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.
Voice your opinion by voting in these polls
On Food Network’s new series, Food Court Wars, two teams of aspiring food entrepreneurs face-off for a chance to win their own food court restaurant entirely rent-free for one year. On each episode, the teams have an opportunity to open a brand-new eatery in their local mall, test their concept, market their brand and run the outlet for a full day for hungry shoppers. The team whose restaurant makes the most profit wins the space. Host Tyler Florence helps the teams through their challenges, offering up his advice on how to make their concept a success. FN Dish recently caught up with Tyler to chat about the new show.
Catch the season premiere of Food Court Wars on Sunday, July 7 at 10pm/9c to see who wins their dream prize.
What do you think makes mall food courts so appealing or unappealing? Do you think they’re due for an update?
TF: I don’t want anybody to think I have some grandiose opinion about food courts and what they serve. I see it just like everybody sees it — it needs to be fixed — and that’s why I love the show. What we did with The Great Food Truck Race is we actually spawned an entire new genre of restaurants. I’m not saying we invented food trucks, but we created two epic fires in the country. We’ve shown it’s doable. We’ve shown there’s a new restaurant business model that can be profitable. Young, independent entrepreneurs are adding such a new level of colorful diversity in restaurants — coast to coast, from Miami to Alaska — with wonderful mobile restaurant operations, and they’re doing it at a very, very high level. It’s so impressive to watch.
It’s the 4th of July! My community goes all out: huge hometown parade of marching bands, meticulously made floats carrying with local kids and war veterans, fun runs, open-air concerts, barbecues and picnics, and of course, fireworks. It’s one of my favorite holidays of the year, so this suits me perfectly. Quite frankly though, I haven’t always been such a 4th-o-phile (I just made that up). For years, I enjoyed Independence Day as much as any other barbecue with friends — with the added bonus of a wink to my status as an American — a relatively small blip on my special-event radar.
Then I moved out of the country. The first 4th of July I spent living away from the United States, I was in Greece (did you think I would say France?). I was 21 and was working on a Greek cruise ship for my first job out of college. Afloat in the Mediterranean, I was the only American member of the cruise staff (ask me some day about my gig dancing the Sirtaki to the bouzouki in the Greek folkloric show and then posing in full costume with passengers while cruise photographers snapped souvenir photos; if you took a Mediterranean cruise in the early ’90s, check your photo albums for a blonde wearing a festive outfit made primarily of gold coins).
Chopped judge, Iron Chef and owner/chef of The Lambs Club and The National restaurants in New York City Geoffrey Zakarian had a busy schedule at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. In between hosting his Sirius XM Radio show, Food Talk, and catching up with friends at Ajax Tavern, the Iron Chef took the time to give Dish readers an exclusive look at this action-packed visit to Colorado. Read his journal and browse photos from his weekend below.
by Geoffrey Zakarian
I arrived in Aspen from Chicago because I absolutely hate flying into Denver airport — I prefer to break the trip into two flights. It’s great to stop in Chicago because it’s rarely delayed, and I can watch exactly one movie on each flight! I arrived at Aspen airport at 8:45pm and grabbed a taxi to my first stop, The St. Regis Hotel. I dropped off my bags, had a quick shave, ironed a shirt for dinner and tried my best to look un-rumpled.
Both on and off camera, celebrity chefs are saying goodbye to aprons and hello to chic style. Four Food Network chefs — Alton, Giada, Geoffrey and Marcus — made Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed Chefs list. We all know their food and/or restaurants are worthy of praise, but their individual styles earned applause from the fashion world.
Bad fashion is on the chopping block for Geoffrey Zakarian. His slick New York City style includes tortoiseshell glasses (he actually has 12 pairs) and pastel button-downs. Geoffrey seamlessly trades his chef’s jacket for a crisp gingham shirt and sport coat.
Alton Brown’s come a long way from his quirky Good Eats costumes. Now he can be spotted with his trademark modern vintage style including dapper bow ties, hipster spectacles and tweed blazers. On this season of Food Network Star, you’ll find him rocking plaid button-downs, retro fedoras and well-tailored suits.
More chefs named best-dressed
It’s summertime and we are blessed with days filled with trips to the beach or museums to meet up with friends, and we’re usually grabbing something to-go on our way to the destination. Every Sunday evening, everyone in our community in Coronado, Calif., loads their kids and a picnic into their red Radio Flyer wagon and heads to Concert in the Park. So when many of you lamented the challenges of packing a summer picnic, I heard you. The ant’s time as the biggest picnic woe is long gone — now we worry about packing healthy, delicious food that our kids will actually eat, while keeping the food in a temperature-safe zone, without spending too much time. Is that too much to ask? No. So here are four tips to help get you there:
1. Start with the protein
The protein is the trickiest part of the meal because it often involves meat, which can be a challenge to keep in a safe temperature zone. My secret picnic weapon: non-meat protein. And by this, 99 percent of the time, I mean quinoa. Make a quinoa salad, subbing quinoa for rice, pasta or other grains. It is full of protein, fiber and complex carbs, and it will probably work in your favorite recipe (for inspiration, try my Quinoa Tabouli). Quinoa can be served chilled or at room temperature, making it my perfect picnic protein. My second non-meat protein insider secret: Use white beans and whole-grain pasta to make any pasta salad you like. Try a salad made with roasted veggies, feta and vinaigrette.
Get the next three tips
While some families craft extensive plans and elaborate surprises to honor their dads on Father’s Day, the scene at the Yearwood-Brooks home will be far more low-key tomorrow. For Trisha, her husband, Garth, and his three daughters, there will be just one item on the agenda: spend time together enjoying some of Dad’s most-treasured treats.
“As long as his girls are all three in the same place, that’s huge,” Trisha told FN Dish of Garth when we caught up with her last month. “Now we have two [daughters] in college and one in high school, so getting everybody together is harder.” When the family is finally under one roof, especially at a time like this weekend, quality time is of the utmost importance. “Father’s Day really is just whatever Dad wants to do, and it always means he wants to have his girls there, so it’s always just something with them,” Trisha says of how they’ll be celebrating tomorrow.
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Bobby Flay may be one of three no-nonsense judge-mentors on Food Network Star, but he’s also Food Network’s resident grill master, the go-to guy for top burger, side dish and cocktail recipes all summer long. He’s known for his penchant for barbecue and fresh, contemporary takes on classic Southwestern cuisine, so it’s no surprise that when FN Dish caught up with him at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, he was preparing jerk chicken tacos with red cabbage slaw and tangerine margaritas. Fresh off his win at the 2013 Burger Bash competition, Bobby chatted with fans in the standing-room-only crowd, sharing strategies for stress-free summer entertaining and answering questions about hosting the ultimate cookout. Read on to hear from Bobby, and learn his top-five tips for warm-weather eating and drinking.
5. When you’re serving something in a tortilla — like a taco — it’s best to overseason the filling because it will have to work to maintain its flavor within the wrapping.
4. “Taste every single thing,” no matter what you’re cooking or how.
Get Bobby’s top three tips
During tonight’s marathon of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episodes (starting at 6pm/5c), Guy will discover some standout veggie, meat and sandwich dishes. First, he’s off to Barrio Cafe in Phoenix where the chef is putting her signature spin on chiles and a regional pork dish.
Later in the night, Guy indulges in serious sandwiches. A gourmet sandwich shop in Austin, Texas, is slicing up duck pastrami for a pastrami and knuckle sammie. In Las Vegas, Guy will dive into a roast beef po’ boy done the Cajun way. Did someone say stuffed burgers? Guy will break down these grilled beauties in St. Paul, Minn.
Join Guy on his coast-to-coast journey starting at 6pm/5c — follow along and bookmark the restaurants as he goes, then try your hand at the recipes.
Go on set with Guy