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Critical Moments: A Kitchen Stadium Thanksgiving

by in Shows, November 22nd, 2010
The newly crowned Iron Chef Marc Forgione: Simon Majumdar’s "clear winner"

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.

With dozens of cameras catching every glimpse and grimace, a gallery of excited onlookers and smoke billowing across the set, I could begin to see what all the fuss had been about.

It was my first visit to Kitchen Stadium and I was nervous enough. I could only begin to imagine how Chef Canora and Chef Forgione must be feeling as they walked into the arena. They had not only to impress the three judges one more time, but also to persuade Iron Chefs Morimoto and Flay that they were ready to join the pantheon of the greats.

When given their final task, to prepare for us the finest Thanksgiving feast imaginable, the way they approached it summed up their performances in every challenge to date. Chef Forgione was cool, calm and collected as he followed his story of recreating the first turkey-free Thanksgiving. Chef Canora, on the other hand, was all drama and nervous energy as he dipped into his family cookbook to bring us a traditional Thanksgiving meal. It was not long before he was literally leaving his blood, sweat and tears on the floor.

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The Next Iron Chef: Go Over the Top, Symon Says

by in Shows, November 21st, 2010
Michael Symon stops by Dish headquarters
Next Iron Chef Judge Michael Symon is all smiles, three years into his tenure.

Just three years ago Michael Symon sat where Chefs Marco Canora and Marc Forgione are today, battling for a permanent place on the roster of Iron Chef America. Now he frequently dons his jacket and defends chefly honor in Kitchen Stadium. He also serves as a judge on The Next Iron Chef, hosts Food Network’s Food Feuds and hosts Cook Like an Iron Chef on Cooking Channel. Clearly that long-ago Next Iron Chef winning moment was the end of one battle but the beginning of so much more.

“I went through the competition myself and I know how hard it actually is,” Symon said recently at Food Network’s New York City headquarters. “But you know, I feel that the winner is coming into our club, and we need to protect the club, just like Bobby and Mario and Morimoto did when I came through.”

Who will be the next chef to have a jacket hanging here?

So this season, Symon has enjoyed food from “some of the greatest chefs in America,” and is sympathetic to the fierceness of the competition, but he’s also clear eyed and critical. From battle to battle, even the smallest details made a difference in which chefs stayed and which went. In the wake of last week’s double elimination, Symon compared dishes from Chef Tsai and Chef Tio with those from the two remaining competitors. “Chef Forgione and Chef Canora’s food was just a little more over the top. And because of the nature of this competition, sometimes you have to go a little over the top to win.”

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Thanksgiving Side of the Day: Mashed Potatoes

by in Holidays, November 20th, 2010

perfect mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple. Find a new way to mash and smash your spuds with our collection of 50 mashed potato mix-in recipes. There’s Blue Cheese-Walnut Mashed Potatoes, Shiitake-Squash Mashed Potatoes, Bacon-Cheddar Mashed Potatoes and 47 more.

But for Thanksgiving, when turkey is a menu must, I try to keep the mashed potatoes buttery, creamy and relatively simple, because one of the best parts of a traditional Thanksgiving feast is rich and steamy turkey gravy. Make classic mashed potatoes and gravy with these sure hit recipes from Food Network Magazine: Perfect Mashed Potatoes paired with Perfect Gravy (and see our gravy step-by-step).

Browse 50+ Thanksgiving side dishes to fill out your menu. And, for hundreds more ideas, recipes and menus for your feast, check out FoodNetwork.com/Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Side of the Day: Alton’s Southern Biscuits

by in Holidays, November 19th, 2010

altons southern biscuits
Thanksgiving is inching ever closer, and if you haven’t already, you’re probably starting to give some serious thought about what to lay out on that table of yours. That’s why every day this week, we here at Food Network are featuring different Thanksgiving Side Dishes to help you celebrate this harvest festival in style.

Whether your Thanksgiving is going to be an intimate affair or a more boisterous gathering, it can be tricky to find dishes to suit the myriad tastes of friends and family. Trying to balance all of the likes and dislikes of your family and friends in one meal can send even the most accomplished of chefs into panic mode.

These airy Southern Biscuits from Alton Brown are sure to please even the pickiest eater, and are a perfect alternative to stuffing, dressing, and mashed potatoes. Light and golden, warm and tangy, these buttermilk biscuits pair perfectly with almost anything (and sop up all of that gravy like nothing else). Aside from being irresistibly delicious, this recipe is easy to double  for crowds and virtually foolproof. To streamline your day-of preparations, make and freeze them a few days in advance; pop them in the oven for fluffy, homemade biscuits just in time for dinner.

For hundreds more ideas, recipes and menus for your feast, check out FoodNetwork.com/Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Side of the Day: Bobby’s Spicy Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

by in Holidays, November 19th, 2010

smoked chile scalloped potatoes
Thanksgiving is — count ‘em — only 7 days away! Every day from now until then, we’re sharing our favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes. Sweet potatoes may have been absent from the first Thanksgiving, but since then they’ve established their place on the Thanksgiving table next to green bean casserole, stuffing and/or dressing and mashed potatoes.

Traditional sweet potato casserole and honey-baked yams are great, but this year I’m adding a twist (or, rather, a kick) to the table with Bobby’s spicy scalloped potatoes. To make, just layer thinly-sliced sweet potatoes (a mandolin works wonders here) with chipotle-spiked cream and bake until tender and crisp on top. Bonus: This dish serves beautifully and travels well, so it’s ideal for a Thanksgiving potluck.

TELL US: Are you going traditional or with-a-twist for this year’s feast?

For hundreds more ideas, recipes and menus for your feast, check out FoodNetwork.com/Thanksgiving

Traveling Sideshow

by in View All Posts, November 18th, 2010
Cranberry Pomegranate Terrine from FoodNetwork.com

Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday of the year. Arrive at your destination with your sanity and your culinary contribution intact with these holiday recipes that are easy to pack along.

Get our take-along recipe ideas »

Food Network & Barneys: A Foodie Holiday

by in View All Posts, November 17th, 2010

Last night, Barneys New York kept the doors open late to celebrate the unveiling of their annual holiday windows.  Barneys creative director Simon Doonan and team created delicious displays overflowing with inspiration from foodie culture.

Window themes included caricatures of many Food Network favorites, including Mario Batali and Bobby Flay in the the “Bad Boys” window.  Rachael Ray, Paula Deen and Sandra Lee were rendered larger than life in the “Gals” window.  A vibrant “Revolutionary Stew” window displayed Julia Child and Jamie Oliver.

Get the star-studded guest list »

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Next Iron Chef Journals: A Look Back

by in Shows, November 17th, 2010

Read our eliminated rivals' journals for a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to compete on The Next Iron Chef

We started with 10 rivals in Los Angeles. Five went on to Las Vegas. Now it’s down to the last two standing. Marco Canora and Marc Forgione will battle it out in Kitchen Stadium for the title of The Next Iron Chef this Sunday at 9pm/8c.

To put this exciting and exhausting journey in perspective, take a look through the eight eliminated rivals’ journals from the competition. What was the thought process behind the dishes that won challenges—and those that sent rivals packing? Who drew lifelike sketches of their plates and who took meticulous notes? Flip through the pages of the chefs’ red Next Iron Chef journals to see.

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Fall Fest: Sweet Potato Sides, Chef by Chef

by in Holidays, November 17th, 2010
Tyler's Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow Streusel
Tyler's Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow Streusel

We’re teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Fall Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it’s time to seriously ponder sweet potato sides. What will it be this year – mashed, baked, stuffed or smashed? Here are some top recipe picks from Food Network chefs.

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Thanksgiving Side of the Day: World’s Best Cornbread Stuffing

by in Holidays, November 16th, 2010

thanksgiving cornbread stuffing
I’m definitely on Team Cornbread when it comes to Thanksgiving stuffing specifics, so I was intrigued when I came across a 5-star recipe for the World’s Best Cornbread Stuffing. What, I wondered, makes it so special? What makes it good enough that one reviewer exclaimed “So sorry, Grandmum. After generations of yours, this is tastier!”?

I had to find out. I don’t know if it’s the sweet corn muffins in place of the typical savory cornbread, the hot Italian sausage or the earthy fresh sage, but the combination of flavors is enough to make me (almost) swear off my family recipe.  This stuffing has definitely earned its place on my Thanksgiving table this year.

For hundreds more ideas, recipes and menus for your feast, check out FoodNetwork.com/Thanksgiving.