Chatting With Alton Brown, Master of Ceremonies for the 2012 James Beard Awards

by in Events, Food Network Chef, May 3rd, 2012

alton brown
This coming Monday, the James Beard Foundation will host its annual Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception at Lincoln Center to honor the chefs and restaurateurs who made the food industry unforgettable in 2011. This year, the foundation has asked Food Network’s own Alton Brown to host the awards. A true entertainer and culinary superstar, Alton’s no stranger to hosting gigs. Between Next Iron Chef, Iron Chef America and previous seasons of Food Network Star, the James Beard Foundation should rest easy knowing they have a pro on stage.

Last year,  Alton Brown was awarded the Best TV Food Personality Award for Good Eats. Prior to that, in 2003, he was awarded the Book Award in the Reference category for his first book, I’m Just Here for the Food (2002).

We recently caught up with Alton to ask him about this honor, especially since the foundation will be celebrating their 25th anniversary this year.

 

You’ve hosted numerous shows on Food Network, but this somehow seems different. What are you doing to prepare? Are you nervous?
Prepare? Absolutely. A couple of jokes and an escape route. Nervous? Let’s say I’m appropriately aware.

More from Alton after the jump

On the Blogs: Trending Meats, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and More

by in Community, May 3rd, 2012

Pat LaFriedaYahoo: Prices for dark meat rise with popularity. Pat LaFrieda of Food Network’s Meat Men says, “If you’re looking for what the next trend is . . . always ask the butcher what he takes home.”

World’s 50 Best Restaurants: Mark your map with 50 dream dining destinations. The 2012 prestigious list of the world’s top restaurants has been announced.

The Salt: Pizza Hut’s hamburger-stuffed pizza is just one of the many extreme gimmicks in the international fast food arena (remember the deep-fried McRib in Austria?) Is America losing its “monopoly on gluttony?”

Serious Eats: Have you tried the new Cookie Crumble Frappuccinos at Starbucks? Here’s one taste test opinion, but we want to know what you think!

Slate: Would you forgo weekday lunch at the computer for an hour on the dance floor? Lunchtime dance clubs are trending in Sweden and include an hour long DJ set and takeout.

Bobby’s Chips and Guacamole — The New Girl

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 3rd, 2012

bobby flay chips and guacamole
While guacamole is an obvious choice for Cinco de Mayo, it’s also a tasty one. It’s simple to prepare, fresh in flavor and loved by all. Sure, it’s the safe choice, but ultimately you want to make something that your guests will enjoy, not fear.

I’m a minimalist when it comes to guacamole — because avocados are naturally creamy and indulgent, simpler is better in my book. Bobby’s recipe is foolproof and includes only four extra ingredients: red onion, fresh jalapeño, lime and cilantro. Just chop, mash, squeeze and in 10 minutes, you’ve got the perfect party dip. The diced onion adds texture to the velvety avocado and the jalapeño brings a touch of heat and warmth. The MVI (Most Valuable Ingredient) of the dish, however, is the lime. It makes each bite refreshing and bright and will keep your guests digging in for more.

Tips to consider before making these recipes:

Star-a-Day: Martita Jara

by , May 3rd, 2012

Martita Jara

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Today we meet Team Giada’s Martita Jara, 35, an interior designer and passionate home cook who grew up in her family’s Mexican restaurants in Southern California.

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Restaurant Revisited: Mama Lee’s

by in Shows, May 2nd, 2012

Mama Lee'sWhen Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team visited Mama Lee’s soul food restaurant in San Antonio, it had never turned a profit and was just weeks away from closing down. A few months after Robert’s major revamp — he even called in reinforcements from HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins — we caught up with Ken, the owner, to see how business is going.

Four months later, Mama Lee’s is closer to turning a profit. Sales are up 15 percent and Ken is seeing many new customers in addition to his old regulars. With the increase in sales, he is slowly catching up on overdue bills.

Ken still feels reinvigorated as a leader. “We’re holding staff meetings every other Sunday,” he told us, in order to address service issues and discuss customer feedback. “I’m re-energized.” Read more

Full Steam Ahead

by in Food Network Magazine, May 2nd, 2012

steam and dine
These new steamers make it easy to get your veggies.

steam and dineThe Steam and Dine set is ideal for the office: You can fill it with fresh veggies in the morning and cook them in the microwave for lunch, then the whole thing collapses for the trip home. $10; aladdin-pmi.com

 

 

 

lotus steamerUnlike old-fashioned metal steamers, the Lotus is made with silicone and plastic, so it won’t scratch your pots. $17; josephjoseph.com

 

 

More new steamers

Avocados 5 New Ways

by , May 2nd, 2012
avocado mayonnaise

Replace regular mayo with a creamy, avocado-based sandwich spread.

We’ve told you how to enjoy avocados these 5 basic ways—but here are 5 more creative ways you can use them in recipes. Which will you try?

Avocado Halves
Although the fat in this ...

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Top 5 Things Susan Ungaro’s Looking Forward to at This Year’s James Beard Awards

by in Events, May 2nd, 2012

susan ungaro
This weekend, the James Beard Foundation will host it’s Journalism Awards dinner on Friday and Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception at Lincoln Center on Monday to honor the chefs and restaurateurs who made an indelible impression on the food industry in 2011. While this is a special occasion any year, this year it’s extra special as they celebrate their silver anniversary: It’s been 25 years since the James Beard Foundation officially opened the James Beard House as an American center for the culinary arts.

You’ve heard it before that these two events are like the Oscars of the food world. While we look forward to the food and newest , we wanted to know what Susan Ungaro, president of the foundation, was looking forward to the most.

1. Red Carpet Celebrity Chef Moments: It’s so exciting to greet all the special guest presenters and chef nominees as they arrive at Lincoln Center. Every one of them is a star for the evening. I’m especially looking forward to welcoming our Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Wolfgang Puck, who is being introduced this year by Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts.

More from Susan Ungaro