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Melissa’s Take on the Chopped Basket — Champions Round Three

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 31st, 2013

Melissa d'Arabian on Chopped All-Starsby Melissa d’Arabian

Last week was fun. So now I’m back, this time playing virtual Chopped 30,000 feet in the sky (I forgot my headset and how many times can I see Arbitrage anyway?), so here goes. My 30 seconds to plan starts now!

Appetizer basket: smoked eel, cream cheese spread, quince paste and haricot verts

Smoky eel, cream cheese and sweet quince all work well together, but how to get the green beans in on the act? I first think of my daughters’ favorite, “crunchy green beans,” which is a nice way of saying batter-dipped and fried. A fritto misto it is. First I’ll get the oil heating. Then I take inspiration from crab puffs and create a little dumpling out of wonton skins (I’m pretty sure they have those in the pantry, but if not, then some other kind of dough or bread rolled super thin) filled with the eel and cream cheese, a little onion and a touch of smoked paprika.

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How Do You Top Your Hot Dog? Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off

by in Shows, January 31st, 2013

Rachael and Guy
Rachael vs. GuyThis past Sunday the celebrities on Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off had to cook kid-friendly food for two kids’ birthday parties. Unfortunately, not all the dishes pleased the kids’ picky palates. Johnny and Carnie ended up in the bottom two and were given the challenge of making hot dogs for the blind tasting. The crumbled sausage sandwich that Johnny created sent him home because it wasn’t a true hot dog. But it was the hot dog that Carnie made that everyone raved about. Its toppings set it apart: bacon and cheese and a special sauce that Rachael couldn’t help eating on its own.

More From Rachael vs. Guy:
Episode 4 Recap (Video)
Watch the Full Episode (Video)
Episode 4 Highlights (Photos)
Johnny’s Exit Interview

When it comes to kids’ party food and even game-day grub, hot dogs are right up there with burgers, mac ‘n’ cheese, chili and all those other noteworthy favorites. But it’s often the topping that can put people on the hot dog defensive, with the number-one debate being ketchup or mustard. But there are also many other options when it comes to topping a hot dog. FN Dish wants to know what toppings put on yours.

VOTE and SHARE your favorite hot dog topping

Risky Business With Haricot-Schmear, Frog Legs and an Araucana Juicy Lucy — Rebel Remix

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

Chef Tanaka Chopped Champions
by Justin Warner

According to a legend, nearly a mile beneath the foundation of Food Network headquarters in Chelsea Market, there exists a culinary lab of the most peculiar type. Comestibles from all over the world are gathered and transported here. The ingredients are tasted by robotic tongues. The flavor data is analyzed and each ingredient is classified by its ability to fuse with other ingredients.

Some play nicely. The humble egg frolics with oils, citrus and tiny mustard seeds. Cutesy strawberries jump with glee on a bed of goat cheese.

Some are more clique-ish. The ever-attractive artichoke only associates with the briniest of morsels. And some don’t play at all. They sulk in the corners of our gastronomic playpen. These are the palate destroyers — the over-powerers. They are preserved. They are fermented. They are canned. They are weird.

Each week, one of the most elite of Food Network’s team of sustenance scientists hand-selects four edible elements. They are placed into a sturdy black basket and transported to the surface. The baskets are presented to the most-talented chefs in the land to assemble. From what appears to be a picnic of pain emerge glorious dishes, never before seen! They are crafted with ingenuity. Upon their judgment they sing palate-pleasing songs forgotten since childhood.

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Anne’s Top 10 Tips for Pursuing Your Dream Job

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

Anne Burrell Chef WantedNo-nonsense chef Anne Burrell is taking her passion for the culinary industry one step further in an all-new season of Food Network’s Chef Wanted, premiering tomorrow night at 10pm/9c. If the applicants want to impress Anne and the restaurant’s management, they’ll need more than just stellar food chops and a winning resume to score their dream job.

So how can you be sure that you’re going after the right job? And once you’ve secured an interview, what are some things to keep in mind? We recently sat down with Anne and she dished her top tips for finding a job that fits like a glove:

1. Go for a job that you feel that you’re equipped to love.
2. Do research on the restaurant: its clientele, its owner and the area it’s located in.
3. Find out what the staff size is. It’s important to know how much support you’ll have.
4. Ask yourself why you really want this job.
5. Remain cool under pressure.
Continue reading Anne’s tips

Chatting With the Round-3 Winner of Chopped Champions

by in Shows, January 29th, 2013

Chefs Elise Kornack and Jun TanakaIn an all-new season of Chopped Champions, 16 chefs, each with a previous Chopped win under his or her belt, are returning to the kitchen to face off for a second time in the ultimate multicourse cook-off. Although they’re no strangers to mystery baskets, these chefs are under more pressure than ever, as they’re competing not just for Chopped glory but also a spot in the finale where they can ultimately claim a $50,000 prize and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

Each week, four chefs will take their places in the kitchen and battle it out in the hopes of outlasting the chopping block once again. While three will crumble beneath the demands of Champions cooking, one will prove his or her culinary chops for a second time. Check in with FN Dish every Tuesday night after the episode to hear from the latest winner.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who won

Preview the First Episode of Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, January 29th, 2013

Chefs Bobby Flay and Anne BurrellBy now you’ve heard the news: Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay are returning for an all-new season of culinary Boot Camp on Worst Cooks in America, and this season, the stakes are higher than ever for these top-notch chefs and their teams of recruits alike. With an undefeated winning streak stretching three years, Chef Anne is looking to mentor her team of kitchen novices to the top once again and claim bragging rights over Chef Bobby, who will invest his best culinary chops in his own team in the hopes of finally dethroning his rival chef. On the line for the recruits? A whopping $25,000 prize and the title of the best of the worst in the kitchen.

Meet the 14 recruits vying for Worst Cooks glory and see a sneak peek of what’s to come in the season premiere by watching the all-new video below. Click the play button after the jump to view an insider’s clip of the contestants on day one of Boot Camp and get the first look at some of the hopelessly atrocious dishes that sent them on the show, plus hear Chef Anne’s and Chef Bobby’s reactions to the recruits.

Watch the video now

Plums — Iron Chef America Ingredients 101

by in Shows, January 28th, 2013

Iron Chef America Battle PlumThere is rarely a time when the large bowl in my kitchen is not filled with whatever fruity delights are in season. And when I’m worn out by my travels, it’s a delicious piece of fruit that I crave more than anything else to restore my good humor.

Of the many different types of fruit I love, it is the appearance of sweet, juicy plums at my local farmers’ market that excites me the most. This is not only because they are so good when eaten raw, but also because I love to cook with them.

I definitely picked up some new ideas for my kitchen from Iron Chef Symon and his recent challenger, Chef Tio, and I hope they will inspire you too to make even more of the huge variety of plums available today.

What are plums?

Plums, or prunus domestica, are part of the family of drupe fruits. This is a genus of plant where the seed is protected by a hard shell and, just like plums, includes peaches, cherries and almonds.

Simon breaks down the Secret Ingredient

An Interview With the Latest Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Castoff

by in Shows, January 27th, 2013

Johnny and Carnie
Rachael vs. GuyEvery Sunday night, FN Dish gives you the exclusive exit interview with the latest castoff from Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, the competition show that features celebrities cooking their way through challenges for a chance to win the title of Cook-Off Champion and $50,000 for their chosen charity. This season will have the celebrities facing real-life situations — far from the glamour of the red carpet — and will test more than just their cooking skills.

On tonight’s episode, the remaining five celebrities found themselves in a challenge that would test not only their ability to cater for a crowd, but to please even the pickiest of eaters: kids. Each team had to cater a separate kids’ party and make sure they were cooking foods that their clients actually liked. Each celebrity had to make one savory and one sweet dish with 30 servings each. At the end of the day, the result of the challenge proved to be one of the most surprising yet.

Find out which celebrity was eliminated

Beyond the Chopped Basket: What to Make With Quinoa

by in Shows, January 27th, 2013

Herbed QuinoaSo often on Chopped we see chef contestants open their mystery baskets to find such odd, uncommon and downright scary ingredients — pre-cooked 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 round-2 competition, the focus is now on quinoa, which made an appearance in the entree round alongside squab, karela and peanut butter and jelly spread.

Extremely similar in taste and texture to the red quinoa that was featured on Champions, white quinoa boasts a subtle nutty flavor and becomes chewy-tender when cooked. These tiny morsels — a bit smaller than couscous — look and feel like a grain, but they’re actually seeds from a plant closely related to spinach. To become soft, quinoa needs time to simmer in liquid, which is why several of the Chopped competitors struggled to fully cook their variety in such a short amount of time. When it’s ready to eat, quinoa bursts open, shedding fine, slightly crunchy spirals to reveal a light, fluffy superfood that’s packed with protein and good-for-you nutrients. Since quinoa absorbs the liquid in which it’s cooked, try boiling it in chicken or vegetable broth instead of water for added flavor; if you don’t have broth on hand, just add a few drips of lemon juice to water to take the taste to the next delicious level.

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10 Fun Facts About Chef Wanted’s Host and Mentor Anne Burrell

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 26th, 2013

Anne BurrellAnne Burrell may be known to most Food Network fans as the force behind her show, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, or the author of the New York Times Best Seller, Cook Like a Rock Star. But did you know that Anne Burrell was once a teacher at the Institute of Culinary Education? After cooking at a Michelin one-star restaurant in Italy and New York hot spots Felidia, Savoy and Centro Vinoteca, she took the opportunity to spread her culinary knowledge and passion as a teacher and mentor to students.

On January 31 (10pm/9c), Anne Burrell will be putting her mentor hat back on as she helps top restaurants find an executive chef — the critical employee who can make or break a restaurant — on Chef Wanted. Each week, Anne Burrell will put four candidates through the toughest job interview of their lives, testing everything from their culinary mettle to business acumen. It all ends with the biggest test of all: running the restaurant.

Before it all starts, get to know Chef Anne Burrell better with these fun facts:

1. She’s helped Mario Batali (one of her own most influential mentors) compete in more than 20 Iron Chef America battles as his sous chef.

2. Chef Anne Burrell first met Mario Batali in a wine shop.

3. You’ll never catch Anne eating calf’s liver.

4. She can’t live without a food mill.

5. She would go crazy if she had to work in an office.

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