Bobby Flay may be one of three no-nonsense judge-mentors on Food Network Star, but he’s also Food Network’s resident grill master, the go-to guy for top burger, side dish and cocktail recipes all summer long. He’s known for his penchant for barbecue and fresh, contemporary takes on classic Southwestern cuisine, so it’s no surprise that when FN Dish caught up with him at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, he was preparing jerk chicken tacos with red cabbage slaw and tangerine margaritas. Fresh off his win at the 2013 Burger Bash competition, Bobby chatted with fans in the standing-room-only crowd, sharing strategies for stress-free summer entertaining and answering questions about hosting the ultimate cookout. Read on to hear from Bobby, and learn his top-five tips for warm-weather eating and drinking.
5. When you’re serving something in a tortilla — like a taco — it’s best to overseason the filling because it will have to work to maintain its flavor within the wrapping.
4. “Taste every single thing,” no matter what you’re cooking or how.
Get Bobby’s top three tips
Who better to kick off the season of outdoor cooking and all things barbecued, grilled and smoked than Food Network’s own First Family of Barbecue, Pat and Gina Neely? Together, this culinary power couple has been known to put their signature spins on authentic Tennessee ribs, comforting potato salads, and traditional grilled chicken alike — the must-have dishes for the ultimate summer cookout. FN Dish caught up with the Neelys at the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival earlier this year to chat about what it takes to master the grill at home and to learn their secrets to better barbecue. At a live cooking demonstration on the beach with their fans, Pat and Gina cooked a quick meal of grilled shrimp and pineapple kebabs with mango salsa, explained the ins and outs of some classic warm-weather recipes, and answered fans’ questions about all aspects of summertime cooking and entertaining. Find out what they had to say below, and get their top-five tips for enjoying a stress-free summer at the grill.
5. It’s a good idea to start the grill on medium heat and rub the grates with oil before adding anything to it. This will help prevent food from sticking.
4. When making kebabs on wooden skewers, be sure to soak the sticks in water for a while before you put them on the grill. Otherwise, the dry wood will catch fire and burn quickly.
Get the Neelys’ top three tips
Despite the rivalries and fierce content of the Iron Chef America: Tournament of Champions (Sundays at 9pm/8c) that awaits the Chairman’s Iron Chefs, almost all of Kitchen Stadium’s elite came together at this winter’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival for an informal conversation about what it takes to be an Iron Chef, what privileges and expectations come with the job, as well as their own experiences in rising to their newfound roles. Although he won’t be competing in the series, Bobby Flay was on hand to lead Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian, Marc Forgione and Michael Symon in the hour-long chat, moderating the event and posing questions to both the group and the chefs individually that touched upon their histories in the kitchen, battle records, ingredients of choice and so much more. Masaharu Morimoto, the other original Iron Chef along with Bobby, couldn’t attend the panel, but the group quickly agreed that within their circle, Iron Chef Morimoto is the preeminent master of Kitchen Stadium and that a loss in battle to him is practically a rite of passage. “Everybody has to do it once,” Iron Chef Symon joked.
Although these culinary powerhouses may be all business during competition, there was no shortage of laughs and good-natured joking at this gathering, which took place just steps away from the sandy shores of South Beach, Miami. Read on below to hear from Bobby, and find out what Iron Chefs Guarnaschelli, Zakarian, Forgione and Symon had to say about life before and after they accepted their titles, what it’s like to fall in battle and their winning moments on The Next Iron Chef.
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As the executive pastry chef at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami, Fla., the author of Baking Out Loud, a frequent guest on Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets and FN Dish’s own resident dessert extraordinaire, Hedy Goldsmith isn’t your average sweet tooth. She’s been known to put a homemade red-velvet twist on traditional Twinkies and even bake pies in jars, so when FN Dish visited Hedy at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival last month, we knew we’d be in for a treat — and it turns out that we were greeted with an entire plateful of treats.
Speaking to a packed room at the Shelborne South Beach Hotel, Hedy along with Josh Wesson, a New York City-based sommelier and the co-founder of Best Cellars, offered guests an interactive seminar on the pairings of desserts and beverages, both wines and liqueurs. They agreed that the key to blending any food and drink is finding among them elements that are similar and contrasting, an idea that’s similar to what Hedy follows when making her confections.
Known for expertly bridging the gap between sweetness and saltiness — the combination of which she describes as “the story of my life” — her signature creations are not typical desserts in that they’re not overly sweet, and they utilize seemingly eccentric and out-of-place ingredients. To Hedy, baking is all about “checks and balances,” not just between the amount of sugar and salt in a recipe, but also the flavors of the other ingredients she uses.
Having already conquered the professional kitchen as the chef-owner of two New York City restaurants — The Lamb’s Club and The National — and Kitchen Stadium as a member of the Chairman’s elite team of Iron Chefs, Geoffrey Zakarian is setting out to take over the radio airwaves, if only for just one night.
From 8pm-9pm EST tomorrow evening, Friday, March 15, Geoffrey can be heard on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio Stars Channel 107 chatting with an impressive roster of chefs, including Guy Fieri, Anne Burrell, Sunny Anderson, Andrew Zimmern, fellow Chopped judges Scott Conant and Marc Murphy, and more. These industry A-listers came together in Miami, Fla., during last month’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and FN Dish was on hand as the show was recorded live, poolside from The James Royal Palm Hotel.
How many times have you searched for the ultimate recipe only to find one that’s nearly what you’re looking for but features perhaps a single ingredient or flavor that you simply can’t bare? When that happens, do you scrap the recipe altogether, vowing to find one that’s perfect, or do you settle for the undesired taste because the rest of the recipe fits the bill? We caught up with Iron Chef Michael Symon at the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and he told us that instead of an all-or-nothing approach to recipes, look at them as detailed suggestions you can use to build the dish that best suits your tastes.
“Let your palate be your guide,” Iron Chef Symon said. He was reminded of a time that his father suffered through a batch of salsa that, while it was made according to its recipe’s instructions, boasted cilantro, an herb his father doesn’t like. Looking back on the moment now, Iron Chef Symon recalled that it would have been perfectly acceptable for his father to swap in other “soft, leafy herbs” for the cilantro so as to keep with his preferences and ultimately allow him to enjoy the dish.
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What do you get when you gather tables full of amateur cooks and ask them to prepare their own dinners with no advance notice of the menu? If you answered chaos, scorched ingredients and plenty of laughs, then you are correct.
That’s precisely what happened last night at the Barilla Interactive Dinner during the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival. 200 party-goers at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla., turned into honorary chefs as they attempted to prepare multi-course meals for one another with little more than a saute pan and wooden spoon. Lucky for them, however, soon they received a wanted dose of culinary guidance in the form of Robert Irvine, who, together with Chef Lorenzo Boni of Barilla, guided guests through each step of the cooking process in the hopes of eliminating major flare-ups and meltdowns.
Chef Boni shared step-by-step tips for making an indulgent pasta with prosecco and caviar, while Robert — in true Restaurant: Impossible form — arrived just when guests needed him most: the tricky entree course. He balanced his no-nonsense commitment to top-quality food with lighthearted how-tos and willing patience to help each table tackle seared swordfish with apple-horseradish sauce and creamy parsnip potatoes.
South Beach may be famous for its sparkling blue waters, white sandy beaches and diverse culture, but when Giada De Laurentiis is in town, the focus here inevitably turns to food. For her first solo event at the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, she joined forces with the team at Casa Tua Hotel and Restaurant — a longtime favorite of hers in the area — to offer an Italian in Paradise Dinner to an intimate crowd of just 100 people. She promised an authentic Italian feast designed by herself in conjunction with Paolo del Papa, the chef at Casa Tua, and together they delivered an elegant yet comforting spread complete with five signature courses and paired wines.
Before Giada took to the kitchen to help with meal prep, she mingled with guests at a walk-around cocktail hour in the upstairs lounge of the restaurant, posed for photos and signed cookbooks galore, providing fans a seemingly one-time-only opportunity to get to know their Food Network favorite. Party-goers munched on an array of passed spuntini — snacks — like rolled zucchini stuffed with creamy goat cheese, plus bite-size eggplant parmesan and chunks of deliciously salty parmesan cheese straight from the wheel of grana padano as they chatted with the hostess. Looking ahead to dinner, Giada told us, “We’ve been prepping for three days. It’s been awesome … Hopefully everybody will enjoy it.”
It was a just a matter of time until Michael Symon’s three-time People’s Choice-winning streak was broken. And no one wanted to claim that victory more than Bobby Flay. For years, Rachael Ray has said that Michael has taken the win, but with Bobby just a few short votes shy (sometimes just one or two).
Last year Bobby told FN Dish that he’d rather come in tenth place, than be second to Michael once more. “He only wins because of his laugh,” Bobby jokingly told FN Dish last night. He continued to say that if he didn’t win this year, he might just hang his hat up. No need for that. Even though Bobby was up against 33 other burgers, his Green Chile Burger, crunchified of course, was the ultimate combination of savory, salty and fatty.
What’s the secret to this winning burger? “We let Michael Symon win three years in a row. This year we broke out the roasted poblano chiles. Game over everybody,” proclaimed Bobby.
Before the pressure of Burger Bash and Best of the Best really set in Friday night, Spike Mendelsohn gathered some of the best chefs for some friendly competition in his first-ever Let’s Get Spiked Volleyball Tournament on the beach. Comprised of four teams, there was no shortage of smack-talking, interesting uniforms and creative team names:
Team Dolphins: Josh Capon, Andrew Zimmern, Chuck Hughes and Kris Wessel
Team Love Machine: Justin Warner, Pat LaFrieda, Jr., Tim Love and Adrianne Calvo
Team Goose Dies in the End: Jeff Mauro, Stephanie Izard and Curtis Stone
Team Beach Cutlets: Johnny Iuzzini, Todd Erickson, Spike Mendelsohn and Edward Lee
Rumor had it that the chef to watch out for was Curtis Stone, but after the tournament got underway, my eye was on Tim Love, who would dive for the ball just about every set.