For the first time on Chopped, professionals and amateur cooks will go head-to-head at the end of the five-part Ultimate Champions tournament. But they’ve all competed on Chopped before: They’ve tasted what it feels like to win, and they’re hungry for more. On tonight’s first round, four professional chefs battled to determine which one would move on to the grand finale, where there’s a chance to win the largest prize in the show’s history, $50,000, with a brand-new car to top it all off. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winner from Part 1.
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When faced with an ingredient like eel, most chefs would run the other way, but the judges on Chopped After Hours take the challenge in stride: “You think some slippery eels are going to shake our nerves?” retorts Aarón. Geoffrey recommends that the skin be removed, which is an important step. Only one pro chef managed to serve his dish with eel that had the skin removed in the appetizer round of the Ultimate Champions premiere. His dish turned out to be the judges’ favorite, but the other dishes left something to be desired — i.e., no skin.
Geoffrey, Chris and Aarón are cooking with the appetizer basket ingredients — eel, pepihuates, shaved coconut and sea beans — from tonight’s episode. Even though Geoffrey points out they’re not equipped to properly skin an eel, the three judges cleverly decide to parboil it first, which makes removing the skin and bones much easier compared with how the episode’s chefs struggled. The only ingredient that leaves Geoffrey flummoxed is the pepihuates. “Watch me magically transform it,” Chris asserts. Aarón explains it’s simply a Mexican tomato-based snack/drink with peanuts and a tamarind stick — not unlike a Bloody Mary, Ted thinks.
The second stop in The Great Food Truck Race brought the rookies to Tucson. Many of the trucks thought that going from Southern California to the Southwest meant it would be an easy transition, but that wasn’t the case for everyone. Those who took the opportunity to adapt to local tastes found the best customer response, resulting in top sales. And Tyler’s Truck Stop challenge had the teams all selling a Sonoran hot dog, which proved to be one of the best ways of testing the teams’ marketing abilities. In the end, the team from SoCal came in first place, proving that they could make a comeback from last week.
Whether you’re looking for Southwestern favorites like burgers, Sonoran hot dogs or modern Mexican cuisine, we’ve narrowed down the restaurant offerings to the top 10 from the area, which include a few surprises like Jamaican stew and a Philly favorite.
The mini kitchen is no stranger to Cutthroat Kitchen, as chefs have been asked to work in kid-size constraints challenge after challenge. But on tonight’s all-new episode, Alton Brown unveiled a different tiny tool capable of doling out similar great trials during the Round 3 chocolate cake test: the toy stand mixer. Would this kid-friendly apparatus consisting of little more than a short, hand-powered wooden whisk and a shallow plastic bowl be enough to serve as a chef’s sole means of mixing? After all, to make chocolate cake, a competitor would need to be able to incorporate both wet and dry ingredients.
Before Alton auctioned off this doozy of a sabotage, Cutthroat Kitchen’s culinary team tested on the mixer to make sure it was indeed possible to execute within the contest, and Chelsey, a food stylist on set, wondered, “Does the cute factor, you think, count as extra points for this challenge?”
Click the play button on the video above to see the test in action, and learn how the mixer earned an “approved” rating.
On this week’s episode of The Great Food Truck Race, the teams found themselves headed to Tucson, Ariz. Some hoped the change in location from California to the Southwest would be a seamless transition that wouldn’t require much modification in menu or strategy. A Truck Stop challenge of selling a local favorite, and later a Speed Bump that relocated the food trucks to a local festival, both tested the teams’ marketing abilities. But the challenges were easier for some more than for others. One team in particular wasn’t able to get out of the rut they had put themselves into in the previous city. FN Dish has the exclusive exit interview with the latest team cut from the race.
What to Watch: Celebrating Tomato Season on The Kitchen and Bold Flavors from the Grill with Bobby Flayby Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, August 22nd, 2014
Get ready for some bold summer recipes and all-new competition this weekend on Food Network. First, join Trisha Yearwood as she cooks up her favorite Southern staples with a twist on Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. Next, The Kitchen is all about summer’s most-popular vegetable, the tomato — or is it a fruit?
On Sunday, Ina Garten plans a potluck on Barefoot Contessa, and Giada De Laurentiis whips up recipes from her new restaurant on Giada at Home. Bobby Flay mixes up a bold menu on Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’s Basics. Then, enjoy three hours of your favorite competition shows with new episodes of Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off, The Great Food Truck Race and Cutthroat Kitchen.
On this week’s Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off, Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli visits the set to challenge the kid chefs to a Chopped challenge. You guessed it! They will have to cook with mystery baskets. But what terrifies the kids more than just the cooking is having to impress Alex, who also happens to be an Iron Chef.
It’s no secret that the food truck industry has hit its stride in recent years, as the culture of traveling cooking and eating can be seen from coast to coast. Beginning this fall on the all-new series Food Truck Face Off, budding food truck operators will have the chance to break into that mobile arena, but not before they prove their staying power with a winning business model that can withstand the fierce competition.
Each week beginning Thursday, October 2 at 8|7c, four new teams will gather to present their food truck ideas to a rotating panel of proficient judges, but ultimately only two will earn the right to face off against each other for the win. Host Jesse Palmer, a former NFL superstar and a broadcast sports journalist, will be on hand to challenge the top contenders to 48 hours of no-nonsense contests, and if these future entrepreneurs want to impress Jesse and the judges, they must endure a roster of tests designed to demonstrate their powerful business mindset and impressive customer service — not to mention wow-worthy food.
The situation at Country Cow Restaurant and Bar wasn’t what it seemed when Robert Irvine first arrived there. Co-owner Jenny Leonzi admitted that the calm demeanor shown by her business partner — and former husband — Kerry Benton wasn’t usual; yelling and swearing were more commonplace, and because of that, Robert was forced to investigate never-before-seen footage of Kerry’s behavior at the eatery. In the nearly nine seasons of Restaurant: Impossible, this is the first time that Robert has revealed the behind-the-scenes clips his producers collect ahead of his visit, and after watching those tapes, Robert saw the restaurant’s reality.
Before Robert could finish the two days of renovations at Country Cow, Kerry made the decision to leave the 12-year-old Campton, N.H., eatery once and for all, signing over all aspects of the business to Jenny. Read on below to hear from Jenny and learn how her restaurant is doing several months after its transformation.
Since Robert left, “sales were up $22,000 compared to June 2013,” says Jenny, who adds that “guests are loving the new decor.”
On this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient chicken livers. Although chicken livers are more traditionally used in pate, the chefs decided to take advantage of their earthy flavor by cooking them with mushrooms and butter in a twist on stroganoff in this Chicken Liver Stroganoff with Greek Yogurt recipe. The Greek yogurt helps give the dish a creamy touch, and the egg noodles soak up the flavorful sauce. It’s a total comfort dish that will make you rethink chicken livers.