Chopped All-Stars is back for a second season, and this year’s tournament kicks off with some very heavy hitters. On Sunday night at 9pm/8c, four Iron Chefs will do battle outside their Kitchen Stadium comfort zone. Cat Cora, Marc Forgione, Jose Garces and Michael Symon are all determined to cook their hearts out and take home the win. Of course, only one of them will advance to the final round for a chance to score $50,000 for their charity of choice. Check out our list to see which charity each chef is playing for.
Needless to say, this round should be a nail-biter for judges Scott Conant, Aarón Sanchez and Geoffrey Zakarian. Who won’t make it past the appetizer round? Which two will go head-to-head on dessert? Tune in to watch four seasoned competitors throw down in the Chopped Kitchen this Sunday at 9pm/8c.
Join the #Chopped conversation on Twitter during Sunday’s episode.
Can you make an entrée from this Chopped mystery basket? Try your luck, then see what host Ted Allen made.
The Challenge: Create an entrée using peanut butter, chicken breast, sauerkraut and frozen cherries. You must use all four mystery ingredients, plus any others you’d like.
The Prize: The inventor of the best recipe using the mystery ingredients will win a $1,000 gift card to foodnetworkstore.com, plus a Chopped gift basket. Go to foodnetwork.com/choppedchallenge by midnight tonight to enter your recipe.
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It all started with a nation-wide search for the worst cooks in America. After narrowing that search down to 16 recruits, Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell each chose eight, making up their new teams for the season.
A new addition this season was Bobby Flay, who joined the show to battle it out against seasoned champ Anne Burrell. Each hopeless cook competed for a chance to win $25,000, which would be awarded to the winning contestant who achieved the most progress and best performance, in addition to a victory for his or her culinary mentor.
It can be argued that the recruits were handed some pretty difficult tasks this season, tasks that every day home cooks probably don’t tackle, like making their own noodles and cooking fresh seafood. But in addition to those, Bobby and Anne made sure they could handle the basics like making breakfast, cooking chicken to the proper temperature and rolling the perfect meatball.
SPOILER ALERT: The winner of Worst Cooks in America
On Chopped All-Stars, 16 chefs you know and love are competing to win $50,000 for their favorite charity. Check out which organization each chef is playing for in Season 2.
Read about the chefs’ charities
We’re shaking things up on FN Dish. This week, we want you to check out something new and exciting on CookingChannelTV.com: Classy Ladies.
Go on location with Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark as they consult the experts of the culinary world. Join the ladies as they get a lesson in gelato-making, consult a master oyster assassin, visit the butcher to discover where bacon comes from and more. After the field trip, it’s time to put the lessons into practice by serving up themed cocktails and appetizers.
Watch one of my favorite episodes after the jump, where Alie and Georgia go right to the source for their bacon and then turn it into the ultimate cocktail. Want more? Watch more videos of Classy Ladies here.
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The school bell rang in the seventh episode of Worst Cooks in America, and the remaining four recruits dealt with some of their toughest critics yet: 30 second-grade students with impressive palettes. Each recruit was tasked to create their own healthy spin on a cafeteria classic, as well as a veggie side dish. Anne’s team took on chicken tacos, while Team Bobby tried their hand at quesadillas. While these dishes may sound easy, it’s a struggle for cafeterias across the country to make meals nutritious.
One rule that was strictly enforced: sanitation and dealing with raw chicken. Bobby had no problem with the recruits getting him sick, but he was adamant about maintaining food safety and avoiding cross-contamination for the children, making Melissa bring her sauce to a boil to destroy possible bacteria after she cross-contaminated her spoon.
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From lobster to mussels to shrimp and whole arctic char, the sixth episode of Worst Cooks in America had the remaining recruits peeling, shucking and filleting several deep-sea treasures. For their first task, each team had to create a seafood tower, one of the most expensive dishes on a restaurant menu, consisting of mussels, lobster, shrimp, oysters and crab. After that, each member grabbed their knives and filleted a whole arctic char to create a dish for their mentor.
Everyone seemed to have issues at one point or another with cooking and/or prepping their seafood dishes. You can overcook shellfish in mere seconds, and choosing fresh fish can be intimidating. Below are Food Network’s simple step-by-step tips to create the ultimate seafood feast.
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As the host of Sweet Genius, the sugar-packed competition series in which four chefs bake their hearts out for a chance to earn $10,000, it is master pastry chef Ron Ben-Israel’s job to maintain a stoic and, at times, intimidating persona. In the second season of the show, viewers can expect much of the same from the Sweet Genius, though they also will get to know Ron the person and find out why he’s so enthusiastic about pastry. I caught up with Ron at his welcoming New York City bakery, and we chatted about the show over cake and tea.
Comparing the previous season to the upcoming one, Ron explained, “We featured a certain angle — a little bit of a Dr. Evil. The idea was that the chefs would be very scared — as they should be, because for $10,000, you better be scared — and we kept it. Some people loved it, and some people hated it. But a lot of what makes me funny, what makes me excited was not seen. In the second season, you definitely see what makes me passionate and what makes me upset.” New episodes will show that Ron is as quick to dismiss the contestants’ creations as he is to praise them. “When something was great, I really loved it. But when something was not so good, I told them if they were wasting their time,” he said.
Ron shares a bit of insider information
As of February 2012:
Three months later, new General Manager Kelly says the freshness of the new dining room has not waned for her.
Kelly now holds employee meetings to train staff on food safety and proper customer service. She and Kim also meet weekly with their newly hired chef, Matt, to go over any kitchen issues.
Chef Matt has become Kim’s right-hand man. He’s helping to bring in more fresh ideas, and today there are very few frozen items on the menu. Kelly is excited for Chef Matt’s new menu to roll out — she can’t wait to see customers’ reactions.
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At the beginning of Worst Cooks in America’s third season, Erica Weidner caught our eye by using scissors to cut up a bell pepper. We then asked you: What other gadgets have you used to cook up a dish in the kitchen? More than a hundred people responded with their go-to double-duty gadget techniques. They were so unique, we couldn’t choose just one. Here are our top two favorites:
1. Julie Lonkey uses a wide-blade drywall knife to get a smoother finish with buttercream on cakes.
2. Krista Lucken listed a few double-duty items, but using cupcake liners to keep pepper from escaping the pepper mill in the cabinet is pretty spectacular. Plus, when she measures fresh ground pepper, it gets ground right into the cupcake liner and then poured into a measuring spoon with no mess.
Our favorite budget-friendly anonymous tip