Friday, April 14, 2017

Food Network Star Season 13 Premieres In June

Photo - Multivu
Food Network's most popular show Food Network Star will return for its 13th season on Sunday, June 4th at 9pm ET/PT.  Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will once again be the hosts/mentors for the season.  

Also returning will be Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen.  This concept started last season and the show gives previous Food Network Star contestants a chance to compete on the upcoming season.  Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen is three episodes long and starts on May 21st at 8pm ET/PT, three weeks before the Food Network Star premiere.  Comeback Kitchen will be co-hosted by Tyler Florence and Valerie Bertinelli and the returning Food Network Star contestants are:

  • Rob Burmeister (season 12)
  • Emilia Cirker (season 11)
  • Matthew Grunwald (season 11)
  • Josh Lyons (season 8)
  • Danushka Lysek (season 9)
  • Jamika Pessoa (season 5)
  • Joy Thompson (season 12)

Matthew Grunwald also competed in last season's Comeback Kitchen, which was won by Martita Jara.

The web series Star Salvation will also be included in season 13 of Food Network Star.  Jeff Mauro and Alex Guarnaschelli will be the hosts and eliminated contestants will get a chance to re-enter the competition on August 6th and become one of the final four contestants.

The contestants competing on the actual show Food Network Star season 13 are: Cory Bahr (Monroe, LA); Blake Baldwin (Flemington, NJ); Trace Barnett (Brilliant, AL); Toya Boudy (New Orleans, LA); Addie Gundry (Lake Forrest, IL); Rusty Hamlin (Atlanta, GA); Suzanne Lossia (Detroit, MI); Nancy Manlove (Texas City, TX); Amy Pottinger (Honolulu, HI); David Rose (Atlanta, GA); Jason Smith (Grayson, KY); Caodan Tran (Dallas, TX), and the winner of Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen. 

If you are interested in learning more about the contestants, here are some bios. Also for more information on Food Network Star season 13, multivu has episode descriptions and images.

Below is the press release about the upcoming season.  I will do another post about the contestants closer to the season airing.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Food Network's 'Help My Yelp' Premieres Tonight

Photo - Food Network
Tonight at 10pm ET/PT on Food Network (in between many episodes of Diners, Drive Ins and Dives) is the series premiere episode of Help My Yelp.   Help My Yelp is hosted by Monti Carlo who will work with restaurant owners to improve their reputation with the help of "Yelp Elite Squad" members.

Here is the series description from Food Network:
If you’ve ever found yourself scouring the web for the latest reviews of a new restaurant in town — and deciding to either book or cancel a reservation because of what you found — then you know firsthand the importance of positive reputations online. On sites like Yelp, restaurant guests can post their thoughts about service, ambiance and, of course, food, leaving potential customers able to make future dining decisions based on what they’ve read. So it’s no wonder that it’s in an eatery’s best interest to do what they can to boost their favorability online. And for some struggling businesses, Monti Carlo is just what’s needed to bring them back into good standing. 
On the all-new series Help My Yelp, premiering Monday, April 10 at 10|9c, Monti will work with chefs and business owners to overhaul their poor practices, given the feedback they receive from members of Yelp’s Elite Squad that have secretly visited their restaurants. The recommendations, critiques and ideas from those anonymous visitors, plus the behind-the-scenes antics that Monti sees on hidden cameras, will ultimately influence what Monti does to help set up the businesses for success. As a chef and restaurant consultant, she knows the inner workings of the industry, so she’ll be able to troubleshoot problems, ease tensions and offer concrete solutions on the spot — which will be crucial to do before a fresh batch of Yelp Elite Squad members stops by, ready to evaluate the business.

Here are things that I will look out for:

  • Will the hidden camera aspect be real or will it be staged such as shows like Mystery Diners?
  • Serious Yelpers have a reputation of being snobby.  Will this prove to be accurate?
  • Do the Yelp reviews improve after the show and are the new reviews legitimate?
  • Businesses have complained that Yelp has filtered positive reviews for businesses that refuse to pay for advertising.  Yelp has denied these claims.  For the restaurants on the show, will they filter the negative reviews to help?

The first episode is at Barbeque Street in Kennesaw, Georgia.  Here is the link to the Yelp reviews for Barbeque Street, which are not too great and have a 3-star average.  It doesn't appear that the more recent ones (after the show filmed) are more positive.  It is kind of interesting that Barbeque Street has so many filtered reviews (60), when there are only 66 reviews Yelp considers valid.  While you would expect many of the filtered reviews to be negative, a lot are actually positive.

I may do some more updates on the restaurants that appear on Help My Yelp if there is any interesting information on the upcoming episodes.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Chopped Star Power Tournament Features Alan Thicke (Who Passed Away In December)

Photo - Food Network
Tonight at 10pm ET/PT on Food Network is the start of the Chopped Star Power Tournament which features sixteen celebrities competing for $50,000 to donate to charity.  There are four groups of celebrities that will compete with the winner of each episode moving onto the finale.

The following celebrities will compete:

  • Internet Sensations (March 28th) - Josh Elkin, Hilah Johnson, iJustine, Lazarus Lynch
  • Athletes (April 4) - Dorothy Hamill, Paige VanZant, LaMarr Woodley, Mariel Zagunis
  • Comedians (April 11) - Illeana Douglas, Ron Funches, Jonathan Sadowski, Julie White
  • Film and Television Actors (April 18) - Rick Fox, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, Alysia Reiner, Alan Thicke

Alan Thicke, who will appear on the April 18th episode, passed away at the age of 69 in December 2016 after collapsing while playing hockey with his son.  He could also appear on the April 25th episode if he wins the episode that he competes on.

I guess this may be Alan's last new television appearance which could have been promoted, but it appears Food Network makes no mention of it in their press release.  It will be interesting to see if Chopped puts "In Memory of Alan Thicke" or something like that at the end of the episode.

Alan also previously appeared on Chopped Jr. as a judge.  When news of his passing began circulating, Chopped host Ted Allen tweeted, "We were privileged to have @Alan_Thicke on #Chopped set for two days—he was beyond delightful. Our hearts are with his family."

The press release about Chopped Star Power Tournament is below:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Giada De Laurentiis Nude Photos Might Leak

Giada De Laurentiis FappeningYou may remember a few years ago hackers were able to gain access to celebrities' personal photos stored on their phones and posted these images online.  There were many celebrities that were hacked and had nude photos leaked online, but the most notable were Jennifer Lawrence, Kaley Cuoco and Kate Upton.

The release of these photos by the hackers on social media sites was nicknamed "The Fappening."  Ryan Collins, one of the hackers responsible for releasing the photos, plead guilty to felony computer hacking and did so on March 15, 2016.  Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of his guilty plea and hackers started releasing photos of more celebrities that have supposedly been hacked.  Many people are calling this "The Fappening 2.0"

Emma Watson and Amanda Seyfried are two of the celebrities that have already had photos released in "The Fappening 2.0."  Emma Watson's photos are of her trying on bathing suits while Amanda Seyfried had very private and intimate photos leaked.  Both have said the photos were obtained illegally and their lawyers have demanded that websites take them down.

Hackers have also said they have photos of other celebrities that they plan to release and on the supposed list is Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis.  The sites that have Giada De Laurentiis being on the list of "The Fappening 2.0" celebrity photo leak include ohnotheydidnt and ibtimes.  

As of now, it appears Giada's photos have not been released, so who knows if any actually exist or if they will be released.  I will update this post if there are any updates regarding the supposed photo leaks of Giada De Laurentiis.

UPDATE - As of 3/18, no pictures of Giada have been released.
UPDATE - Still nothing as of 3/29, so it looks like the rumor was false or they just weren't released.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Worst Cooks In America Winner - Season 10

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Food Network is the Worst Cooks In America finale where the winner will receive $25,000.  The final two recruits are Ann Odogwu representing Rachael Ray and Daniel Mar representing Anne Burrell.

On tonight's episode Daniel and Ann each have "to prepare a three-course, restaurant-quality meal for a panel of culinary experts. Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray will help coach their recruits, but ultimately it is each recruit's final chance to show how much they have improved since week one. The culinary experts will pick a winner based on a blind tasting, and the winning recruit will walk away with $25,000."

I will update this post with the winner after the episode airs.  UPDATE - After the three-course meal, the judges determined that Daniel Mar cooked the best meal.  Daniel goes home with $25,000 and Anne Burrell goes home with bragging rights.

This years ratings for Worst Cooks in America were pretty high and had a 36 percent increase from last season's numbers according to Scripps.  With it being one of the higher rated shows on Food Network, there will probably be more seasons to come.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Iron Chef Gauntlet To Premiere April 16th on Food Network

Photo - Multivu
We knew Iron Chef was coming back as Iron Chef Gauntlet and now we know a little bit more about the show.  Iron Chef Gauntlet is set to premiere on Food Network Sunday, April 16th at 9pm ET/PT.  It will be a six-episode series and seven chefs will be competing for a chance to become an Iron Chef.  They will compete against each other for five episodes until there is one chef remaining.  Then in the final episode the remaining chef will go up against Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and Michael Symon in three rapid-succession secret ingredient battles.  The chef will only become an Iron Chef if their total score beats the total score of the three current Iron Chefs.

The chefs competing to be an Iron Chef are below and include a lot of previous Top Chef (Bravo) competitors:

  • Nyesha Arrington (Los Angeles, California – Executive Chef/Owner, Leona) 
  • Jason Dady (San Antonio, Texas – Executive Chef/Owner, Tre Trattoria)
  • Sarah Grueneberg (Chicago, Illinois – Executive Chef/Owner,Monteverde)
  • Michael Gulotta (New Orleans, Louisiana – Executive Chef/Owner, MOPHO)
  • Stephanie Izard (Chicago, Illinois - Executive Chef/Owner, Girl & the Goat)
  • Shota Nakajima (Seattle, Washington – Executive Chef/Owner, Adana)
  • Jonathon Sawyer (Cleveland, Ohio – Executive Chef/Owner, The Greenhouse Tavern).
The full press release about the show from multivu is below:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Food Network's March 2017 Programming Highlights

Here are some of the highlights of the Food Network programming scheduled to air on the channel in March:
Photo - Food Network
  • The season finale of Worst Cooks in America on Sunday, March 5th at 9pm with the winner getting $25,000
  • The Kids Baking Championship Finale on March 6th where the winner will take home $25,000.
  • A Chopped Junior: Make Me a Judge tournament where the kid winners win $10,000 and get to judge Chopped judges Amanda Freitag, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marcus Samuelsson and Chris Santos as they compete for charity.
  • A Chopped: Star Power Tournament which has 16 celebrity contestants over five episodes. The categories are web stars, star athletes, funny actors, and famous faces of film. There are no names listed yet and the winners will compete against each other in the finale. 
  • Guy’s Grocery Games: Supermarket Masters Tournament where 16 previous winners return to compete again. 
  • New primetime episodes of Chopped, Cake Wars, Cake Wars: Champs, Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, Bakers vs. Fakers, Beat Bobby Flay, Cooks vs. Cons, and Spring Baking Championship. 
  • New daytime episodes of The Kitchen, The Pioneer Woman, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen and Valerie’s Home Cooking
The full press release with air dates and episode descriptions is below:

Friday, February 17, 2017

Food Network Related News and Links

Here is some recent news involving Food Network shows and chefs/personalities from the Food Network:
  • Chopped judge Aaron Sanchez will be participating in the NBA All-Star Celebrity game this weekend in New Orleans.  Here are a few interviews he did about the game where he also answers questions about Chopped - SI interview, Uproxx interview.
  • Bobby Flay recently celebrated his 1-year anniversary with his girlfriend actress Helene Yorke.  Bobby is 52, while Helene is 31.  (Link)
  • Food Network Star is currently filming its 13th season in Los Angeles, and it looks like Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be the hosts once again (pictured right).  Eddie Jackson and Tregaye Fraser also posted a picture together on set, so look for them to be on an episode.
  • Alton Brown posted a picture on Instagram that looked like the Chopped symbol with his name under it with the caption, "I've said too much already." (Link).  So look for him to be on an upcoming episode or a special Chopped.  
  • Alton Brown has also released a few new podcasts of the Alton Browncast and one is with Duff Goldman. (Link)
  • Guy Fieri recently surprised one of his old teachers with a cruise to anywhere in the world. (Link)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Food Network's February 2017 Programming Highlights

Photo - Food Network
Below are some of the highlights of the Food Network programming scheduled to air on the channel in February.  It doesn't seem like there are any new series, but there are new episodes of many shows and the Kids Baking Championship finale will be this month on February 27th.

The full press release with episode descriptions is below:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Donald Trump's Inauguration Cake Looks A Lot Like Duff Goldman's Cake For Barack Obama

Food Network's Duff Goldman had the pleasure of making President Barack Obama's inauguration cake in 2013 at his inauguration.

Yesterday, Duff saw a picture of Donald Trump cutting his inauguration cake and noticed something.  It was pretty much the exact same cake.

Duff tweeted out a picture (pictured right) of the cakes side-by-side with the caption, "The cake on the left is the one I made for President Obama's inauguration 4 years ago. The one on the right is Trumps. I didn't make it"

As you can see, the cakes have the design, same amount of layers, same size layers, same decorations, and are exactly the same down to the star placement.

Duff didn't make the cake, so who knows how the cake turned out the way it did or who ordered it that way.  There was a different cake at the 2009 inauguration, so it isn't a tradition to have the same exact cake.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Food Network Related News and Links

Photo - Food Network
Sorry for the delay, but here is some recent news involving Food Network shows and chefs/personalities from the Food Network:
  • Food Network has ordered 13 new episodes of Ginormous Food just halfway into its first season.  The show is currently airing on multiple nights, but new episodes are Friday at 8pm. (Link)
  • Ayesha Curry's show Ayesha's Homemade was also renewed for a second season. (Link)
  • Ree Drummond's dog Charlie recently passed away as detailed on a blog post on her Pioneer Woman website.  Charlie regularly appeared on Pioneer Woman episodes and Ree has a book series named after him.
  • We all know Iron Chef is returning and Alex Guarnaschelli recently had an Instagram post about the show tagging Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Geoffrey Zakarian, Cat Cora, Marc Forgione, Masaharu Morimoto, and Jose Garces, so it looks like it could be the same Iron Chefs competing.
  • Great Food Truck Race is casting for its eighth season and it looks like this season will have people competing who have never run a food truck. (Link)
  • Ina Garten easily had the best selling cookbook of 2016 with Cooking for Jeffrey despite being released in October.  Ree Drummond had the 6th best seller with her 2015 book The Pioneer Woman Cooks. (Link)
  • A Kansas State University study revealed that celebrity chefs have poor food safety habits due to licking fingers, touching hair, lack of hand washing, and not changing cutting boards.  (Link)