Friday, May 30, 2014

Big Sunday Night On The Food Network - 'Food Network Star' Plus Specials

Photo - Food Network
This Sunday night the Food Network seems to be going for the big ratings.  It is the season premiere for Food Network Star, which is in its 10th season and will start at 9pm ET.  If you are interested in watching the episode, knowing who will be eliminated, or want to out who the two Food Network Stars from previous seasons will be competing this year, it was detailed in an earlier post.

Before Food Network Star at 8pm ET, there will be a Guy's Grocery Games special where Food Network Star winners will compete against each other for charity.  Jeff Mauro, Melissa d'Arabian, Aaron McCargo Jr, and Justin Warner are the four Food Network Star winners who compete in your typical Guy's Grocery Games challenges.

Finally, after Food Network Star at 10pm ET, there is a special episode of Cutthroat Kitchen.  In the Cutthroat Kitchen special, the various judges from the show will be competing against each other.  The judges competing will be Geoffrey Zakarian, Antonia Lofaso, Jet Tila, and Simon Majumdar.  You would think Geoffrey Zakarian has the advantage over the others with him being an Iron Chef, but as you know, the best chef doesn't always win on Cutthroat Kitchen

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Big Jim's Bama Q Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Hammondville, Alabama to makeover Big Jim's Bama Q.  Daniel, who is the owner of the restaurant, also owns a successful sawmill, but does not know much about the restaurant business.  Robert has to teach him what it takes for his restaurant to succeed and to try to turn his barbeque restaurant into a destination.  Daniel has only been operating the business for 9 months before the Restaurant Impossible makeover.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Big Jim's Bama Q 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):

Monday, May 26, 2014

Food Network In The News

Photo - Multivu
Here are some Food Network related news items for your Memorial Day weekend:

  • Rewrapped is casting for a second season, so I guess the show was renewed.  Ratings were lower than a lot of other primetime shows that get renewed, but I guess they were good enough for a renewal. 
  • Robert Irvine has plans to open a restaurant in the Pentagon.  Not too many details on the restaurant yet, but I would assume it will be in a food court type area.
  • Giada De Laurentiis is opening her first restaurant in Las Vegas, and it will open on June 3rd.  The restaurant is in The Cromwell hotel, which just recently opened, and Giada appeared at the hotel's nightclub opening event (pictured).  She was also presented a key to the Strip earlier in the week.
  • The New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) announced the chefs/personalities that will appear at this year's event being held from October 16th to 19th in New York City.  Pretty much every Food Network personality will be there (also Paula Deen) and tickets go on sale June 9th (presale) and June 23rd (general public).

Friday, May 23, 2014

Benner Street From Restaurant Impossible To Close

Photo - Food Network
Benner Street Restaurant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which was featured on season 6 of Restaurant Impossible will be closing in about eight weeks.  The restaurant is currently operating under new management, has a new menu, and the management plans to buy the restaurant this summer from the owners Dorothy and Thom who are supposedly retiring.

The restaurant will be renamed, and the new owners will be doing a lot of remodeling such as a new bar, new furniture, new flooring, and a new wood oven.

Reviews after the makeover were not that great and even people commenting on the original update thought this restaurant would not last long after watching the episode.

This restaurant will be marked as 'Closed' on the Restaurant Impossible Update Page when the new ownership takes over, and this will be the 5th restaurant from season 6 (2013) of Restaurant Impossible to close.

UPDATE - The restaurant closed in September 2014 for renovations and will assume a new name when complete.
(The Morning Call)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Cave Inn BBQ Update

Photo - Facebook
Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Winter Garden, Florida to makeover Cave Inn BBQ.  The restaurant is a caveman/dinosaur themed restaurant, and it is the first themed restaurant that Robert Irvine has made over.  The restaurant is owned by brothers Buzz and Skip, and Skip is more interested in his Hollywood dreams rather than the restaurant.  Robert needs to fix the chaotic kitchen and the tacky decor in hopes of turning this restaurant around.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Cave Inn BBQ 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):

Eileen Smith - Owner of Tootie's BBQ From Restaurant Impossible Has Passed Away

Here is some sad Restaurant Impossible related news.  Eileen Smith, who owned Tootie's Texas BBQ has passed away.  Tootie's was featured on the latest season of Restaurant Impossible and you may remember part of the story line was her battling cancer.  She has been hospitalized since shortly before the episode aired.

Yesterday, she lost her battle with cancer and died at the age of 51.  There was a candlelight vigil for her last night at the restaurant and she was remembered as a "bright light in the community." 

There is no word on what this means for Tootie's, but the restaurant has been running for some time while she was in the hospital.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Food Network Star Season 10 - First Episode Available Now

Photo - Food Network
The tenth season of Food Network Star is scheduled to begin on Sunday, June 1st, but you can currently watch the first episode for free multiple ways.  I have Comcast cable, and it is available for free On Demand.  A reader also notified me that the first episode is available for free on iTunes.  If you have a different cable provider such as Direct TV, Verizon, etc. leave a comment to confirm if it is available on there as well.

The first episode introduces all of the contestants and they must prepare and present a party appetizer to the judges, plus Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson.  Also, Ross Mathews from E! is there and the party supposedly includes "Hollywood Insiders."  The Buick product placement is all over this episode with each contestant being dropped off at a "red carpet" by a Buick SUV.

If you are interested in learning more about this season of Food Network Star, the contestants, and seeing the episode descriptions, there is plenty of info in a previous post here.

Also, if you are interested in who went home the first episode and who the two fan favorites brought back to compete on Star Salvation are, they are below:

Photo - Food Network
Sara, Donna, and Emma were in the bottom three, and the judges decided to eliminate Donna.  I guess her experience on VH1's Tough Love wasn't enough to prepare her for more reality TV.  Donna will now compete in Star Salvation, and the previews revealed who the two fan favorites the Food
Network brought back to compete.  They are Chad Rosenthal from season 9 and Martie Duncan from season 8.  Considering Chad and his brother already have a new upcoming Food Network show, I would assume he doesn't make it out of Star Salvation.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

America's Best Cook Finale - Winner Takes Home $50,000

Photo - Food Network
Tonight is the season finale of America's Best Cook, where the winning cook will take home a $50,000 cash prize.  The final four contestants will compete in three separate challenges, with someone getting eliminated after each one.  The judge that will be eliminating the contestants tonight is Bobby Flay.

Here are the final 4 contestants competing for the $50,000 prize and the team that they are on:
  • Marc Huebner - sales manager (Michael Symon)
  • Stephanie Goldfarb - social worker (Michael Symon)
  • Christina Verrelli - substitute teacher (Alex Guarnaschelli)
  • Ben Portman - financial adviser (Cat Cora)

Both of Michael Symon's finalists made it to the final episode, while all of Tyler Florence's contestants were eliminated.  Judging by the voting on the Food Network website, it looks like people are rooting for Christina to win.  The percentages for a poll on who people want to win America's Best Cook were: Christina - 47%, Ben 27%, Marc 16%, Stephanie 10%. 

So despite Michael Symon having two contestants in the final, it seems like people are rooting for them the least.  Who knows if people are rooting for the contestants or the mentors.

I will update this post after the episode airs with the winner of America's Best Cook.

Update is after the jump:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Andrew Zimmern To Guest Judge On Chopped

Photo - Twitter
Chopped has been filming new episodes this week, and it looks like Andrew Zimmern will be a guest judge on an upcoming episode.  Here is a picture of Andrew with judges Aaron Sanchez and Geoffrey Zakarian.  Seems like a perfect match as Andrew hosts Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel and there are always bizarre ingredients in Chopped baskets.  Plus, both the Travel Channel and the Food Network are owned by the same company.

Andrew tweeted about his experience: "Amazing day shooting Chopped. Thx To cast, contestants and crew for making me feel so comfortable. Should be a fun episode"

It is not known when this episode will air yet.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Guy Fieri Pokes Fun At Himself and Buzzfeed

Photo - Twitter
On Monday, Buzzfeed had a post titled "The 27 Most Powerful Photos of Guy Fieri Pointing At Things," which had pictures of Guy Fieri pointing at things such as fans, food, celebrities, microphones, etc.

Yesterday on Twitter, Guy Fieri posted a photo of himself pointing at the Buzzfeed post on a laptop on with the caption "#28" and tagged Buzzfeed and the author of the post.

Nice to see Guy Fieri has a sense of humor and can poke fun at himself.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Catch The Neely's On Celebrity Wife Swap Tonight

Photo - Food Network
Pat and Gina Neely haven't been on the Food Network in a bit, besides reruns of their show on Tuesdays at 10:30am.  Tonight you can catch them on ABC's Celebrity Wife Swap if you are interested.  Gina Neely switches houses with supermodel and actress Angie Everhart, and the show airs at 10pm ET.

A press release with the show description is below:
"Angie Everhart/Pat & Gina Neely" - Supermodel and actress Angie Everhart and Food Network Stars and best-selling authors Pat & Gina Neely are featured in next week's episode of "Celebrity Wife Swap," TUESDAY, MAY 13 (10:00- 11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Supermodel and actress Angie Everhart lives in Los Angeles, CA with her boyfriend of two years, Carl, Angie's son Kayden (4) and Carl's daughter Joann (7). Carl runs a healthy meal delivery service that provides low-calorie, pre-packaged meals to its clients, as well as providing all of the meals to this family. Because of that, the family does not spend a lot of time cooking in the kitchen. When it comes to caring for the children, Angie and Carl split duties, with Angie taking the lead with her son Kayden and Carl with his daughter Joann. Self- proclaimed "adrenaline junkies," Angie and Carl like to participate in extreme sports together, including numerous skydives.

Food Network Stars and best-selling authors Pat and Gina Neely live in Memphis, TN. They have been married almost 20 years and star in "Down Home with the Neelys." Pat & Gina's daughter, Shelby (19), is away at college and Gina's daughter Spenser (25) is living back at home, saving money for an apartment of her own. As a couple that lives and works together, Pat & Gina spend a lot of time together. Whether it's cooking dinner or testing recipes for their upcoming third cookbook, they enjoy time together at home with their well-used kitchen serving as the command center of their home.

When it's time for the swap, Angie arrives in Memphis and soon realizes she is in a "cooking home." With Angie coming stocked with her pre-packaged meals, Pat is dumbfounded that anyone would bring their own food! Angie does not eat fried foods and she spends an awkward first evening with Pat as he prepares a fried catfish dinner for the Neelys' friends and family. Tensions really flare later in the week when Angie is taxed with helping Pat prepare dinner for a local food critic who is coming over. With the stress and pressure rising, Pat and Angie hit a boiling point.

Back in Los Angeles, Gina finds it hard to adapt to the whole pre-packaged meals routine, as well as the way Carl and Angie delegate responsibilities with their respective children.

When it's time for rules change, having noticed that Spenser spends all her time at home hiding out in her room, Angie arranges a group dinner at a local restaurant so they can all spend time together, without the work of cooking an elaborate meal. Angie also shares some of her modeling tips with Pat during a surprise photo shoot. Back in Los Angeles, Gina is determined to get rid of the pre-packaged meals and get Angie's family cooking together, so she plans a BBQ at the family home. Gina also schedules some bedtime activities aimed at getting the parents working as a more cohesive unit with both their kids.

"Celebrity Wife Swap" features two women of celebrity families trading households, lifestyles and children (but not bedrooms) for one week. During that time, the women -and swap families - learn what it is like to live in someone else's shoes, but everything changes during the second half of the week when the women make their own rules and get the chance to run the household their way. At the end of the week, the couples reunite for a raw, honest and highly-charged exchange of views in which they make frank assessments of one another and discuss the experience.

"Celebrity Wife Swap" is produced by Zodiak Los Angeles. Bruce Toms and Tony Yates serve as executive producers. It is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HD format, with 5.1-channel sound. This program carries a TV-PG,D,L parental guideline.

If you haven't seen Gina in a while, you will notice her weight loss, which she lost a while ago and has kept it off.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Kids Baking Challenge - New Food Network Show Now Casting

The Food Network is now casting for a show called The Kids Baking Challenge, which was not on the list of new shows set to premiere this year.  They are looking for kids 8-13 years old, and the advertisement for the casting states:
Food Network is on the hunt looking for the most talented young bakers in the country!!!

Do you think your son or daughter was born to bake? Well if so, this is the perfect show for them! We are looking for kids between the ages of 8-13 who want to put their baking skills to the ultimate test.

The Kids Baking Challenge is an exciting competition show where young bakers enter our kitchen in a fun baking battle to try and become... The Kids Baking Grand Champion!

Parents: If your child is perfect for the show please email us today at [email protected] Put your city/state in the subject line and in the body of your email include your name and your child's name, phone number, and email address. In addition, also include a photo of you and your child and a couple photos of some of their most impressive baked goods. Lastly, please tell us a little bit about your young baker and why you think he or she would be perfect for the show.

*Only submissions sent by parents will be accepted.*
This fits in line with two themes on the Food Network this year: kids/teen shows and competition shows.  The other kids/teens shows this year are Rachael Vs. Guy Kids Cook-Off season 2 and a Chopped Teen Tournament.  The other competition shows would take days to compile.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Restaurant Impossible 100th Episode Special - How Many Are Open vs. Closed?

Tonight at 10pm ET on the Food Network is the 100th episode special of Restaurant Impossible called Meet the Impossible.  The show description states:
Chef Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team have traveled to more than 100 locations to help America's failing restaurants. Now it's your chance to hear the never-before-told stories behind the show and meet the folks that make this impossible series ... possible. Featuring an interview with Robert and Executive Producer Marc Summers; a first ever sit-down between Robert, his construction manager and all three designers; a look back at the dirtiest kitchens, most stubborn owners and most dramatic reveals and more!
You may be wondering why the Restaurant Impossible Update Page only has 94 restaurants listed instead of 99 or 100.  This is because charity episodes and episodes such as Holiday Impossible are not included in these statistics.

As of writing this, 51 of the 94 restaurants that have appeared on the show are still open with the same owners, while 39 of 94 restaurants have closed, and 4 have been sold but operate under the same name.  

The way people look at these numbers is VERY subjective:
  • Some people think Robert can do no wrong and his advice is always right
  • Some people think 39 closed is terrible, while others think it is great
  • If a restaurant is still open is it still considered a success even if it is still struggling or losing money?
  • As soon as Robert leaves, a restaurant, is it considered a success until it closes?

The way they have been pumping out episodes recently has skewed the numbers a bit.  If you look at seasons one through five (2011 through 2012/2013), 34 of 61 restaurants have closed, 3 have sold, and 24 of 61 are still open.  So, more restaurants are closed than open if it has been two years or more since a Restaurant Impossible visit.  It will be interesting to see if the trend continues, and if about half of the restaurants on the show now will be closed 2 years from now. 

As always, visit this site to see unbiased Restaurant Impossible updates after each episode (the 'official' ones always tell you everything is great), and to keep track of any closings.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sandra Lee's Met Gala Dress

While the real chefs were at the James Beard Awards last night, Sandra Lee attended the Met Gala in a dress that is getting her on a lot of 'Worst Dressed' lists.

On May 1st on Twitter, she gave a preview of the dress and had the picture below, stating: "My girlfriend Dara Lamb is helping me create a dress for the Met Gala- god bless her!"

On May 2nd, she followed up with: "And it's not even done yet... #MetGala   

Finally, last night, here was the finished product:

 I guess you could say the dress was "Semi-Homemade."

Monday, May 5, 2014

Kitchen Casino Probably Canceled

Photo - Food Network
Tonight you may notice that Kitchen Casino is not on in its usual timeslot on Mondays at 9pm ET, and it has been replaced with a Cutthroat Kitchen rerun.  Or perhaps you will not notice at all because the ratings for the show have been low. 

Kitchen Casino's new episodes have been moved from Monday night at 9pm ET to Sunday night at 11pm ET.  This move was likely done due to the low ratings the show was pulling in and it most likely signals that Kitchen Casino will be canceled.

The ratings for Kitchen Casino in a prime Monday slot have been:
  • Series Premiere - April 7 - 0.852 million viewers, 0.499 million adults 18-49
  • April 14 - 0.687 million viewers,  0.418 million adults 18-49
  • April 21 - 0.542 million viewers, 0.342 million adults 18-49
  • April 28 - 0.627 million viewers, 0.347 million adults 18-49

For reference, the same Monday 9pm timeslot for Worst Cooks in America, which Kitchen Casino took over the week after its season finale:
  • March 3 - 1.560 million viewers, 0.780 million adults 18-49 
  • March 10 - 1.348 million viewers, 0.648 million adults 18-49
  • March 17 - 1.198 million viewers, 0.551 million adults 18-49
  • March 24 - 1.420 million viewers, 0.708 million adults 18-49
  • March 31 - 1.347 million viewers, 0.694 million adults 18-49
The remaining new Kitchen Casino episodes that have been taped will still air, but just in a different time slot.  When the Food Network removes a show from its original time slot, it is usually due to low ratings and most likely means the end of the show, with the most recent example being Buy This Restaurant.

(Ratings from Futon Critic)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Boss Under Fire - Wicks Brewing Company

Richie Notar - Twitter
Boss Under Fire, which is one of the new Food Network shows announced for this year, will be on at 5pm ET today.  It was also on earlier this week on Wednesday at 11pm. Today's airing is the only other scheduled time that the show will air on the Food Network.  This is the pilot episode, and I guess they will determine later if they want to turn this into a series.  So if you were interested in this show, this may be your last chance to check it out.

The show is described as:
Restaurants nominate their terrible bosses for a makeover, and the owner must perform his employees’ jobs to realize that success starts at the top

This episode is at Wicks Brewing Company in Riverside, California and the episode description states:
Brad opened Wicks Brewing Company in Riverside, Calif., less than two years ago. It's had some success, but Brad's brash, crass and over-the-top micromanaging ways are threatening to bring the whole operation crashing down. His staff have reached their breaking point and are ready to walk out. But before they do, Richie Notar will stage a boss-intervention. Will Richie be able to transform this horrible boss into a productive and encouraging restaurateur before he's left with a business and no staff to run it?
 Only time will tell if the Food Network decides to make more episodes of this show.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Amy Thielen and Ina Garten Win James Beard Awards

Photo - Instagram
The James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards were handed out last night, and there were two winners from the Food Network.

Amy Thielen won in the book category of American Cooking for her cookbook The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes
Ina Garten won the Outstanding Personality/Host for her show Barefoot Contessa.

The full list of award winners from last night can be found here.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Food Network's Daytime Emmy Nominations

The Daytime Emmy nominations were announced yesterday, and the Food Network has five nominations.  All five nominations were in two different categories and they are below:

Outstanding Culinary Program:

Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction
Giada At Home
Other Nominees include in this category include - The Mind of a Chef - PBS, A Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking - PBS, Beer Geeks - Syndicated, My Grandmother's Ravioli - Cooking Channel

Outstanding Culinary Host:

Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction - Bobby Flay
Giada At Home - Giada De Laurentiis 
Rachael Ray's Week in a Day - Rachael Ray
Other Nominee - The Mind of a Chef - PBS - April Bloomfield, Sean Brock

The Cooking Channel also has four nominations, which are: My Grandmother's Ravioli (above), and Giada in Paradise for 3 categories: Outstanding Special Class Directing, Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Photography, and Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Editing.

It looks like the Food Network submitted nominations for their core with Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, and Rachael Ray getting nominations.  Many of the daytime shows get better ratings such as Pioneer Woman and Trisha's Southern Kitchen, but I guess they didn't make the cut this year.

For reference, last year the Food Network received 10 nominations and won 3 awards.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Alton Brown Makes Dog Treats That Taste Like Cat Poop

In Alton Brown's latest video of his web series Cook Smart, he shares a recipe for dog treats meant to mimic the taste of cat poop.  The video is below:

The trick to making them stinky is fish sauce.  Hopefully not too many people are making homemade treats for their dog, but if you are, here is the recipe.  Or you could just take a short cut and add fish sauce to store bought treats.