“Anytime you mix friendship with business, there’s always inherent conflict, and you can see it’s sort of coming to the surface,” Restaurant Divided‘s Rocco DiSpirito said not long after arriving at Against Da Grill, a Staten Island, N.Y., eatery specializing in diner-style classics. Co-owners Kurron Mangin and Vinny Lima — the chef and the business manager at Against Da Grill, respectively — are longtime best friends facing imminent closure of their restaurant if they can’t turn around the business. While Kurron is committed to maintaining the original diner concept at Against Da Grill, Vinny believes a change is in order and proposed they begin serving traditional barbecue instead. “I feel that the Island is missing that,” Vinny explained. “If we could bring something that no one else is doing, we have a better chance at success.”
The team at Against Da Grill is a tightknit one: The staff is like family, and the restaurant is well-ingrained in the community. So for Rocco to decide what the best next step should be for Against Da Grill, he ultimately divided it. After a complete interior overhaul and menu redesign, Kurron served customers at the new Against Da Grill while Vinny ran S.I.Q. on the other side of the restaurant. Rocco listened to customer and critic feedback, tasted dishes from both eateries and reviewed both restaurants’ chances for lasting success before deciding that S.I.Q. offered the most opportunity for viability.
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It’s Thursday, and while that means everyone is just one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time to throw back — to an earlier period in Food Network’s history. Check back on FN Dish every Thursday to find the latest #tbt of your favorite chefs and get a retro look at their earliest days on TV.
Long before Scott Conant took his seat at the judges’ table on Chopped, he spent his days in the kitchens of some of the most-celebrated restaurants in New York City and abroad, earning his reputation as one of the premiere chefs and restaurateurs in the industry. He graduated from culinary school and soon moved to Germany for several years before returning stateside to begin his journey up the culinary ladder, first as a sous chef and eventually as an executive chef at San Domenico and City Eatery, respectively.
Throughout his training, Scott focused much of his attention in the kitchen on his passion for Italian food. He spent time in Italy cooking with renowned chefs and relatives alike, which ultimately inspired within him a style of Italian cuisine all his own. His roster of flavors and ingredients went on to be featured at the forefront of several of his restaurants, including his now-signature eatery, Scarpetta, and in many of the dishes he’s made while competing on Chopped After Hours and Chopped All-Stars.
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Alex Guarnaschelli puts her culinary chops on display daily at her New York City restaurants Butter and The Darby, but she also knows a thing or two about entertaining a crowd (especially during the holidays). When FN Dish caught up with her at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, she was throwing a jazz brunch in the newly renovated Butter, featuring dishes from her debut cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food. Though the event was small and intimate, her entertaining ideas work for any occasion — big or small:
Mix up the menu. You don’t have to serve an entire buffet of right-out-of-the-oven hot dishes. A mix of both hot and cold bites not only keeps the menu interesting, but it also gives you more time to mingle with guests. Try putting out an assorted meat plate with some dried fruits, toasted nuts or a mix of cheeses. It’s an elevated way to serve a wider variety of food without making more work for yourself. Alex recommends pancetta, culatello ham, mustela loin and capocollo Calabrese. Don’t forget to set out grilled bread or pita too.
More tips from Alex
You likely have your Thanksgiving menu set. For all we know, it was set in stone years ago, probably when your all-knowing elders were in charge. The turkey part of Turkey Day is a no-brainer, but the sides are like a puzzle. You’ll serve the usual contenders — fluffy mashed potatoes with a puddle of gravy, Grandma’s sweet potato casserole (marshmallows and all) — but you’ll need something else to balance out all that richness.
This year, as your family gathers around the dinner table for yet another Thanksgiving meal, look to another veggie that’s at the top of every restaurant menu and grocery list: Brussels sprouts. We like ours cooked right — caramelized and tender at every layer. As you draft up your preliminary rounds of potential recipes, keep in-season Brussels sprouts at the top of your list.
Turkey Day is known for chaos. Ease things up and simply drizzle halved sprouts with olive oil for basic Roasted Brussels Sprouts by Food Network Magazine. And with just one small addition, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon take on a smoky saltiness, perfect for the big Thanksgiving meal or any night of the week.
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Hearty root veggies make for delicious, bone-warming dishes. Pick them up on your next trip to the market and get cooking!
These root vegetables, which have a sweet, nutty flavor, resemble carrots but are white in color. One cup raw provide...
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Rachael to the rescue: Make dinner tonight, and be prepared for the rest of the week too. Here’s an easy way to prepare a week’s worth of meals — for yourself or the whole family — in just one day.
In Rachael’s newest cookbook, Week in a Day, you and your family can enjoy delicious, well-balanced, stress-free meals. She shares five seasons’ worth of recipes featured on the show, offering strategies and tips for preparing a whole week’s worth of meals in a single day. Many of the nutritious recipes also include QR codes linking you to videos of Rachael demonstrating techniques step by step.
You can buy Rachael’s new cookbook here, or enter for a chance to win one now. To enter: Tell FN Dish which one of Rachael’s Week in a Day recipes is your favorite in the comments (you must include the recipe URL). We’re giving five lucky, randomly selected winners each a copy of the book.
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“The place is clean, a little dark but nothing [like] what I’m used to. So I’m confused why I’m here,” Robert Irvine told Bill and Gail Darling, the owners of Coach Lamp Restaurant & Pub in Louisville, Ky. In addition to a tidy space, Robert also found good-tasting food, but it turns out that is where many of the business’ problems laid. The high-priced offerings on the menu — coupled with the too-formal ambiance that comes with white linen tablecloths — weren’t attracting locals, despite their tendency to visit a neighborhood restaurant nearby. Thanks to Robert’s tough-love approach, as well as his Restaurant: Impossible team’s work in transforming the outdoor patio into a welcoming space, however, Coach Lamp relaunched as an inviting, comfortable restaurant. Read on below to hear from Bill and find out how his eatery is doing a few weeks after Robert left.
Since Coach Lamp has reopened, business has jumped nearly 30 percent, according to Bill. “The liquor, beer [and] wine sales are 40 percent of the food sales …. The money is in the bar goods,” he says. “We are seeing more locals visiting.”
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News broke yesterday regarding new guidelines for prescribing statin medications. Doctors are being urged to use a revised set of criteria, established by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, to determine who should...
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On Thanksgiving, the holiday ultimately culminates when you finally set on the table a glistening golden-brown turkey featuring crispy skin and juicy, tender meat, and you surround the bird with a bounty of comforting sides and salads. But pulling off a memorable celebration takes patience, planning and a few must-have gadgets to complete the feast. Check out Food Network’s top-five roundups below to find helpful guides for hosting the holiday, the ultimate party-planning calculator and Ted Allen’s simple solutions for easy entertaining.
5. Table Centerpieces and Home Decor — Set the scene on the table with rustic centerpieces made from repurposed household products, like empty wine bottles, and such seasonal ingredients as nuts, fruits and gourds.
4. Table Setting Ideas — Buffet tables can be dressed up with a vibrant tablecloth and a mix of dishes, while sit-down dinner tables can be personalized with handwritten menus, warm-colored flowers and individual serving pieces.
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The Chopped Dinner Challenge is a new series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!
On this week’s Chopped: Thanksgiving episode, the competitors found turkey sausage, rutabaga, green bean casserole and honey-baked ham in their appetizer round baskets. Nearly each competitor decided to make a hash with the ingredients, and most succeeded, except for one, whose execution suffered. But for this Chopped Dinner Challenge, the featured item is turkey sausage, which is an ingredient that’s great cooked on its own but even better when it’s taken out of the casing and incorporated with other ingredients to make an entirely new dish, like this Sausage Falafel with Romaine and Yogurt Sauce. This variation on a Middle Eastern classic is a great way to introduce your family to different flavors and cultures.
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