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What to Watch: Food-Filled Days With Ree, Ina and Giada, Cupcake Wars in Paradise and More

by in Shows, March 15th, 2013

Cupcake WarsIf your idea of a perfect day involves food at just about every turn, then you’re in for a treat this weekend on Food Network. On Saturday watch new episodes of The Pioneer Woman, Barefoot Contessa and Giada at Home, all of which involve a day filled with comfort foods and sweet treats. Then it’s competition time on Sunday, with a Hawaii-themed episode of Cupcake Wars (pictured above) and an episode of Worst Cooks in America that has the Boot Campers facing their biggest fear — serving food to others. Finish Sunday evening with a life-changing transformation on Restaurant: Impossible.

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Chef Wanted: Ola Update

by in Shows, March 14th, 2013


Chef WantedOla restaurant is located at Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Chef/owner Fred DeAngelo opened the restaurant eight years ago with his wife, Cheryl. Fred was looking for an executive chef who could relieve some of the pressure from his workload, as he has a new restaurant to run. His hope was to find a chef who could expertly work with the local island ingredients and who shares his philosophy for the restaurant, which is reflected in the name Ola, meaning “life.” 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 Casey Barnes.

Casey is an unemployed chef from Los Angeles — he actually quit his job with a Michelin-rated chef just to interview at Ola. He recently got engaged to his girlfriend and is ready to move to Hawaii to start fresh with this new job.

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Restaurant Revisited: Caseyville Cafe

by in Shows, March 13th, 2013

Robert Irvine at Caseyville CafeAlthough mother-daughter duo Diane Emery and Robin Gordon had no previous experience in the restaurant industry, together they purchased Caseyville Cafe in Caseyville, Ill., more than three years ago. At one point their eatery was making enough money to simply break even with its costs, but it soon turned into a failing venture, with more than $6,000 being lost every month. Just months away from shutting down their business entirely, the ladies looked to Robert Irvine for a complete Restaurant: Impossible overhaul. It soon became clear to Robert that this “dirty, dysfunctional” space was in need of not simply an aesthetic transformation, but also vast changes to its menu and management. In two days and with only $10,000, he worked with Diane and Robin to revamp all aspects of Caseyville Cafe, which ultimately reopened with crowd-pleasing food and a roomful of satisfied customers. We checked in with Robin a few months after Robert left to find out how her business is doing today.

Since its Restaurant: Impossible debut, Caseyville Cafe has had an increase in business. Although they’re still working to manage supply costs, Robin and Diane are slowly minimizing their debt.

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Vote: Which Cake Would You Want at Your Celebration?

by in Shows, March 13th, 2013

Celebration Cakes on Worst Cooks in AmericaIn an attempt to conquer what Chef Bobby Flay deemed “the final frontier for any home cook,” the remaining Worst Cooks in America recruits tackled the sweeter side of the kitchen: baking. Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel stopped by Boot Camp to offer them a basic cake-making tutorial, and while some of their hopes for dreamy dessert crumbled, a few recruits rose to the occasion.

After a 90-minute bake-off, the Blue Team‘s Alina and the Red Team‘s Rasheeda were named the most-successful competitors in this week’s Main Dish Challenge, as they managed to pull off cakes that boasted creative design and winning flavor combinations. Both baking with their cakes’ eventual recipients in mind, Alina and Rasheeda utilized age-appropriate ingredients and fitting frosting designs that reflected what Dash and Sawyer, twin 7-year-old birthday boys, and Rita, a recent retiree, respectively, would enjoy at their celebrations. Alina offered the boys a multicolored caked filled with jam and peanut butter cups as a nod to the kid-friendly PB&J sandwich, while Rasheeda took Rita’s like of nuts to the next level by adding pecans to the top of her light pink-tinted ginger cake.

If you were in need of a cake for your celebration, whose would you order? Are you a fan of Alina’s playful flavor approach to the classic dessert, or do you prefer more mature tastes like the ginger in Rasheeda’s cake? Would you opt for over-the-top color like Alina’s orange-and-green creation, or would you keep it simple with subtle hues?

Vote for your favorite cake

Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel Visits Worst Cooks in America Boot Camp

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, March 11th, 2013

Chef Ron Ben-Israel on Worst Cooks in AmericaAs one of the most-successful pastry chefs in the country, Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel is known for creating sky-high cakes that are as deliciously whimsical as they are stunningly beautiful. On Sunday’s episode of Worst Cooks in America, however, he was forced to abandon the high-quality demands he prides himself on in his professional kitchen and think back to basics. Stopping by Boot Camp to offer the recruits an in-depth cake-baking how-to, he showed them seemingly simple recipes for creating wow-worthy celebration cakes, but for some of the competitors, this challenge ultimately proved to be nothing short of impossible. We checked in with Chef Ron to find out what it was like helping the competitors turn out their best-possible confections and to learn the most-shocking moment he experienced at Boot Camp. Read on below to get the insider scoop on what went down, plus check out Chef Ron’s easy tips for at-home bakers.

How was your time on the show?

RB: I’m a big fan of the show and always learn something valuable by watching Chefs Anne and Bobby. So I was so excited to be asked to come to the kitchen and teach the recruits how to bake a cake. And they were so sweet and excited to see me! Also, the kitchen was very well equipped with every tool and ingredient that a cake designer may wish for. I was so happy to be there and started demonstrating with great enthusiasm.

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Restaurant Revisited: Maniaci’s Italian Bistro

by in Shows, March 10th, 2013

Robert Irvine at Maniaci's Italian BistroAfter their mother passed away five years ago, brothers Geoff, John and Tim Maniaci have struggled with dwindling business at their family’s 18-year-old restaurant, Maniaci’s Italian Bistro, in Mohnton, Pa. Before its Restaurant: Impossible overhaul, the eatery was losing more than $2,000 per month, and for those whose livelihoods depend on profits, the damages were almost too much to bear. Robert Irvine and his team worked with the brothers to revamp the interior of Maniaci’s and rework its menu, as well as to fix the tattered management in the hopes of giving the business a second chance at success. After only two days of renovations, Maniaci’s opened its doors again, this time to a packed dining room and with a menu focused on quality food. We checked in with Geoff, John and Tim a few months after Maniaci’s transformation to find out how the eatery is doing today.

Since Robert left, business at Maniaci’s has indeed increased, and, according to Geoff, the restaurant saw “almost $15,000 in dining room sales for the month of December.” Bar sales are up, as well, nearly $6,000 for the same month.

In terms of management, Geoff is now wholly in charge of the restaurant, and he says that “employees like that we are more structured.”

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

by in Shows, March 10th, 2013

Chefs Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay on Worst Cooks in AmericaFor 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 Blue Team Recruit to Go Home — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, March 10th, 2013

Carrie Lee Riggins, Carla Johnson and Chet Pourciau on Worst Cooks in AmericaFor 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

Playing Games With the Genius — Worst Cooks in America Caption It

by in Shows, March 8th, 2013

Alina Bolshakova and Chef Ron Ben-IsraelIn the Sweet Genius kitchen, Master Pastry Chef Ron Ben-Israel is all business and no nonsense, challenging top professional bakers to a slew of culinary tasks on the clock. When he’s in charge, only confectionary perfection will suffice; others’ second-best efforts are simply unworthy of the genius title.

All of that is about to change come Sunday night, when Chef Ron drops by Boot Camp to lead the Worst Cooks in America recruits in a simple baking how-to. No longer striving for excellence, the Sweet Genius himself is after mere edibility when it comes to concocting cakes with some contestants who’ve opened their ovens only a handful of times — ever. Will he be able to instill in them a penchant for light, airy batters and smooth, fluffy frostings, or will the teams crumble under the pressures of pastry?

Given the sneak-peek image above from Sunday’s all-new episode, it looks as though it’s Chef Ron who’s taking the brunt of the challenge, as the Blue Team’s Alina Bolshakova dangles a bowlful of frosting over his head. Is her maneuver somehow part of the cake-making process, or do you think this is simply a well-meaning game she’s playing with Chef Ron? Will the Sweet Genius soon be covered with fallen frosting, or does he manage to dodge Alina’s bright-orange spread?

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What to Watch: A Weekend of Family Togetherness and Down-to-the-Wire Competition

by in Shows, March 8th, 2013

Robert Irvine and Mariaci BrothersThis weekend on Food Network it’s all about cooking and having fun with family and friends, and some friendly — and not-so-friendly — competition.

Saturday morning has all-new episodes from Ree, Ina and Giada. On The Pioneer Woman, Ree is cooking up a storm for her football-playing family as they prepare for a game of boys versus girls. Then on Barefoot Contessa, Ina’s rewarding the team that helped design and build her new library with a Mediterranean-style party. Afterward, Giada and her aunt Raffy are cooking recipes right out of Giada’s grandma’s recipe collection on Giada at Home.

The competition starts on Sunday with a new episode of Cupcake Wars, where the teams bake it out for a chance to cater an event for The All-American Rejects. On Worst Cooks in America, the remaining Boot Campers must try and beat the clock to see if they can cook faster than ordering in delivery. Then, on a special night, watch Restaurant: Impossible as Robert tries to unite three brothers who have had a hard time running their late mother’s Italian restaurant (pictured above).

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