by Simon Majumdar in Shows, January 19th, 2013
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, January 18th, 2013
Fans of Iron Chef America have probably noticed that there have been a couple of significant changes in the way that winners are selected in Kitchen Stadium recently.
No longer do the chefs get the benefit of a full hour of cooking before they are asked to present their first dish to the judges — the first dish is now expected in just 20 minutes. And to add to their discomfort, at some point during the 60-minute contest, the Chairman will also wheel out a small trolley to reveal a “Culinary Curveball” to be incorporated into the final presentation. Both of these new challenges carry with them significant points and how the chef performs can put them at a major advantage or disadvantage for the rest of the battle.
I can tell you that these changes have taken a bit of getting used to, both for the chefs and the judges. Now that I have taken part in a number of competitions under these new regulations, however, I can hold my hand up and say that I am a fan of the new format.
Get to know the new rules
by Simon Majumdar in Drinks, Shows, January 14th, 2013
This weekend it’s all about cooking classic recipes with a twist, budget-friendly ideas and hard-core competition on Food Network.
On Saturday, both Paula Deen and Trisha Yearwood have a few Southern classics to share with friends and family. On Barefoot Contessa, Ina’s still on vacation in California and she’s meeting up with Tyler Florence for a date, then it’s off to a picnic with Jeffrey. On Giada at Home, Giada’s sharing her budgeting tips for making three meals out of one chicken.
Start Sunday morning off with a Cuban feast on Guy’s Big Bite. In the evening it’s off to the diner on Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off followed by an international battle on Iron Chef America.
Read about the shows
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, January 11th, 2013
Last night’s Iron Chef America battle between Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Michael Chiarello brought one of my favorite tipples to the forefront: Scotch whisky. Instead of breaking down the ingredient like I usually do, here are 10 interesting facts that you may not know about this Secret Ingredient:
1. The term “whisky” is actually derived from the Gaelic words uisage beatha, which in turn came from the Latin Acqua Vitae or “water of life.” It’s thought that the name refers to the fact that these spirits were first used by monks for medicinal purposes.
2. The oldest reference to the production of whisky is not in fact in Scotland, but in Ireland, where it is believed that monks began distilling spirits as far back as the fifth century. The first reference from Scotland is found in the Exchequer rolls, the accounting records for the royal finances in 1494, where an allowance was made for “eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make aqua vitae.”
Keep reading for more facts
by Simon Majumdar in Shows, January 7th, 2013
This weekend, Food Network has a bunch of new episodes that capture the spirit of adventure, the willingness to try new things and the sense of competition.
On Saturday watch Barefoot Contessa and Giada at Home. Ina and Jeffrey travel through Napa Valley on their California adventure. Giada shows you how she likes to mix things up for dinner on Monday nights by going meatless.
On Sunday night, there are three competitions back-to-back. First, on Sugar Dome, different artists are challenged to create displays inspired by the ’80s. On Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, the stars head to a farm outside of Hollywood to convene with the sources of the food they must cook. And on Iron Chef America, it’s a rematch between Iron Chef Zakarian and challenger Chef Michael Chiarello, with special guest judge Neil Patrick Harris.
Read about the shows
by Sarah De Heer in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 5th, 2013
I was thrilled to be asked to judge a Kitchen Stadium battle between Bobby Flay and Viet Pham, as they are two of my favorite chefs in the country. I was even more thrilled when the Chairman revealed that the Secret Ingredient for the challenge was to be ground meat. It may seem like an ingredient that is hard to elevate to Iron Chef levels, but I was certain that in the hands of these two accomplished chefs, my fellow judges and I were in for a real treat. I was right.
What is ground meat?
As the name suggests, ground meat is animal flesh that has been minced, once or twice depending on the use, and then mixed with onions, spices or herbs. It can then be shaped into such things as hamburgers or meatballs, cooked “loose” in meat sauces or even eaten raw (with caution). The most popular ground meat used in the United States is of course beef, but chicken, pork and turkey are also commonly available as are some more exotic meats such as venison, elk and even bison. Traditionally, grinding was a way of making tougher, cheaper cuts of meat easier to prepare, and while this is still generally the case, you can now find many butchers and restaurants grinding expensive parts of the animal for more premium dishes.
by Simon Majumdar in Shows, December 31st, 2012
A new Iron Chef has officially been crowned and added to the prestigious roster. Chef Alex Guarnaschelli prevailed in the final showdown, a full-out Kitchen Stadium battle that paid homage to three long-standing Iron Chefs: Chefs Flay, Symon and Morimoto.
Iron Chef Guarnaschelli is the executive chef at both The Darby and Butter Restaurants (take a photo tour here) in New York City. She’s also a veteran judge on Chopped. Returning for a chance at redemption, Chef Guarnaschelli survived all eight of the Chairman’s intense challenges, only finding herself in the Secret Ingredient Showdown once.
We recently sat down with Chef Guarnaschelli at Butter to chat about her experience on The Next Iron Chef: Redemption — why she decided to go for it a second time and what her biggest fear about Kitchen Stadium is.
Read our exclusive interview
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, December 28th, 2012
There are no easy tests in Kitchen Stadium. The first battle for any newly crowned Iron Chef, however, is perhaps the toughest of all. The glory of winning The Next Iron Chef competition is all but forgotten and the winner now has to prove themselves worthy in the world’s toughest culinary arena.
It also doesn’t make any difference that Iron Chef Guarnaschelli has become familiar with Kitchen Stadium over the last year, as Iron Chef Zakarian’s sous chef. This time around, she was master, not servant, and any defeat would be associated directly with her name.
It was ironic that her first opponent would be Judy Joo, who — along with Iron Chef Michael Symon and I — was responsible for eliminating her in Season 4 of The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs. She not only battled to win, but also had a very definite point to prove.
The Secret Ingredient was mortadella (something her fellow rival chef, Chef Nate Appleman, is now very familiar with) and both chefs managed to get their first dish in front of the judges within the 20-minute time frame. Neither was declared a great success, but Iron Chef Guarnaschelli came away with a slender lead of two points to take into the rest of the battle.
by Simon Majumdar in Shows, December 9th, 2012
On last Sunday night’s Next Iron Chef, in a glorious final battle in Kitchen Stadium against Chef Amanda Freitag, Chef Alex Guarnaschelli proved that she deserved to win the season of Redemption and the title of Iron Chef, making her the second female chef to hold the title. This Sunday is your chance to see Chef Guarnaschelli in her first battle on Iron Chef America. She will be up against Iron Chef UK‘s Judy Joo in an international battle. The competition will be judged by Jeffrey Steingarten, Karine Bakhoum and Tory Belleci.
Tune in on Sunday, December 30, at 9pm/8c to see if Chef Guarnaschelli can win her first battle as the new Iron Chef.
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, December 1st, 2012
Whenever people stop to chat with me at airports, in restaurants or on the street, they usually have the same two questions.
The first is about how I managed to land one of the best gigs imaginable, eating dishes prepared for me by the finest chefs in the United States. The second is how my fellow judges and I go about the seemingly impossible task of deciding who will emerge victorious from Kitchen Stadium.
To answer the first question, you will have to ask Food Network. As long as they keep asking me, I’ll keep showing up. Heck, I’ll probably keep showing up even if they stop asking me.
I can, however, offer a slightly more detailed response for the second question.
While I suspect I shall never be accused of being on the fence about the dishes presented in Kitchen Stadium and The Next Iron Chef set, I also think that it’s important to be able to articulate to both the chefs and the audience watching at home why I think that a dish was successful or otherwise. During my appearances on Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef, I have developed a series of criteria that I hope help me do just that.
Whether you’re a fan of Food Network, Cooking Channel or both, have you ever wondered what it would be like if the two networks fought for supremacy? Here’s your chance to see it for real on Iron Chef America. Food Network and Cooking Channel will battle it out in Kitchen Stadium, not only for the win, but for long-lasting bragging rights. You won’t want to miss this episode, which will surely go down in food television history.
Representing Food Network are Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Robert Irvine and Ted Allen. Representing Cooking Channel are Iron Chef Michael Symon, Nadia G and Ben Sargent. Tune in to find out which team will win glory for their network.
Tune in: Sunday, December 2 at 10pm/9c
Vote for the network you want to win