All Posts By Debra Puchalla

Chatterbox, Ep. 5: Paula, a Sweet Treat, a Catfight and Girl Power

by in Community, July 11, 2010

Midterm exam time. Who sailed, who failed? And what made Paula Deen bring up her string bikini and the quality of her grandchild's cooking ability? Who came out on top--Team Serena or Team Brianna? Did Herb get back on track or crash and burn? Oh the suspense! There was too much drama to fit into an hour this week, so we got extra time and a bonus live chat with season four finalist and Food Network star and funnyman Adam Gertler. Like a Kid in a Candy Store--that's his sweet new show--Gertler zinged fans with running commentary and an admiration for all things Serena. Even Mr. Flay joined the fray with live tweets. The finalists faced two challenges: First, create "you in a jar" and present it to a big-ole live audience. Then they had to team up and run a food truck. That's when the twists and turns arrived. Some happy surprises--two chicks seemed to reach detente ("The empanada, y'all, is really good," Paula said), for now, which bizarrely disappointed chatting fans. Check out the chat below for details, then jump behind the scenes for Bobby's recipe makeover of finalists' dishes (would love his pointers!) and vlogs from Bob, Susie and Giada. Then vote for your favorite finalist, up to ten times per day. Meantime, I'll be wondering if Brad should let dark horse Tom borrow his lucky hat, and if Adam might borrow one of Bobby's ties. A+ episode, everyone.

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes: A Hot Tamale, Green Day and Obi-Wan

by in Behind the Scenes, June 29, 2010
Good company: Bobby, Jonathan Waxman, Susan Feniger and Eric Greenspan Good company: Bobby, Jonathan Waxman, Susan Feniger and Eric Greenspan

Think about the best thing you ever ate and how you'd make it again. Now think about someone else's fondest food memory and cook it, recapturing their happiness. Then make the dish the pick of a world-famous chef. Good luck, right?

That's why on Sunday, guest judge Chef Susan Feniger of Ciudad in Los Angeles (and co-host with Mary Sue Milliken of Food Network classic Too Hot Tamales) was "impressed with the calmness of many of them." Keyword many. Herb had a tough time, still recovering no doubt, and Serena and Paul stumbled while Aarti and Brianna sparkled. (Check out some caught-in-the-act pictures.)

Guest judge Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose and sometime Food Networker, said, alluding to his own experience on last year's Next Iron Chef, "One of the greatest things about these shows is everyone is working from their own perspective." After the challenge, Chef Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto, kind of a cook's Obi-Wan Kenobi (he says) and a mentor to Bobby Flay, offered advice to the finalists. Note to producers: This would've helped the finalists, uh, beforehand. "Make it simple," Waxman said. "It's harder to edit yourself than to add." Standing next to Waxman and introducing him as an inspiration, Bobby needed a little editing--see for yourself.

See the Judges' Real Reactions Now

Chatterbox: Ep. 4 Live Chat, For Crying Out Loud

by in Community, June 27, 2010

Phew--the ante is up. A trio of famous chefs asked finalists to re-create the best thing they ever ate. A pile of hot, hot, hot peppers challenged Star wannabes. Chefs told tales of dads and moms and grandmothers. Dry eyes were scarce. Oh, Herb! A very judgy-judgmental Selection Committee was in the house. Big shoes, being worn (oh, Brianna) and hoping to be filled. Melissa d'Arabian talked live with Star fans about her out-of-this-world world nearly a year later. "I still get stressed watching this!!" she said. "NFNS was an amazing experience, even beside the winning, but phew...it was a tough one. Really showed you what you are made of." Some finalists are made of rock starness--Justin Timberlake (ish) took to the deep fryer. And tons of chatters bid on one finalist or another, guessing at winners and losers. I tear up at the drama. Who're you betting on? Take comfort--as in fried chicken or mac and cheese--as you revisit the pre-July 4 fireworks. Then tell us what you really think.

Chatterbox: Our Mr. T Gets His Groove On (A.K.A. the Episode 3 Chat)

by in Community, Recap, June 20, 2010

It's been an all-star Sunday: Bob Tuschman dazzled millions (overstatement is only slight) of chatting fans from Chelsea Market, our wee Mission Control, crackers and cheese complimentary. On the double big screens in the Boardroom and on single big screens in living rooms everywhere, there was bigger-than-life Guy Fieri guest-judging on Star--he was off-the-hook tough. The spectacle included a very long multitalentedish Tilt-a-Whirl dance down a very long red carpet. And then there was a handful (footful?) of drama between Serena and Brianna. Yes, a trip to a hospital was involved. Oh, and by the way how do you feel about glass with your slaw?

Bob answered burning questions: What are the  most important star qualities? Where do you most like to travel? Exactly how tall is Susie? But Bob also couldn't help but jump into the fray as duets were, um, challenging in the challenge and solos way went off-key, too. Happily, there were, well, sexy moments logging as highlights. Just catching up with your DVR? Follow along with the chat play-by-play below. Saw the action? Enjoy it again, with commentary. To call it entertaining would be an understatement.

Grab all of tonight's recipes and tell us what you cook and how it turns out. Then vote -- up to ten times every day -- for your favorite finalist.

What Would Bobby Do? Watch Instant Re-Flays

by in Food Network Star, June 15, 2010

WWBD? It’s easier to be behind the camera than in front of it. And armchair quarterbacking a demo is more fun than doing one: I would’ve, he could’ve, she should’ve.

Even Bobby Flay knows the lens is a tough judge. So he's sharing his tips this season, making over finalists' recipes. This week, Bobby is pierside in Santa Monica, dishing out uncommonly sensible advice: Tom's fish taco churros could've benefited from citrus--yes, Grant, I too would be happy to discus Tom's  'do. Then Bobby takes on Paul's dish; he could've kicked it with a savory dish truly inspired by caramel corn (hint: focus, Paul, honey).

See what might have been

Chatterbox: Live Chat Archive, Episode 1

by in Community, June 7, 2010

Hey, hope you enjoyed the first show--we sure did. During the premiere, Susie Fogelson joined a few of us Food Network worker bees plus a whole bunch of Star fans in a live chat, talking about the finalists, the judging, Bobby's ties and Susie's hair. There were a few words, you can imagine, about injured eyes and underwhelming doughnuts and crazy props and flocks of raw chicken. We know the fans savored Susie's sage comments about shooting and the selection process (Brooklyn wi-fi hiccups not a worry!). Susie solicited their opinions, too: Yes, Bobby Flay looked snappy, in case you're wondering. You can look at who said what below. No extra charge for spoilers. Meantime, vote for your favorite finalist so far and get all the recipes.

Read every delicious bit, then stop by next week:

Buzz: Star in the Media

by in Community, June 4, 2010

The premiere is on Sunday, but the there's already talk about The Next Food Network Star and its band of merry judges.

  • TV Guide talks to Bobby about the finalists; he calls them "incredibly savvy."
  • Reality Wanted has an exclusive interview with Selection Committee member Susie Fogelson.
  • Variety has a quick hit on Bob Tuschman's rising star.
  • Haveyouheart.net sits down with Bob and Susie to get their sneak-peek take on the upcoming season.
  • Yumsugar does a who's who of the finalists.
  • LAist interviews three finalists--Aarti, DAS and Doreen--who call Los Angeles home.

If You Were Cast for Star…

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Star, June 4, 2010
Melissa d'Arabian, host of Ten Dollar Dinners and winner of Star season 5, has advivce for this year's hopefuls.
Melissa d'Arabian, host of Ten Dollar Dinners and Season 5 winner, has tips for Star hopefuls.

If you were cast as a finalist for The Next Food Network Star, wouldn't you want to know what works with Bob and Susie? And what Bobby Flay is really like when he comes into the kitchen and you're frantically trying to represent your true culinary point of view? And whether you should act larger than life or (warning: here comes the cliche) be yourself?

There's no need to mess around with guesswork; instead go to a reliable source. Like Melissa d'Arabian. Melissa, winner of The Next Food Network Star season 5, has been uberbusy with creating recipes and producing her show Ten Dollar Dinners and traveling and talking to fans and, oh-by-the-way, being a wife and mom to four young daughters. But she found a few minutes to sit down and share how she feels a year later, plus her advice for the twelve Season 6 Star finalists.

"They really need to trust that they are enough," Melissa says, "... to know who they are, put their arms around that, celebrate it, and bring it to the table." See what else Melissa said, then check out her top recipes and visit her Facebook page. Read more

Crib Sheet: Star 6 Premiere Prep

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Star, June 4, 2010
The Next Food Network Star, Season 6 Airs This Sunday Night
The Next Food Network Star, Season 6, Two-Hour Premiere Airs This Sunday Night at 9 pm ET

Check the Countdown Clock: There are only a couple days before the kickoff to The Next Food Network Star. In case you missed our all-out check-this-season-out fervor in the lead-up to premiere night, here’s a cheat sheet to catch you up.

  • Bob, Susie and Bobby are back, making up the Selection Committee, prompting nervous laughs and shaky camera smiles among aspiring Stars everywhere. Each week you’ll find news from them here—last year Bob’s posts got more than 20,000 comments--I can only imagine how much you’ll have to say with this trio at your disposal. Guess which of them heats things up early by telling the finalists: "If you guys can't cook, you'll be gone, no doubt about it"? (A matter of seconds into this clip and you'll get the answer.)
  • Shooting for this season was in Los Angeles, not New York; we Chelsea Market fans are a wee bit wistful but like the cool-kid approach to cooking West Coasties seem to have. Laid-back vibes, however, do not mean the stress level in the kitchens will be any lower.
  • This year’s secret ingredient: Giada’s in the mix. But you’ll have to watch to see what she’s up to. Ok, so I’m teasing. Shamelessly. Read on...

Read more