“I’ve walked right in the middle of a sibling rivalry like no other,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Mamma Lucrezia’s in Bellefonte, Pa. While this 10-year-old Italian eatery offered some of Robert’s most-favorite pizza, its decor was dated, and, perhaps more problematically, owner Maria Albegiani and her sister, server Stefania Albegiani, were at odds with each other after years of tensions building in their relationship. With only two days to work and a budget of just $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team had to not only overhaul the interior at Mamma Lucrezia’s but also attempt to mend a strained family. Read on below to hear from Maria and see how her restaurant is faring since the renovation.
“We have more than doubled in revenue,” Maria explains of business at Mamma Lucrezia’s. She adds that in terms of diner reaction, “The customers love the food and the new design.”
Chestnuts may typically give off a distinct holiday-season vibe, but the Food Network Kitchen chefs are changing that, looking to welcome in fall with an innovative twist. This week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, Chestnut Ravioli with Browned Butter and Thyme, replaces a beloved fall favorite, butternut squash, with a winter-esque basket ingredient, canned chestnuts. To evoke an uncanny butternut squash texture out of those chestnuts, first drain them, reserving the liquid from the can, and finely grind them. Next, add ricotta, Parmesan, the reserved liquid and an egg, and then blend for an enticing ravioli filling.
Start by heating the drained chestnuts in the microwave with water for about 3 minutes or until they’re soft. Once that’s done, add a tablespoon of the reserved liquid and finely grind the chestnuts. Then, add the Parmesan, the ricotta, and a large pinch of salt and pepper, and blend it all together. Once smooth, taste and season as needed. After, add an egg and mix until the ingredients have meshed. Put it in a mixing bowl and reserve.
Tonight one professional chef and three amateur cooks faced off in the finale of the first Chopped Ultimate Champions tournament, battling for the chance to win $50,000 and a brand-new car, the largest prize in the show’s history. Amateur cook Keith Young, hero cook Diana Sabater and celebrity cook Laila Ali all had what it takes to beat professional chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, and, in fact, one of them did just that. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winner.
This week on The Great Food Truck Race, the route took the teams to Alabama. On their first day Tyler had the teams getting their hands dirty — picking frozen shrimp in a challenge to see who could get close to 100 pounds. One team left with their spoils but soon found the challenge of peeling and cleaning the Gulf Coast delicacy holding them back. Later in the day Tyler challenged the two teams who had cooked the best brunch dish on Day Two to a seafood cook-off. In a surprise turn of events, the team that won was actually sent home.
Some were more successful than others at selling seafood dishes, but when in the South, where the fruits of the sea are the freshest, there’s no excuse not to partake of the bounty. And the state of Alabama has a lot to offer when it comes to seafood delicacies, including shrimp po’ boys and shrimp ‘n’ grits. For the meat lovers, there’s barbecue ribs, burgers and good ol’ Southern cooking.
For the first time ever, 16 of your favorite all-star chefs are coming together in the name of eviliciousness to face off in the first-ever Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage tournament, premiering Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 9|8c. During the course of five weeks, kitchen masters like Alex Guarnaschelli, Justin Warner, Anne Burrell and Nadia G will battle in four heats plus a finale, but ultimately only one contestant can earn Cutthroat glory and a $75,000 prize for charity. Before this unprecedented series of cook-offs begins, FN Dish wanted to learn a little bit more about what host Alton Brown has in store for these A-list rivals. Will he be soft on the sabotages on account of the contestants’ vast culinary experience? It turns out, Alton says, “It’s not difficult for me at all” to be hard on the chefs. Read on below to hear more from Alton in an exclusive interview.
Do you think these chefs have any idea what they’ve signed up for? After all, Cutthroat Kitchen isn’t like any other culinary competition. Alton Brown: I think that everybody that is in the competition has watched the show — or maybe two — but that still doesn’t really prepare you because this is one of those shows where being a spectator just doesn’t set you up for the realities of what to expect, especially during the shopping.
Last week FN Dish revealed that The Kitchen is preparing for its first-ever episode dedicated to one of fall’s favorite comfort foods — soup — and we asked for help in learning how you make and enjoy soup at home. (Click here to vote on last week’s questions.) This week The Kitchen wants to know more about your personal tastes when it comes to filling up on a warm bowl of soup. Read on below to cast your vote in the polls, and be sure to look out for The Kitchen’s upcoming soup show.
Considering the ruthless sabotaging that takes place on any given day on Cutthroat Kitchen, it would surely take something over-the-top evilicious to stop host Alton Brown in his tracks, and that’s exactly what happened on this week’s all-new episode. Just moments into his After-Show, Alton revealed to judge Jet Tila, “This one may be my favorite — ever.” And Alton added, “We definitely had our best round of cooking, I think ever, today.”
While Round 1 saw a doozy of a bento box challenge and Round 2 welcomed a toy crab claw sabotage, it wasn’t until the pineapple upside-down cake test began that Alton saw what he deemed “the round that I believe to be the finest Cutthroat Kitchen round that I have ever witnessed.” As judge Jet listened to the details of the history-making Round 3, Alton noted the competition’s first-ever Hammock Station, which made its debut after Alton and the Cutthroat crew looked for “something else that goes upside down in an inconvenient time and way.” What resulted forced Chef Alexis to work exclusively on the hammock (with the exception of the cooking) as he prepared his cake. Simply put, it was “unspeakably wonderful” to watch, according to Alton. But what came next in judging was perhaps the most-unexpected ending to the contest: a tie. “For the first time in Cutthroat Kitchen history, the judge decides on a tie,” Alton explained; and Jet told him, “I had to.”
This week’s episode of The Great Food Truck Race saw the teams riding into Alabama. They started the day with a shrimping challenge in Bayou La Batre. Next they moved to Mobile, adding three seafood dishes to their menus at Tyler Florence’s request. But lengthy prep time led to some unhappy customers. Tyler then tasked them with selling brunch dishes, which he’d taste to determine the two teams that would get a chance to cook in a seafood challenge. In an ironic turn of events, the team that won was ultimately sent home. FN Dish has the exclusive exit interview with the latest team cut from the race.
Eight super-talented kids entered the competition in Season 2 of Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off. In every episode they were challenged to cook quality dishes and present their creations on camera, honing their skills as budding chefs. On tonight’s finale, it all culminated in a food festival, at the end of which the winner was announced. On the line was a three-episode Web series on FoodNetwork.com, potentially jump-starting the culinary career of one of these young chefs.
We’ve watched as four returning champions have battled to earn a spot in the Chopped Ultimate Champions finale. One professional chef, one amateur cook, one hero cook and one celebrity have made it through. On the line is the biggest prize ever handed out on Chopped, $50,000 in cash and a new car. Each of these competitors has the potential to win, but only one will walk away the Ultimate Champion. Ahead of Tuesday’s finale at 10|9c, support your favorite competitor by voting for him or her in the fan poll.