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Chef Wanted: Abel’s on the Lake Update

by in Shows, February 21st, 2013


Chef WantedAbel’s on the Lake is a popular open-air restaurant in Austin, Texas. Owner Ellis Winstanley was looking for an executive chef who shares his vision for the restaurant and can keep up with the demands of the busy establishment. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were called in to help with the search. After two tests and two dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Jon Gaboric.

Chef Gaboric was born in Seoul, South Korea, was left on the doorstep of a police station and ended up in an orphanage. At 5 years old he was adopted by an American family and grew up in New England. As a kid he fell in love with food. He’s been cooking professionally for 20 years but was looking for a new job with the potential to grow so that he can give his son the life his adoptive family gave him.

Chef Gaboric was successful at creating a dish for the first test, which challenged the chefs to work with blue crab. Unfortunately, for the second test, Chef Gaboric didn’t create a dish that Ellis was happy with — the grilled swordfish with fennel salad was not the right style for Abel’s and the fish was sliced and cooked inconsistently. When it came to dinner service things looked promising during prep, but once service began, everything started to go downhill fast. Ticket times were extremely long and Chef Gaboric found himself out of his element in cooking for a large volume. He tried to take shortcuts but Ellis reprimanded him. In the end, Chef Gaboric was able to turn out a successful dinner service with food that everyone loved. Ellis offered Chef Gaboric the job of executive chef, believing he embodied the future of Abel’s on the Lake.

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Restaurant Revisited: Nanny Goat’s Cafe & Feed Bin

by in Shows, February 20th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleIn one of his most dramatic missions to date, Robert Irvine arrived in Kilgore, Texas, to help Nancy Dupre, then owner of Nanny Goat’s Cafe & Feed Bin, transform her failing restaurant. But on day one of renovations she stormed out, vowing to end her Restaurant: Impossible experience before it even started. She became frustrated and simply overwhelmed when it was revealed that her daughter, Jessica, then cook at Nanny Goat’s, was the root of her business’s problems. Despite Nancy’s refusal, her mother, Sissy, and Jessica agreed that Robert and his team should continue their project, and the next day, a calmer, more composed Nancy returned to the site more committed to this mission than ever.

Although Robert and his team helped launch Nanny Goat’s into a new season of success with a crowd-pleasing menu and clean yet comfortable decor, Nancy decided to sell the restaurant for a profit, and has since entered retirement. Jessica no longer works at Nanny Goat’s Cafe, but much of the eatery’s other staff remains.

We checked in with Sharon Henley and Glenda Reid, the new owners of Nanny Goat’s, who took control of the restaurant in the new year, and they’re proud to say that their restaurant is “full of customers every day.” They’re pleased with its fresh, welcoming look and admit that they “work together like a well-oiled machine” with their employees.

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Catching Up With Dean McDermott, Winner of Rachael vs. Guy, Season 2

by in Shows, February 19th, 2013

Dean McDermottSo what has Dean been up to since winning $50,000 for his chosen charity, Miracle Babies, and the title of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off Season 2 Champion? FN Dish caught up with Dean to find out. He reveals how hard it was keeping his win a secret from everyone, what it was like having his kids at the finale and what it personally meant for him to win. Dean also dishes about his cooking background, culinary aspirations and upcoming appearances. Plus, find out whether Guy and Dean actually got matching tattoos to commemorate his win.

Also See:
Read Dean’s Post-Win Interview
Watch Dean’s Exit Interview
Browse Photos of Dean’s Journey on the Show
See Dean’s Home Kitchen as Featured in Food Network Magazine

Read Dean’s interview

Coming This March: Justin Warner’s Rebel Eats

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 18th, 2013

Rebel Eats Justin WarnerFood Network Star season 8 winner, Justin Warner, will hit the road in search of unique culinary rule-breakers in a one-hour special, Rebel Eats, airing Saturday, March 30, at 10pm/9c. Armed with $300 in his pocket, a beat-up car and a passion for unconventional food and eccentric people, Justin will travel the back roads of the South to try everything from moonshine and bacon beer to barbecue in a jar and jellyfish pasta. Along the way, Justin will meet the cooks and proprietors who, like him, march to their own beat through the world of food.

PHOTOS: Flip through Justin’s Star Scrapbook
VIDEO: Relive the moment Justin won
RECIPES: Try your hand at Justin’s recipes

Justin Warner, originally from Hagerstown Md., is a self-taught cook and is chef and co-owner of Do or Dine in Brooklyn, N.Y. — a restaurant that he built from the ground up. Justin began working in restaurants at just 13 years old and his approach to food reflects his personality: edgy, intense, passionate and witty.

Chef Wanted: Oceano Update

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013


Chef WantedOceano is a restaurant and nightclub located right on the beach in Puerto Rico. Owner Todd Berman was looking for an executive chef who could match the elegance of the restaurant with a culturally charged menu. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were brought in to help with the search. After two difficult tests and two very different dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Austin Henry.

Chef Henry considers himself the James Bond of the kitchen. He’s traveled the world and is familiar with many different cuisines and languages. Oceano is the perfect opportunity for Chef Henry to move up in his culinary career.

At first Chef Henry had a rough start. He almost served his mofongo dish with undercooked pork, but rectified the issue just in time. For his second “sexy” dish, he had to change course from scallops to shrimp when he realized the scallops wouldn’t sear properly. When it came to dinner service, he succeeded at rallying support from the restaurant staff, and except for getting frustrated over frozen pork and some expediting problems, the service was successful. Despite his lack of experience with Puerto Rican cuisine, his menu incorporated characteristic island flavors and got rave reviews from the guests. In the end, Chef Henry was offered the executive chef position because of his great food and natural leadership in the kitchen.

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One-on-One With the Latest Blue Team Recruit to Go Home — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013

Chef Bobby Flay and the Blue TeamFor the 14 recruits competing on Worst Cooks in America, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to learn kitchen basics and culinary how-tos from Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay — two of New York City’s top restaurant chefs and some of Food Network’s most celebrated stars. It’s up to the contestants to use the tools the chefs provide to learn how to master certain skills on their own and demonstrate progress in the kitchen. Despite their best efforts, however, one recruit from Chef Anne’s Red Team and another from Chef Bobby’s Blue Team will ultimately succumb to the challenges of Boot Camp week after week as they compete for $25,000 and bragging rights for their coach.

Check back with FN Dish every Sunday after the episode for the first interviews with the latest eliminated contestants to read their exclusive reflections on the competition, thoughts on difficult challenges, plans for the future and more.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home

One-on-One With the Latest Red Team Recruit to Go Home — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013

Chef Anne Burrell and the Red TeamFor the 14 recruits competing on Worst Cooks in America, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to learn kitchen basics and culinary how-tos from Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay — two of New York City’s top restaurant chefs and some of Food Network’s most celebrated stars. It’s up to the contestants to use the tools the chefs provide to learn how to master certain skills on their own and demonstrate progress in the kitchen. Despite their best efforts, however, one recruit from Chef Anne’s Red Team and another from Chef Bobby’s Blue Team will ultimately succumb to the challenges of Boot Camp week after week as they compete for $25,000 and bragging rights for their coach.

Check back with FN Dish every Sunday after the episode for the first interviews with the latest eliminated contestants to read their exclusive reflections on the competition, thoughts on difficult challenges, plans for the future and more.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home

Beyond the Chopped Basket: What to Make With Pine Nuts

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013

Roasted AsparagusSo often on Chopped we see chef contestants open their mystery baskets to find such odd, uncommon and downright scary ingredients — precooked pig snout, pickled beef tongue or grasshoppers, anyone? — that it can seem nearly impossible for home cooks to put them to work in everyday meals. On other episodes, however, the ingredients are far less intimidating yet not quite familiar. That’s where we come in. Each week during the brand-new season of Chopped Champions, FN Dish will break down the whats, hows and whens of an approachable, family-friendly ingredient and share deliciously simple recipes for using it, so that you can show off your best culinary chops at home. Following last Tuesday’s Grand Finale competition, the focus is now on pine nuts, which made an appearance in the appetizer basket alongside pig ears, ramps and apple strudel.

As you may have guessed, pine nuts do in fact come from pine trees, as they’re the tiny (think pinky-nail size) seeds that grow inside pinecones. Untoasted pine nuts are a light yellow-cream color and boast a buttery, slightly chewy texture. After warming in a pan, however, pine nuts become a golden hue and offer a crunchy bite to greens, grains, pasta and more. Given their small size, pine nuts are often left whole when mixed in salads or served atop vegetables, but they can also be ground into sauces or vinaigrettes. Read on below to find traditional and creative ways to cook with this must-try ingredient, then browse these insider photos from the Champions finale to relive each course of the battle.

Food Network Magazine‘s simple Roasted Asparagus (pictured above) turns out deliciously tender every time, but thanks to a topping of pine nuts, parsley and lemon juice, this top-rated recipe features a crunchy texture and fresh, vibrant taste as well. Serve this in-season vegetable with light fish, hearty meat and more to complete your meal in only 20 quick minutes.

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Melissa’s Take on the Chopped Basket — Champions Grand Finale

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 16th, 2013

Melissa d'Arabianby Melissa d’Arabian

It’s the finale, so I’m tempted to give myself longer than 30 seconds to pick my menu. But I won’t. So here go the final Chopped Champions baskets:

Appetizer basket: pig ears, ramps, pine nuts and apple strudel

Two tricky ingredients in this one – pig ears and ramps. Just kidding. Apple strudel? Yikes. My mind races first to April Bloomfield’s gorgeous cookbook A Girl and Her Pig, and I am inspired to fry up the pig ears. How will they get tender so quickly? By boiling, slicing very thinly, dipping in batter and frying. I get the ears into the boiling water, which I salt. And then I turn my attention to the strudel. I make a quick decision to separate the phyllo from the apple filling and turn it into two ingredients. I crisp up the phyllo in the oven and make strips for a panzanella (bread salad). I caramelize the ramps, toast the pine nuts and blend up the apple filling with apple cider vinegar and olive oil for a vinaigrette. Chop up bitter greens, toss with the pine nuts, ramps, dressing and maybe some sweet yellow tomato if available. Top with my strudel strips and fried ear “cracklings.” Simple.

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Culinary Quiz: How Well Would You Fare at Worst Cooks Boot Camp?

by in Shows, February 16th, 2013

Worst Cooks in AmericaIn this all-new fifth season of Worst Cooks in America, 14 culinary recruits are in for the kitchen Boot Camp of their lives, as Chefs Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay work to transform them into capable, confident cooks who can turn out winning meals with ease. But before one can be crowned the best of the worst of the kitchen, they’ll have to endure seven weeks of hands-on training covering even the most elementary culinary know-how.

For many watching the competition unfold at home, it’s easy to think that you’d fare far better than the recruits if tested with the same challenges of Boot Camp. But would you really succeed where others have fallen? FN Dish is giving you the opportunity to assess your critical culinary thinking and the extent of your cooking chops. Take the quiz below to find out how well you’d manage in the kitchen with Chefs Anne and Bobby, then watch this exclusive video to see how the Worst Cooks recruits answered when they were asked quiz questions.

Take the quiz now