Saturday’s NYWFF event SWEET, with FN hosts Duff and Sandra, was a dessert-lover’s paradise! New York’s finest pastry masters, from four-star restaurants and obscure-but-amazing bakeries alike, manned 50+ booths in one space, showing off their most tantalizing sweet bites and vying for votes from a mass of mingling tasters.
Hey y’all, Paula was at the festival too! Ms. Deen brought some Southern hospitality to NYC with a Sunday Gospel Brunch at the iconic Plaza Hotel. Naturally, Paula made sure that the spread at this classy affair was still totally over-the-top.
Guests were treated to a buffet stocked with dozens of sweet and savory dishes, but the crowd favorite seemed to be Paula’s classic mac-and-cheese. We’re not sure which recipe she used, as she has several, but you can’t really go wrong with any of them: Try Paula’s Creamy Macaroni and Cheese or The Lady’s Cheesy Mac.
This year’s New York City Wine and Food Festival’s burger battle was a massive face-off featuring over 20 chefs in an old warehouse in Brooklyn, with Bobby Flay’s nacho-style burger taking the people’s choice award. (If you’re inspired, browse our collection of Bobby’s best burger recipes.)
FN Dish: What did you take away from the experience of competing on The Next Iron Chef?
Mario Pagan: Competing in The Next Iron Chef has been the most amazing and exciting highlight of my career! It’s an honor to have been picked as one of the ten best chefs in the United States. Being amongst so many talented chefs is an opportunity that is hard to come by.
Dish: How did you feel about the meatloaf and potatoes dish that sent you home when you presented it?
M.P.: I felt that having been given the most labor-intensive dish, I did a good job.
Dish: If you could have a do-over, what would you change about that fateful dish?
M.P.: If I had to do it all over again, I have to say that I should have used arrowroot instead of cornstarch to thicken my sauce.
Dish: What advice would you give future Next Iron Chef contestants?
M.P.: The best advice that I can give is to make sure to pick your proteins first and then set up your “mise en place” for your planned dish. Ask for the remaining time in the battle at all times. But, until you’re there, you’ll never understand the overwhelming feeling of being in that kitchen. What an amazing ride! Stay and cook strong!
There was definitely more tension in the air as the chefs presented to the judges for a second time. They had seen Chef Kirschner suffer an unexpectedly rapid exit and knew for certain that one mistake could be enough to send them home.
My fellow judges had also begun to show their true colors. Michael Symon was the supportive former competitor and Donatella, the stern den mother who scored high for presentation. We agreed on one thing however, above all the food had to taste good. Otherwise all bets were off.
Chef Forgione’s deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie was, to my mind, one of the top dishes of the whole competition. I had no hesitation putting a big fat “W” next to his name as the winner and have been daydreaming about it ever since.
Who makes the best meatballs? With the answer at stake, the New York City Wine and Food Festival’s festivities opened with the return of the ever popular Meatball Madness, hosted by Food Network’s own Giada De Laurentiis.
Among the mass of hungry revelers mixed Food Network favorites Anne Burrell, Aarti Sequeira, Donatella Arpaia and Cooking Channel‘s Chuck Hughes–all greeting their fans in good cheer.
Leave it to Chopped food and wine specialist Ted Allen to bring the focus and the camera lens back to the reason for the event, a smorgasbord of finely crafted, eminently waftable … meatballs. Iron Chef Judge Donatella Arpaia took the win. But the competition was stiff, and every entry was delicious.
Find out who was in the running. After the jump, a feast for your eyes.
The stars are all in town for the New York City Wine and Food Festival, and several of them stopped by Food Network Magazine’s lounge party on Wednesday night at Thalassa restaurant. Sunny Anderson, Candace Nelson, Marcela Valladolid, Aarti Sequeira and Melissa d’Arabian all came by, and party-goers drank champagne and snacked on panini inspired by the October issue’s 50 panini booklet, as well as cupcakes decorated with the magazine’s logo.
To celebrate the magazine’s second anniversary, we asked the stars about their favorite features in the mag:
Marcela’s favorite section of the magazine is He Made/She Made, where two chefs each put their own spin on a favorite dish (Marcela and Chris Cosentino battled over nachos in this month’s issue). If she were throwing a similar cook-off, Marcela says she would pit Bobby Flay against Ming Tsai to see who makes the best traditional Mexican mole sauce.