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Chatting With the Runner-Up on Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs

by in Shows, December 20th, 2011


The fourth season of The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs has come to a close and Geoffrey Zakarian has been crowned the prize so many would-be chefs covet: joining the ranks of Iron Chefs Marc Forgione, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, Cat Cora, Jose Garces and Michael Symon.

While Geoffrey has won the final battle, we can’t forget his worthy and very talented opponent, Elizabeth Falkner, who fought to the very end. Each week, she’s proven herself more than a pastry chef; in fact, she can do it all. However, we still had to say goodbye to her.

FN Dish: You mentioned in this last challenge that you’ve really stayed away from the pastry side and haven’t called upon it until the finale. Why?

EF: I wanted to show people that I cook everything and actually have been doing so from the beginning of my career. I focused on pastry for the first chunk of years because I love the artistic side to it and the discipline. It helped me become a better savory chef. I love all kinds of food, cooking and learning about it all.

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Best 5 Hanukkah Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 20th, 2011


No menorah lighting is complete without a few snacks to mark the occasion. This year, switch up tradition and try our top five Hanukkah recipes below. Each is quick and easy to make and boasts classic holiday tastes.

5. Apple Cider Doughnuts — A pureed red apple-apple cider mixture gives these doughnuts their sweet, seasonal flavor, while a cider glaze and cinnamon-sugar topping adds extra decadence and decoration.

4. Challah Crowns — This dense but light egg bread is scented with warm honey, sprinkled with poppy seeds and baked until the crust achieves a glossy, golden hue.

Get the top three recipes »

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Chef Alex to the Rescue — The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs Finale

by in Shows, December 19th, 2011


I have to say, if you’re not going to win a competition show, being recruited to help cook by the last two standing is a pretty decent consolation prize. As was true for the entire duration of this series, I learned a lot on that day. Elizabeth and Geoffrey have very different styles of cooking and very different work methods. The hardest part? Going out to sit in the audience with my fellow competitors and knowing that I was soon going to have to join each team for 15 minutes. Wow. That’s like joining Gene Kelly in the middle of one of his tap-dancing routines without rehearsal. That Chairman doesn’t know when to quit, does he?

I started out on Team Geoffrey. After years of working together on Chopped, I know that we share a great love of French food and impulsive cooking. Geoffrey seemed as if he hadn’t completely decided what he was making and in his shoes, I would have been in the same position. “Take the cranberries the Chairman just gave us, the rice and sake and make me risotto as one of the dishes,” he shouted above the din of the kitchen noise. Make an entire dish? For him to serve to the Iron Chefs? I cooked some onions and butter in some sake and added the arborio rice. I stirred the rice, added some more sake, a sprinkle of sugar and a pat of butter and let the mixture simmer. Separately, I cooked the cranberries until tender with some spices (not too heavy) and set them aside for Team Geoffrey to reheat to their liking. The key to cooking food in a context like this is to get everything close to how you want it and perfect it at the last minute. The pressure was unreal. What if that ended up being the one dish the Iron Chefs didn’t like?

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Fettuccini Alfredo With Zucchini Ribbons — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 19th, 2011

Ellie Krieger uses low-fat milk to lighten up this decadent dish, but she adds garlic and creamy Parmesan cheese to maintain its full flavors and traditional textures. Slices of sautéed zucchini offer layers of bright color and healthy freshness to this easy 30-minute recipe.

For a light but satisfying side dish, serve Michael Chiarello’s Frisee Salad With Spiced Walnuts, Pears, Farmhouse Cheddar and Port Vinaigrette. Sugar-coated walnuts are tossed in a cayenne-cinnamon mixture and add a sweet and spicy crunch to the bed of greens, fresh fruit and rich cheddar shavings.

Get the recipe: Fettuccini Alfredo With Zucchini Ribbons from Food Network Magazine 

Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.

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Q&A With Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian

by in Shows, December 19th, 2011

There’s officially a new Iron Chef in Kitchen Stadium! Geoffrey Zakarian prevailed in the final showdown, a full-out Kitchen Stadium battle that celebrated the holiday feasts we’re all looking forward to right now. Now he’s joining the prestigious ranks of Marc Forgione, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, Cat Cora, Jose Garces and Michael Symon.

Iron Chef Zakarian is chef-partner at The Lambs Club and The National Bar and Dining Rooms in New York City and Tudor House in Miami. He’s also a veteran judge on Chopped. After surviving all 10 of the Chairman’s intense challenges, plus a couple of Secret Ingredient Showdowns, we have no doubt that he’ll have much success in Kitchen Stadium.

We sat down to chat with Zakarian about the intense Next Iron Chef experience. “It’s like the game of golf,” says the newly crowned Iron Chef, an avid golfer. “If you have a bad hole, you just go to the next hole and you have to get the last hole out of your head. Anybody can beat anybody any day of the week.”

Read on for our exclusive interview. Read more

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Fight to the Finish on the Next Iron Chef – Critical Moments

by in Shows, December 19th, 2011

Next Iron Chef judge Simon Majumdar joins us on the FN Dish each week to share his insider’s take on what went down Sunday night.

Since my first visit, for the finale of The Next Iron Chef season 3, I have been fortunate enough to find myself at the judges’ table in Kitchen Stadium more than a dozen times. Despite the repeated visits, I still get a huge buzz of excitement as I take my place and know that there are literally millions of people in the United States who would give their right arm to swap places with me. It’s a great honor and the task of judging is one I definitely do not take lightly.

It was even more of an honor on this occasion as Judy Joo, Iron Chef Symon and I entered the arena to choose the new addition to the illustrious roster in Kitchen Stadium. The previous weeks had seen some of the most intense pressure imaginable, not only on the chefs, but also on the judges as we strove to select the two best chefs for the final challenge. There had been lots of disagreements along the way, but I stand by our choices and know that we were all looking forward to the battle ahead.

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Overnight Cinnamon Rolls — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 16th, 2011

Alton Brown's Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
I come from a family with a well-established set of holiday traditions. We make cranberry bread at least once in December, we light candles and make wishes for the coming year on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning, we always have the same breakfast. It’s been this way as long as I can remember and I have absolutely no wish to change things. I value the feeling of comfort and holiday continuity that it offers.

Once the turkey is stuffed and in the oven, I fry eggs so that the whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny. My sister cooks up a packet of turkey bacon and my mom warms up the baked good. The baked good is the only place where there’s variability in this menu (what can I say, we like consistency). Sometimes there are homemade scones, other years, toasted slices of panettone. One year, I tried my hand at from-scratch bear claws. Sadly, they were not my best work.

Throughout the year, I test recipes in search of the right Christmas morning baked good. This year, I’m leaning strongly in the direction of Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls. They might seem like a lot of effort, but really, they come together quickly. And as the recipe title implies, they can be almost entirely prepped the night before, meaning that you just have to sneak them into the oven on Christmas morning for a fun holiday morning treat.

Before you start rolling your dough, read these tips »

How to Make Challah

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 16th, 2011


Whether you’re prepping for Hanukkah or just looking to spruce up the bread basket at your holiday dinner, challah is a versatile, easy-to-make bread that is sure to impress your guests. Often made with silky honey or dried fruit, this light but dense loaf gets its consistency from several rich egg yolks. Take a look below at how Food Network Kitchens fashions Challah Crowns (pictured above), a unique twist on traditional bread braids.

More step-by-step photos and recipes »

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The Next Iron Chef Caption It: The Moment of Truth

by in Shows, December 16th, 2011
Your Caption Here

After eight weeks of Chairman’s Challenges, Secret Ingredient Showdowns and trying eliminations, this bicoastal competition wraps up on Sunday night. But before Chef Falkner or Chef Zakarian is finally declared The Next Iron Chef, these two Super Chefs will compete in one final battle to prove to the judges that his or her cuisine reigns supreme. Who will Judges Symon, Joo and Majumdar grant a permanent place in Kitchen Stadium earning the ultimate culinary title in the process?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out who is The Next Iron Chef, we’re challenging you, Next Iron Chef fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

Last chance! Cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.

Alex’s Little Black Dress Cookie Recipe — It’s Good for Everything

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 15th, 2011


I grew up in a house where holiday cookie baking would always reach a fever pitch and the result is this recipe. Why? It is a butter cookie, somewhat crumbly (and grumpy if you’re not nice to it) with the simple taste of clove added. So tasty and they go great with eggnog. The powdered sugar on the exterior is very “retro” and leaves you licking your fingers as you reach for another cookie. Want a plain butter cookie? Omit the cloves. Want to make a chocolate cookie? Make the chocolate ganache at the bottom and serve it warm, on the side, for dunking or dip the cookies once they’re baked and cooled in the chocolate and put them on a rack to set slightly before serving. The melted candy cane in the chocolate adds a fun peppermint touch, but you can also leave it out and just have the flavors of chocolate and butter speak for themselves.

Get the recipe »