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The Top 5 Most Shocking Moments on Mystery Diners

by in Shows, May 23rd, 2013

Mystery DinersWhen a restaurant owner suspects his or her employees are not doing their jobs properly, they call Charles Stiles of Mystery Diners. With a sting operation that includes hidden cameras set up on location and a team of mystery diners who pose as customers and/or employees, Charles gets to the core of what’s happening. In most cases the employee is found to be stealing, lying or simply doing lousy work, but in some extraordinary situations, what gets revealed is shocking.

FN Dish recently caught up with Charles to talk about some of the most shocking moments he’s seen in his experience on the show. Here are his top-five moments (so far).

5. Ca’Brea in Los Angeles (Season 2, Valet Disservice) — The valet driver was stealing from customers’ vehicles and using the vehicles for food deliveries with the delivery guy as his accomplice.

4. Putter’s Bar & Grill in Las Vegas (Season 2, Night Shift) — The overnight bartender and manager was running his own bar out of the restaurant, serving his own alcohol, charging a fee at the door and letting the customers cook their own food in the kitchen.

Get the top 3 most shocking moments

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto Off the Clock

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, May 23rd, 2013

Iron Chef Masaharu MorimotoIf all Iron Chef battles were to be judged solely on creativity, then most of Iron Chef Morimoto’s opponents should just enter Kitchen Stadium waving a white flag. Few chefs I have encountered can take the Chairman’s Secret Ingredient to such unexpected places while still creating dishes that are as delicious as they are exciting.

He may not always emerge victorious, but he’s still the one Iron Chef who gives me a shiver of anticipation when I find out I am going to be judging one of his battles.

Here are Morimoto-san’s typically enigmatic responses to 10 probing questions:

Do you feel added pressure to maintain the standards of Iron Chef America, given your association with the original Iron Chef Japan?
MM: I always feel tremendous pressure no matter which country I do the Iron Chef battle in. This pressure, however, is not because I am the original Iron Chef Japan.

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11 Things You Didn’t Know About Chris Santos

by in Shows, May 22nd, 2013

Chris SantosYou’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.

Chris Santos is the chef behind the communal-concept restaurants Beauty & Essex and The Stanton Social, both on the Lower East Side in New York City. He previously served as the executive chef of the famed Time Cafe and the award-winning Latin restaurant Suba. Chris has also worked as a food stylist and consultant on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and the movie Hitch. When he’s not judging on Chopped or cooking in his restaurants, you’ll find Chris hunting down the city’s best new burger, which is his guilty pleasure!

Read Chris’ Q&A

Restaurant Revisited: Muskrat Mayhem at Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant

by in Shows, May 19th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleIn Smyrna, Del., the Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant is indeed a family-run business, owned and operated by three generations of women: grandmother, daughter and granddaughter (Patty Gallegos, Sheila Furman and Jessica Furman, respectively). Their restaurant is known for its classic preparation of a local delicacy — muskrat — but beyond that, it has struggled to succeed, serving primarily frozen food in an old-fashioned space. If their business was to have any hope of thriving in the future, Patty, Sheila and Jessica would need Robert Irvine‘s support to revamp the menu with crowd-pleasing dishes that go beyond muskrat and to enliven the interior with a fresh, welcoming design. In just two days and with a $10,000 budget, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team helped this family learn to work together and ultimately reopened Wagon Wheel as a made-over eatery that they could be proud of. We checked in with Jessica a few months after the transformation to find out how the business is doing today.

Her mother, Sheila, is no longer working at Wagon Wheel, so Jessica will be relieving Patty and running the restaurant immediately after her graduation later this month. “I am excited to get back to work, to do what I wanted to since the beginning: make the Wagon Wheel profitable,” she tells FN Dish. “I want to become more involved in the community and create a place that people can go with their families to have a nice dinner with a great vibe.”

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VOTE: Introducing the Star vs. Chopped Summer Showdown

by in Recipes, Shows, May 19th, 2013

Frozen Drinks from Jeff Mauro and Alex GuarnaschelliTo have a little summer fun with some of our favorite Food Network chefs, we challenged two prestigious groups — Chopped judges and Food Network Star winners — to a recipe showdown. All summer 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, 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?

We’re kicking off the heated competition with three summer all-stars: frozen drinks, grilled steak and corn on the cob. Who made it best? Cast your votes below!

Vote Now

What to Watch: Triple D Under the Hood, Giada’s Family Recipes and the ICA Tournament Continues

by in Shows, May 17th, 2013

Guy FieriThis weekend on Food Network there are a bunch of must-watch episodes including a behind-the-scenes look at Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Start your Saturday morning with an episode of Giada at Home, where Giada and her aunt Raffy share favorite recipes of Giada’s grandfather Dino. Then in the evening it’s a special 1-hour episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, offering up an exclusive look at never-before-seen footage of all the antics that didn’t make the regular episode cuts.

On Sunday, watch Guy in the kitchen with Chef Jonathan Waxman as the two cook up an Italian menu that includes a seafood salad and a spring soup. After, on Sandwich King, Jeff meets his match, “the Breakfast King,” and learns to make some unique breakfast sandwiches that he’ll later adapt. In the evening, tune in to see a cosmic-themed episode of Cupcake Wars. Then it’s round 2, battle 1 of the Iron Chef America tournament. And last, watch a new episode of Restaurant: Impossible where Robert must help a family fix their dysfunctional restaurant and relationships.

Read about the shows

WATCH: Food Network Stars Dish on the Scariest Chopped Judge

by in Shows, May 16th, 2013

In front of the judges’ table on Chopped is a scary place for any contestant to be standing, especially when they’re waiting to hear the criticism from the judges. Some judges are kind in their assessments whereas others aren’t afraid to speak the honest truth no matter how blunt it sounds. But which judge is the most intimidating, the scariest?

FN Dish caught up with a bunch of Food Network stars, including Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell and the Neelys, as well as the judges themselves, among other famous faces, to ask the question, “Which Chopped judge are you most scared of?” Watch the video above to hear which judge came out on top as the scariest.

Who’s your scariest judge?

Iron Chef Michael Symon Off the Clock

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

Iron Chef Michael SymonMichael Symon was the first Iron Chef I ever encountered in person. And I am delighted to say that, during the last three years, I have had the opportunity to hear his all-too-famous laugh on many more occasions, both as a co-judge on The Next Iron Chef as well as when I am lucky enough to judge his battles in Kitchen Stadium.

Just before he entered into battle against his fellow Iron Chefs, I took the chance to catch up with one of my favorite Food Network chums and demand answers to the following questions.

You once told me that you feared only “My wife, my mother and God — not necessarily in that order.” But is there any chef that you would hate to come up against in Kitchen Stadium?
MS: Not really. That’s not because I don’t think there are any chefs out there that are better than me, but because I live for competition and the battles in Kitchen Stadium. So win or lose, there is no one I’d be afraid to go up against.

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11 Things You Didn’t Know About Marcus Samuelsson

by in Shows, May 15th, 2013

Marcus SamuelssonYou’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.

Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club, and American Table Cafe and Bar by Marcus Samuelsson. Marcus is the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times. He was also tasked with planning and executing the Obama Administration’s first State dinner. Marcus has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards, including Best Chef: New York City and most recently in the category of Writing and Literature for his recent memoir, Yes, Chef. But what you may not know about Marcus is that if he didn’t become a chef, he might have become a professional soccer player. Find out more about Marcus in his Q&A below.

Read Marcus’s Q&A

Long-Standing Legacies, Big Breakfast and Traditional Gone Wild on Triple D Tonight

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, May 13th, 2013

Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins and DivesOn tonight’s all-new episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (10pm/9c), Guy’s digging in to dishes that Mama would make if she had a wild imagination. In Philadelphia a very special guest hits the kitchen with Guy for fried PB&Js, and in Phoenix there’s a farm-to-table spot dishing out dynamite pork sammies and cooking everything from pizzas to pancakes to meatballs in its wood-fired oven.

Before you tune in to tonight’s premiere, don’t miss Guy in a marathon of some of your favorite Triple D episodes. He’ll be stopping by hometown favorites, like in Chatham, N.J., where an Italian joint is baking up fried chicken, arancini balls and the decadent sacred swine sandwich. In Burbank, Calif., join Guy as he visits a family-owned chili-serving spot with a name dating back a century. And in Toronto he’ll stop by a smokehouse kicking burgers and turning a traditional BLT on its head.

Take the trip with him starting at 6pm/5c — follow along and bookmark the restaurants as he goes, and try your hand at the recipes.

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