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Restaurant Revisited: Windseeker Restaurant

by in Shows, January 16th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Food Network's Restaurant: ImpossibleFor Windseeker Restaurant in The Dalles, Ore., the problems went beyond a tired dining room and lackluster food. They had been battling negative press for years, and owner Veta Bingman and general manager Patty Taylor faced a constant struggle to attract customers to their out-of-the-way location, despite the breathtaking river views that surround them. In just two days and with a $10,000 budget, Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team transformed the eatery into a sophisticated space complete with a high-quality menu that would improve Windseeker’s local reputation. We checked in with Patty a few months after Robert left to find out how the restaurant is doing today.

Comparing year-over-year numbers, Patty says that “Business is up by $30,000″ following the renovation, and she adds that the cost of food and wages has increased as well. Since their Restaurant: Impossible experience, the staff has not borrowed money from the restaurant.

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Devils on Horseback, Cookie Dough Pasta and Tostones — Rebel Remix

by in Shows, January 16th, 2013

Chopped Champions Round 1
Every Wednesday, Justin Warner, winner of Food Network Star Season 8, is remixing the Chopped Champion baskets as seen in the episode the night before in pure Justin Warner-style: edgy, intense, passionate and full of witty. If you’ve ever watched an episode and found yourself yelling at the TV, “I would have made this and that instead!” then these are the posts for you.

by Justin Warner

I play the Chopped game differently from most. My goal is not to transform things but to find the simplest way to make them work together. I’m not a magician or a craftsman — I’m more like a negotiator or ombudsman. I also try to think of the ingredients as something other than what they are. Yes, they might be duck tongues, but it’s easier to play with them if you think of them as chicken tenders. Make sense? With all of that said, here’s what I would do with the baskets from last night’s episode.

Justin breaks down the Chopped basket

Chatting With the Round-1 Winner of Chopped Champions

by in Shows, January 15th, 2013

Chefs Kenneth Johnson and Sean ScoteseIn 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 ultimately 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

What to Watch: Bobby’s Dinner Battle

by in Shows, January 15th, 2013

Bobby's Dinner BattleIf you’ve ever felt overwhelmed at the prospect of entertaining a houseful of party guests or cooking a meal for your opinionated relatives, then you can begin to imagine the pressure under which home cooks find themselves on Bobby’s Dinner Battle, Bobby Flay‘s newest show that challenges three teams of home cooks to prepare three-course dinner parties for this professional chef and restaurateur. Although they don’t have formal culinary training, the contestants are not simply kitchen novices. They consider themselves to be some of the best home cooks in their area and pride themselves on their ability to craft full-flavored, restaurant-quality meals using advanced techniques in their kitchens at home.

Each week, Bobby will travel to a different city where new groups of home cooks must put their best culinary chops forward in themed challenges to create event menus with limited time and money. Bobby will be joined by a special guest in each city, and these esteemed dinner party guests will help judge the competitors on the taste and presentation of their offerings, plus how well they’ve embraced the given theme.

Tune in to the series premiere of Bobby’s Dinner Battle on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 10pm/9c.

10 Interesting Facts About Scotch Whisky

by in Drinks, Shows, January 14th, 2013

Iron Chef America Battle Scotch WhiskyLast night’s Iron Chef America battle between Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Michael Chiarello brought one of my favorite tipples to the forefront: Scotch whisky. Instead of breaking down the ingredient like I usually do, here are 10 interesting facts that you may not know about this Secret Ingredient:

1. The term “whisky” is actually derived from the Gaelic words uisage beatha, which in turn came from the Latin Acqua Vitae or “water of life.” It’s thought that the name refers to the fact that these spirits were first used by monks for medicinal purposes.

2. The oldest reference to the production of whisky is not in fact in Scotland, but in Ireland, where it is believed that monks began distilling spirits as far back as the fifth century. The first reference from Scotland is found in the Exchequer rolls, the accounting records for the royal finances in 1494, where an allowance was made for “eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make aqua vitae.”

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What to Watch: Chopped Champions

by in Shows, January 14th, 2013

Chopped ChampionsNo strangers to mystery baskets, unusual ingredients or opinionated judges, four previous Chopped winners are putting their reputations on the line one more time tomorrow night as they compete in the first round of the five-part tournament of Chopped Champions. While these chefs may be returning to familiar settings in the kitchen, they’ll face more pressure than ever as the stakes are now higher than they were in their last battles — on the line this time is a $50,000 prize and the ultimate Chopped title: Grand Champion. Since all of the competitors know what it takes to avoid the chopping block and are used to the sweet taste of victory, each must bring his or her A game if they want to be crowned a two-time champion and score a coveted seat in the grand finale.

Chefs Sylvain Harribey, Kenneth Johnson, Sean Scotese and Lish Steiling are the first four contestants to face off in the tournament, and they’re bringing with them memories of past battles and grand plans for showcasing their culinary chops once again. Flip through this photo gallery to find out more about the Chopped Champions contestants, and be sure to tune in Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 10pm/9c to find out which of these chefs has earned a place in the finale.

An Interview With the Latest Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Castoff

by in Shows, January 13th, 2013

Dean and Cornelia
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 seven remaining celebrities took a trip to Underwood Family Farms. The challenge required them to cook a meal for the farm’s employees utilizing freshly picked produce. The one catch? The celebs themselves would have to pick the vegetables directly from the fields. As expected, not all of them were happy to trade in the red carpet for fields of dirt, but some took to the challenge surprisingly well. Two strong competitors, however, ended up in the bottom two.

Find out which celebrity was eliminated

Guy Fieri Talks to Fans of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off on Facebook

by in Shows, January 12th, 2013

Guy Fieri
Rachael vs. GuyEarlier this week, FN Dish caught up with Guy Fieri for a Facebook chat about the new season of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. Guy answered questions about the competition, the celebrities, working with Rachael, what it’s like to be a part of the show and more.

Jennifer Suraci Tavella: Whose cooking skills surprised you?
Guy Fieri: I have to tell you that Johnny Weir’s cooking skills — from the way he said he could cook to the way he actually cooked — really surprised me. The guy has a great palate.

Janice Miller: How do you deal with a celebrity that can’t cook at all?
GF: Everybody loves food. Food is the common denominator of all people. To say someone can’t cook at all — I don’t know if that’s really true. They just may not have that much experience or practice. If you give them some techniques, it’s amazing what people can do. They just have to believe in themselves and try.

Read on for highlights from the Facebook chat with Guy

Pin the What on the What? Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off Caption It

by in Shows, January 11th, 2013

Team Rachael
Rachael vs. GuyThis season of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off takes the celebrity contestants to all different places for each challenge. Last Sunday the competition started out on the red carpet, moved to the kitchen and then ended at the theater. For this Sunday’s episode, things are a bit more down to earth than that.

In the above sneak-peek photo it appears that the remaining members of Team Rachael are pinning something onto a scarecrow. What could they be doing in the next challenge that has them looking so perplexed? Will the team step up to the challenge or will the new location trip them up?

Write your best caption

What to Watch: A Weekend of New Adventure and Competition

by in Shows, January 11th, 2013

Iron Chef America Judges and The ChairmanThis weekend, Food Network has a bunch of new episodes that capture the spirit of adventure, the willingness to try new things and the sense of competition.

On Saturday watch Barefoot Contessa and Giada at Home. Ina and Jeffrey travel through Napa Valley on their California adventure. Giada shows you how she likes to mix things up for dinner on Monday nights by going meatless.

On Sunday night, there are three competitions back-to-back. First, on Sugar Dome, different artists are challenged to create displays inspired by the ’80s. On Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, the stars head to a farm outside of Hollywood to convene with the sources of the food they must cook. And on Iron Chef America, it’s a rematch between Iron Chef Zakarian and challenger Chef Michael Chiarello, with special guest judge Neil Patrick Harris.

Read about the shows