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Robert Irvine Exclusive: No One Expects an Ambush

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, October 13th, 2015

Robert IrvineFor the past 11 seasons of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine has given seemingly hopeless restaurateurs second chances at success, completing dream transformations, both within the four walls of the eateries and beyond, as he’s worked with owners to evolve their business savvy. On the brand-new season of Restaurant: Impossible Ambush, he’ll do all of that again — but this time, the owners don’t know he’s coming.

Premiering Thursday, Oct. 22 at 9|8c, Restaurant: Impossible Ambush will show what happens when Robert and his team drop by unannounced, all set to take over an unsuspecting owner’s business, and what results simply cannot be anticipated. From pure elation to downright dissatisfaction, the reactions to Robert’s impromptu renovations are as variable as the issues plaguing the failing eateries. If you thought that owners were shocked — and perhaps a bit annoyed — by Robert’s advice even when they requested it, imagine what might ensue when he shows up without an invitation.

Just in time for this month’s premiere, Robert gave FN Dish an insider’s look at what’s ahead on Ambush. Read on below for an exclusive interview with the host and find out what he wants to say to the stubborn owners he’s met along the way.

What can fans expect from the Ambush renovations? How are these episodes different than past Restaurant: Impossible shows?
Robert Irvine: Crazy! For 11 seasons [of] Restaurant: Impossible, the viewers knew that the guests, or the people I was going to help, knew I was coming. I was the only one that didn’t know where I was going. Season 12 Ambush, let me tell you, they have no idea I’m coming, and I have no idea where I’m going. And what happens when I walk in the door truly is up to them: how they react, how I speak to them, how they lose their cool. And do they want me there? That’s the big question. … I’ve got to tell you, it’s not like any other Restaurant: Impossible we have ever, ever done. It’s exciting. It is gripping. It’s chilling. It’s nail-biting. And you’ll never know what’s going to happen, ’cause every turn is something different.

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Judge Jet’s “Tip to the Chefs” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 11th, 2015

Cook the assigned dishes and win the game — that’s all there is to Cutthroat Kitchen, right? Yes, but of course there are those tricky sabotages to contend with as well. But even in the midst of daunting challenges, many competitors make the rounds harder on themselves by going far beyond what’s asked of them. After tonight’s brand-new episode, judge Jet Tila and Alton Brown sat down on the host’s After-Show to dish about how one chef’s determination to do more and put more on the plate ultimately cost her the competition.

In the first round’s Monte Cristo assignment, Chef Jourdan was saddled with working with bread from a French onion soup to make her sandwich. While Jet suggested ideas for making the sabotage work, Alton noted that Chef Jourdan did not pursue them. Perhaps that was because, as Alton said, she was “too busy making soup and a tomato salad,” neither of which is a required element of a classic Monte Cristo. “A tip to the chefs: Don’t ever do more dishes than what is required,” Jet told Alton as the judge pondered Chef Jourdan’s elimination, and Alton agreed. “Do the required one correctly,” the host added. For Chef Jourdan, no matter the seemingly superfluous items on her plate, her sandwich wasn’t a win either, as Jet found it to be “beefy” on account of the soup sabotage.

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When Kids Face the Chopping Block: Ted Allen on the Astonishing Maturity of Chopped Junior Competitors

by in Shows, October 11th, 2015

Ted Allen“I’m over-the-moon excited with how fun this series is,” said Ted Allen when we chatted on the set of the new kids’ competition show, Chopped Junior, premiering on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 8|7c. Ted hosts the series, in which 10- to 14 -year-olds compete in a very mature arena. The Chopped set may be decked out in primary colors, but the challenge is the same: Transform a set of basket ingredients into a cohesive dish that’s flavorful and well-presented. But these kids, unlike most, can do just that — they’re halfway to being adults when it comes to knowing food.

“These are kids who really love to cook, who have been inculcated with the values of chefs,” said Ted, adding that just like professional chefs, the kid competitors want to cook real, fresh, unprocessed foods. Give them a frozen pizza bite, Ted gave as an example, and they will “lecture you about the ingredients that are in processed foods.” These kids know their stuff, whether it’s how to use a unique ingredient like lemongrass or how to dice an onion like a pro. And Ted was floored by the kids’ mastery of tastes. “They know that if something’s too sweet, you have to balance it with something acidic, like lemon juice or lime juice or vinegar. They like vinegar. They like things that are bitter.” Is there anything that these kids are bad at?

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Autumn Squash, Reimagined: 2 New Ways to Eat It All Season Long

by in Recipes, Shows, October 10th, 2015

Spaghetti Tossed with Butternut Squash and Sage ButterApples and pumpkins and spiced lattes, oh my! There are many reasons to love fall, and perhaps chief among them is the influx of produce. While summer often claims the spotlight in terms of garden-fresh goods, autumn too turns out its share of plentiful crops, including squash. From butternut and acorn to delicata and spaghetti, there’s no shortage of squashes hitting store shelves this time of year. And on this morning’s brand-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts showed off their takes on two of them.

Who says pasta must be served with red sauce? Not Marcela Valladolid, who prepared Spaghetti Tossed with Butternut Squash and Sage Butter, an easy-to-make meal that brings together satisfying butternut squash with another fall flavor: fragrant sage. After melting the butter, she infuses it with garlic and the chopped herb, creating a silky sauce that will coat each strand of pasta. Chopped hazelnuts add a welcome crunch, while a sprinkle of nutty Parmesan cheese brings the decadence you crave.

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The Best of the Worst — Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition Episode 3 Recap in GIFs

by in Shows, October 9th, 2015

Chris wants another chanceGet highlights from Episode 3 of Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition, and see some of the craziest moments in GIFs.

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What to Watch: The Premiere of Unwrapped 2.0, and The Walking Dead’s Benjamin Papac on Halloween Wars

by in Shows, October 9th, 2015

Halloween Wars JudgesThis weekend, celebrate the cool weather with comfort food recipes from your favorite chefs. On Saturday morning, Ree Drummond starts things off with a family lunch of Spicy Sausage Dogs and Kiwi Lime Pie for dessert. Next, the co-hosts of The Kitchen are sharing their best autumn recipes with Jeff Mauro’s United States of Meatloaf and Marcela Valladolid’s Spaghetti Tossed with Butternut Squash and Sage Butter. Then, on Sunday night, Unwrapped 2.0 premieres with back-to-back episodes about movie theater eats and your favorite crunchy snacks.

On Sunday morning, Giada De Laurentiis hosts a wine-and-appetizer party, serving Potato Crisps with Goat Cheese and Olives and a Savory Crostata. Next, Damaris Phillips goes picking the fresh harvest and picnicking with blackened chicken sandwiches and Zucchini Noodle Salad. Then, on Sunday night, there are all-new competition shows, starting with a Guy’s Grocery Games with four chefs who have overcome adversities to make their culinary dreams come true. Next, the four remaining teams on Halloween Wars present their displays to guest judge Benjamin Papac from The Walking Dead. Then, Alton ends the night with a whole new slate of sabotages on Cutthroat Kitchen.

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One-on-One with the Next Eliminated Celebrity Recruit — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, October 7th, 2015

Chris Soules and Kendra WilkinsonThis season on Worst Cooks in America, seven celebrity recruits have signed up to be whipped into shape by mentors Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray, but unfortunately one recruit has to be eliminated in each episode. Last week front-runner Jaleel saw his time be cut short after a momentary slip-up that resulted in an overspiced dish and one of the most-dramatic moments in Worst Cooks history. Tonight two recruits who’ve had trouble setting the correct pace in Boot Camp landed in the bottom two. Their far-less-than-spectacular dishes landed them there, but in the end an eggs-traordinary elimination challenge determined who would go home. FN Dish has the exclusive exit interview with tonight’s eliminated recruit.

SPOILER ALERT: Read on to find out who went home.

Being a Judge Doesn’t Keep You Safe from the Chopping Block — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, October 6th, 2015


Things are always a little scary in the Chopped kitchen, but judges Chris Santos, Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian had the challenge of making it even more terrifying this week. After a special Halloween episode, they took on the spooky dessert basket filled with Day of the Dead cookies, a boo-nilla shake, chocolate-covered bugs and a watermelon brain for an all-new Chopped After Hours.

Alex quickly noticed that the basket ingredients would need some work, pointing out that the icing on the cookies was just powdered sugar, food coloring and water. “Deceptively brilliant in color and extremely light on flavor,” she said. All three judges opted for the watermelon as their main flavor-enhancer, using it in three frozen variations. Geoffrey also added slices right to his plate as Ted worried it’s too simple. “It’s going to stay that way,” Geoffrey said. “What I’m doing is so out there, it’s beyond me, even.”

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The Winner of Food Network Star Dishes on His New Series: “BBQ Blitz Is Something That Best Represents Eddie”

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, October 5th, 2015

Eddie Jackson on BBQ Blitz“This show is basically me in a nutshell,” Food Network Star winner Eddie Jackson told us recently of his upcoming series, BBQ Blitz, kicking off Friday, Oct. 9 at 10:30|9:30c. The show takes him across the country to six different cities — each with special meaning to him — where he’ll oversee meaty face-offs among local pitmasters to create what he believes is a brand-new kind of contest on TV. “I am excited for fans to see something totally different from a barbecue competition show on Food Network,” Eddie said. He’s no stranger to culinary showdowns, of course, as it was just a few weeks ago that he vied for the title of Food Network Star — and won. It turns out that all of the challenges he endured on Star weren’t for naught, as he explained that he took some of the lessons he learned from that show, including one crucial piece of industry know-how from mentor Bobby Flay, into the filming of BBQ Blitz.

Read on below to hear from Eddie in an exclusive interview as he dishes on his lessons learned from Food Network Star, and find out why he thinks “BBQ Blitz is something that best represents Eddie.”

How is the process of filming your own television show different (better?) than filming and competing on Food Network Star?
Eddie Jackson: It was a lot different, but I think that some of the things that we went through on Food Network Star definitely kind of helped me out with filming BBQ Blitz. ‘Cause there’s a little bit of everything: how to go through the process of interacting with people, the whole looking into the camera, understanding the camera, being friends with the camera. Things that they talked about a lot on Food Network Star, you really had to do while I was filming BBQ Blitz.

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What Happens When Princess Leia and Dr. Evil Join Forces — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 4th, 2015

If the over-the-top outdoorsy sabotages that Alton Brown recently unveiled at Camp Cutthroat are any indication, the host’s devotion to eviliciousness knows no bounds, and he’s not one to shy away from a theme. And it’s a good thing that’s the case, because on tonight’s special Halloween episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, he answered the call of fright-night duty by dressing up as none other than Dr. Evil, complete with a bald cap and a telling facial scar. Simon Majumdar, who — like Alton — will stop at nothing for the betterment of the show, donned a series of getups, including a pink-lipped Princess Leia costume, which he showed off on Alton’s After-Show. The duo looked back on the most-haunting Halloween-themed sabotages of the day, from chainsawed sandwich wraps to a time-sucking coffin.

“It was a coffin break, Simon,” Alton told the judge of the Round 2 midround challenge as the crew rolled out the coffin. “The Bobs are awakening,” Simon noted, looking into the coffin as a wigged Bob waved back at him. But not long after the Bob was revealed did Alton slam the top of the coffin upon him, and Simon learned that Chef Adia was forced to spend a spooky five minutes inside that coffin. No matter her lost time, though, Chef Adia ultimately proved her scary-good sabotage prowess by surviving the challenges and earning evilicious glory.

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