On the new show All-Star Academy, premiering Sunday, March 1 at 9|8c, Chefs Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone and Michael Symon mentor teams of home cooks to find the nation’s single best cook, who will leave a champion and $50,000 richer. These mentors are known for their rival personalities, competitiveness and talent — traits that they will look for in the cooks when choosing their teams in the premiere episode.
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A competition like Cutthroat Kitchen can surely be a transformative undertaking for the chef contestants, as they’re almost always pushed beyond their culinary comfort zones. But their ingredients, too, are often forced to become something they’re usually not in order to satisfy a challenge — that’s where Testing the Sabotages comes in. Before Alton Brown could auction off a test to, say, turn potato chip crumbs into gnocchi, as he did on tonight’s all-new episode, the Cutthroat culinary crew had to attempt the conversion firsthand to make sure it was both possible and fair within the time limits.
Just minutes into starting his test, food stylist Hugo Sanchez struggled to work with the gnocchi dough, and he admitted, “The chips in it are preventing it from binding as a normal dough would. It’s actually turning out to be a bigger deal than I expected.” Nevertheless, he soon managed to roll the dough into a log and lob off bite-size dumplings, and in the spirit of evilicious cooking, he said, “It may not taste like gnocchi, but it’s going to look like gnocchi.” Sure enough, after a quick boil and pan-fry, he served up a simple yet presentable gnocchi offering, though he wondered if chefs could use their imagination to create an even better rendition. “It’s definitely something you can play with,” Hugo noted. “Maybe some bacon, some sour cream — call it a baked potato gnocchi.”
Like peanut butter and jelly and mashed potatoes and gravy, spaghetti and meatballs are two parts of a seemingly unbreakable culinary marriage, and in many homes, these Italian superstars are often the shining component of Sunday supper. Geoffrey Zakarian showcased his version of this timeless comfort food, featuring tender rosemary-laced meatballs simmered in a tomato-basil sauce for bold flavor and served with classic spaghetti, on this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen. The secret to his moist meatballs is the meat blend he’s chosen: a combination of ground pork and veal, plus pork sausage.
FN Dish wants to know, when you make spaghetti and meatballs at your house, which half of this dish is your favorite? Are you a lover of all things pasta, no matter its shape, or do you prefer the melt-in-your-mouth taste of a meatball cooked just right? Do you prefer to gently twirl the noodles on your fork or slice open the meatball in one fell swoop? Vote in the poll below to tell us whether you prefer the spaghetti or meatballs element of Sunday supper more.
What to Watch: The Kitchen’s Comfort Food Feast and a Food Truckapalooza on Diners, Drive-Ins and Divesby Rosanna Talarico in Shows, February 20th, 2015
This weekend on Food Network, stay in and get cozy with great comfort food recipes. On Saturday morning, join Ree Drummond as she cooks her family’s favorite dishes. Then, it’s a comfort food feast on The Kitchen as the cast shows off their wild comfort food mash-ups. On Sunday, Giada De Laurentiis has you covered with recipes and ideas for your late-night cravings. Next, Guy Fieri is whipping up a Southwestern meal with his special guest, Joey Fatone. Then, watch Nancy Fuller incorporate beer into her cooking and baking on Farmhouse Rules.
Also, on Sunday night, root for your favorite chefs as they fight for the prize on Guy’s Grocery Games and Cutthroat Kitchen. And don’t miss the one-hour-special of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives at 9|8c as Guy Fieri shares the top food spots on wheels.
“Going to the grocery store is one of my favorite things to do,” says Guy Fieri, host of Guy’s Grocery Games. Now in its fifth season, there’s a reason why the show is so popular. That’s because everyone shops. Everyone has to get to the store, whether they like it or not, unless they’re grocery shopping online, something you’ll never find Guy doing. But the point is that grocery shopping affects us all. And Guy’s Grocery Games turns the mundane chore into a fun game. Who hasn’t dreamt of running down the aisles of the supermarket in a shopping spree?
We recently caught up with Guy on the set of the show to find out what grocery shopping is like for him, his tried-and-true method, what he likes to buy (what he can’t leave without) and what’s the absolute top thing he hates about going to the supermarket — it’s something that probably has happened to you before.
It’s brother versus brother at Bene Pizza and Pasta, a 13-year-old business in Omaha, Neb., run by Jon and Bobby Lanphier and their mother, Ginger Lanphier. It was up to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team not only to overhaul the interior of the eatery and improve upon the dreary arcade, but also to mend the siblings’ relationship, which had weakened over the years as a result of increasing financial strain on the company. Read on below to hear from Ginger and find out how she and her sons are doing at Bene Pizza and Pasta a few months after their Restaurant: Impossible transformation.
Comparing this December to last December, “business was up 20 percent,” Ginger reveals. “The arcade does well when we are busy. We have talked to customers and are convinced that it brings customers in because it differentiates us from other pizza restaurants.”
Mixed reactions would best describe the kids when they heard they would have to bake treats featuring pate a choux in Episode 3 of Kids Baking Championship. Some revealed they hated the dough, whereas others were excited to be taking on something they loved. It’s safe to say most of us viewers were wondering how these kids even knew about the French pastry dough used to make cream puffs (profiteroles), cheese puffs (gougères) and éclairs, among other treats (including the towering croquembouche).
The kids went about the challenge and created some of the most-impressive baked goods. The judges’ criteria came down to mostly flavor profiles — although there was the occasional issue of too large versus too small a puff.
If you’re up for a challenge, and if you consider yourself as advanced as these kids, here are some recipes to get you started baking with pate a choux, including sweet and savory renditions, just as was asked of the kid bakers. See how well you can survive the challenge at home. And if you happen to produce some “ungainly” results, as Duff Goldman commented, eat the evidence!
Cream puffs and éclairs! This was a tough challenge on Kids Baking Championship. I didn’t learn how to make pate a choux until I was at least 19 or 20. Natalie saw all these treats and she was freaked out! I knew Hollis was going to be excited; she made killer pate a choux bagels in the last challenge, Dessert Imposters, and I think she had a mental edge over everyone else. I was really stoked for Annika too. She had what I think was the toughest challenge when she had to make sushi. Burgers, pizza, spaghetti — these are all items I would choose to make in a competition before I would attempt sushi, which is much more colorful and complex. She came in second to last in that episode, and she was mad!
Annika was super confident about pate a choux and that’s good to see. Jackson was feeling really good as well. He knows this dough and is ready to bake! The fact that so many of these kids understood such a difficult and complex pastry is mind-blowing, and after the competition, I called my mom and asked her why she didn’t have me making pate a choux when I was 11. She said I wasn’t ready for it. Wait until she sees this episode. She’s going to eat her words (and not my éclairs!).
After a three-season winning streak, Worst Cooks in America‘s Red Team coach, Anne Burrell, suffered two back-to-back losses, but just last night she reclaimed her victorious title in a nail-biting finale. “It feels like I’ve been restored to my correct position,” she told FN Dish in an exclusive interview. The veteran mentor spent seven weeks at Boot Camp with her team of recruits, detailing the beginner how-tos of the kitchen and building confidence within the novice cooks, and ultimately her mentee Kristen Redmond proved just how much she’s learned from Anne in a cook-off against the Blue Team’s Genique Freeman.
Read on below to hear more from Anne as she dishes on the finale, shares her proudest moment as a mentor and gives must-know kitchen tips for Worst Cooks fans at home.
On Worst Cooks in America, 14 hapless cooks entered Boot Camp to be mentored by chefs Anne Burrell and Tyler Florence. Split into the Red and Blue teams, they faced new cooking challenges every week, honing their skills until just two finalists (one from each team) remained to face off in one final cook-off. In last night’s episode, one came in the winner, walking away with $25,000, whereas the other left with just the knowledge and skills she learned during the competition. By no means is that runner-up a loser, having made it all the way to the finale. Her accomplishments give her much to be proud of.
FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the Season 6 runner-up.