The circus is filled with amazing attractions and fun amusements, but lest we forget there’s also the food: corn dogs, cotton candy, peanuts, candy apples and more. This week’s episode of Chopped
was a special Circus Spectacular theme, with basket ingredients that evoked the big top. Judges Alex, Scott and special guest judge Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel took up spots in the Chopped kitchen for an After Hours competition. They faced cooking with the basket ingredients from the dessert round, which included a snow cone, popcorn, a funnel cake and sour cream.
On the show, the competitors embraced the childhood fun of the dessert basket ingredients and reimagined them in unique ways. The judges followed suit and created playful dishes that exemplified the joy of going to the circus as a kid. Right off the bat, Alex decided to bake cookies and make sorbet out of the snow cone and sour cream so she could create ice cream sandwiches. She thought it best evoked the fun of “getting it all running down your hands while you’re watching the circus.”
On tonight’s Chef Wanted, Tapenade, a recently opened Mediterranean-influenced restaurant located in Los Angeles, needed a new chef de cuisine. Chef/owner Ressul Rassalat and general manager Chuck Craig were looking for an individual who could immediately jump into the role so that Chef Ressul could take on running the restaurant in front of the house to ensure its overall success. Anne Burrell had four candidates for the job opportunity, but only one was offered the position. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winning chef.
SPOILER ALERT: Find Out Who Won
“My job here is intense, to say the least,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Mama Campisi’s Restaurant in St. Louis. This nine-year-old Italian eatery was once profitable, making nearly $1 million in revenue, but after employee theft resulted in more than $70,000 in losses, the business faded, and now husband-and-wife owners Lance and Andrea Ervin face nearly $600,000 worth of debt. But beyond their financial struggles, Andrea was overwhelmed by her situation, so Robert’s mission was twofold: Give Mama Campisi’s the tools it needs to succeed again, and help Andrea and her family regain their trust in their restaurant. After just two days and with only $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team reopened Mama Campisi’s with an inspired menu, a transformed interior and the skills needed to ensure future profits. FN Dish checked in with Andrea and Lance to find how the business is doing today.
“Business seems to have picked up,” Andrea said. “We were able get a couple [people] paid in full, however, due to the repairs that had to be done, we have been at a standstill right now.”
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No matter their reasons for emotional collapses — financial stress, relationship conflicts, personal pressures, employee anxiety — countless restaurant owners and staff members featured on Restaurant: Impossible
have experienced meltdowns on the show. They’ve ranged from minor disagreements and temper tantrum-like behavior to full-blown screaming, door slamming and people ultimately walking out during filming. Robert Irvine
and his team of designers and contractors have been there to witness each disastrous falling apart, and together with the help of staff members’ friends and family, they’re almost always able to remedy the situation. But before peace is restored on set, cameras capture each calamitous moment.
Click the play button the video above to watch a video mash-up of the five most unforgettable meltdowns ever featured on the series. Then tune in to the Season 7 premiere of Restaurant: Impossible tonight at 10pm/9cto see the owner of Mama Campisi’s Restaurant struggle to contain her emotions on set. Watch more top-five video mashups from Restaurant: Impossible, including emotional reveals, dirtiest restaurants and stubborn owners.
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While the sabotages dealt to chefs on Cutthroat Kitchen
may be downright devious and may cause the competitors to rethink their culinary approaches, the dishes they’re tasked to cook are, in fact, straightforward. Common plates like tacos, cupcakes, fried chicken and burritos have made appearances in the past, and all Alton asks of the contestants is that they create these meals for the judge. It sounds easy enough — until he reveals unknown curve balls, like mandatory ingredients and inferior cooking utensils, of course. It’s these challenging sabotages that cause — or, perhaps, force — the chefs to abandon all aspects of simplicity and ultimately reinvent the dishes as next-level versions.
Although this week’s battle indeed featured its share of sabotages, judge Antonia Lofaso told Alton Brown on the host’s After-Showthat the chefs’ culinary offerings could have been stronger, if only they had not tried to make the dishes complicated and too unlike the originals. In Round 2, one chef was given leftover fried rice to feature in jambalaya, and rather than merely steam it to outfit it with the proper texture, he or she turned it into rice patties, but the rice wasn’t apparent. “You would have been starting with a product that you can have control over,” Antonia told Alton. “[The chef] could have just resuscitated it, but instead [the competitor] ground it into a paste,” Alton added. “I would have simply just used it.”
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Earlier this week, FN Dish caught up with Guy Fieri for a Facebook chat before Guy’s Grocery Games
premieres this Sunday at 8pm/7c. The brand-new show puts chefs in real-life grocery shopping situations and challenges them to cook meals in a real supermarket — for a chance to win up to $20,000. Guy answered questions about the competition, the show’s concept and the various challenges, and he also revealed some fun details about himself.
Watch an exclusive clip from the premiere above, and read on for highlights from the Facebook chat with Guy.
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This Saturday, watch Amy Thielen take a road trip through Madison, Wis., and later tune in to see the Hanson brothers judge the competition on Cupcake Wars. On Sunday, start off the morning with five dollar-stretching recipes from Rachael Ray. In the evening it’s the premiere of Guy’s Grocery Games, part game show and part cooking competition all in the aisles of a supermarket. Afterward, tune in to Halloween Wars, where the remaining teams take inspiration from the swamp to create eerie creatures. And then it’s a new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, where you never know what sabotage will come next.
Read about the shows
On tonight’s Chef Wanted, Christy’s on Broadway, a popular restaurant that has been in operation in Long Beach, Calif., for more than two decades, needed a new executive chef to replace its former executive chef who was moving on. Owner Christy Bono and general manager Cori Cauble were looking to find a talented individual who could revamp the menu and take it into the next decade. Anne Burrell had four candidates for the job opportunity, but only one was offered the position. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winning chef.
SPOILER ALERT: Find Out Who Won
On Guy’s Grocery Games, the shopping and cooking challenges are determined by host Guy Fieri, but the food that the chefs create is ultimately judged by a panel made up of celebrity chefs and notable tastemakers from the food world, among them Melissa d’Arabian, Beau MacMillan and Richard Blais. Before watching the season premiere this Sunday at 8pm/7c, get to know the roster of judges. And get an exclusive preview of the episode.
Meet the Judges
The Chopped Dinner Challenge is a new series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!
On this week’s Chopped: Brunch Boxes episode, the competitors found pancake mix in their entree round basket, along with an emu egg, Bloody Mary mix and lobster. Two out of the three remaining competitors ingeniously decided to use the pancake mix as a batter for their lobster and made it through to the dessert round. This recipe for Indian-Inspired Corn Dogs with Mango Dipping Sauce also makes clever use of pancake mix in a form other than the obvious breakfast dish. Plus, it’s a great way to recreate the state-fair staple at home for a fun and nostalgic meal with your family.
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