Food Network’s Web series Chopped After Hours gives the judges a chance to cook with the same basket ingredients as the contestants from the episode that aired that night. Viewers get to watch the judges show off their skills with the unusual ingredients set to a timer. Catch up on past episodes of the show on the After Hours channel and come back for a brand-new episode on June 13. In the meantime, here’s your chance to get to know the people behind the judges’ table.
Chris Santos is the chef behind the communal-concept restaurants Beauty & Essex and The Stanton Social, both on the Lower East Side in New York City. He previously served as the executive chef of the famed Time Cafe and the award-winning Latin restaurant Suba. Chris has also worked as a food stylist and consultant on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and the movie Hitch. When he’s not judging on Chopped or cooking in his restaurants, you’ll find Chris hunting down the city’s best new burger, which is his guilty pleasure!
Read Chris’ Q&A
In Smyrna, Del., the Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant is indeed a family-run business, owned and operated by three generations of women: grandmother, daughter and granddaughter (Patty Gallegos, Sheila Furman and Jessica Furman, respectively). Their restaurant is known for its classic preparation of a local delicacy — muskrat — but beyond that, it has struggled to succeed, serving primarily frozen food in an old-fashioned space. If their business was to have any hope of thriving in the future, Patty, Sheila and Jessica would need Robert Irvine‘s support to revamp the menu with crowd-pleasing dishes that go beyond muskrat and to enliven the interior with a fresh, welcoming design. In just two days and with a $10,000 budget, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team helped this family learn to work together and ultimately reopened Wagon Wheel as a made-over eatery that they could be proud of. We checked in with Jessica a few months after the transformation to find out how the business is doing today.
Her mother, Sheila, is no longer working at Wagon Wheel, so Jessica will be relieving Patty and running the restaurant immediately after her graduation later this month. “I am excited to get back to work, to do what I wanted to since the beginning: make the Wagon Wheel profitable,” she tells FN Dish. “I want to become more involved in the community and create a place that people can go with their families to have a nice dinner with a great vibe.”
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To have a little summer fun with some of our favorite Food Network chefs, we challenged two prestigious groups — Chopped judges and Food Network Star winners — to a recipe showdown. All summer long, we’ll present head-to-head matchups of mouthwatering summer recipes from each team — from refreshing cocktails to fresh farmers’-market salads to the juiciest backyard burgers. By voting each week here on FN Dish, you’ll determine the winning recipes.
At the end of the summer, the team that tallies up the most wins will celebrate with an all-star Labor Day party menu. Who will prevail as Summer Showdown champion — Star or Chopped?
We’re kicking off the heated competition with three summer all-stars: frozen drinks, grilled steak and corn on the cob. Who made it best? Cast your votes below!
This weekend on Food Network there are a bunch of must-watch episodes including a behind-the-scenes look at Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Start your Saturday morning with an episode of Giada at Home, where Giada and her aunt Raffy share favorite recipes of Giada’s grandfather Dino. Then in the evening it’s a special 1-hour episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, offering up an exclusive look at never-before-seen footage of all the antics that didn’t make the regular episode cuts.
On Sunday, watch Guy in the kitchen with Chef Jonathan Waxman as the two cook up an Italian menu that includes a seafood salad and a spring soup. After, on Sandwich King, Jeff meets his match, “the Breakfast King,” and learns to make some unique breakfast sandwiches that he’ll later adapt. In the evening, tune in to see a cosmic-themed episode of Cupcake Wars. Then it’s round 2, battle 1 of the Iron Chef America tournament. And last, watch a new episode of Restaurant: Impossible where Robert must help a family fix their dysfunctional restaurant and relationships.
Read about the shows
In front of the judges’ table on Chopped
is a scary place for any contestant to be standing, especially when they’re waiting to hear the criticism from the judges. Some judges are kind in their assessments whereas others aren’t afraid to speak the honest truth no matter how blunt it sounds. But which judge is the most intimidating, the scariest?
FN Dish caught up with a bunch of Food Network stars, including Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell and the Neelys, as well as the judges themselves, among other famous faces, to ask the question, “Which Chopped judge are you most scared of?” Watch the video above to hear which judge came out on top as the scariest.
Who’s your scariest judge?
Michael Symon was the first Iron Chef I ever encountered in person. And I am delighted to say that, during the last three years, I have had the opportunity to hear his all-too-famous laugh on many more occasions, both as a co-judge on The Next Iron Chef as well as when I am lucky enough to judge his battles in Kitchen Stadium.
Just before he entered into battle against his fellow Iron Chefs, I took the chance to catch up with one of my favorite Food Network chums and demand answers to the following questions.
You once told me that you feared only “My wife, my mother and God — not necessarily in that order.” But is there any chef that you would hate to come up against in Kitchen Stadium?
MS: Not really. That’s not because I don’t think there are any chefs out there that are better than me, but because I live for competition and the battles in Kitchen Stadium. So win or lose, there is no one I’d be afraid to go up against.
If you haven’t heard already, Food Network’s Chopped After Hours is a new Web-only series in which the judges get a chance to cook with the same basket ingredients as the contestants from the episode that aired that night. Catch up on past episodes on the After Hours channel to see the judges show off their skills with the ingredients, and come back for a brand-new episode on June 13. In the meantime, FN Dish is introducing you to a judge every week. Here’s your chance to get to know the people behind the judges’ table.
Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club, and American Table Cafe and Bar by Marcus Samuelsson. Marcus is the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times. He was also tasked with planning and executing the Obama Administration’s first State dinner. Marcus has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards, including Best Chef: New York City and most recently in the category of Writing and Literature for his recent memoir, Yes, Chef. But what you may not know about Marcus is that if he didn’t become a chef, he might have become a professional soccer player. Find out more about Marcus in his Q&A below.
Read Marcus’s Q&A
On tonight’s all-new episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (10pm/9c), Guy’s digging in to dishes that Mama would make if she had a wild imagination. In Philadelphia a very special guest hits the kitchen with Guy for fried PB&Js, and in Phoenix there’s a farm-to-table spot dishing out dynamite pork sammies and cooking everything from pizzas to pancakes to meatballs in its wood-fired oven.
Before you tune in to tonight’s premiere, don’t miss Guy in a marathon of some of your favorite Triple D episodes. He’ll be stopping by hometown favorites, like in Chatham, N.J., where an Italian joint is baking up fried chicken, arancini balls and the decadent sacred swine sandwich. In Burbank, Calif., join Guy as he visits a family-owned chili-serving spot with a name dating back a century. And in Toronto he’ll stop by a smokehouse kicking burgers and turning a traditional BLT on its head.
Take the trip with him starting at 6pm/5c — follow along and bookmark the restaurants as he goes, and try your hand at the recipes.
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Perhaps one of the most-persistent restaurant owners ever featured on Restaurant: Impossible, Carolyn Cuneo from Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant in DeFuniak Springs, Fla., admitted to Robert Irvine early on that she is “not very good with change.” After her husband, George, passed away six years ago, she’s been hesitant to make any updates to the eatery, a dark, wood-covered space serving mediocre Italian-inspired food. Carolyn was in thousands of dollars of debt, which Robert realized could be attributed to the large amount of free food she regularly gave away to her staff and customers alike. In just two days and with a $10,000 budget, Robert and his team worked with Carolyn to rethink her management habits and ultimately reopen Mom & Dad’s as a thriving restaurant worthy of a second chance. FN Dish checked in with Carolyn a few months after the renovation to find out how the eatery has been doing.
Immediately following the overhaul, Mom & Dad’s saw a 67.7 percent increase in sales. Although the growth has since slowed a bit, “business is still good and it will be a much higher percentage than prior years,” Carolyn says, adding that she’s making stellar progress on paying back her debt.
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Recently, FN Dish caught up with Ted Allen, the multitalented host of Chopped, for a Facebook chat. Ted answered all kinds of questions about the show, including what the judges are like in person and what the competition is like behind the scenes. Fans also wondered whether Ted ever gets to taste the food and if he’ll ever compete himself.
Read Ted’s chat