For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient escarole. Most often used in Italian cooking, escarole is a slightly bitter lettuce that you’ll commonly see in soups and sometimes salads. But there’s more to this leafy green than meets the eye. A quick saute in some oil and garlic turns it into a simple side dish, but using it in these Escarole Quesadillas along with cheese transforms it into main dish territory. Try making them for your family the next time you have Tex-Mex night at home.
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Much like you probably prepare to cook an important meal by stocking up on any ingredients and specialty tools you may need, so, too, do the culinary teams on Food Network shows before filming begins. Shopping for goods to stock the pantry and refrigerator is up to them. For the all-new series Beat Bobby Flay, the team was tasked with readying the kitchen with enough food and equipment for not one round of cooking, but two, and the selection had to be great enough to ensure that the guest chefs and Bobby would be able to make whatever dish they wanted.
FN Dish was on the set of Beat Bobby Flay recently and caught up with the show’s culinary producer, Danielle LaRosa, to find out more about what it takes to make the series happen. Read on below to see insider photos of the kitchen and learn some of the most-popular ingredients on set from Danielle.
“We have at least 200 items in our pantry daily for both contestants and Bobby to have access to,” Danielle said. “Some of these 200 items include 30 kinds of spices (plus more as the season has gone on), 80 items in the dry pantry (including breads, vinegars, dried fruit, etc.), [and] 45 different kinds of fruits and vegetables.”
Change — or a lack thereof — was at the foundation of Robert Irvine‘s mission at Mama Della’s N.Y. City Pizzeria in Baton Rouge, La., a Big Apple-style parlor specializing in family recipes. While Robert indeed identified several issues with the menu at Mama Della’s and noted that its interior decor was “very nondescript,” perhaps the most-critical problem plaguing the business was owner Barry Kalt, who Robert deemed “one of the most-cantankerous owners I have ever come across.” Given his long-standing beliefs in how true dishes and ingredients should be prepared and served, Barry was hesitant to make any meaningful updates to his business practices, which ultimately resulted in his son Andrew, a former cook at Mama Della’s, leaving the restaurant. It took a serious lesson from Robert for Barry to fully realize the error of his ways, and he soon committed to improvements in the future. After two days of renovations on a $10,000 budget, the Restaurant: Impossible team reopened Mama Della’s, and FN Dish has the exclusive update from Barry on how his business is faring today.
“Mama Della’s saw a significant increase in customer traffic for the one-month period after the shoot,” Barry said. “Sales have increased by 30 percent over the same period in 2013.”
For years Marc Summers was the face of Food Network’s Unwrapped, pulling back the curtain on some of your all-time favorite snack foods and exposing just how they come to be in the factory. But come this spring, he’ll go one step further in the world of munchies by judging a snack food showdown on Rewrapped. Just in time for next month’s premiere (on Monday, April 21 at 8|7c), FN Dish caught up with Marc to learn a bit more about his own cooking habits, plus some of his favorite foods and go-to late-night bites. Read on below to hear from Marc, then find out more about the host of Rewrapped, Joey Fatone.
Do you cook at home? If so, what’s your signature dish?
Marc Summers: I do, but my wife is a better cook than I am, so, not that we’re ever in competition, but she’s just so darn good at it that I don’t do it much. When I’m in California … I like to barbecue. So I’m the king of barbecue in L.A., but the rest of the time my wife is cooking.
On Worst Cooks in America, 14 recruits have the opportunity of a lifetime: to be mentored by two renowned chefs, Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay. They arrive at Boot Camp with some of the worst kitchen skills imaginable, but if they’re able to last through seven weeks of competition without getting cut, they get the chance to be named the best of the worst and win $25,000 in prize money. Every week, two recruits, one from each team, must be eliminated. This week, the competition would be reduced to the final two recruits to compete in the finale.
Every Monday night, FN Dish has the exclusive interviews with the eliminated recruits from the Red Team and the Blue Team.
On Worst Cooks in America, 14 recruits have the tremendous opportunity to be mentored by Food Network Chefs Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay. They’ve come to Boot Camp with some of the worst skills imaginable, but if they’re able to survive seven weeks of competition without getting eliminated, they might just be named the best of the worst and win $25,000. Every week, one recruit from each team is sent home. This week Anne and Bobby determined the final two who would make it the finale.
FN Dish has the exclusive interviews with the eliminated recruits from the Red Team and the Blue Team.
Although he was once a competitor on such fierce contests as Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off and Chopped All-Stars, Joey Fatone is trading in his apron for a host’s suit on the all-new series Rewrapped (premiering Monday, April 21 at 8|7c). FN Dish caught up with the former musical superstar on the set of his upcoming show to chat about his signature dish, go-to late-night bite and favorite people to cook with. Read on below to hear from Joey, then hear from Marc Summers, a judge on Rewrapped.
Do you cook at home?
Joey Fatone: I do. I do enjoy cooking at home. It’s hard when you have kids because they like certain things, so sometimes you end up making the same thing over and over and over again. It’s like, “Let’s try something new, shall we?”
For the first time in Cutthroat Kitchen history, Alton Brown welcomed four of the “wickedest winners” back to the contest to see who among them could uphold their victorious records and outcook their competition yet again. After claiming wins in Season 1, Chefs Brian, Charles, Frankie and Gwen took their places at their workstations, confident that they would be able to keep up with their newest culinary rivals — but ultimately only one proved his or her staying power.
After three hard-fought rounds that found him making impromptu drinks for Alton, cooking in bed and deep-frying bread pudding, Chef Brian claimed a second Cutthroat win. Jet told Alton on the host’s After-Show that Chef Brian’s cocktail-concoction sabotage was “a giant time killer,” but it was surely not as wow-worthy as his Round 2 challenge, which forced him to prepare a breakfast burrito in bed atop a small cook station. “Are you kidding me?” Jet asked Alton with a smile when he saw the bed rolled in the kitchen.
On tonight’s episode of the Chopped Tournament of Stars, four comedians entered the competition to try their luck with the Chopped mystery basket ingredients. Though these four funny people can be pretty silly in their profession, when it came to competing, all of them showed that their dedication was no laughing matter. The winner of the round is going on to the finale, where only one competitor will walk away with the title of Chopped champion and $50,000 for charity. These comedians learned that the pressure of doing live standup, improv or television is no comparison to the pressures of the Chopped kitchen. Find out which one proved he or she has what it takes to move on to the finale. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the Round 3 winner.
Leaving behind pasts in Washington, D.C., Tim and Jennifer moved south to Fort Lauderdale and soon set their sights on business ownership. Although Tim has vast experience in the food industry, he and Jennifer needed guidance when it came to finding a location to launch an Irish pub, so they looked to Keith Simpson and Buy This Restaurant. Together they scoured several potential hot spots before selecting a waterfront restaurant with both dock and road access.
FN Dish checked in with Tim soon after filming to find out how his brand-new business, now named McNabs Dockside, is progressing. Read on below to hear from Tim for the exclusive first update on McNabs.
How is construction going at McNabs Dockside? In what stage is the renovation, and when do you plan to open?
Construction is going great. We are approaching the final stage. We anticipate opening in May.