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Gyros vs. Tacos: Which Restaurant Divided Concept Did You Like Better?

by in Shows, October 31st, 2013

Restaurant DividedCaught between her bickering fiancé, Neil Vaswani, and her mother, Terry Kipriadis, Vicky Giannakos explained: “My mother. She’s stubborn like a bull. Neil is also stubborn like a bull.” Terry opened Gyros & Goodies in Washington Township, N.J., three years ago, and Neil supported the venture as a substantial partner. But now that the Greek-focused restaurant is facing a mountain of financial struggles, Neil’s convinced the eatery should relaunch with a Mexican concept, while Terry is committed to Mediterranean fare. “The restaurant can’t continue like this, and as a family, we can’t continue like this,” Vicky admitted, just in time for Rocco DiSpirito and a Restaurant Divided transformation to decide the fate of her family’s business once and for all.

After sampling made-over menu items and overhauling the interior of the restaurant, Rocco welcomed everyday diners and esteemed restaurateurs alike for dinner at two concepts — the blue-and-white-clad Gyros & Goodies, run by Terry, and The Township Cantina, a bright spot staffed by Neil — in the same space. The future of Terry’s business, however, was ultimately in Rocco’s hands, as he number crunched profitability estimates and spoke with customers before eventually deeming Terry’s Gyros & Goodies more likely to succeed than Neil’s Mexican endeavor.

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Restaurant Revisited: Feathers Fly at Ducky’s Family Restaurant

by in Shows, October 30th, 2013

Robert IrvineFacing nearly $230,000 of debt, 33-year-old Ducky’s Family Restaurant in Kokomo, Ind., desperately needed Robert Irvine‘s help if the business was to have any chance at future success. Not long after Robert arrived, he realized that poor-quality canned food was among the largest issues plaguing Ducky’s, as was its drab interior decor akin, which Robert’s designer, Taniya Nayak, deemed “a cafeteria nightmare.” Together with Taniya and the rest of his Restaurant: Impossible team, Robert re-launched Ducky’s after two days of work on a $10,000 budget, and he helped owner Bill Duncan and Bill’s family learn essential skills for managing their family-run eatery. FN Dish caught up with Bill to find out how his business is doing a few months since the show filmed.

“Since the shooting of our episode, we have doubled our weekly sales,” Bill said. “Everyone loves the remodel.”

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Halibut with Soppressata and Fennel — The Chopped Dinner Challenge

by in Recipes, Shows, View All Posts, October 30th, 2013

Halibut with SoppressataChopped Dinner ChallengeThe Chopped Dinner Challenge is a new series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!

On this week’s Chopped: Competition Italiano episode, the competitors found limoncello, pasta dough, soppressata and newborn baby fish in their appetizer baskets. Except for that last ingredient, the items sound pretty standard for an Italian kitchen. During the challenge, some of the competitors got into a bit of a sticky situation with the pasta dough, which turned out to be the most difficult to transform. But for this Chopped Dinner Challenge, the featured item is the soppressata, a very flavorful Italian salami that’s much easier to use than pasta dough. It’s great eaten on its own but even better when cooked in a dish like this: Pan-Seared Halibut with Soppressata and Fennel. The recipe is perfect for either an elegant dinner party or a casual family dinner.

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Cooking, Eating and Living La Dolce Vita — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, October 29th, 2013

When you think of Italy, one of the first things that come to mind is probably the food. Then it’s imagining all the enjoyment of eating it. Just think: big bowls of pasta, plates of salami and a final celebratory toast with limoncello. Those are exactly the ingredients from the appetizer basket in this week’s episode of Chopped, which had a special Italian theme. To have their way with the ingredients, judges Amanda, Aarón and Maneet took up spots in the Chopped kitchen for an After Hours competition. They faced cooking with pasta dough, soppressata, limoncello and baby fish.

On the show, the competitors all tried making pasta in some shape or form, but not without some sticky situations. Just think about how much time you might need for rolling out pasta! Amanda and Maneet reinvented the pasta. Amanda, deciding to make a fritto misto, thought not only was she going to fry the fish, she would fry the pasta too. And Maneet wanted to turn her pasta into Mexican tostadas with an Indian twist. Only Aarón tried to make a traditional Italian pasta dish of ravioli uovo, which is pasta with an egg yolk inside. Unfortunately his attempt to make “the best pasta ever” didn’t turn out so well, so instead he switched to plan B.

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Back to Basics — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 27th, 2013


Given the unexpected sabotages, limited time on the clock and looming judgment with which they’re forced to adapt, it’s likely that when chefs compete on Cutthroat Kitchen, they’re cooking under a crushing amount of stress and pressure. For some, that anxiety may serve only to better their game, forcing them to work smartly and efficiently, but for others, such a burden may get the better of them.

In this week’s competition, a chef’s inability to cope with the competition’s demands ultimately led to his or her exit. Judge Antonia Lofaso told Alton on his After-Show that the contestant’s Round 1 lasagna offering featured such grievous errors that she had no choice but to eliminate him or her on account of these seemingly elementary errors. Although inexperienced with making fresh pasta, this chef was forced to make pasta dough from scratch, but the end result proved “dense,” according to Antonia, and was only one part of an overall unsuccessful plate. “It was just poorly executed, everything on the dish,” she said, “from the cuts of the bell peppers to them not being cooked to pasta that was just completely inadequate.”

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Special Sneak Peek: Guy’s Family Cruise

by in Shows, October 27th, 2013

Guy FieriGuy and his family are heading out on the high seas for a cruise through the Caribbean. Get ready for some off-the-hook family fun and kickin’ food aboard the Carnival Breeze, making stops in Miami, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and Jamaica. Tune in Monday, Oct. 28 at 9pm/8c. But until then, get a sneak peek of what to expect in the hourlong special. Read on for more behind-the-scenes images of Guy’s adventure with his family.

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Steaks vs. Sports: Which Restaurant Divided Concept Did You Like Better?

by in Shows, October 25th, 2013

Restaurant DividedBrother and sister Larry and Laura Vecchio, and their mother, Antoinette, were being torn apart over the decision on how to rescue their failing Italian restaurant, Mia Famiglia. And they desperately needed a cohesive plan for the future — not a division in the business or their family. But that’s exactly what Rocco DiSpirito gave them when he arrived at their Long Island City, N.Y., restaurant.

Restaurant DividedOn the series premiere of Restaurant Divided, Rocco and his team transformed the space within Mia Famiglia into two separate restaurants: Larry’s Communal Steak, a chic yet comfortable steakhouse with communal seating, and Laura’s Mac House, a Yankees-clad sports bar specializing in macaroni and cheese. For one night, both eateries served customers side by side and tried to prove their long-term staying power. After hearing from food critics, listening to customers and tasting the food from both menus, however, Rocco decided that the steakhouse offered the Vecchios the best chance for success, and he ultimately reopened Mia Famiglia as Larry’s Communal Steak.

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Mexican Chili with Chicken Dumplings — The Chopped Dinner Challenge

by in Recipes, Shows, View All Posts, October 25th, 2013

Spicy ChiliChopped Dinner ChallengeThe Chopped Dinner Challenge is a new series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!

On this week’s Chopped: Circus Spectacular episode, the competitors found nachos, chicken fingers, candy apples and baby corn in their entree baskets. All three remaining competitors chose to feature the chicken fingers in their dishes with the goal of reimagining the favorite kids’ food in an elevated way. This recipe for Spicy Mexican Chili with Chicken Finger Dumplings offers the same exact solution — it turns the chicken fingers into a south-of-the-border comfort food dish that the whole family can enjoy for dinner.

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Going Over-the-Top at the Big Top — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, October 24th, 2013


The circus is filled with amazing attractions and fun amusements, but lest we forget there’s also the food: corn dogs, cotton candy, peanuts, candy apples and more. This week’s episode of Chopped was a special Circus Spectacular theme, with basket ingredients that evoked the big top. Judges Alex, Scott and special guest judge Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel took up spots in the Chopped kitchen for an After Hours competition. They faced cooking with the basket ingredients from the dessert round, which included a snow cone, popcorn, a funnel cake and sour cream.

On the show, the competitors embraced the childhood fun of the dessert basket ingredients and reimagined them in unique ways. The judges followed suit and created playful dishes that exemplified the joy of going to the circus as a kid. Right off the bat, Alex decided to bake cookies and make sorbet out of the snow cone and sour cream so she could create ice cream sandwiches. She thought it best evoked the fun of “getting it all running down your hands while you’re watching the circus.”

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Chef Wanted: Tapenade Update

by in Shows, October 24th, 2013

Chef WantedOn tonight’s Chef Wanted, Tapenade, a recently opened Mediterranean-influenced restaurant located in Los Angeles, needed a new chef de cuisine. Chef/owner Ressul Rassalat and general manager Chuck Craig were looking for an individual who could immediately jump into the role so that Chef Ressul could take on running the restaurant in front of the house to ensure its overall success. Anne Burrell had four candidates for the job opportunity, but only one was offered the position. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winning chef.

SPOILER ALERT: Find Out Who Won