by Guest Blogger in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 6th, 2013
by Guest Blogger in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 30th, 2013
by Justin Warner
Too many times I see chefs label themselves, to their demise. A Chopped champion is one who can abandon his or her style and cook according to the ingredients in the basket. Sometimes the most rebellious thing a chef can do is to be conservative and make simple fare. Having a set point of view should not be equated to wearing blinders. If anything, a POV gives a chef a different vantage point, so as to differently survey what is necessary to put food on the table.
Appetizer basket: sour-apple martini mix, mortadella, white asparagus and fennel
Sour-apple martini mix is disgusting stuff. It doesn’t taste like apples; it tastes like green candy. I don’t know where in its evolution sour apple decided to taste like something unrelated to apples, but overcoming this challenge is why I’m here. Mortadella, white asparagus and fennel can all play together — it’s just a matter of getting that bottle of green treacle to play nicely, as well.
by Guest Blogger in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 23rd, 2013
by Justin Warner
According to a legend, nearly a mile beneath the foundation of Food Network headquarters in Chelsea Market, there exists a culinary lab of the most peculiar type. Comestibles from all over the world are gathered and transported here. The ingredients are tasted by robotic tongues. The flavor data is analyzed and each ingredient is classified by its ability to fuse with other ingredients.
Some play nicely. The humble egg frolics with oils, citrus and tiny mustard seeds. Cutesy strawberries jump with glee on a bed of goat cheese.
Some are more clique-ish. The ever-attractive artichoke only associates with the briniest of morsels. And some don’t play at all. They sulk in the corners of our gastronomic playpen. These are the palate destroyers — the over-powerers. They are preserved. They are fermented. They are canned. They are weird.
Each week, one of the most elite of Food Network’s team of sustenance scientists hand-selects four edible elements. They are placed into a sturdy black basket and transported to the surface. The baskets are presented to the most-talented chefs in the land to assemble. From what appears to be a picnic of pain emerge glorious dishes, never before seen! They are crafted with ingenuity. Upon their judgment they sing palate-pleasing songs forgotten since childhood.
by Guest Blogger in Shows, January 16th, 2013
Every Wednesday, Justin Warner, winner of Food Network Star, Season 8, is remixing the Chopped Champion baskets as seen in the episode the night before in pure Justin Warner style: edgy, intense, passionate and full of wit. If you’ve ever watched an episode and found yourself yelling at the TV that you would have made this or that instead, then these are the posts for you.
by Justin Warner
I’ll be frank: sometimes I don’t know everything. Sometimes I call it a steamer and you’ll call it a sloppy Joe. Sometimes I call it a clam and you’ll call it a steamer. Sometimes you don’t know what the heck is in the basket and you just have to taste it and roll along. Even the most complex things in the food world are made of simple things. It’s when you don’t know the simple things that you should be worried about what’s in the basket!
Appetizer basket: Fruit cake, shad roe sack, vodka and Tokyo scallions
Fruit cake — fahruit cake — fahhhruuit cake. Let’s face it: it’s sweetened bread. Salt and lemon will shut it up. It’s pre-made bread though, right? With caviar? And vodka? And onion? This is a gift basket if you ask me.
by Food Network Magazine in Food Network Magazine, November 20th, 2012
Every Wednesday, Justin Warner, winner of Food Network Star Season 8, is remixing the Chopped Champion baskets as seen in the episode the night before in pure Justin Warner-style: edgy, intense, passionate and full of witty. If you’ve ever watched an episode and found yourself yelling at the TV, “I would have made this and that instead!” then these are the posts for you.
by Justin Warner
I play the Chopped game differently from most. My goal is not to transform things but to find the simplest way to make them work together. I’m not a magician or a craftsman — I’m more like a negotiator or ombudsman. I also try to think of the ingredients as something other than what they are. Yes, they might be duck tongues, but it’s easier to play with them if you think of them as chicken tenders. Make sense? With all of that said, here’s what I would do with the baskets from last night’s episode.
Justin breaks down the Chopped basket
Justin Warner doesn’t play by the rules. He eats jellyfish on Thanksgiving, serves cold-pizza terrine at his Brooklyn restaurant and writes rap songs about wine. But when Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay had to choose their teams of aspiring stars for the most recent season of Food Network Star, Justin’s unconventional approach caught Alton’s eye. Alton picked Justin for his group, and throughout the season Justin was a rebel, presenting wild combos like peanut butter–stuffed dates topped with seaweed. In the end, after 4.5 million viewers voted, Justin emerged as the winner. He says Alton’s guidance made all the difference. “It was a true mentorship,” Justin says. “Day one, Alton said, ‘No apologies.’ That’s how you win.”
Although Justin has been busy planning his new show (coming this fall), we managed to pull him aside for a quick Thanksgiving assignment: Come up with a fun new way to use leftover mashed potatoes. Justin took an old-fashioned candy idea and turned it on its head. Traditional mashed-potato candy is made with peanut butter, but Justin added umeboshi paste (Japanese plum paste) as a twist on peanut butter and jelly. Try the recipe (pictured after the jump).