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Chatting with Donal Skehan, a Mentor on the Brand-New Food Network Star Kids

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, August 3rd, 2016

Food Network Star KidsFresh off a game-changing Season 12 of Food Network Star, Tregaye Fraser joined the Food Network family as an on-fleek chef with an uncanny ability to entertain. But that doesn’t mean the search for Star power has ended. In fact, the journey is set to continue this month when Donal Skehan and Tia Mowry team up to discover the next budding culinary talent — a young talent, that is. On Food Network Star Kids, the mentors will ask pintsize cooks to not only strut their kitchen chops but also shine on camera, just as an adult Food Network Star needs to be able to do.

Recently we checked in with Donal to get his take on what it’s like working with kids and the joint culinary-camera challenges he and Tia have in store for the finalists. Check out his exclusive interview below for a preview of the season and learn more about Donal.

Just like Food Network Star proper, this competition is special in that it asks kids to not just cook well but to also present and perform well. Do you think one part is trickier to master than the other?
Donal Skehan: It’s a tricky one because, like, obviously, to be a cook you have to have incredible skills to make people enjoy your food, that’s — I think sometimes I believe it’s something you’re kind of born with. Either you can do it or, I mean, you can learn it, but I think it’s something that you know if you have it in your heart and it’s something that that’s the place that you cook from, I think that’s something really cliché, but it is, and it’s true, though. And I do think that side of it is such an important part to have because you can teach most things, but if you don’t kind of have it from the outset, it’s going to be very hard to kind of create. So I think in this competition you do, but as soon as people start cooking you see who’s a natural cook and who’s someone who has learned it as a skill. Both can be very good, but you do see it more out there than ever before.

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One-on-One with the Chopped Grill Masters Grand Champion

by in Shows, August 2nd, 2016

Sophina and DanielTonight Chopped Grill Masters found its Grand Champion! Four chefs who won the preliminary rounds came back for one last battle in the Napa Valley, sweating over hot grills to create the best dishes of their lives. The competition was so close that the judges had to take into account every single detail. Surprisingly, the most-lauded chefs were knocked out in the initial two rounds, leaving an underdog vs. a fine-dining chef. In the final round, both turned out desserts that earned them high marks and applause, but as the rules go, the judges had to consider every round. The one who cooked the best three courses left not only with the Grand Champion title, but also with a whopping $50,000 grand prize. Hear from the Chopped Grill Masters Grand Champion now.

Read the interview with the winner

Fig-uring Out Fresh Figs: What to Buy, How to Store and the Best Ways to Enjoy

by in Shows, August 2nd, 2016

figsBy Angela Carlos

This week’s episode of Guy’s Grocery Games was a real blast from the past. Four competitors from Food Network Star, Season 2 arrived in Flavortown ready for their 10-year reunion and the chance to compete against each other for a $20,000 shopping spree. As with all reunions, there was a certain amount of reminiscing that went on, even within the games themselves.

For Game 1 Guy asked his friends to make a Five Star Dish that would represent who they are, with one catch. In an homage to the competitors’ first challenge on Food Network Star, each dish had to include five items: wine, pork, steak, shrimp and onion.

Then came the figs. Reggie Southerland made a surprise appearance midway through game one with his favorite ingredient. The sweet addition threw a wrench into the contestants’ culinary plans. But they made do, tossing the dried figs into their sauces and demi-glace to add a little sweetness to their savory main courses.

Watching the chefs work with the surprise ingredient got us thinking about how we like to use figs in the kitchen. Read more

Caption It: Balancing Act Edition

by in Shows, July 30th, 2016

Caption It: Balancing Act EditionWith the Summer Games just around the corner, the co-hosts of The Kitchen let their Olympic spirit shine this weekend when they featured a globally inspired feast complete with recipes from around the world (think Mexican burgers, Vietnamese hot dogs and Brazilian chocolates) — and indulged in some friendly competition. They created an over-the-top obstacle course that demanded not only balance, agility and focus but also a hearty appetite as they tried Bobbing for Doughnuts on a string.

Take a peek at the photo above from this morning’s episode. Here Jeff Mauro is enduring the Spoon Balance test, in which he’s attempting to navigate tricky pool toys while keeping the lime on the spoon in his mouth. Next up for him will be the doughnut station, and then it’s on to Marshmallow Archery in a race against the clock.

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Families Hit the Road for a Face-Off on Season 7 of The Great Food Truck Race

by in Shows, July 29th, 2016

Food TrucksThis summer The Great Food Truck Race returns for a new season, premiering Sunday, Aug. 28 at 9|8c. But this time things are a little bit different: Six teams of families have taken up the fight for the $50,000 grand prize as host Tyler Florence springs difficult challenges their way. None of the family members have ever operated a food truck business before, so they’re in for the ride of their lives, with some family drama along the way. The Great Food Truck Race: Family Face-Off kicks off in Los Angeles and follows a scenic route down the California coast, finishing on Catalina Island, where the best food trucking family will ride off into the sunset with the grand prize.

Find out who’s competing

What to Watch: The Premiere of Giada in Italy, and the Finale of Food Network Star

by in Shows, July 29th, 2016

Food Network Star Season FinaleBefore a new Food Network Star is crowned this weekend, catch up on all the mouthwatering dishes your old favorites are making. First up on Saturday, Trisha Yearwood is hosting a pizza-and-movie night on the season premiere of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. She’s keeping things simple but delicious with sweet Malted Milk Fudge and Basil Pesto Pizza. Up next, it’s bacon everything when Valerie Bertinelli plans dinner for her friend Jo Stougaard, a bacon aficionado. On the menu is Jalapeno-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp, with salty-sweet Bacon Caramel Scuffins for dessert. After, Patricia Heaton is throwing a poolside luau party complete with tropical flavors like Macadamia Coconut Shrimp and Tropical Fruit Pops.

Then on Sunday, Giada De Laurentiis is back in Florence for the season premiere of Giada in Italy. She heads straight to the market and with her finds puts out a Northern Italian lunch for her friends, including Bruschetta and Marinated Bistecca Fiorentina. After that, it’s a class reunion on Guy’s Grocery Games as four chefs from Season 2 of Food Network Star reunite 10 years later. The alums will have to impress Guy Fieri with a 5-star dish made from a list of ingredients he picked specifically for them. After that, the three finalists on Food Network Star will watch their pilots with Giada and Bobby Flay, and a new Food Network Star will be crowned.

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Richard Experiences the Highs and Lows of Sabotage — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, July 27th, 2016

For Cutthroat Kitchen judge Richard Blais, there was no shortage of roller-coaster emotions as he tried his hands — or, rather, his tongs — at not one but two of the day’s sabotages during the After-Show. After host Alton Brown asked him to prep an everyday cobb salad, the judge was mostly pleased with the task. But in true Cutthroat fashion, the challenges didn’t stop there. “Why do you guys have to do this?” Richard joked after being saddled with a duo of challenges. He was forced to carry multiple shopping bags on both of his arms — which sounds easy enough — but then instead of being able to use his hands to prep the salad, he was given salad tongs. And that’s when the situation turned evilicious.

“The lettuce is going to be an issue,” Richard noted after he mangled his mise en place of fresh avocado and grilled chicken. When it came to cracking and peeling a hard-boiled egg, he said simply, “That’s not fun at all.” But once he learned the basic technique of working with tools upon tools, he couldn’t help but feel proud of himself. “Now I’m kind of crushing it,” he admitted, having successfully used tongs to hold a spoon and scoop out mustard for the base of his dressing. As he used the tongs to claw away chunks of bacon from the strips, he explained how downright diabolical this sabotage proved to be, calling it “one of the toughest challenges” he’d seen. Once again, though, the frustration didn’t last long. By the time Richard added the last of his ingredients to the salad, he admitted, “I’m feeling good about this.” Sure enough, he was pleased with the final results.

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3 Ways to Cook with Tomatillos — Chopped Junior

by in Recipes, Shows, July 27th, 2016

Grilled chicken with tomatillosBy Angela Carlos

This week on Chopped Junior the budding chefs attempted to dice and saute their way to the $10,000 prize. The competitors opened basket after basket until only one contestant was left standing.

These young cooks proved they are well-versed in cooking techniques: vacuum-sealing proteins in marinade to infuse flavor quickly, turning sloppy joes into elevated meatballs, and churning mayonnaise into creamy and cold ice cream.

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One-on-One with the Chopped Grill Masters, Part 4 Winner

by in Shows, July 26th, 2016

Tony and ChrissyTonight Chopped Grill Masters continued with Part 4 of the five-part grilling and barbecuing tournament. In each of the four preliminary rounds, four expert grillers, barbecuers and chefs from across the nation competed for four spots in the finale, where only one will ultimately win the grand champion title. In tonight’s fourth and final preliminary part, four fierce competitors took up the challenge, but in each round, one chef got knocked out until only one remained, winning $10,000 and earning the last spot in the finale for a chance at an additional $50,000 in winnings. Hear from the Chopped Champion now.

Read the interview with the winner

What to Watch: Finalist Redemption on Star Salvation, and Guy Fieri on Food Network Star

by in Shows, July 22nd, 2016

Star Salvation Food NetworkTune in this Saturday for entertaining tips as Food Network chefs try out new recipes on old friends. Kick things off at noon with Valerie Bertinelli as she puts on a low-cost barbecue complete with Barbecue Grilled Chicken and an icy Lemon-Basil Granita. After, Patricia Heaton is throwing a boozy brunch party for one of her friends. On the menu is fresh Tropical Fruit Parfaits and Iced Raspberry Prosecco Cocktails.

Then on Sunday, get the popcorn ready and put your feet up for back-to-back episodes of Food Network Star. First, see which eliminated finalist is making a comeback on Star Salvation; hosts Alex Guarnaschelli and Eddie Jackson put the contestants through a six-week challenge to see who deserves a second shot at Stardom. Then, the four finalists battle it out for a chance at shooting a pilot with the help of Season 2 winner Guy Fieri. After that, amateur cooks and professional chefs battle it out on Cooks vs. Cons. The contestants must create pro-worthy dishes that incorporate cherries, and the winner will bring home some serious bacon.

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