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Strip Steak — Iron Chef America Ingredients 101

by in Shows, July 9th, 2012

battle strip steak
If I am ever asked to name my favorite cut of beef, my first answer will not be strip steak. I will probably offer up a beautifully marbled bone-in rib-eye as my cow part of preference.

I know that for many people in the United States, however, the strip steak, under its many different names, is the beef cut of choice, particularly when it comes to finding a perfect steak to place on the grill during the summer months.

Having seen the Iron Chef and his competitor turn their attention to strip steak, I am definitely willing to be convinced that I should give this popular cut another try.

What is strip steak?

A strip steak is a cut of beef taken from the short loin of the cow. This is at the top and the middle of the animal, before the rump. The short loin itself comprises two muscles: the tenderloin (from where you get filet mignon) and the top loin, which gives us the strip steak.

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Chef Wanted: Fromagerie Update

by in Shows, July 5th, 2012

This week on Chef Wanted, star Chef David Burke called in Anne Burrell to help him find a new executive chef for Fromagerie in Rumson, N.J. Among Anne’s four candidates was Phil Deffina, a six-year veteran of David’s restaurants. This was Phil’s chance to prove himself to his boss and mentor and to finally make the jump from sous chef to executive chef. He did just that, serving an ambitious menu and keeping the kitchen under control during his trial night of service. “I knew coming into this that David has high expectations of me,” Phil said. We checked in three months later to see how he’s doing at Fromagerie.

David says his veteran sous chef (from David Burke Kitchen in Manhattan) has proved to be a great fit for Fromagerie: “Phil has fresh insight into cuisine for this community of affluent and discerning tastes.” He says Anne’s influence really helped Phil shine in his interview: “Anne is one of the most talented female chefs in America. Pushing the chefs motivated them to turn up the burners and perform at new levels of creativity.”

The restaurant is improving every day. Phil is working with David on new menu items and several promotions, including burger night on Tuesday, lobster night on Wednesday and steak night with special wine pairings on Thursday. Phil is also running a seafood special, focusing on local Jersey ingredients this summer. “Sales are slightly up from 2011 and we are working to make it an upward trend,” says David.

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Chef Wanted: James Beach Update

by in Shows, July 1st, 2012

Chef Wanted James Beach

At James Beach in Venice, Calif., owners James Evans and Daniel Samakow called in Anne Burrell to find a new executive chef for their modern comfort food spot. Anne brought in four candidates, and after two grueling challenges and exhausting nights of service, James and Daniel extended an offer to Vincent Walker.

Vincent, a three-time cancer survivor, impressed the owners and Anne with his determination and delicious food. “This kid is a fighter,” Anne said. “He’s ready to resume his dream of becoming an executive chef.” Several weeks after the show was filmed, we checked in with the owners to see how Vincent is doing in his new job.

Right after Chef Wanted was filmed, Vincent got married. “We gave him time to wed and leave his prior position,” the owners explain. “He has been meeting with us throughout, but has officially started this week.”

The owners are thrilled that James Beach is having a record year in terms of sales, and they only expect things to get better: “Summer , our busy season, is right around the corner, and with the new chef and the show, we expect it to be off the charts.”

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Chef Wanted: Mucho Ultima Update

by in Shows, June 28th, 2012

Chef Wanted

At Mucho Ultima in Manhattan Beach, Calif., owner Scott Linquist needed a new executive chef to help turn his business into a dining destination. Anne Burrell arrived with four candidates lined up, confident that one would be the right fit for the modern Mexican restaurant. After two tough cooking tests and an intense dinner service, Scott hired Bryon Freeze. We checked in with Scott to see how Chef Bryon and the restaurant are doing.

Six weeks after Bryon joined the team, Mucho Ultima is back on the right track. “We are ecstatic!” says Scott. “Bryon’s energy and passion are exactly what we saw from him during the show.” Scott and Bryon have both worked many long days since the taping and Bryon “comes in here pumped and ready to attack every day and never once has complained about the workload.”

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Chef Wanted: Anne Burrell Talks About Potential Candidates and Her Own Job Interviews

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, June 27th, 2012

anne burrell
This Thursday night on Food Network (10pm/9c), Anne Burrell will be putting her mentor hat back on as she helps top restaurants find an executive chef — the critical employee who can make or break a restaurant — on Chef Wanted. Each week, Anne Burrell will put four candidates through the toughest job interview of their lives, testing everything from their culinary mettle to business acumen. It all ends with the biggest test of all: running the restaurant.

We recently chatted with Anne about being a mentor: identifying red flags on resumes, the hard questions she has to ask and even her own toughest job interview.

What is the best question to ask a potential candidate?

AB: There are a few questions I always ask. The first really important question is why do you want this job? This is to see if they’re looking for any job or if they’re actually interested in this particular job. Second, why did you get into cooking? I want to find out if this is their passion or just a job to them.

Get more from Anne Burrell

Chopped Heads West in a Five-Part “Grill Masters” Summer Battle

by in Shows, June 20th, 2012

chopped grill masters
You’ve seen Chopped, Chopped Champions and Chopped All-Stars. Now, Chopped is traveling to the Arizona desert for a special five-part themed series: Grill Masters, which premieres Sunday, July 22, at 10pm ET/PT. Over the course of five weeks of dry desert heat, 16 grilling professionals from around the country face off in this captivating Wild West showdown. The stage is set for the ultimate culinary feud with Chopped favorites Amanda Freitag, Marc Murphy and Aarón Sánchez at the judging table, and astonishing mystery ingredients and tremendously talented competitors. One chef from each preceding duel makes it to the final fiery face-off, and when the dust clears, the greatest grilling pro of all will walk away with a $50,000 grand prize.

Episode schedule:

Grill Masters: Part 1 – Sunday, July 22, at 10pm ET/PT
Fire up the grills, y’all! In this first-of-its-kind Chopped grilling tournament, the competition heads west for a fierce, five-part showdown for a $50,000 grand prize.
Competitors: Ray Lampe (Florida), Jennifer Duncan (Arizona), Tom Duncan (Arizona), Galen Zamarra (New York City)

Continue reading episode schedule

Like Father, Like Son: Pat LaFrieda Sr. and Pat LaFrieda Jr. Dish on Faves and Father’s Day

by in Holidays, Shows, June 16th, 2012

pat lafrieda jr pat lafrieda srWe often refer to Pat LaFrieda, Jr. as the “Magician of Meat,” but we seem to forget that Pat LaFrieda, Jr. comes from a meat empire — a family-run meat empire. Pat Jr. runs a third-generation wholesale meat purveyor business in New Jersey with his dad, Pat Sr., and while we see the dynamic duo take viewers on a high-”steaks” ride with a side of humor on Meat Men, we wanted to know just how much the two agreed on meat.

We asked father and son the same questions to see how different (or similar) their answers would be, including who’s the better grill master in the family.

What’s the best cut of pork in your opinion?
Pat Jr.: Pork butt
Pat Sr.: Rib chops

 

If you had to choose between having beef, pork, veal or chicken as your last meal what would you pick?
Pat Jr.: Boneless loin lamb chops
Pat Sr.: Shake ‘N Bake pork chops with applesauce (laughing out loud) — because they’re good.

Find out who the grill master is

Restaurant Revisited: Horton’s Kids

by in Shows, June 13th, 2012

In a special episode of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine faced his toughest challenge yet when First Lady Michelle Obama assigned him the task of rebuilding Horton’s Kids, a children’s community center that provides many services such as serving after-school meals in one of Washington, D.C.’s neediest neighborhoods. Mrs. Obama gave Robert three missions: Give Horton’s Kids a dining room, update their kitchen and create a community garden for them.

A few months after Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible-style transformation of Horton’s Kids, we checked in with Executive Director Brenda Chamberlain to see how the organization is doing. “Everyone loves and is impressed with the new, transformed Horton’s Kids!” says Brenda. “The vibrant space establishes a sense of community for the children.”

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Haddock — Iron Chef America Ingredients

by in Shows, June 4th, 2012

iron chef america battle haddock
If you were to enter any fish and chip shop in North England and request anything but haddock for your deep-fried delight, the servers would look at you as if you were an alien from outer space.

I would have to agree that this beautifully firm and flaky white-fish makes the absolute best fish and chips you will ever eat. But, haddock is so much more versatile than just being deep-fried and, as I hope you discovered from watching the Iron Chef and his challenger on “Battle Haddock,” it makes a delicious and sustainable alternative to cod.

What is haddock?

Haddock is a firm-fleshed white-fish that can be found in both the European and North American waters of the North Atlantic. The adult fish can grow to around 3.6 feet in length and migrates each year from shallow waters in the summer to colder, deeper waters in the winter.

Overfishing meant that haddock stocks became severely depleted in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Fortunately, this fish reproduces very rapidly, with the female of the species laying an astonishing 3 million eggs a year. This fact, added to strict fishing quotas and more sustainable forms of fishing, means that haddock is now off the danger list and ready for your table.

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Military Grill Battle Fun Facts — Iron Chef America Special Edition

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, June 3rd, 2012

military grill battle behind the scenes
Behind the scenes on Iron Chef America, Food Network’s culinary production team is responsible for making sure that the rival chefs have everything they need to cook and present their dishes — from a stocked pantry to plenty of serving vessels — even outside of Kitchen Stadium. Daniella LaRosa from Food Network Kitchens recently shared some fun facts about what it took to pull off last night’s special episode for Grilling Week — the first-ever Military Grill Battle in Hawaii — that pitted Iron Chef Cat Cora against Iron Chef Michael Symon and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. They weren’t alone, though: Each Iron Chef was paired with a sous chef from the Navy, Army or Marine Corps.

Was setting up Kitchen Stadium in Hawaii more difficult than the mainland?

Creating Kitchen Stadium from scratch took a lot of time. We had treated both the Tailgating and Grilling battles like they were challenges from Next Iron Chef — specifically in that equipment and pantry items were going to be limited, and they might have to share during the battle. Because shipping anything to Hawaii was so expensive, we ended up having to spend about four full days personally shopping for equipment and specialty foods in Hawaii for the Iron Chefs and their sous chefs to use during the battle. We used all local produce — the Secret Ingredients were all sustainable and local.  We used as many local vendors as we could find or found through word of mouth while we were there. It was also very difficult on both shoot days when we had to set up Kitchen Stadium at 6:00 am using the headlights from our rental car.

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