Monday, September 29, 2014

Middle Feast Wins The Great Food Truck Race Season 5

Photo - Food Network
Last night on the Food Network was the season 5 finale of The Great Food Truck Race, which took place in Florida.  If you follow this blog, you knew before the season started that the last two remaining trucks were Middle Feast and Lone Star Chuck Wagon.

In the finale, the Middle Feast food truck gained an advantage by winning double the seed money, and this advantage helped them win as they had $700 more than Lone Star Chuck Wagon at the end of the episode.  Middle Feast's prize was $50,000 and their own food truck, which they plan to operate in Los Angeles, California.  They also plan to use some of their money for a catering business.

If you are interested in following Middle Feast, here is their Facebook page, and here is their Twitter page.

In other Great Food Truck Race news, season 5 truck Military Moms plan to have a food truck up and running in January of 2015.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pat and Gina Neely To Divorce

Photo - Food Network
Gina Neely filed for divorce from her husband Pat Neely after 20 years of marriage citing "irreconcilable differences." 

The couple released a joint statement that said:
"Today we announce that we are ending our marriage of 20 years for irreconcilable differences. This was a tough decision, but we believe it is the best decision for us. As parents of two beautiful adult daughters that we love dearly, we will continue to be involved in each other's lives as parents and friends. Together we have built a strong brand as The Neelys . Moving forward our focus will be on our individual brands and we are optimistic about our respective futures. We ask for your prayers as we go through this transition and honor our request for privacy at this time."

Their show Down Home With The Neelys hasn't had new episodes on the Food Network for quite some time.  Since being on the Food Network, Gina Neely lost some weight and became a spokesperson for George Foreman Grills.  The Neelys also closed their Memphis restaurant in June of 2013, however they still have a restaurant together in New York City.

You may have also seen the Neelys on ABC's Celebrity Wife Swap in May of 2014, and they recently released a cookbook in April of 2014 called Back Home with the Neelys: Comfort Food from Our Southern Kitchen to Yours.

It seems from their statement that they plan to divorce and also break up their brands, so it should be interesting to see what comes out of this.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Mamma Lucrezia's Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Bellefonte, PA to makeover Mamma Lucrezia's.   The restaurant is supposedly losing thousands of dollars a month and is causing trouble between family members and staff.  The restaurant is owned by sisters Maria and Stefania, and their brother has a competing Italian restaurant across the street.  The food at Mamma Lucrezia's is good, so Robert needs to focus on other things to try to turn the restaurant around.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about the Mamma Lucrezia's 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):

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chopped: Ultimate Champions Finale Tonight - Winner Gets $50,000 And A Car

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on the Food Network at 10pm ET is the Chopped: Ultimate Champions finale where the winner will take home $50,000 and a new car.  The final four competitors are Giorgio Rapicavoli (Professional Chefs), Keith Young (Amateurs), Diana Sabater (Heroes), and Laila Ali (Celebrities)

Here was the order of eliminations for each of the first four episodes:
  • Episode 1 (Professional Chefs) - Fatima Ali (appetizer), Lauren Kyles (entree), Tom McKenna (dessert) - Winner - Giorgio Rapicavoli
  • Episode 2 (Amateurs) - Marisa Biaggi (appetizer), Dinah Surh (entree), Elda Bielanski (dessert), Winner - Keith Young
  • Episode 3 (Heroes) - Richard Fields (appetizer), Paul Rut (entree), Robbie Myers (dessert) - Winner - Diana Sabater
  • Episode 4 (Celebrities) - Gillian Vigman (appetizer), Brandi Chastain (entree), Carnie Wilson (dessert) - Winner - Laila Ali

With Giorgio being the only professional chef in the finale, he should be the clear favorite, but you know how the judges can be won over by a feel good story.  There is a fan vote on the Food Network site, and as of writing this, Keith has about 80% of the people rooting for him to win.  So everyone is probably pulling for the underdogs (amateur/hero) to win over the professional with an advantage and a celebrity who probably doesn't need the prize.

I will update this post with the winner after the episode airs. (Spoiler after the break)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Food Network Related News and Links

Here is some recent news involving Food Network shows and chefs/personalities from the Food Network:
Photo -
  • Justin Warner is trying to raise $15,000 through Kickstarter to build an outdoor enclosure for his restaurant Do or Dine.  I guess that Food Network contract isn't all it is cracked up to be if he is asking for handouts.
  • This past weekend was the Food Network In Concert event in Chicago, IL.  Here are a bunch of photos from the event, including a human pyramid, and someone being mistaken for Sunny Anderson.
  • A former manager of Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, NJ, which was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, was sentenced to eight years in prison for trying to hire a hit man to kill his uncle (co-owner of restaurant) to gain greater control for himself.
  • Gibson Borelli won the 2nd season of Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off last night and his web series is called Jersey Shore Kid.
  • The Paula Deen Network is launching this week, and the Wall Street Journal revealed yesterday that Paula Deen bought the rights to her Food Network shows (440 episodes plus un-aired footage).  So you probably will not be seeing any Paula Deen re-runs on the Food Network in the future.  Paula also has appearances this week on the Today show (Tuesday), and on The Chew (Friday).
  • Food Network alum David Rosengarten is trying to make a comeback and is relaunching the Rosengarten Report, which is his food newsletter.

Seven From Restaurant Impossible Has Closed

Photo - Food Network
Seven restaurant in La Porte, Indiana, which was featured on season 7 of Restaurant Impossible has closed.  The restaurant posted the following message on their Facebook page on September 20th:
"All good things must come to an end. Tonight was our last night at SEVEN and we are closing the doors. It's been a great ride but it's time for us to move on our next big adventure! To our loyal customers and supporters...Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being so awesome, and to our staff, past and present... You're all amazing and we will always consider all of you family!! It's been a GREAT 2.5 years!! Thank you all!! XOXOXO"
You may remember that Seven was listed for sale before their Restaurant Impossible episode even aired, which caused a bit of controversy.  The restaurant opened in 2012, so the closure comes just 2 years after opening, and a year after the Restaurant Impossible visit.  This is the fourth restaurant from season seven of Restaurant Impossible to close and the Restaurant Impossible Update page has been updated with this information.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Green Beret Club (Smoke Bomb Grille) Update

Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Fort Bragg, North Carolina to makeover the Green Beret Club.   Fort Bragg is a major United States Army installation, and the Green Beret Club is the only full service restaurant there.  Robert is on a special mission to update the restaurant while also keeping the tradition of the restaurant alive.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about the Green Beret Club 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, September 15, 2014

Food Network Related News and Links

Photo - Food Network
Here is some recent news relating to Food Network shows and chefs/personalities:

  • Bobby Flay recently sold two horses for over a million dollars each at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in Kentucky. (Link)
  • Worst Cooks in America is still casting for the upcoming season, and they are not only looking for bad cooks, but people with a crush on Anne Burrell or Bobby Flay. (Link)
  • Country music star Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn is filming a pilot for the Food Network called Steakout.  It is a traveling show that visits steakhouses across the country. (Link)
  • Scott Conant is no longer involved with Scarpetta in New York City, but may be opening a second restaurant in Miami. (Link)
  • Here is an article that tries to rank and grade many food competition shows over the years, and there is a lot of discussion in the comments regarding the rankings. (Link)
  • Top Chef alum Richard Blais will host a new show on the Food Network called Hungry Games.  The show begins on October 20th and Richard "will investigate the psychology and science behind our decisions and cravings when it comes to food." (Link)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Spicy Bar and Grill Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Falls Church, Virginia to makeover Spicy Bar and Grill.  The restaurant is a Vietnamese restaurant and the owners are supposedly $300,000 in debt.  One owner has no culinary experience, while the other lets the staff, who are supposedly 'scantily-clad,' do whatever they want.  During the makeover, Robert needs to find a new chef and figure out a way to change the unprofessional staff.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about the Spicy Bar and Grill 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):

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Damaris Phillips - 'Southern At Heart' Renewed For Third Season

Photo - Food Network
Damaris Phillips' show Southern at Heart was renewed of a third season and the new season will premiere on the Food Network Sunday, October 26th at 12pm.  Damaris was the season nine winner of Food Network Star and appears to be the most successful winner of the past three seasons. Damaris won Food Network Star in August of 2013, and her first season premiered in October of 2013, while her second season premiered in March of 2014.  So pretty much one year after winning Food Network Star, Damaris is already in her third season of Southern at Heart.

Season eight winner Justin Warner won Food Network Star in July of 2012, and his show didn't premiere until March of 2013.  The show was a one-episode special that aired on a Saturday night at 10pm.  Justin blogs about Food Network Star and has appeared on random shows such as Beat Bobby Flay and Cutthroat Kitchen, but there have been no indications that another show will be produced with him.

The most recent Food Network Star winner Lenny McNab was crowned in August 2014, but there have been no mentions of a show for him, and we probably know the reason why.  The winner of Food Network Star usually appears at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, which is October 16th - 19th, so it will be interesting to see if he is in attendance for that.  So far, there is nothing on the NYCWFF website that mentions an appearance by Lenny.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage To Premiere October 8th

Photo - Food Network
The Food Network continues to quickly produce new episodes of Cutthroat Kitchen, and the show will have its first tournament, which will start on Wednesday, October 8th at 9pm.  The tournament will feature 16 chefs and there will be five episodes, similar to Chopped tournaments.  The chefs are competing for charity, and the prize is up to $75,000 depending on how much money they spend on sabotages.

Below are the chefs competing and which episode they will be on:

  • October 8th episode -  Susan Feniger, Jeff Mauro, Michael Psilakis and Aarti Sequeira
  • October 15th episode - Nadia G, Brian Malarkey, Marcel Vigneron and Justin Warner
  • October 22nd episode - Anne Burrell, Eric Greenspan, Johnny Iuzzini and Damaris Phillips
  • October 29th episode - Melissa d’Arabian, Elizabeth Falkner, Alex Guarnaschelli and Fabio Viviani
The winners of each of the four episodes will face off in the finale with the winner taking home prize money for their charity.  As you know with Cutthroat Kitchen, the best chef doesn't always win, so this competition could be won by anybody.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - El Bistro (Renae's Corner) Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Titusville, Pennsylvania to makeover El Bistro.  The restaurant is owned by a single mother named Renae, who after three years is behind on taxes, has a depleted savings, and has lost her passion for the restaurant.  The restaurant is filthy when Robert walks in, and Robert can sense she has lost her passion.  Renae threatens to sell the restaurant, and Robert Irvine calls her bluff by telling her he would give her cash for the restaurant.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about El Bistro 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, September 1, 2014

Food Network's September 2014 Programming Highlights

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

  • The second season premiere of Rewrapped on September 8th at 8pm.
  • The season finale of The Great Food Truck Race on September 28th at 9pm.
  • The season finale of Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off on September 21st at 8pm.
  • The Chopped Ultimate Champions finale on Tuesday, September 23rd with the winner taking home $50,000 and a new car.
  • A Guy's Grocery Games episode featuring chefs who have appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on September 28th.
  • New primetime episodes of Beat Bobby Flay, Eating America with Anthony Anderson, Restaurant Impossible, Guy's Grocery Games, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, and Restaurant Stakeout.
  • An Iron Chef battle where Alex Guarnaschelli and Marc Forgione are paired with bartenders on Saturday, September 6th at 11pm.
  • A new season of Nancy Fuller's Farmhouse Rules on Sunday, September 14th.
  • New daytime episodes of Bobby Flay's Barbeque Addiction, Trisha's Southern Kitchen, Giada at Home, Pioneer Woman, and The Kitchen.
The press release with episode descriptions and air dates is below: