Friday, February 28, 2014

Food Network's March 2014 Programming Highlights

Photo - Food Network
Here are some of the highlights of the Food Network programming scheduled to air in March:

*Buy This Restaurant was on the list as a prime time show, but it looks like it has already been taken off Wednesday nights and moved to Sunday afternoons.  Look for this show to get cancelled.

A full press release with episode descriptions and air dates is below:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Paula Deen 'People' Quote - Racist or Not?

As the Paula Deen comeback continues to be forced upon us, she will be gracing the cover of People magazine, which will be on newsstands this Friday. 

When a company invested millions in her brand, you would expect a plan to be in place for the comeback.  Besides being on the cover of People, today it was also announced that she will be opening a 20,000 square-foot restaurant in Pigeon Forge, TN near Dollywood.  I am sure many more things are in the works, so I won't be doing a story of every step along the way.

Back to the People story that will be on newsstands Friday...  Eonline had a few quotes from the story, including this one:
"I feel like 'embattled' or 'disgraced' will always follow my name. It's like that black football player who recently came out," she tells People, referring to NFL prospect Michael Sam. "He said, 'I just want to be known as a football player. I don't want to be known as a gay football player.' I know exactly what he's saying."
Why the need to call him a "black football player"?  As he stated, he just wants to be known as a football player, but Paula referred to him as a "black football player."

What do you think about the quote? Did Paula have a slip of the tongue or no big deal?

Bryan's Smokehouse From Restaurant Impossible Has Been Sold

Bryan's Smokehouse in Lufkin, Texas, which was featured on season 6 of Restaurant Impossible has been sold to new owners.

The Lufkin Daily News did a story about the restaurant being sold, in which the owner Lynn Bryan said she is switching careers.  That newspaper requires paid access, so you will not be able to read the article, but she says she is thankful that the show came, and then follows that up by complaining about the show and the city of Lufkin.

She claims Robert Irvine said the show usually gets a great reception in the city they go to, but Lufkin did not accept them and people were rude.  She said she had to apologize for Lufkin on behalf of Lufkin, which has locals upset in the Facebook comments of the article.

Lynn also claimed that the show needed a script, so they came up with the idea that she was lying to Tommy about the debt of the restaurant.  She said she never walked away from the restaurant as the show portrayed.

The original update on this site detailed the overwhelmingly negative reviews about the restaurant and there were also many comments about Lynn after the show aired. Lynn actually posted in the comments that they were probably ex-employees posting bad reviews, and were fired for being "thiefs(sic), trash, or drug users."

The new owners are keeping the name of the restaurant the same, which is kind of surprising with the negativity surrounding it.   The Restaurant Impossible Update Page has been updated to show Bryan's Smokehouse as Sold.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Duff Goldman Loses US Hockey Bet - Forced To Get Canadian Tattoo

When the United States hockey team went up against Canada at the Sochi Olympics in the quarterfinals, Duff Goldman apparently made a bet with some Canadians that he would get a maple leaf tattoo if Canada beat the United States.

Duff posted on Twitter:

 We all know the result of the game with Canada beating the United States 1-0:


Duff made right on his bet and got a maple leaf tattoo just below his bulging tricep:


This bet surely didn't get the same amount of publicity as the "Loser Keeps Bieber" billboard for the same game.

Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 SOBEWFF Food Network Highlights

Here is just a quick recap of some events that happened at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF) in Miami this past weekend. 

On Thursday, there was a beach volleyball tournament with chefs and SI Swimsuit models.  Here is a picture of all of the participants:

Photo - Twitter

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Paula Deen Rides Robert Irvine Again At SOBEWFF

Paula Deen made her public appearance today at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on stage at the Grand Tasting Village.  She was on stage with her sons Jamie and Bobby, and was also joined by Robert Irvine.

An AP story has Paula Deen addressing the crowd with a public apology by saying:
"We have come off of a very hard summer my family and I, my team, my partners.  But you know, I have heard on more than one occasion ... that I've never apologized. So if anybody did not hear me apologize, I would like to apologize to those who did not hear me."
Later in the Paula's demo, she rode Robert Irvine just like she did back in 2011 at the festival, and claimed she was 'back in the saddle.'  Video of that is after the jump.

Caseyville Cafe From Restaurant Impossible Has Closed

Photo - Food Network
The Caseyville Cafe in Caseyville, IL, which was featured on season 5 of Restaurant Impossible has closed.

I have received emails from multiple readers letting me know about the closing, some of which dated back to February 13th.  I tried to find more information about the closing, but no one has been answering the phone since that day and the restaurant has taken down their Facebook page.

One email said there was a sign on the door that said, "closed until further notice, due to family issues."  Another email said the "word on the street" was that there was an illness in the family.

Finally, a local went to go get a picture of the sign on the door, and there was a new sign that said, "Coming Soon, Toni's Restaurant" and there was a 'Now Hiring' sign outside.

If any more information becomes available about the closing, I will update this post.  This is the 5th restaurant from season 5 (2012 - 2013) of Restaurant Impossible to close, and the Restaurant Impossible Update Page has been updated to show this.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Food Network's 'The Kitchen' Renewed For 2nd Season

Photo - Food Network
It was announced today that the Food Network has renewed The Kitchen for a 2nd season, which means an additional 13 episodes will be filmed.  The Kitchen has had solid ratings in the Saturday morning at 11am time slot with over 1 million viewers for each episode that has aired up until now.

TheWrap reported the renewal, and Bob Tuschman was quoted as saying:
"We can’t wait to get back into ‘The Kitchen’ for a second helping of food, fun and conversation.  The talented cast and casual, engaging format have struck a chord with our audience, and we are looking forward to cooking up more episodes for fans to enjoy."
This shouldn't come as a surprise to many with the ratings the show was pulling in.  Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro, Marcela Valladolid and Geoffrey Zakarian will remain co-hosts of the show..  This may disappoint some people judging by the comments of a previous post on The Kitchen.  Many people have had complaints about Katie Lee.

As of right now, it is not known when the 2nd season will premiere, but it will probably not be too long after the first season.

South Beach Wine & Food Festival Starts Today

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) starts today in Miami, and runs through Sunday, February 23rd.  The event is going into its 13th year and it raises money for Florida International University's School Of Hospitality & Tourism management.

One of the event sponsors is the Food Network, and many people from the Food Network attend the festival and appear at events.  Some of the Food Network personalities set to appear include: Anne Burrell, Sunny Anderson, Scott Conant, Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Deen, Tyler Florence, Marc Forgione, Amanda Freitag, Alex Guarnaschelli, Robert Irvine, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro, Masaharu Morimoto, Marc Murphy, Rachael Ray, Marcus Samuelsson, Aaron Sanchez, Chris Santos, Michael Symon, Trisha Yearwood, and Geoffrey Zakarian. 

As previously reported, Paula Deen is also set to appear at SOBEWFF on stage with her sons Bobby and Jamie, which is interesting as the event is sponsored by the Food Network.

Here is a list of events over the next four days, many of which are sold out already.  If anything interesting happens at the festival, I will do some posts about it over the weekend, but you can probably follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #SOBEWFF.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cutthroat Kitchen Already Green-Lit For 4th and 5th Seasons

Cutthroat Kitchen has already been green-lit for its fourth and fifth seasons despite the fact that it is currently airing its second season on the Food Network.

While in its first season, Cutthroat Kitchen was already casting for its third season, and the third season was filmed in December of 2013.

Alton Brown recently revealed in an interview with Broadway World that the 4th and 5th seasons were green-lit and that the filming will take place in April-May.  The casting website for the show also is accepting applications for season 4.

Here is the excerpt from the Broadway World interview that references Cutthroat Kitchen:

VB: Would you share a little bit about Foods That Made America? When will that series air?

AB: Unknown at this point, and the reason for that is that no one at the time we started planning that program, no one realized that the show Cutthroat Kitchen was going to become a big hit. As a matter of fact, we were gearing that show up before Cutthroat Kitchen even went to pilot; now we've been green-lit for the fourth and the fifth seasons, so it eats up a huge amount of my production time. The short answer is, I don't know, because right now Cutthroat Kitchen is going great guns on Food Network and it's everybody's big emphasis right now.

VB: Well, my next question was "Will Cutthroat Kitchen be returning [for another season] in 2014?" - so there's my answer! Congratulations!

AB: Thanks very much! We're still in the second season, the shows from the second season are still premiering. The third season was shot in December, and four and five will be in April and May, so it's a good year.

It looks like the Food Network is going "all-in" with Cutthroat Kitchen by green lighting an additional 26 episodes of the show (13 per season).  Add in the rest of season 2 and all of season 3, there will be over 40 new episodes of Cutthroat Kitchen that still need to air.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Goombazz From Restaurant Impossible Has Closed

Goombazz Big City Eatzz in Rock Island, Illinois, which was featured on the latest season of Restaurant Impossible (season 7) has closed.  Goombazz had a sign on their door from Tuesday that said, "Goombazz is closed Tuesday.  Sorry & Thank You."  Later in the day on Wednesday, the sign was replaced with a sign that said, "Goombazz Big City Eatzz is closed. Thank you for your support."

According to Quad-City Times, owner Brenda Brewer was seen inside talking to a police officer, but she did not speak with a reporter outside the restaurant.  It also appeared that the bar inside was being disassembled, and open liquor bottles were in a box on top of the bar.  The restaurant had a minor issue in front of the city's liquor commission on Tuesday, but the Mayor said it was nothing that would shut down a restaurant.

No one is answering the phone at the restaurant and their Facebook page has also been deactivated.

This is the 2nd restaurant from season 7 (2013 - 2014) of Restaurant Impossible to close, and the Restaurant Impossible Update Page has been updated to show this.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Paula Deen Comeback - Company Invests Millions In Hopes Of A Comeback

Paula Deen Ventures, which is a recently formed new company, has received an investment between $75 and $100 million from Najafi Companies according to the Wall Street Journal.  The money is going to be used to help Paula establish new deals and obtain new partnerships with other companies.  Also, the chief executive of Paula Deen Ventures has said that the company is in talks with TV networks, retail chains, and other possible partners, but has yet to announce any deals.

A Food Network spokeswoman said that they have not had any talks with Paula Deen about appearing on the network.

The Najafi Companies often invest in companies that are "out of popular favor," and say one of the reasons for investing in Paula Deen is her "rabid fan base."

A press release about the deal from Businesswire is below:

Najafi Companies Invests in Paula Deen

Investor Backs Brand and Hires Seasoned Management Team

SAVANNAH, Ga.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Najafi Companies affiliate, Najafi Media, a $2 billion content and consumer distribution company, announced today that it has partnered with author, restaurateur and entrepreneur, Paula Deen, to build and grow her business, Paula Deen Ventures (PDV). PDV includes Paula Deen Foods, Paula Deen Media, Paula Deen Restaurants, Paula Deen Cookware and Paula Deen Home. The new enterprise has appointed retail industry veteran, Steven Nanula, as Chief Executive Officer.

Nanula started his career at Tops Friendly Markets. After 22 years, he left as a senior executive to launch Logistic Park, his business focused on the food industry, providing fully integrated logistics, including warehousing, transportation and manufacturing. Before working with Paula Deen, Nanula and his family’s Nanco Group purchased and rebranded retailer Wilson Farms. For the last two years, Nanula has led the development of the Paula Deen Food Company.

“All of us at Najafi Companies have a deep respect for the hard work, unique content and quality products which Paula has built around her brand,” says Jahm Najafi, founder and CEO of Najafi Companies. “We know that the enterprise will be successful and valuable, as Paula and her team continue to bring quality products and experiences to her loyal fan base; and now we have a proven management team in place to build and lead the organization.”

“I couldn’t imagine a better partner than Jahm Najafi, with his track record of success. Jahm’s vision, attention to detail and entrepreneurial spirit will help us grow to new heights,” says Deen. “Jahm and Steve are both so well respected as leaders. I know this is the right decision to lead my team, as we continue to share quality products with my fans – whose love and support have built my brands,” adds Deen.

“Paula’s deep involvement in developing and bringing great products to market demonstrates her high level of commitment and passion for her business,” says Steven Nanula. “We are excited with the new enterprise to develop progressive business initiatives, as well as to strengthen existing partnerships that include Meyer Corporation, America’s largest cookware distributor; leading furniture manufacturer, Universal Furniture; and one of the nation’s leaders in natural poultry products, Springer Mountain Chickens.”

About Paula Deen Ventures

Paula Deen Ventures partners with world-class product lines, food manufacturers and various media properties to deliver great products to her fans. Deen has sold over 8,000,000 copies of her 14 cookbooks and is supported by one of the largest social media followings on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, on which one of her most recent recipes was the most ‘re-pinned’ globally. In addition, her recent annual Paula Deen Cruise was filled with “first timers” – new attendees to this yearly event. The Savannah, Georgia restaurant, The Lady & Sons, founded with her sons Jamie and Bobby Deen, remains one of the country’s most popular regional restaurants. Paula Deen Ventures is headquartered in Savannah, Georgia with offices in New York.

About Najafi Companies

Najafi Companies is an international private investment firm based in Phoenix, Arizona, with offices in New York, Paris, Toronto and holdings in sectors including consumer, media, technology, industrial, energy and real estate across seven countries. The firm makes highly-selective investments in companies with strong management teams across a variety of industries, often in areas undergoing rapid technological transformation. The firm takes a long-term view on its investments and focuses its efforts to create value through growth and superior performance. Najafi Companies funds its investments with internally generated capital, not through a fund. Free from the restrictions of a fund, the firm is able to move quickly and decisively when investing, and with no requirements to return capital to outside partners, Najafi Companies is able to make investments that create maximum value for the long-term.

The Rose Group
Elana Weiss-Rose
[email protected]

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bobby Deen and Kelsey Nixon Release Cookbooks Today - Book Tour Info

Bobby Deen released a cookbook today called: Bobby Deen's Everyday Eats: 120 All-New Recipes, All Under 350 Calories, All Under 30 Minutes.  Kelsey Nixon from Food Network Star and the Cooking Channel (now sometimes on the Food Network) also released her cookbook today, which is called  Kitchen Confidence: Essential Recipes and Tips That Will Help You Cook Anything.  The title is very similar to Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, but their personalities are pretty much polar opposites.

Bobby and Kelsey both have book tours and upcoming television appearances to promote their books.  Bobby will be on The Chew today and below are his remaining television and book tour stops:

2/11     Page & Palette
105 S Section St.
Fairhope, AL 36532     6pm

2/12     Bobby on Better Show     Check local listings
for time and channel.

2/12     Brazos Bookstore
2421 Bissonet Street
Houston, TX 77005
713-524-0701     7pm

2/13     Bobby on Bethenny Show     Check local listings
for time and channel.

2/13     Barnes & Noble
2900 Peachtree Road NE Suite 310
Atlanta, GA 30305     7 pm

2/15     Savannah Book Festival    

2/18     Wegman's
724 Route 202 South
Bridgewater, NJ 09907
908-243-9600     6-8pm

2/19     Barnes & Noble
11025 Caroline Place Mall
Pineville, NC 28134     7pm

2/22     South Beach Wine & Food Festival
BBQ & Blues Event Host    

2/23     South Beach Wine & Food Festival
Deen Family Demo & booksigning     

Kelsey will also have a book tour, and the photo above has all of the dates, times, and locations for all of her book tour stops. Locations include Utah, Idaho, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, and New York City.

To see other upcoming Food Network related cookbooks as well as ones already released, see the Cookbooks section of the site.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winner of Rachael Vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off Crowned Tonight

Photo - Food Network
Tonight is the season 3 finale of Rachael Vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off where the winner of the show will win $50,000 for their charity of choice.  The runner up usually gets some cash for their charity as well.  The final four contestants left competing are Penn Jillette (Team Rachael), Florence Henderson (Team Rachael), Herschel Walker (Team Guy), and Tiffany (Team Guy).

The order of eliminations from the show so far have been:
Episode 1 - No One Eliminated
Episode 2 - Chris Kattan (side note - he was just arrested on a DUI suspicion charge)
Episode 3 - Jake Pavelka
Episode 4 - Judy Gold
Episode 5 - Vanilla Ice

In tonight's finale, the remaining celebrities have to cook a three-course dinner on a dinner cruise, and present it with a five minute presentation.  The judges judging the finale are: Sunny Anderson, Scott Conant, Todd English and Aaron Sanchez.

I will update this post after the episode airs with the winner of season 3 of Rachael Vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Giada De Laurentiis Walks The Runway at New York Fashion Week

This week at New York Fashion Week, Giada De Laurentiis walked the runway for the Heart Truth Red Dress event, to raise awareness for heart disease.  She was among many celebrities that walked down the red carpet for the event, and a few pictures of her walking down the runway are below:

Giada Red Dress Runway
Photo - Twitter

Also, if you want to watch the video of the event, or specifically the Giada part, the video is after the jump (Fast forward to 17:30 if you want to see Giada walk the runway):

Friday, February 7, 2014

Save My Bakery - New Food Network Series

Photo - Scripps Interactive
There will be a new show on the Food Network premiering March 19th at 8pm ET/PT called Save My Bakery.  The premise of the show is Kerry Vincent goes to struggling bakeries and tries to help them turn their business around.  She does this with new recipes, updating interiors, and by mending strained relationships.

This pretty much sounds like Restaurant Impossible, but with bakeries instead of restaurants.  You may remember Kerry Vincent from Food Network Challenge as a judge on the show.  Also, Save My Bakery actually premiered on the Cooking Channel in July of 2013 and was also shown on the Food Network in September of 2013, so you may have seen this show before.  When it aired last year, it was just one episode, but this time around it is a series with multiple episodes.

The Press Release for the show is below with the usual Bob Tuschman quote:

NEW YORK -- February 6, 2014 -- Stale bakeries turn to expert Kerry Vincent to revive their sweets and their sales in new series Save My Bakery premiering Wednesday, March 19th at 8pm ET/PT on Food Network. Armed with years of baking experience and a no nonsense approach, Kerry is on a mission to reinvigorate local bakeries, putting them back on their neighborhood radar. In hopes of also mending the strained relationships behind the struggling establishments, Kerry helps families heal and put the pieces of their failing business back together. From bolstering old doughnut recipes to improving employee morale, Kerry turns poor pastries into delectable desserts and outdated spaces into truly sweet spots.

"For generations bakeries were the backbone of communities across America. Save My Bakery takes on the challenge of rescuing these businesses and the families behind them," said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Food Network.  "Kerry Vincent's deep expertise combined with her take charge manner is just what these families need to get back on their feet."

In one episode, Viking Pastries, in Ardmore, Penn. is in need of Kerry's help. Once a thriving neighborhood hot spot, this bakery is now on the verge of closing its doors. The shop has grown as stale as their old recipes, and they are in need of a younger clientele to sustain their business. Kerry brings in a licensed contractor and guides the owners through a complete remodel of the storefront. She also gives their baked goods a facelift in hopes of bringing the bakery back to life. In another episode, the owner of Schubert's Bakery in Nazareth, Penn., is working long hours with limited results, and it has taken a toll on his business and his passion for baking. Kerry puts a new spin on their classic Moravian Sugar Cake and keeps the peace among the staff as she teaches them how to properly operate the bakery.

Master sugar artist Kerry Vincent was inducted into the International Cake Exploration Societé Hall of Fame in 2004, and then the Dessert Professional Hall of Fame in 2010. Vincent is the cofounder of the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show and founder of the Grand National Wedding Cake Competition. A skilled designer, Vincent has invented unique techniques in sugar-craft, which include the Vincent Marquetry, and movement in stenciled or painted sugar flounces and skirting. Her signature cake recipes have been chosen as exceptional by Brides magazine in the first instance of the Top 50, and the Top 20 most beautiful cakes in America. Her cake design was also included in Brides invitational lineup for Cakewalk at Grand Central Station in New York. Vincent made her debut on Food Network as a judge on Food Network Challenge. She is also a successful author, freelance writer, international presenter and wedding-cake-style advisor and designer.

Save My Bakery is produced by Nancy Glass Productions.
FOOD NETWORK ( is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers' best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to more than 100 million U.S. households and averages more than 9.9 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine's rate base has grown more than 10 times and is now the second largest monthly magazine on the newsstand, with over 11.6 million readers.  Headquartered in New York, Food Network has a growing international presence with programming in more than 150 countries, including 24 hour networks in Great Britain, India, Asia and Africa. Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI), which also owns and operates Cooking Channel (, DIY Network (, Great American Country (, HGTV (, and Travel Channel (, is the manager and general partner.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Estrada's Restaurant Update

Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and crew are going to Daly City, CA (just outside of San Francisco, CA) to makeover Estrada's Restaurant.  This is the season 7 finale of Restaurant Impossible (note - tonight's episode is on at 8pm rather than 10pm), but new episodes for the 8th season will begin early next month.  Estrada's is a 96-year-old restaurant, which the current owner Julio has owned for the past 6 years.  Julio and his girlfriend are supposedly over $400,000 in debt, and the restaurant is suffering from flavorless food and a lack of passion from the owners.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Estrada's Restaurant to get an idea of how the restaurant is doing since Robert Irvine visited, and here is what I found (note - all reviews are post Restaurant Impossible):

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Food Network's February 2014 Programming Highlights

Photo - Food Network
Here are some of the Food Network programming highlights for February of 2014.  The press release came out in December of 2013, so some things may have changed a bit.

  • The final episodes of Rachael vs Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off
  • The season 5 premiere of Worst Cooks in America and the season 2 premiere of Food Court Wars.
  • The series premiere of Buy This Restaurant 
  • New episodes of Chopped on both Sundays and Tuesdays, where they showcase the same ingredient in all three rounds.  Ingredients include pizza, burgers, chocolate, bacon, and beer.
  • New primetime episodes of Chopped Canada, Mystery Diners, Restaurant Impossible, Cutthroat Kitchen, and Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
  • New daytime episodes of Barefoot Contessa, Trisha's Southern Kitchen, Pioneer Woman, Giada At Home, Guy's Big Bite, The Kitchen, Sandwich King, and 3 In The Bag.

The full press release with episode descriptions is below: