With just two weeks to go until the premiere of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, eight of this season’s rival chefs, Nate Appleman, Amanda Freitag, Elizabeth Falkner, Eric Greenspan, Alex Guarnaschelli, Jehangir Mehta, Spike Mendelsohn and Marcel Vigneron, joined Alton Brown and reigning Iron Chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Marc Forgione, Michael Symon, Geoffrey Zakarian and Jose Garces for a night of competition-free cooking at the New York City Wine & Food Festival. Though the competition will certainly be fierce once the battle kicks off Sunday, November 4, last weekend’s Next Iron Chef event was all in good fun, the Iron Chef hopefuls coming together to chat with fans, watch sneak-peek clips of the first episode and dish out late-night party bites worthy of Kitchen Stadium.
For Kelli Truman and Abby Grabow, owners of Oleander Bar & Grill in Olean, N.Y., Robert Irvine’s visit to their restaurant was a much-needed effort to save the business they opened just six months earlier. This mother-daughter duo needed Robert’s help to transform the dark dining room into a comfortable space, rethink their tired menu and improve their strained relationship if Oleander were to have any chance at lasting success. We checked in with Abby a few months after Oleander’s Restaurant: Impossible overhaul to see how the business has been doing since Robert left.
In the first two weeks after the renovation, Oleander saw sales increase nearly 50 percent.
The restaurant’s updated decor has been well received by diners who “love the fresh, clean, modern look of the design,” Abby says. She also notes that “the serious burger, shrimp tempura and crab bisque are the best-selling items that Robert added” to Oleander’s revamped menu.
Though Jaye no longer works at the restaurant, Abby says that “the staff that remains is very loyal and everyone has been working together to rebuild business.”
This season of The Next Iron Chef is all about redemption.
Nine of the coveted places in the competition had been filled. The Chairman, however, had decided to leave one spot open, to be filled by the winner of a series of sudden-death cook-offs. It was a deliciously fiendish idea.
I was pleased when I received a call asking me to help judge this Web series. I was even more pleased when I heard that my co-judges would be Iron Chef Jose Garces and Alton Brown. I was also genuinely thrilled that the first two challengers were the immensely talented Madison Cowan and Lee Anne Wong, who had impressed the Chairman with victories in Kitchen Stadium previously.
When Alton announced that the mystery ingredient was peanuts, both chefs went straight to their happy places: in Chef Wong’s case, to her skills with Asian cuisine and in Chef Cowan’s case, exuberant Caribbean cookery.
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Have you ever tried a dish at a restaurant and wished that you replicate the same tastes at home? Sandra Lee’s new series, Sandra’s Restaurant Remakes, explores the secrets behind those mouthwatering meals. In her new show, Sandra learns how to make signature dishes from famous establishments across the country and then takes the knowledge back to her own kitchen. Sandra puts her classic touch on every dish and shows viewers how they can make the meals simply and efficiently for themselves. Watch and learn as Sandra travels the country visiting restaurants, bakeries and bars.
Tune in every Sunday at 10am ET/PT starting October 14 to find out how you can enjoy restaurant-quality meals without leaving your home.
Valley Inn restaurant in Palos Hills, Ill., is a 40-year-old eatery with a history of success. Recently, however, the restaurant had fallen on hard times, and owner Dennis Ristucci needed Robert Irvine’s help to restore Valley Inn to its former glory. In only two days, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team tackled a dark, dirty dining space and low-quality food before reopening to a line of hungry customers. We checked in with Dennis to see how his business is doing a few months after its renovation.
Since Robert left, sales at Valley Inn have increased nearly 85 percent. Dennis tells us that the revised menu and updated decor “have drawn new interest from the neighborhood.” Among his favorite aspects of the remodel are the more inviting entry space and improved flooring.
Today, Valley Inn’s menu is a mix of the restaurant’s original dishes and those that Robert created, and Dennis says that “customers like the combination.” Additionally, he notes that the restaurant is no longer using any frozen food. Dennis tells us his staff are “more attentive to customers” and welcome diners “with big smiles and stories about the show.” He adds that “everyone has been doing their part and cleaning, too.”
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Beginning this Saturday, October 6, you can watch Sunny Anderson embark upon a new journey in her second show, Home Made in America with Sunny Anderson. Follow Sunny as she travels through Baton Rouge, La., Oklahoma, North Carolina, Texas and New York tasting delicious home-cooked creations as she moves across the country. Sunny demonstrates that there is more to food besides preparation and flavor — there is also a story. Throughout the season Sunny will not only try the most-celebrated recipes in the cities she visits, but she will also meet the cooks behind the creations. These cooks will share their inspirational stories and also their own secrets and tips. Tune in to this daytime series at 9:30am ET/PT on October 6 so that you can be a part of the journey.
Get the recipes from the most recent episode of Home Made in America.
Keep reading about Halloween Wars
When Robert Irvine arrived at Whistle Stop restaurant in Hot Springs, Ark., he found an outdated dining space and dirty kitchen in desperate need of a makeover. Linda Todd, employee-turned-owner of Whistle Stop, needed Robert’s help to transform her restaurant into a profitable business and effectively manage her staff. We checked in with Linda to see how the restaurant is doing a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible renovation. Hear from the owner below then take a photo tour of the restaurant and see before-and-after snapshots of the Whistle Stop’s dining room and buffet station.
Since Robert left, the restaurant has begun breakfast service, which Linda says “is doing pretty well” so far. “We started doing breakfast a little over 2 weeks ago and it is doing pretty well. Hopefully it will continue to grow.” She also notes that Brett does not work at Whistle Stop anymore.
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What do you get when you put four teenagers in the kitchen and ask them to make a three-course dinner with out-of-the-basket ingredients? The answer might normally be chaos, a slew of questionable plates and a mess, but not on tonight’s all-new episode of Chopped. Four teen cooks are taking to the Chopped kitchen to prove that they aren’t simply culinary novices, but rather passionate, ambitious amateurs who know their way around a chef’s knife and sauté pan.
But even with their determination and savvy kitchen skills, can these four teens cook up a meal that impresses all-star Chopped judges who are used to tasting dishes prepared by professional chefs? Tune in tonight at 10pm/9c to find out which teen will survive the Chopping Block and take home $10,000.
The final two teams of The Great Food Truck Race cruised into Boston, which was the first leg of a three-city tour they had to conquer on the road to the grand prize. Boston is already filled with great food trucks, so the town was extremely welcoming to Nonna’s Kitchenette and Seoul Sausage. Tasked with a Truck Stop to come up with a “wicked-awesome lobster dish,” Nonna’s left the city with a $500 credit for their lobster cakes and Seoul was left to shuck six bushels of clams. While the credit gave Nonna’s an advantage, it was short-lived. After a three-city finale, Seoul Sausage took home the grand prize.
For our final Food Trucks city-by-city guide, compiled by the On the Road app and website, we’re exploring the best that Boston has to offer.
Whether you want a quick sweet before you start the day or a place to while away a Sunday morning, Flour is great for either. Get there early to make sure you’ll have your pick of the sticky buns that beat out Bobby’s in a Throwdown.
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Food Network fans are being given an unprecedented opportunity: Choose which mystery basket ingredients competing chefs on Chopped will face. A special episode of the hit show will feature three baskets, each with mystery ingredients selected solely based on fan recommendations from Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
How to participate: Each week, fans will be able to nominate their choice of mystery ingredients on a different social media platform.
- Week 1 (October 1-7): Thanks to all our fans who voted via Food Network Facebook Timeline, voting is now closed.
- Week 2 (October 8-14): Pinterest voting is now complete. Thank you to all the fans who shared their mystery ingredient ideas.
- Week 3 (October 15-21): Send us your Chopped basket mystery ingredient nominations via Twitter using #MysteryIngredient.
What ingredients would you put inside the Chopped mystery baskets? We can’t wait to see what our fans come up with!