5 Questions With Geoffrey Zakarian of 24 Hour Restaurant Battle

by in Shows, May 12th, 2011

geoffrey zakarian

The second season of 24 Hour Restaurant Battle is in full swing, delivering an all-new set of contestants aspiring to open their own restaurant –- all in just one day.

We asked three of the judges to talk about the new season, the drama we can expect and advice they can share. Recently, Gabriella Gershenson gave us her advice from an editor’s standpoint. Today, we’re talking with Geoffrey Zakarian, chef of The Lambs Club at The Chatwal Hotel and The National in New York City.

Tune in tonight for a new episode of 24 Hour Restaurant Battle at 10pm/9c.

FN Dish: It’s a new season. What are some changes we can expect?

GZ: Because the show has become so popular, the level of competitors has risen, as well. More people want to compete and therefore the end products are much better.

FN Dish: Judging a team is never easy. What are some of the takeaway lessons you learned from last season?

GZ: It is important to see how they work together: the respect they show for each other, the competitors, the customers. I like to see how one emerges as the visionary or the leader. It doesn’t work when there is no symbiosis — you can see it clearly in the end result of the restaurant they create.

Find out if Geoffrey thinks he could open a restaurant in 24 hours »

Off the Beaten Aisle: Sesame Oil

by in Recipes, May 12th, 2011

sesame pulled pork sandwiches
Maybe it’s time to look beyond claims of virginity in the oil aisle.

Because, you see, our 20-year love affair with olive oil has had fallout. We’ve forgotten that there’s a whole world of oils that don’t come from the olive tree.

And they can do a heck of a lot more than just sauté and make a fine dressing.

OK, maybe we didn’t forget. It’s not as though prior to the EVOO revolution we were all swilling avocado and grape seed oils.

But olive oil has done a fine job of elbowing out other up-and-comers.

Sesame, for instance. You may have never purchased it, but chances are you’ve had it. It’s what gives many Asian dishes a nutty, savory, richly aromatic flavor.

Find out what to do with sesame oil »

Recipe of the Day: Spinach-Orzo Salad With Shrimp

by in Recipes, May 12th, 2011

spinach orzo salad with shrimp
Lighten up dinner tonight with a salad that features crisp spring veggies like radish and cucumber with fresh herbs alongside lemony shrimp.

Get the recipe: Spinach-Orzo Salad With Shrimp

Browse more of Food Network’s seafood recipes.

Side Dish: More Food on the Web

by in News, May 11th, 2011

Bobby Barbecues

• Psychology today reports: “Barbeques, it turns out, are good for your mental health — particularly when they take place in green spaces.” Here we thought our backyard bashes were so great because of the euphoric potato salad. [psychologytoday.com via eatocracy.cnn.com]

• In the latest cafeteria lunch news, public schools in Los Angeles are considering banning chocolate milk due to its high sugar content. [washingtonpost.com] [On Food Network: Better School Lunches]

• Meanwhile, there’s a movement in universities coast to coast (Berkeley to Penn) to cater to gourmet-minded students. A program at Wesleyan University, for instance, allows students to use their meal cards for local, organic cheese. [washingtonpost.com via grubstreet.com]

• Meet William Leigh, the new taste tester for the British chocolate company Green & Black. We’re pretty sure he has the best job ever –- all the fun of Willy Wonka’s factory without the responsibility of maintaining the chocolate extraction pipe system for the chocolate river. [bbc.co.uk]

Here’s our round-up of food news, trends and happenings across the web. Check back for more, and tell us what else you’re loving in the comments.

5 Questions With Candace Nelson: Cupcake Wars Judge and Sprinkles Queen

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, May 11th, 2011

Candace Nelson

Candace Nelson, judge and blogger extraordinaire from Cupcake Wars, is about to open her 10th Sprinkles store, finally bringing the “original cupcake bakery” to New York City. We caught up with Candace and got a sneak peek at the new store while she was in town from Los Angeles with the whole family – husband Charles is her business partner at Sprinkles, and they have two young sons.

It’s been a busy week for the Nelsons, who celebrated their first Big Apple store by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange and have been riding around town in their Sprinklesmobile, handing out free cupcakes. Sprinkles New York opens its doors this Friday, May 13: “We’re not superstitious here!” Candace says with a laugh.

Read on for the inside scoop on the new location, Candace’s favorite cupcake flavors and her take on the future of cupcakes.

Read more

FN Fan Bites: Anne Headlines in Hawaii, Bobby and Guy At The Derby

by in Food Network Chef, May 11th, 2011

anne burrell
Anne Burrell will headline the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, May 20 -21 at Ko Olina. The event is in its third year and will include wineries from France and California, along with 15 top chefs that will cook their cuisine at the Grand Tasting and Food and Wine pairing events. Visit Hawaiiwineandfood.com for more information.

Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri were both spotted on the red carpet at the Kentucky Derby this past weekend. Watch their interviews on the red carpet: Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri.

Alton Brown is now on Twitter. Alton has been the most requested twitter address from Food Network Fans by tweeters looking to follow, he can found as @altonbrown. On his first day, over 7,000 followers added his tweets to their own pages and that number continues to grow daily.

Read more

Recipe of the Day: Paula’s Crab Cakes

by in Recipes, May 11th, 2011

paula deen's crab cakes
Don’t have time to visit the Chesapeake Bay this season for crab cakes? Try making them at home with Paula’s easy and delicious recipe filled with good-quality crabmeat, green onions and bell peppers. Pair them with a rich buttery Chardonnay for a special date-night appetizer or dinner.

Get the recipe: Paula’s Crab Cakes

Browse more of Food Network’s seafood recipes.

Make Your Food Really “Pop”

by in News, May 10th, 2011

pop rocks cupcakes
Candy in moderation is a sweet treat for kids, but have you tried incorporating it into recipes?

Allen Salkin from Food Republic recently attended the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival where he wrote about the use (or overuse) of a popular carbonated candy in dishes. Not one, but two well-known chefs used popping candy in their recipes to create a “wow” effect with the crowd during an opening showcase. Salkin argues in his article that “perhaps there are ways creative people can recast tired things and make them work anew.” Others, like sous chef Amy Kalinowski of Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink say, “That was 2008. It’s not original anymore.”

Original or not, this classic candy keeps reappearing in recipes and products across the country — like Chuao Chocolatier’s famed Firecracker chocolates.

If you’ve never had popping candy like Pop Rocks before, these tiny bits literally pop and tickle your tongue infamously — lighting up your mouth in wonder.

We’re willing to bet that they’ll create buzz at your next party. Try these Food Network recipes with Pop Rocks and let us know if they were a big hit on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments section below:

Nostalgic Popping Candy Cupcakes (pictured above)
Raspberry Rose Pots de Creme
No Cook Pop Rock Cheesecake

Recipe of the Day: White Pizzas With Arugula

by in Recipes, May 10th, 2011

white pizzas with arugula
Don’t have time to make homemade crust? Visit your favorite local pizzeria and ask them if you can purchase fresh dough. After you’ve stretched it out, top it with three kinds of cheese (fontina, mozzarella and a creamy goat cheese) and bake it until the crust is crisp. Finish by adding a pile of dressed arugula on top.

Get the recipe: White Pizzas With Arugula

Browse more of Food Network’s Italian pizza recipes.

Alton Brown Wins James Beard Award for Best TV Food Personality

by in Food Network Chef, May 9th, 2011

alton brown
The James Beard Foundation kicked off its awards weekend this past Friday in New York City with the Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards Dinner.  Food Network’s own Ted Allen co-hosted the event with Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts host Gail Simmons. Together, they helped announce winners for categories like Best Personal Essay, Best Cookbooks and Best Television Program (click here for a complete list of winners).

One Food Network personality walked away with a big win: Alton Brown took home the award for Best TV Food Personality for his show Good Eats. However, this is not Alton’s first James Beard Award. In 2003, Alton won the award for “Best Reference Book” with “I’m Just Here For the Food.” Nominees also up for this award included Bobby Flay for Cooking Channel’s Brunch @ Bobby’s and Duff Goldman for Ace of Cakes.

Tonight, The James Beard Foundation will host the Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception at Lincoln Center to honor the chefs and restaurateurs who have made the food industry unforgettable in 2010.

Congratulations, Alton!