BBQ vs. Chops: Which Restaurant Divided Concept Did You Like Better?

by in Shows, November 21st, 2013

Restaurant DividedFor Phil and Robin Schmidt, the struggling business at Phamous Phil’s BBQ & Grille didn’t just lead to an inability to pay bills; it created a significant amount of tension in their marriage as well. These husband-and-wife owners run the nearly four-year-old eatery in Collegeville, Pa., but after accruing $140,000 of debt, they decided to welcome Rocco DiSpirito and his Restaurant Divided team to the restaurant in the hopes of jump-starting profitability once and for all. They both realized the need for change, although Robin’s idea for pursuing a chop house concept in place of the barbecue menu didn’t appeal to Phil, who was committed to his smoky offerings.

Before Rocco could attempt to salvage Phamous Phil’s, and ultimately Phil and Robin’s marriage, he divided it, separating the space into two restaurants — a made-over Phamous Phil’s run by Phil himself and Robin’s Chop Shop, complete with mahogany-clad walls — for only one night of service. He worked with both teams to create deliciously approachable menus, and when the eateries opened to local diners and critics alike, both Phil and Robin managed to dish out crowd-pleasing plates. After examining the restaurants’ likelihoods of success, he ultimately reopened the business as Phamous Phil’s, as it offered the greatest opportunity for lasting viability.

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Photos: Food Network Kitchens Prepare for Thanksgiving Live

by in Shows, November 21st, 2013

Food Network KitchensMuch like you’re probably spending the week preparing for next Thursday’s Turkey Day feast, so too has Food Network Kitchens been pulling out all of the stops to get ready for the third-annual Thanksgiving Live, airing Saturday at 12pm EST. This year’s all-star bash will include returning stars Bobby, Giada and Alton, plus first-time Thanksgiving Live guest Ina. But before these Thanksgiving pros take over Food Network Kitchens to answer your questions, it’s up to the team in the kitchens to buy each and every ingredient needed for the chefs’ dishes — as well as to gather the utensils, pans and serving pieces needed to prepare them — and transform the test kitchens into a seasonal space worthy of a holiday celebration.

FN Dish headed to Food Network Kitchens to get the first look at the preparations going on behind the scenes, and what we found was no fewer than six knife blocks, dozens of pots and pans in every imaginable size and shape, and both wooden and plastic cutting boards, plus specialized tools to help Bobby, Giada, Alton and Ina prepare their dishes with ease. Check out these insider snapshots to take a peek inside Food Network Kitchens and find out what you can expect to see on TV come Saturday at 12pm EST.

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5 Ways to Include the Kids in Holiday Meals

by in Family, Holidays, November 21st, 2013

5 Ways to Include the Kids in Holiday MealsI don’t want to scare you, but Thanksgiving is one week from today. Until now, I have purposely ignored all the too-early holiday decorations put out by overeager stores. I don’t mean to be a Scrooge. I just don’t want to get sick of the holidays because I love them so dearly. So I systematically turn my cart down another aisle anytime I catch even the tiniest glimpse of a twinkling light or bit of tinsel when I’m shopping. (Am I alone in shielding my fall from winter so vociferously?) My point is: If you do the same, this is your official alert to wake up and smell the pumpkin pie. It’s officially the holiday season.

Some readers have already been asking me about family traditions: Who does the cooking? How do I include my kids? Since my head is out of the sand and I’m fully embracing the season, I thought today would be a great time to answer those questions with some tips and ideas on how to include the kiddos in the holiday cooking (and eating!). And given that I have a couple of pickier eaters in my brood, I’m throwing in some extra pointers on that front too.

Get my top five ways to include the kids in holiday meals

10 Seasonal Thanksgiving Sides — Fall Fest

by in Holidays, In Season, November 21st, 2013

10 Seasonal Thanksgiving Sides - Fall FestA lot of our Thanksgiving traditions come canned — the pumpkin puree for your pie, the start of your favorite cranberry sauce and those curly fried onions for your green bean casserole. These time-honored ingredients get this most-anticipated meal on the table year after year. As the holiday draws near, however, give some serious thanks by stocking your table with show-stopping produce-loving sides.

As you start assembling those grocery lists of yours, mix and match these 10 killer dishes — each with a veggie focus — for a Thanksgiving spread your family will reproduce for years to come.

1. Mushrooms: We may eat our mushrooms year-round, but Ina’s Mushroom-Leek Bread Pudding celebrates this ingredient in a preparation reminiscent of classic Thanksgiving stuffing.

2. Squash: Food Network Magazine’s Lemon-Maple Squash are curvy and sophisticated, working as an elegant addition to the other casserole-leaning sides.

Get more Thanksgiving side recipes from friends and family

#TBT: Jeff Mauro

by in Food Network Chef, November 21st, 2013

Jeff MauroIt’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.

While Jeff Mauro is now a firmly ingrained Food Network chef, his first days on TV weren’t actually as a star — instead, he was a star in the making, as he was one of 15 finalists to compete on Food Network Star, Season 7.

During the run of the competition in 2011, Jeff offered a sandwich-focused point of view in the kitchen, explaining, “You are only a couple steps away from turning any sandwich into a meal and any meal into one fantastic sandwich.” His unique culinary niche, coupled with his on-camera charm and comedic timing, caught the attention of the Selection Committee, including Food Network executives Bob and Susie, and they ultimately welcomed him to the Food Network family as the first-ever Sandwich King. Jeff’s premiere series, titled after his nickname, aired that summer with a mix of sandwich recipes inspired by his Italian heritage, his hometown of Chicago and some of his favorite meals.

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Restaurant Revisited: Soul Searching at Georgia Boy Cafe

by in Shows, November 20th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleOverrun with filth in the front of house and back, Georgia Boy Cafe in Hagerstown, Md., was in desperate need of rescuing when Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team arrived. Perhaps more than the restaurant, however, the relationship between the owners, partners Chuck Holman and Montez Dorsey, was on the brink of ruin, as their lack of communication and stress about the business were tearing them apart — and ultimately having a damaging effect on their eatery. With just two days to work and a budget of only $10,000, Robert relaunched Georgia Boy Cafe with a contemporary interior design and overhauled menu to match. FN Dish caught up with Chuck and Montez a few weeks after Robert left to find out how their business is doing today.

“The business is doing much better than before the show,” Chuck and Montez tell FN Dish. “We are … being more creative on ways to get customers in the door, and not only having new customers but repeat customers.”

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20 Wines Under $20

by in Drinks, Food Network Magazine, November 20th, 2013

red and white wine

An all-American holiday calls for American wine. These bottles chosen by Food Network Magazine pair well with the feast — and they’re all from the U.S.!

Below are five of our favorite whites, click here to get the rest.

Get Food Network Magazine’s Picks

Southern Cooking According to Damaris

by in Food Network Chef, November 20th, 2013

Damaris PhillipsAs a competitor on Food Network Star this past summer, Damaris Phillips didn’t stray from her Southern point of view in the kitchen. She used her lifelong experience of living in Kentucky and her passion for traditional Southern ingredients to establish herself as the ultimate authority on the cuisine, and when she told Bob and Susie in her pitch that “Southern food is the food of love,” they were quick to believe her. She’s maintained her tendency for Southern-style cooking on her first-ever series, Southern at Heart, airing Sundays at 10:30am/9:30c, where she helps love-struck guys turn out deliciously comforting Southern dishes with the classic ingredients of the region. FN Dish caught up with Damaris in her hometown of Louisville to find out more about her penchant for Southern cuisine, like her ultimate down-home meal. Read on below to hear from Damaris and find out her go-to Southern goods, the secret to making the best-ever grits and more.

What’s your favorite Southern meal, the one down-home dish you’re always craving?
Damaris Phillips: Cornbread and milk. It’s my favorite. I also love beans and cornbread. First you have pinto beans or butter beans and cornbread for dinner, and then the next morning, inevitably, there’s leftover cornbread. You take that cornbread into a glass, cold milk over the top and you just eat it — [with] maybe some honey. I like to put a little honey on there. It’s like cornflakes, kind of. Not really, but kind of.

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