Stale bakeries are no more when Kerry Vincent comes in and works her expertise in Food Network’s new series Save My Bakery, premiering March 19 8|7c. With years of professional experience to call upon, Kerry revives bakeries’ selections of sweets as well as their sliding sales. Kerry’s mission is to reinvigorate local bakeries and put them back on the neighborhood radar. At the same time, she mends strained relationships that often are at the center of these failing businesses. As a master sugar artist and cake designer, and an inductee in the International Cake Exploration Societé Hall of Fame and the Dessert Professional Hall of Fame, there’s no better person for the job. Food Network fans may also remember Kerry from Food Network Challenge, where she served as head judge.
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They would be, however, first-time restaurant owners, so they looked to Keith for help in finding a prime location that would offer them the expanded real estate for customer service they so desperately craved, plus room to bottle and distribute their products — fresh juices and raw foods among them. After scouring several Austin properties, some with asking prices well within their $350,000 budget as well as some that were over budget, the husband-and-wife clients opted to pursue a space that was once home to a music store. Although this location had not previously been set up as a restaurant, it promised a whopping 3,300 square feet of space and came with what Keith called a “monument sign” out front, which would go a long way in helping Joanie and Cary promote their restaurant.
FN Dish caught up with Joanie a few months after filming the show to find out how their business is progressing, and to learn more about her and Cary’s plans for Skinny Limits. Read on below for an exclusive first interview with Joanie and to get the latest details on the restaurant.
How is the renovation process? Has it taken the full six months to open?
Joanie: It is going great. Of course it’s slower than we want, but as the building is taking shape, we are getting more and more excited. It’s going to take the full six months to get it open. With design review, permits, construction bids, etc., it’s a long process. Having our temporary kitchen has been a great way for us to keep up with the growth of our shipping business without getting too stressed out.
When Robert Irvine arrived at Estrada’s Restaurant in Daly City, Calif., it wasn’t enough for his Restaurant: Impossible team that the owners, Bernadette Aggen and Julio Mercedes, were facing more than $400,000 of debt; they seemed downright disinterested in their 96-year-old restaurant, which they purchased nearly six years ago. After surveying the interior of Estrada’s, however, and tasting its food, Robert learned that the Mexican eatery’s problems went beyond its management. With just two days and $10,000 to work, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team successfully overhauled the menu and updated the design at Estrada’s, all while reinvigorating Bernadette and Julio. Read on below to hear from the owners in their first exclusive interview since the transformation, and find out how their restaurant is doing today.
Sales at Estrada’s have increased nearly 30 percent, according to Bernadette and Julio, who add that their business is now profitable and that they’ve begun to decrease their debt.
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient grapefruit. The goal of this challenge was to use the sweet-sour taste of the citrus fruit to its full advantage by pairing it with hearty salmon. Not only is grapefruit in season during winter, but it’s a great way to enjoy a bit of brightness during the dreary season — and it’s packed with vitamin C to fight off colds and flus. This Grapefruit-Honey Salmon is easy to put together, with only seven ingredients, and takes just 25 minutes in total. It’s a recipe your family is sure to appreciate for its sweetness and savoriness.
For most competitors, the idea of putting any four basket ingredients onto a single plate is daunting enough — let alone combining them in one pan for one sauce. But that’s exactly what Scott Conant did tonight on an all-new installment of Chopped After Hours. Joined by guest host Alex Guarnaschelli, Scott, Amanda Freitag and Geoffrey Zakarian took over the Chopped Kitchen for a battle with the same entree-round ingredients that four amateur cooks had just worked with on the show. They had only 30 minutes to make a dinner dish out of tikka masala sauce, hanger steak, Asian long beans and croquettes, and in true Italian form, Scott embraced pasta.
He combined these disparate products — some fresh, others prepared and bottled — into a one-pot Bolognese-inspired sauce. While these ingredients may have lent themselves to this type of preparation better than most others, Alex couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if the flavors didn’t meld well when combined. “Seems like you’re putting the whole basket into one thing,” Alex told him. “What if it doesn’t work out?” He answered simply with a smile: “You punt. At that point, I’m just going to eat Geoffrey’s sandwich.”
On last’s night’s Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, the celebrities got to set up their own hot dog carts at Luna Park, right on the Coney Island Boardwalk. The challenge was more fun than anything else, but time constraints did have everyone hustling to make enough to serve hoards of customers. Tiffany, though, was the lucky winner of the Round 1 french fry cook-off, earning 10 extra minutes to cook her Jamaican-inspired hot dog. In the end, only one celebrity won MVP this time (immunity was off the table), and one went home.
On the series premiere of Buy This Restaurant, Kelly and her sister Lisa began the process of shopping for Minneapolis-area hot spots to launch their first-ever eatery, a coffee shop-cafe that would feature simple bites like soup and sandwiches. It was important to these restaurant rookies that their eventual business be quaint enough to offer neighborhood charm, so they tasked Keith Simpson with finding a location that would meet their criteria, all while staying within their budget of $300,000. Although Keith showed Kelly and Lisa two earlier properties that were well within their budget, they ultimately decided to purchase the third and last restaurant, Hans’ Bakery, which was a bank-owned property listed for $49,000. The price of Hans’ may have been just right, especially since their purchase price was ultimately nearer $30,000, however the state of its interior was anything but; the kitchen at the bakery was overrun with uncleanliness, and Kelly and Lisa faced the daunting task of deep-cleaning it before opening day.
FN Dish checked in with Kelly a few weeks after filming to learn more about her decision to purchase Hans’ and to find out when her business is set to open. Read on below to hear from Kelly in her first exclusive interview after the show.
What will be the name of your new bakery, and when do you plan to open?
Kelly: We will reopen Hans’ Bakery under its original name, as a tribute to the man who made it into a local icon. Our grand opening date will be Feb. 22, 2014.
What was the most-influential factor in you choosing Hans’ Bakery over the neighborhood general store and the downtown cafe?
Kelly: There was never really a decision to be made; my heart was in the bakery that I went to as a child.
Surviving a round of Cutthroat Kitchen is no small feat, and for most chefs, each of the 30 minutes on the clock is precious. On this week’s all-new episode, however, one competitor learned what it’s like to attempt a round in half that time — in only 15 quick minutes.
In what judge Jet Tila deemed “the worst sabotage I think I’ve heard of,” Alton announced halfway through Round 2’s huevos rancheros challenge that the mid-round sabotage was to begin the entire challenge over again, from scratch. Chef David was gifted this task, and he was ultimately forced to not just start over in cooking, but to also grocery shop and prep his ingredients for a second time. “It totally makes sense why his dish didn’t come together,” Jet noted to Alton during the host’s After-Show. “You can’t hit the reset button,” Alton added.
When Chopped competitors are presented with a mystery basket that contains a very specific ingredient, for example, pizza dough, what you’ll oftentimes get is four different iterations of the same dish. But not so with the Chopped judges — their creativity takes pizza dough to new heights. Facing the same entree basket as the contestants from Chopped: Pizza Perfect, judges Amanda, Geoffrey and Alex took up spots in the Chopped Kitchen for an After Hours competition where they cooked with deep-dish pizza dough, rabbit escabeche, Swiss chard and pineapple cheese spread.
On the show, none of the three competitors in the entree round thought outside of the box — or the pizza pan, in this instance. The chef who was ultimately chopped went home for a pizza that had everything wrong with the dough. Amanda, Geoffrey and Alex immediately looked at the challenge as an opportunity to show these chefs the possibilities with pizza dough. Although one of them did make a pizza, it was cooked in an unconventional way.
It’s off to Coney Island on Monday’s upcoming episode of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, which has the celebrities cooking on the boardwalk in two challenges. First, a french fry-off will determine who gains an advantage in the second challenge, which involves iconic New York hot dog carts. In a sneak peek photo from the episode, mentor Rachael stops by to help Florence cook up some fries. The two share a moment that has them completely cracking up.
Who do you think cracked up whom? And what could they be laughing at? Does Florence have a funny tactic that she’s willing to employ in order to win the advantage? It sure looks like they’re having fun times at the fryer. Maybe it’s an inside joke?