All Posts In Food Network Chef

Sunny Anderson’s Big-Game Bash

by in Food Network Chef, January 27th, 2014

Sunny AndersonWhen it comes to the big game, no one tackles football food quite like Sunny Anderson. She’s a passionate football fan with a knack for turning out touchdown-worthy classics like wings, chili, dips and nachos at home, and her kickoff plan for easy entertaining is a cinch to follow and guarantees stress-free hosting. Just in time for next weekend’s big game, FN Dish chatted with Sunny to find out her ultimate team matchup and go-to chili toppings, plus learn what she’ll be cooking for the celebration and a few good-to-know party tips. Read on below to hear from Sunny, then watch her video to find out more about her kickoff solutions.

What is your dream team matchup for the big game?
Sunny Anderson: I think my dream matchup … would be Jets versus Giants. Let’s just settle it. The Giants are better. Let’s just grudge-match settle it.

What will you be cooking for the big game this year?
SA: I’m cooking everything. Usually I do a smorgasbord of wings. So I like to just do, like, two or three wings. So it’s usually going to be the basics, which is like a good spicy wing — a Buffalo wing — and then I go crazy from there, so definitely my PB&J Wings, and then I’m in love with Sticky Onion Crunch Wings, another recipe that I just put together. And then just lots of, like, dips; I have a crab-avocado, guacamole-type thing. And then you’ve gotta have dessert, because to me, dessert is like what you serve when you’re ready for people to go home. It’s your cue to leave when the coffee and dessert comes out.

Hear more from Sunny

Marking the Joy of Another Year — How the d’Arabians Do Birthday Season

by in Family, Food Network Chef, January 24th, 2014

Zucchini Muffins with Orange-Maple GlazeIt’s officially birthday season in the d’Arabian household: Two of my daughters, my husband, my brother-in-law and two nephews (who live a few houses away) all have birthdays within a three-week period. (Come to think of it, maybe we just have a big family?)

Birthdays are a celebration of another year — a year filled with loving one another, laughing, good times, tough times and being connected. The candles on the cake remind us that life is in session and we are participating. And the number of candles isn’t the only reminder (“Mom, your cake has so many candles it’s going to catch fire!”). How we celebrate also speaks to the passage of time. It seems like just yesterday we were lighting a “1″ candle on a cupcake that my daughter couldn’t have cared less about and giving her gifts that she lacked the dexterity to open. The princess party years breezed by, although if you had asked me as I stood in line, yet again, at Disney Store for the latest sparkly costume, I was sure they wouldn’t. Last week, a new milestone: our first “real” boy/girl party. Valentine turned 9 and wanted an evening party, including dinner and a dance area on our patio.

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#TBT: Geoffrey Zakarian

by in Food Network Chef, January 23rd, 2014

Geoffrey ZakarianIt’s Thursday, and while that means everyone is just one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time to throw back — to an earlier period in Food Network’s history. Check back on FN Dish every Thursday to find the latest #tbt of your favorite chefs and get a retro look at their earliest days on TV.

Although he’s a relatively new addition to Kitchen Stadium and recently launched a brand-new series, The Kitchen, with four other co-hosts, Geoffrey Zakarian is a longtime Chopped judge, having been part of the panel since the show’s premiere season in 2009. Now recognized equally for his dapper ensembles and his harsh critiques at the Chopping Block, Geoffrey is a no-nonsense judge, able to note the intricacies of a competitor’s dish and offer constructive reviews on how to better it in the future.

A pillar of the restaurant industry, Geoffrey has two eateries in Manhattan, serves as the culinary director for The Plaza Hotel in New York City, and has ventures in Miami and at The Water Club at Borgata in Atlantic City. Despite these commitments, however, and his dedication to serving only the finest cuisine at his restaurants, Geoffrey connects to viewers with ease and shares quick-fix, crave-worthy recipes that home cooks can surely replicate. His Caesar Salad with Red Romaine is a hearty, simple salad that can be on the table in a quick 20 minutes, and just this month on The Kitchen, Geoffrey offered a recipe for Italian Chicken Pasta Salad that takes advantage of store-bought rotisserie chicken.
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The Kitchen from Marcela’s Point of View — with Photos!

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 21st, 2014

Behind the Scenes on The Kitchen, Episode 3by Marcela Valladolid

It’s my turn this week to take you behind the scenes of our new show, The Kitchen. On behalf of Geoffrey, Katie, Jeff and Sunny, I’d like to tell you how absolutely grateful we are for the feedback, ideas, photos, recipes and love you’ve sent our way. All five of us, along with what has to be one of the best production crews I’ve ever worked with, are constantly looking for and debating what topics, recipes and ideas you would find most interesting.

Personally, I want you to walk away from each show feeling like you have learned something — like it was worth sharing your hour with us. We all have very different perspectives on food and cooking, and, I think, that’s what’s so great about The Kitchen; at one point or another, someone is going to say something that you connect with.

I’m injecting this show with two syringes: la mom and, because it’s in my DNA, la Mexican. It’s remarkable how even though I’ve dedicated my life to food, I’m still stumped every once in a while about what to put on the table for Fau (aka Fausto, my son). Anybody can buy a rotisserie chicken and make some tacos (often dinner at this casa), but what if you don’t even have time to go to the grocery store and get the darn chicken? What if, more than once a week, it’s like a Chopped episode and you just open up the pantry praying that you’ve got enough in there to whip up something good and nutritious for your family?

Behind-the-scenes photos

#TBT: The Neelys

by in Food Network Chef, January 16th, 2014

The NeelysIt’s Thursday, and while that means everyone is just one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time to throw back — to an earlier period in Food Network’s history. Check back on FN Dish every Thursday to find the latest #tbt of your favorite chefs and get a retro look at their earliest days on TV.

The king and queen of down-home barbecue, husband and wife Patrick and Gina Neely are best when they’re together, one of only a few groups on Food Network to co-host a show. Their first-ever series on the network, Down Home with the Neelys, featured Pat and Gina cooking alongside each other, swapping stories about their family’s recipes, tips on executing their dishes at home and surely plenty of laughs.

Pat and Gina specialize in making traditional barbecue, and while that has different meanings across the United States, the Neelys most often focus on classic Tennessee ’cue, turning out Memphis-Style Hickory-Smoked Beef and Pork Ribs, Barbecue Baked Beans and Honey Cornbread Muffins. Although some barbecue recipes have a tendency to be complicated and require tricky cooking techniques, Pat and Gina’s are simple to follow and deliver tried-and-true results, thanks to their fan-friendly style of breaking down each component of a recipe and showing how it  can be replicated easily at home.

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14 Things You Didn’t Know About Alton Brown

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 14th, 2014

10 Things You Didn't Know About Alton BrownMost fans believe Alton Brown‘s a walking food dictionary (and he is). He’s the ultimate commentator on Iron Chef America, he’s a mentor and judge on Food Network Star and no one will ever forget Good Eats. But there’s still so much to learn about this pillar of Food Network. FN Dish caught up with Alton on the set of his newest show, Cutthroat Kitchen, where he chatted about survival techniques for future competitors and even a couple things you may not know about the man who so many admire and look up to.

1. When Alton was younger, he always thought he would end up directing movies, which is what he trained for. “Only I got sidestepped into commercials for a long time.”

2. Alton spends a lot of time flying airplanes.

3. Alton plays multiple instruments including the guitar. “I always travel with a guitar when I’m on the road.” He also sings with his trio on his live tour.

4. Going along with music: Alton almost always listens to music while he cooks. The playlist depends on the day. “I’m anywhere from opera to Led Zeppelin — and everywhere in between. My daughter is 14 and listens to a lot of pop stuff, so I tend to gravitate way, far away from whatever she’s listening to. I have music on in the kitchen all the time. The last 10 things I cooked were probably to mid-’70s Elton John,” Alton shared with FN Dish.

5. Alton is terrified of calf’s liver. “I’ve tried it and I can’t make it edible. I don’t like anyone else’s either — and mine is just worse,” Alton adds.

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The Sophomore Effort

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 12th, 2014

The Kitchen - Behind the Scenes, Episode 2by Jeff Mauro

What a blast it was watching the premiere of The Kitchen along with all of you. The twitter action was bonkers. I was up in the air on my way back from the 14th annual Mauro Mexico Family Trip (25 Mauros strong this year!). I was sad because: A) The vacation was a bit of a bummer because it rained five days straight, I lost my iPad and my mom got a terrible case of strep throat*, and B) I wasn’t able to watch the live airing of the premiere of our new show on TV. Luckily, we had in-flight Wi-Fi and I got to engage in the episode via Twitter. Overall, the response was very positive, which is always reassuring. Twittertown can be a rough and tumble joint (keep reading, you’ll see what I mean), and it is seriously not for the meek. But in this case, it seemed like the people really liked us. Phew.

Episode 2 was a blast to shoot. We hit the field energetic and, with a couple practices and a solid game under our tight belts, more confident. We had our first guest during Cookbook Club — the highly talented pastry guru, author and legitimate Chicago native Jenny McCoy (win a copy of her book now). She gave an effortless interview in which I totally blew it and forgot to ask her my favorite question ever (see photo below). Jenny then demoed some of her award-winning desserts with the girls, and GZ and I promptly got kicked off set. This gave us a bit of a “union break.” I enjoyed a necessary dose of Jersey sunshine with GZ (which I guess was highly necessary, considering I received several tweets, one claiming I look “pretty pale” and another asking “What’s with Jeff’s alabaster skin? It’s gross.”). Noted.**

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One-on-One with Sunny Anderson from The Kitchen

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 10th, 2014

Sunny AndersonYou know GeoffreyJeffKatieMarcela and Sunny from their other adventures on Food Network and FoodNetwork.com, but for the first time last Saturday, you watched them come together on their brand-new series, The Kitchen (airing Saturdays at 11am/10c). Katie and Geoffrey cooked alongside each other, Sunny showed off her version of crepes, and the group dished about the latest trends and topics in everyone’s favorite room of the house: the kitchen. Before the season gets too far underway, however, FN Dish wants fans to get to know each of the co-hosts a bit better, so we’ll be sharing exclusive interviews with all five chefs every day this week. Read on below to learn more about Sunny Anderson, then get to know the rest of the group.

Tell us your culinary point of view in the kitchen in a few sentences.
Sunny Anderson: I am hungry, I am impatient and I am lazy. This is how I cook.

Why did you want to get involved in The Kitchen?
SA: I always talk about food, so why not get paid for it, right? And it’s a good excuse to get Geoffrey Zakarian to cook for me weekly.

Hear more from Sunny

One-on-One with Marcela Valladolid from The Kitchen

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 9th, 2014

Marcela ValladolidYou know GeoffreyJeffKatieMarcela and Sunny from their other adventures on Food Network and FoodNetwork.com, but for the first time last Saturday, you watched them come together on their brand-new series, The Kitchen (airing Saturdays at 11am/10c). Katie and Geoffrey cooked alongside each other, Sunny showed off her version of crepes, and the group dished about the latest trends and topics in everyone’s favorite room of the house: the kitchen. Before the season gets too far underway, however, FN Dish wants fans to get to know each of the co-hosts a bit better, so we’ll be sharing exclusive interviews with all five chefs every day this week. Read on below to learn more about Marcela Valladolid, and check back tomorrow to hear from Sunny.

Tell us your culinary point of view in the kitchen in a few sentences.
Marcela Valladolid: Quick, easy, approachable and Mexican at the core

Why did you want to get involved in The Kitchen?
MV: Because I wanted to add that perspective precisely. A lot of the hosts have kids — well, the Jeffries have kids — but I am the only one that’s a mom, and I think that’s a very important perspective to have. And also, I think I’m always going to try to infuse that Mexican flavor and Mexican ingredients, and I think that’s very relevant these days. I think there’s a huge interest in that, so I think you can infuse that at the same time as being incredibly approachable …. So I think there’s a huge interest in anything Hispanic, and I’d love to be able to be that voice on the show. I’m sure all of us appreciate, like I said, easy and approachable menus, but because, like I said, I’m a mom, it’s just something that I totally gravitate toward.

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Starting a New Habit in 2014: Eat a Salad a Day

by in Food Network Chef, Recipes, January 9th, 2014

Starting a New Habit in 2014: Eat a Salad a DayI’d like to commit to having a salad a day this year. Who is with me?

Perhaps I should back up and start with a confession: I’m not a naturally disciplined person. Left to my devices, I will sleep until 10am, lounge about in sweats all day, never work out and order in spicy Thai food until my palate finally forces me to switch to a day of pizza(!). Yes, natural me is an ugly scene. That’s the bad news. The good news is I know this about me. And I also know how to create a life I really want, despite my human imperfections. What is the secret? It all comes down to one thing: creating habits that support the life I truly want to live that will circumvent my natural (read: lazier) tendencies. And what better time to start a new habit than now, amidst all the belly-gazing the new year inspires?

Why a salad a day? Why not an apple, as the saying goes? I’ve already done an apple a day for a year. It was brilliant and I still have an apple most days — proof that habits, even good ones, die hard, which is why it is doubly wise to choose our habits purposefully. Back to our salad, I feel better when I eat raw vegetables. I have more energy, my skin is clearer, my body feels leaner and I feel generally healthier. Committing simply to “eat more raw veggies” in the new year would be to trust my whims to lead me to a crudite plate night after night. As I mentioned before, I know myself. The first week, I would be making a gorgeous platter with elegant zucchini spears, cutely bulbous tiny heirloom tomatoes and mini sweet peppers perfect for scooping up a low-fat yogurt dip. But by the end of the month, I’d be pulling a baby carrot from the leftover dregs of my daughter’s lunchbox, mentally checking off the veggie resolution box. Not good.

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