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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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Chef Wanted: Culina Update

by in Shows, March 7th, 2013


Chef WantedCulina, Modern Italian is a restaurant located in the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. General Manager Mehdi Eftekari was looking for a new executive chef because the former executive chef, Ashley James, was promoted to oversee the entire hotel. The two men were in need of someone who could cook innovative Italian food, lead a large staff and be comfortable with their customers. 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 Mette Williams.

Mette Williams is an executive chef from Los Angeles and a single mother of a 14-month-old boy. The position at Culina would give her the stability that she wants for herself and her son.

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Vote: What Toppings Make for the Best Burger?

by in Shows, March 5th, 2013

Chef Anne Burrell and Sue MangognaFlavors were the primary talk of Boot Camp on Sunday’s episode of Worst Cooks in America: which tastes work best together, which ingredients should never be paired and what flavors are most successful in sweet treats and savory picks. The recruits tackled these questions and more as they experimented with signature combinations while crafting from-scratch gelato and handmade hamburgers in an attempt to test their palates.

During the Main Dish Challenge in which contestants from both teams battled for burger glory, the mentors demonstrated that even seemingly unusual ingredients can and often do work well together. In true Bobby Flay form, the Blue Team leader added a topping of potato chips to his beefy creation, “crunchifying” the burger from between the buns. Chef Anne Burrell, too, embraced the untraditional by making for the Red Team a Greek-inspired lamb patty finished with a creamy tzatziki spread. Both of the chefs’ creative additions to the everyday burger proved successful, but many of the recruits’ efforts were simply disappointing, including Sue’s mozzarella-stuffed patties that barely held their shape, Carrie Lee’s chicken burgers that were burned and of course Alex’s overwhelming “burg-dog” and Aadip’s grilled cheese sandwich, which was hardly a burger at all.

When it comes to building your ultimate burger, what toppings do you reach for? Are you a traditionalist who craves nothing else on the patty except a slice of cheese, or do you embrace multiple flavors and textures by adding salty bacon, a runny fried egg or cool lettuce? Have you taken to Chef Bobby’s penchant for “crunchified” burgers? Did Chef Anne inspire you to consider Mediterranean flavors?

Vote for your ultimate burger toppings

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

by in Shows, March 3rd, 2013

Alex Stein and Chet PourciauFor 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 Red Team Recruit to Go Home — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, March 3rd, 2013

Aadip Desai and Sue MangognaFor 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

Ice Cream Meltdowns — Worst Cooks in America Caption It

by in Shows, March 1st, 2013

Chefs Anne Burrell and Bobby FlayJust when the recruits are starting to adjust to the stresses of Worst Cooks in America Boot Camp and the expectations that come with each Skill Drill and Main Dish Challenge, Chefs Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay are ready to throw a twist into their list of already tricky demands. On Sunday, for the first time, the mentors will leave the kitchen during the Skill Drill while the recruits prep homemade gelato, which will be subject to a blind tasting. This means that the competitors will be wholly alone in their efforts this week, as they won’t have the security of nearby coaches or the opportunity to defend their dishes as they’re tasted.

Given the sneak-peek image above from Sunday’s all-new episode, it seems as though both Chefs Anne and Bobby are left stunned — and not in a good way — with what chilly treats their team members have scooped for them. Here, both mentors look with confusion and perhaps pure horror at the icy concoction before them, but since it’s a blind tasting, they can’t tell whose recruit is responsible for this dessert meltdown. Do you think the chefs will be able to guess based on flavor and presentation who prepared this plate, and if so, who’s most likely to have crafted this unsuccessful confection?

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