Five weeks ago 16 celebrated chefs entered Season 4 of the Chopped All-Stars tournament for a chance to walk away with the title of champion and the largest sum in the history of the show, $75,000 for a charity of their choice. Four preliminary rounds whittled down the competitors to four: Art Smith, Anne Burrell, Michael Psilakis and Jet Tila. In their earlier rounds, these four unlocked the mysteries of the basket, creating courses that earned them a place in the finale. All of them brought their A-game to the final battle, but one outmaneuvered them all. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the champion.
Four celebrated chefs made it into tonight’s Chopped All-Stars finale, taking on the mystery baskets for a chance to win $75,000 for charity. The appetizer round presented them with fish carcass, tasso ham, Calabrian chiles and purple potatoes. And after the episode, judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian and Scott Conant decided to take on those same baskets. “It’s always a blast when you all leave the judging table,” Ted tells the judges. “It’s a blast for you, because you get to point and laugh at us,” Scott replies. “I think after all this time these might be my two favorite boyfriends that I have,” Alex says playfully, situated between Geoffrey and Scott. “You guys are our original gangsters,” Ted adds.
“A lot of Americans would look at this as garbage,” Ted says, pointing to the fish carcass, which includes a fish head. “This particular fish carcass is cod and a catfish head,” says Geoffrey. “I love how you say that,” says Scott, poking fun at how Geoffrey pronounces “cod.” He points out that most people would probably want to turn the bones into a broth, but with the time constraints it may not be the right choice. “I am dying to cook this,” adds Scott as Ted gives them 20 minutes to create a dish.
I love picnics, and nothing says picnic more than fresh-baked pie. These guys on Spring Baking Championship had 90 minutes to make a delicious pie. Doesn’t seem that tough, right? Wrong! You can bang out a decent pie if you’ve had some practice, but it could be a disaster if it’s been a while since you made one. Pies are a great way to judge baking skills since they involve many steps, and someone with little experience will invariably miss something.
Chopped fans, have you dreamt of being able to cook like a competitor on the show? Now here’s your chance to make it come true. All you have to do is participate in the Chopped at Home Challenge, the final round of which starts today. Simply enter a dish using a set mystery basket of ingredients for a chance to compete in the Chopped kitchen at Food Network headquarters. And to top it all off, the winner will receive $10,000, just like a real Chopped champion.
The diner: There’s probably nothing more American than an eatery where you can order pretty much any dish you want when you want it and not get flack for it. Whether that’s an egg sandwich at 3 in the morning after a night out with friends, or lunch with the family on a Saturday afternoon, the diner has something for everyone. Early last year, Chef Amanda Freitag, co-host of American Diner Revival on Fridays at 10:30|9:30c, reopened Empire Diner in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. You may recognize the iconic eatery from movies and TV, and that’s because it’s been around since the mid-1940s. Since then it’s gone through quite a few iterations and owners, but it’s possibly never looked better than in the hands of Chef Amanda, who’s taken the classic diner menu and given it a modern twist; it keeps customers coming back for more.
FN Dish recently caught up with the chef to chat about how she came to run the diner, what she loves about the menu and what customers can expect to experience.
With Memorial Day falling on a Meatless Monday, it may seem like there are only two options when it comes to eating at today’s barbecues: 1. Forgo vegetarianism and perhaps embrace a Meatless Tuesday instead. 2. Be relegated to the buffet’s potato and pasta salads simply to maintain a meat-free plate. But it turns out that those aren’t your only choices. You can indeed dig into to a hearty grilled dish at today’s picnic — and at bashes all summer long — by opting for a mushroom burger.
Every bit as hefty as a beef burger, Food Network Kitchen’s Grilled Portobello Burger with Onion Jam (pictured above) boasts the signature charred flavor you crave from grilled meats. And since these earthy portobellos are coated in a garlic-balsamic oil before cooking, they’re full of satisfying flavor too. To round out the mushrooms and add even more bold taste and textures to this between-the-bun creation, pile on the toppings, including soft and sweet honey-laced onions, crisp lettuce, and horseradish-spiked yogurt for a light yet creamy finish.
As far as sabotages go, one that’s made out of metal, provides stable support for food and stands up well to heat is practically a gift in the eyes of Cutthroat Kitchen rivals. Or at least it likely seemed that way ahead of tonight’s brand-new episode when Alton Brown auctioned off a perforated French loaf bread pan on which one rival would have to cook a croque madame. Since a French loaf pan is a sturdy metal pan that’s indeed meant to be heated, the bread, meat and cheese elements of this classic French sandwich would be doable, but creating the bechamel — a creamy sauce — would prove downright difficult.
Before Alton could feature this sabotage on the show, it had to vetted by the Cutthroat culinary crew, and during the test, food stylist Hugo Sanchez noted his concern about making a liquid sauce in a holey vessel. “That’s going to be an issue here,” he said simply before getting set to tackle the challenge head-on. His solution involved filling the holes by mixing up a pastelike combination of flour and milk, as he explained: “It is sticky. It’s gooey, which is exactly what we want.” After covering the holes with this mixture, he quickly turned the heat on in an effort to bake the paste into the holes, thus closing them once and for all, and ultimately allowing him to use that now-solid surface to create his sauce — and approve the sabotage.
Lots of diners do it: make an advance reservation to eat at a well-regarded restaurant and then, when the date rolls around, opt not to go. Maybe they decide to eat somewhere else. Maybe they have multiple reservations, figuring they’ll go where they feel when the moment hits. Maybe something unavoidable comes up. Sometimes, they don’t even bother to cancel.
But if you make a reservation at the Hong Kong restaurant Sushi Shikon, a three-Michelin-star establishment, you’ll probably want to show up to eat there. If you cancel on the day of your reservation, try to change the date, don’t show up, show up with someone missing from your party or arrive more than an hour late, the restaurant will charge you 3,500 Hong Kong dollars ($452). Even if you give the restaurant a little notice, but cancel less than 72 hours of your seating time, Sushi Shikon will charge you HK $1,250 ($161). In fact, even if you wait just 24 hours from the time you confirm your reservation to cancel, but do so more than 72 hours before your seating time, you’ll still owe a fee of HK $500 ($65), although, according to the South China Morning Post, you are allowed to change the date of your reservation without penalty within that time frame.