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11 Things You Didn’t Know About Geoffrey Zakarian

by in Shows, June 5th, 2013

Geoffrey ZakarianYou’ve seen them judge the competition, battle for the title of All-Stars champion and compete in a friendly game with colleagues on After Hours, but there’s a lot you don’t know about the judges of Chopped. Here’s your chance to get to know the nine people behind the Chopping Block.

Geoffrey Zakarian is the chef of The Lambs Club and The National, both in New York City. His former New York City restaurants, Town and Country, both received three stars from The New York Times. Besides his judging duties on Chopped, you’ll also find Geoffrey on Iron Chef America. He won the title of Iron Chef in the third season of The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs. One thing you might not have known about Geoffrey is that if he hadn’t become a chef, he might have been a concert pianist.

Read Geoffrey’s Q&A

One-on-One With the ICA: Tournament of Champions Winner

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, June 2nd, 2013

Iron Chef Jose Garces vs. Iron Chef Michael SymonDespite some extremely tough battles, it was Iron Chef Michael Symon who finally emerged victorious from the first-ever Iron Chef America: Tournament of Champions. He defeated Iron Chef Garces in a classic confrontation, claiming the title, as well as the bragging rights over his fellow members of the Kitchen Stadium club.

Before he went out to celebrate, I caught up with him and asked for his thoughts on the tournament and his victory.

Since you won, I’m assuming you think that the Tournament of Champions was a good idea. Would you still have felt the same if you had lost?
MS: I definitely still would have thought it was a great idea to have the Tournament of Champions, even if I hadn’t won it. But I’m not going to lie to you, I would have enjoyed it a whole lot less!

Bobby Flay didn’t take part in the tournament. Do you think that cheapens the title, and how do you think you would get on against Iron Chef Flay if you did battle him?
MS: You only have to look at some of the tough battles between the other Iron Chefs to know that Bobby’s absence did not weaken the tournament at all. Iron Chef Flay and I have known each other for so long and are such good friends that we have promised that we will never compete against each other. I know it’s a cop-out, but if we were forced to battle, I think it would probably result in a tie.

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VOTE: Star vs. Chopped Cocktail Showdown

by in Recipes, Shows, June 2nd, 2013

Fruity Cooler ShowdownWe challenged two prestigious groups — Chopped judges and Food Network Star winners — to a summer recipe showdown. All season long, we’ll present head-to-head matchups of mouthwatering summer recipes from each team — from refreshing cocktails to fresh farmers’-market salads to the juiciest backyard burgers. By voting each week here on FN Dish or on our Fan Feed, you’ll determine the winning recipes.

At the end of the summer, the team that tallies up the most wins will celebrate with an all-star Labor Day party menu. Who will prevail as Summer Showdown champion — Star or Chopped?

This week, we’re toasting the start of June with a pair of refreshing, fruity cocktails. Whose will you shake up for your next summer party? Cast your votes below!

Vote now

The Best Before-and-After Transformations From Restaurant: Impossible

by in Shows, June 1st, 2013

Robert IrvineAfter more than six seasons of budgeted, on-the-clock renovations on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine has seen seemingly everything — the good, the bad and the ugly — in eateries across the country. From unpalatable food and unsafe cooking conditions to creepy-crawlies covering the furniture and floor, the scenes at some of these restaurants are simply shocking, to Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible team and at-home viewers alike. No matter how dirty or downright disheartening a situation may be, however, Robert has never walked away from a challenge, successfully transforming nearly 70 eateries to date.

Over the years, Robert has proved his trademark to be his ability to breathe new life into once-failing establishments and give them the second chance they deserve. In the form of revamped menus and updated designs, plus tried-and-true techniques for food buying, handling front-of-house management and overseeing day-to-day operations, he outfits businesses with everything they need to not just survive but thrive. And ultimately his commitment has led to awe-inspiring transformations, especially given that his updates must be started and completed in just two days and can cost no more than $10,000.

See before-and-after photos

What to Watch: Celebration Dinners, Guy Cooks With Dean McDermott and Sunday Night Competition

by in Shows, May 31st, 2013

Guy and DeanThis weekend on Food Network, it’s all about celebrating with the people you love, whether it’s with friends, family members or those who put their lives on the line to make a difference.

On Saturday, Ree is cooking up a dinner to welcome friends who are moving back to town. Then Trisha’s cooking a graduation picnic for her niece and nephew. On Giada at Home, Giada’s offering up a taste of barbecue throughout the nation. Then on Sunday, Jamie Deen is cooking a meal for his firefighter friends. And afterward, Guy gets in the kitchen with his Team Guy champion from Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, Dean McDermott. Then on Sandwich King, Jeff cooks up a number of different burgers with his son, Lorenzo, by his side.

On Sunday night, take your seats for a special night of competition. First it’s an episode of Chopped that challenges the contestants to fry up something in each of their dishes. Then it’s the season premiere of Food Network Star with Giada, Alton and Bobby mentoring 12 hopefuls who are competing to win the coveted TV dream job. And last, it’s the finale of Iron Chef America Tournament of Champions with Iron Chef Symon vs. Iron Chef Garces.

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Iron Chef Bobby Flay Off the Clock

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, May 30th, 2013

Iron Chef Bobby FlayI am often asked which Iron Chef is the most intimidating to judge in Kitchen Stadium, and without hesitation, I always reply, “Bobby Flay.” His well-earned reputation, coupled with that calm penetrating stare when a panelist dares to give a negative comment on one of his dishes, is enough to make even the toughest of critics shrivel like a salted slug.

Fortunately for me, he definitely seems to bring his “A” game when I am on the panel, and although he is not always victorious, I am constantly reminded of why he is the chef so many contenders want to test their culinary chops against.

I grabbed a couple of minutes with Iron Chef Flay before battle to ask him these, 10 very important questions.

The Cookery Police are going to raid your house and take all of your books. They allow you to save one. Which would it be?
BF: The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers

Who was your culinary mentor(s)?
BF: Jonathan Waxman and Wolfgang Puck

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11 Things You Didn’t Know About Aarón Sánchez

by in Shows, May 29th, 2013

Aaron SanchezYou’ve seen them judge the competition, battle for the title of All-Stars champion and compete in a friendly game with colleagues on After Hours, but there’s a lot you don’t know about the judges of Chopped. Here’s your chance to get to know the nine people behind the Chopping Block.

In addition to his judging duties on Chopped, Aarón Sánchez is the co-host of Food Network’s Heat Seekers with Roger Mooking. But when he’s not appearing on TV, Aarón is the chef/owner of Kansas City’s Mestizo and the culinary visionary behind Crossroads at House of Blues nationwide and Tacombi Taqueria in New York City. Aarón is also the author of two cookbooks, including Simple Food, Big Flavor. But what you might not have known about Aarón is that if he hadn’t become a chef, he might have been a mariachi singer. Find out more interesting facts about Aarón in his Q&A.

Read Aarón’s Q&A

Restaurant Revisited: In the Pits at Bryan’s Smokehouse

by in Shows, May 26th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleAlthough Bryan’s Smokehouse in Lufkin, Texas, was a once-thriving eatery, it had fallen on hard times. Longtime owner Lynn Bryan struggled to keep up with new nearby barbecue spots, ultimately falling into debt. She looked to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team not just to improve her meat-focused menu, but to help her manage her employees more professionally and efficiently. Not one to shy away from any challenge, Robert rose to the occasion, and with only a $10,000 budget and two days to work, he revitalized both the interior of Bryan’s and the core of its management, all in an effort to give the eatery the second chance it deserves. FN Dish checked in with Lynn a few months after the transformation to find out how the restaurant is doing today.

Immediately after filming, Lynn says business “was booming,” and while it’s since slowed down, she’s hopeful that it will pick up now that the show has aired. She adds that she’s pleased with the new design of the space, as well as with the changes to the menu. “We have kept everything the same and just added a couple of the old things back. Just a couple, let me stress,” she explains.

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VOTE: Star vs. Chopped Burger Showdown

by in Recipes, Shows, May 26th, 2013

Burger ShowdownWe challenged two prestigious groups — Chopped judges and Food Network Star winners — to a summer recipe showdown. All season long, we’ll present head-to-head matchups of mouthwatering summer recipes from each team — from refreshing cocktails to fresh farmers’-market salads to the juiciest backyard burgers. By voting each week here on FN Dish or on our Fan Feed, you’ll determine the winning recipes.

At the end of the summer, the team that tallies up the most wins will celebrate with an all-star Labor Day party menu. Who will prevail as Summer Showdown champion — Star or Chopped?

This week, we zone in on the classic summer burger — juicy, beefy and cooked on the grill. Who made it best? Cast your votes below!

Vote now

What to Watch: Season Premieres of Trisha Yearwood and Jamie Deen, and Guy Cooks With Chilli From TLC

by in Shows, May 24th, 2013

Jamie DeenThis weekend, Food Network has season premieres of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen and Home for Dinner With Jamie Deen, along with a lot of great new episodes.

On Saturday morning, Trisha is joined in the kitchen by her friend Karri and they’re cooking up a steak dinner. Afterward it’s a special episode of Giada in Paradise, as Giada takes viewers on an adventure through one of the most dazzling European cities, Monte Carlo.

On Sunday morning, Jamie Deen and his son Jack are setting up a pop-up restaurant in the backyard with a menu that will appeal to adults and kids alike. Afterward Chilli from TLC joins Guy in the kitchen to cook a bouillabaisse. Later in the morning on Sandwich King, Jeff takes a trip down memory lane back to his college town and prepares a pork sandwich and grilled ham.

In the evening it’s a special Harlem Globetrotters-themed episode of Cupcake Wars. After that, it’s Iron Chef Garces vs. Iron Chef Morimoto in the fourth battle of Iron Chef America Tournament of Champions. Finally, Robert Irvine helps save a barbecue restaurant in Texas.

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