that you simply can’t bare? When that happens, do you scrap the recipe altogether, vowing to find one that’s perfect, or do you settle for the undesired taste because the rest of the recipe fits the bill? We caught up with Iron Chef Michael Symon at the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and he told us that instead of an all-or-nothing approach to recipes, look at them as detailed suggestions you can use to build the dish that best suits your tastes.
“Let your palate be your guide,” Iron Chef Symon said. He was reminded of a time that his father suffered through a batch of salsa that, while it was made according to its recipe’s instructions, boasted cilantro, an herb his father doesn’t like. Looking back on the moment now, Iron Chef Symon recalled that it would have been perfectly acceptable for his father to swap in other “soft, leafy herbs” for the cilantro so as to keep with his preferences and ultimately allow him to enjoy the dish.
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Food Network Star season 8 winner, Justin Warner, will hit the road in search of unique culinary rule-breakers in a one-hour special, Rebel Eats, airing Saturday, March 30, at 10pm/9c. Armed with $300 in his pocket, a beat-up car and a passion for unconventional food and eccentric people, Justin will travel the back roads of the South to try everything from moonshine and bacon beer to barbecue in a jar and jellyfish pasta. Along the way, Justin will meet the cooks and proprietors who, like him, march to their own beat through the world of food.
PHOTOS: Flip through Justin’s Star Scrapbook
VIDEO: Relive the moment Justin won
RECIPES: Try your hand at Justin’s recipes
Justin Warner, originally from Hagerstown Md., is a self-taught cook and is chef and co-owner of Do or Dine in Brooklyn, N.Y. — a restaurant that he built from the ground up. Justin began working in restaurants at just 13 years old and his approach to food reflects his personality: edgy, intense, passionate and witty.
by Melissa d’Arabian
It’s the finale, so I’m tempted to give myself longer than 30 seconds to pick my menu. But I won’t. So here go the final Chopped Champions baskets:
Appetizer basket: pig ears, ramps, pine nuts and apple strudel
Two tricky ingredients in this one – pig ears and ramps. Just kidding. Apple strudel? Yikes. My mind races first to April Bloomfield’s gorgeous cookbook A Girl and Her Pig, and I am inspired to fry up the pig ears. How will they get tender so quickly? By boiling, slicing very thinly, dipping in batter and frying. I get the ears into the boiling water, which I salt. And then I turn my attention to the strudel. I make a quick decision to separate the phyllo from the apple filling and turn it into two ingredients. I crisp up the phyllo in the oven and make strips for a panzanella (bread salad). I caramelize the ramps, toast the pine nuts and blend up the apple filling with apple cider vinegar and olive oil for a vinaigrette. Chop up bitter greens, toss with the pine nuts, ramps, dressing and maybe some sweet yellow tomato if available. Top with my strudel strips and fried ear “cracklings.” Simple.
Every Wednesday, Justin Warner, winner of Food Network Star, Season 8, has been remixing the Chopped Champion baskets as seen in the episode the night before 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 that you would have made this or that instead, then these are the posts for you.
by Justin Warner
Congratulations blog viewer, you’ve made it to the finale! If you’ve made it this far, I’m not going to bore you with the details of making a mother sauce.
Appetizer basket: pig ears, ramps, pine nuts and apple strudel
The appetizer round is really getting me ramped up. I feel like I’m on a rampage. Want to hear something my gramps told me? He taught me that allium tricoccum (say it out loud three times and you’ll remember easily), aka ramps, are delicious wild onions from all of Appalachia. They are the most wonderful, glorious and wildest of leeks. Like a leafy spring onion, it’s entirely edible, although its flavor is a bit more pronounced. In the good old days in Terra Alta, West Virginia (where I spent time with Gramps and ramps), folks celebrated the ramp by cooking it in a multitude of ways. These “ramp festivals” are a great event for couples because if you eat ramps and your partner doesn’t, you’ll be asked to sleep outside, lest your glorious oniony eau de parfum permeate the house for a bit. So sayeth my gramps.
Although she’s now a seasoned mentor on Chef Wanted and a no-nonsense team leader to some of the Worst Cooks in America, Chef Anne Burrell wasn’t always a food-television star. In fact, she began her career working in some of New York City’s top restaurants, where she climbed the culinary ladder to become a leading executive chef. Read on below to find the most important pieces of industry know-how she’s picked up along the way.
1. Being a chef can get very emotional from time to time. Remain cool under pressure.
2. Remember that you are a teacher and a leader.
3. You can’t avoid mistakes, but you can try to prevent them and learn how to not make them again.
4. Set long-term goals for yourself and review them regularly.
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