Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Food Network's April 2015 Programming Highlights

Photo - Food Network
Here are some of the highlights of the Food Network programming scheduled to air on the channel in April:
  • The season finale of All-Star Academy on Sunday April, 19th with the winner getting $50,000.
  • The start of the Chopped All-Stars tournament on Tuesday, April 28th.  Here are the competitors that will be on the show competing for charity.
  • A Cutthroat Kitchen: Evilicious tournament starting on Sunday, April 19th where 16 previous winners compete to win up to $75,000.
  • A new series Spring Baking Championship premieres on Sunday, April 26th, and is pretty much the Kid's Baking Championship for adults.  Bobby Deen is the host, and Duff Goldman, Lorraine Pascale, and Nancy Fuller are the judges.  Eight competitors compete for $50,000.
  • New primetime episodes of Beat Bobby Flay, Chopped, Chopped Canada, Cutthroat Kitchen, Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, Food Fortunes, Guy’s Grocery Games, Mystery Diners, and Restaurant: Impossible
  • New daytime episodes of Farmhouse Rules, Giada at Home, The Kitchen, Tricia's Southern Kitchen, The Pioneer Woman and Southern at Heart

The press release with episode descriptions and air dates is below:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Restaurant Impossible - Valentino's Trattoria / Italian Bistro Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Summerville, South Carolina to makeover Valentino's Trattoria.  Valentino's Trattoria is an Italian restaurant that opened in 2014, and is owned by a family who also owns another restaurant in Summerville called Italian Bistro.  Both of these restaurants are struggling and Robert Irvine decides to help them both out on this episode.  As the big reveal was done at Valentino's Trattoria, this update will mostly be about that restaurant.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Valentino's Trattoria and Italian 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 and all of these reviews are for Valentino's Trattoria):

Friday, March 20, 2015

More Details On The Cristie Schoen Codd Murder Case

The Buncombe County Sheriff's office just held a press conference to reveal more details about the Cristie Schoen Codd murder in Leicester, NC.  Cristie, who was a contestant on season 8 of Food Network Star, was murdered along with her husband and unborn child on March 12, 2015.  Their neighbor Robert Jason Owens was arrested and charged with the murders.  Robert was also a suspect in a murder in the year 2000 that turned into a cold case.  Here are some more unknown details about the case that were revealed at the 2pm press conference:

  • Late Sunday/Early Monday, a call was made about a suspicious person getting rid of items in a dumpster.  Those items belonged to Cristie Schoen Codd and Joseph Codd, and Robert Jason Owens was found in the area and was questioned and arrested.
  • The police then conducted a search warrant at Robert Jason Owens house, and were able to find traces of human remains.  The remains were in a wood stove at the residence.
  • During interviews, Robert Jason Owens admitted to taking the bodies and destroying them. No word if he admitted to the murders.
  • They interviewed Robert's wife, and she said that Robert said that he killed Joseph "JT" Codd and struck him with a vehicle.
  • The police didn't want to reveal any details that would impact their case, so could not answer all of the questions asked.
  • There was a fire at the suspects house on Friday, March 13th, but the police wouldn't confirm any details about that fire or how it related to the case.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Restaurant Impossible - WhaBah Steakhouse Update

Photo - Facebook
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Bowling Green, Kentucky to makeover the WhaBah Steakhouse.  The restaurant is over 4,000 square feet and it is one of the largest restaurants that Restaurant Impossible has done.  The eight-year-old restaurant is also a music venue, and despite it having early success, the owner has now hit a wall and faces bankruptcy.  Robert and team will have to inspire the owner and handle the challenges of working with such a large space.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about WhaBah Steakhouse 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):

Zoog's Caveman Cookin' From Restaurant Impossible To Close

Zoog's Caveman Cookin' in Port Hadlock, Washington, which was featured on the latest season of Restaurant Impossible (season 10), will close on 3/25/2015.  The restaurant posted the following message on their Facebook page:

"Our hearts are very heavy to have to report such a sad outcome after all we have fought for but it looks like we may be losing our LEASE Wednesday March 25th which will mean the doors of ZOOGS will be closed for good.
We are working hard to save what has become a regular spot a CHEERS to so many people but loans take time and time is not on our side right now.
We were not going to post anything about losing our lease but want to give everyone the opportunity to get our SMOKED BBQ for the last time. If we are closing down, let's make this last week a week to remember and go out with a bang!! You never know, we've been saved before maybe we can pull something out of our hats?!
Everyones support over the years has been so overwhelming and we appreciate it so much!!
Till we meet again...CHEERS!
đź’•Zoog Familyđź’•"

The restaurant also responded to comments of that message and it appears they are $16,000 behind, and they would like to reopen in a few months.  They also said they plan to continue catering.

Assuming they do close on March 25th, their closing will be just a month and half after their episode of Restaurant Impossible aired of the Food Network.  I will mark this restaurant as 'Closed' on the Restaurant Impossible Update page when it closes on the 25th.

UPDATE - Zoog's did close on the 25th as he couldn't come up with the money for the lease to continue.  The property was listed for sale by the landlord for $495,000 (Link).

Monday, March 16, 2015

Former 'Food Network Star' Contestant Cristie Schoen Is Missing - UPDATED

Photo - Food Network
Cristie Schoen Codd, who was on season 8 of Food Network Star, and her husband Joseph "JT" Codd have been reported missing in North Carolina.  They were both reported missing by family members on Sunday, March 15, according to the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office.  Sheriff Deputies went to their home and found their vehicles still there, and their dogs inside, but no signs of the couple.

Authorities have been searching the area around their home and helicopters have been hovering overhead.  The search for the couple is ongoing.  Cristie is five months pregnant and was scheduled to work in Biloxi, MS on Sunday, but never showed up.  Joseph was schedule to work in Los Angeles on Sunday and didn't show up either.  Neither of their phones appear to be working either.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office at (828) 250-6670 or Crime Stoppers at (828) 255-5550.

You may remember Cristie from season 8 of Food Network Star, but she was the first contestant eliminated.  She was on Team Alton, and her culinary POV was "Healthy and Delicious." 

Hopefully they are found safe, and I will keep you updated with any new information on this story. 

(Fox Carolina)

UPDATE 3/16/2015 11pm - There may be an arrest in the case - a man that knew the couple.  Police have cordoned off Cristie and Todd's home with crime tape and another crime scene was set up down the street at a neighbor's house. No word on Todd and Cristie yet. (Link)

UPDATE 3/17/2015 8am - Sadly, this didn't end well.  The man arrested was neighbor Robert Jason Owens, and he is being charged with two counts of murder.  He has also been charged with breaking and entering, larceny, free text felony, and felonious murder of an unborn child.  Police say the murders happened on Thursday.  According to neighbors, he worked with the Codd's and lives less than a mile from their house.  Authorities haven't released details if the bodies have been found. (Link, Link).  The man arrested was also a suspect in a murder that happened in the year 2000.

UPDATE 3/20/2015 - The police will be holding a press conference today at 2pm to release more details on the case.  I will post an update with the additional details.

Here are the additional details released during the press conference.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Paula Deen's Mobile Game - 'Paula Deen's Cooking Quest' - And It's Bizarre Ad

Paula Deen Ventures announced yesterday that Paula Deen is releasing a free mobile game called Paula Deen's Cooking Quest.  The Paula Deen character in the game is pictured to the right.

The game is described as:
 "Featuring 40 levels of puzzles, players will mix and match ingredients to Paula’s popular Southern dishes and collect downloadable recipe cards as they complete each level. Players can connect with friends and compete to have their scores highlighted on Paula’s leaderboard. Recipes and puzzles will be added to the app each week, providing players with new challenges and more scrumptious fun.
Paula Deen’s Recipe Quest takes gamers through Paula’s illustrious culinary career. Players will start as an amateur chef in a home kitchen while learning the basics of cooking. As they progress to higher levels, players will make their way up to cooking at Paula’s restaurant, The Lady & Sons, and to eventually owning their own virtual restaurant.
All gamers will have the opportunity to win real prizes such as the chance to cook alongside Paula on the Paula Deen Network. Other prizes include discounts at Paula Deen’s General Store and subscriptions to the Paula Deen Network."
My guess is that her Food Network stint and racism scandal will be left out of the "illustrious culinary career' in the game.  While the game is free to download, it does offer in game purchases, so they will probably be trying to make their money with that.

Also there is a pretty bizarre slow motion video advertising the game, and that video is after the jump:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Chopped All-Stars Airs In April - See The Competitors

Photo - Food Network
Chopped All-Stars will be returning to the Food Network on Tuesday, April 28th at 10pm with 16 chefs competing to win $75,000 for a charity of their choice.  It will be a five episode tournament and the following chefs will be on each episode:

Episode 1 - Tuesday, April 28th at 10pm ET/PT 
Competitors: Madison Cowan, Eric Greenspan, Brian Malarkey, Art Smith
Judges: Maneet Chauhan, Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag

Episode 2 - Tuesday, May 5th at 10pm ET/PT
Competitors: Anne Burrell, Hung Huynh, Mary Sue Milliken, Dale Talde
Judges: Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, Chris Santos

Episode 3 - Tuesday, May 12th 10pm ET/PT
Competitors: Cat Cora, Antonia Lofaso, Michael Psilakis, Marcel Vigneron
Judges: Alex Guarnaschelli, Aarón Sánchez, Geoffrey Zakarian

Episode 4 - Tuesday, May 19th at 10pm ET/PT
Competitors: Rocco Dispirito, Jet Tila, Lee Anne Wong, Fabio Viviani
Host: Ted Allen, Judges: Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag, Aarón Sánchez

Episode 5 - Tuesday, May 26th at 10pm ET/PT 
Winners of the first 4 episodes compete for the grand prize.
Judges: Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian 

Is there anybody you are rooting for?  It seems like a mix of Food Network personalities/chefs and Top Chef alumni.

Press release with more details is below:

Monday, March 9, 2015

Food Fortunes on Food Network - Products and Info

Photo - Food Network
Food Fortunes premieres tonight at 10pm ET on the Food Network, which sounds pretty much like a food-related version of ABC's Shark Tank.  The show is described as "recipe developers, product makers and food visionaries have the opportunity to earn cold hard cash from four titans of the industry all looking to make lucrative investments"

The culinary investors that will appear on the show include:
  • Dan Glickberg - Owns Dan Glickberg Food which focuses on food consulting and media
  • Daniel Green - a chef and host known as an expert on healthy eating
  • Michele Hoskins - CEO of Michele Foods, which specializes in making syrup
  • Pat LaFrieda - owner of LaFrieda meats, and also starred on Food Network's Meat Men
  • Robert Earl - Founder of Planet Hollywood International and has a show on the Cooking Channel
  • Scott Gerber - CEO of the Gerber Group, a hospitality company that focuses on reinventing nightlife
  • Sonia Kapadia - CEO of Taste Savant, which is a restaurant discovery startup
  • Willie Degel - Host of Food Network's Restaurant Stakeout and owner of Uncle Jack's steakhouses.

Looking at the episode descriptions for the show, the following products will be pitched this season, which appears to be six episodes long:
  • A plate which also floats in pools
  • A revolutionary ravioli rolling pin
  • A sweeter twist on the classic brownie
  • An insect-based cracker
  • A line of Italian sauces
  • An all-natural toffee
  • A gelato shop that turns ice cream into spaghetti
  • A device that helps you carry your grocery bags
  • A new type of spring water that's actually black
  • A healthy grab-and-go breakfast line
  • A breakfast treat that's surprisingly caffeinated
  • A frozen take on a hometown favorite
  • A European-style coffee franchise
  • Cooking classes for kids delivered right to your door
  • A gelatin shot that's all grown up
  • A check holder that will illuminate the dining experience
  • An at-home storage system that measures your ingredients for you  
  • Mints that double as vitamins
  • A grill that takes tailgating up a notch
  • A pediatric prescription in drink form
  • A robot that serves as a personal chef
It should be interesting how this show is received as Shark Tank gets great ratings on ABC.  Will people look at this as a cheap knock-off or will they buy into the investors and entrepreneurs making the show a hit?  I guess we will find out everybody's opinion after the show begins.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mama Della's From Restaurant Impossible Has Closed

Photo - Food Network
Mama Della's NY City Pizzeria in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which was featured on season eight of Restaurant Impossible has closed.  Looking at their Facebook page, it seems they closed for the Christmas holiday and never opened back up.  They didn't really inform customers about the closure, and a lot of people wondered for months if they would open back up.

A February article on Business Report said that owner Barry Kalt was hoping that outside investors could help him open back up his restaurant.  It appears that has not worked out yet.  The article also stated that Barry prided himself on using the freshest ingredients possible and the expenses of running his restaurant outpaced his customers.  Many of the comments on that article seem to think the owner's personality was the reason for the failure and that Restaurant Impossible didn't help.

This is the fourth restaurant from season eight (2014) of Restaurant Impossible to close, and the Restaurant Impossible Update page has been updated with this information.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Alex Guarnaschelli's Reddit AMA Highlights

Alex Guarnachelli did a Reddit AMA yesterday taking questions from fans.  Here are some of the interesting questions/answers:
Photo - Food Network

Q:  Does Ted Allen ever get to taste the food on Chopped?
Alex:  ALL the time. He's a nibbler. smiles...And he likes to stay connected to what the contestants are doing.

Q:  Have you ever tasted something on Chopped that was disgusting but you had to act professional for the sake of the show/competitor's feelings?
Alex:  Of course...But cooking and eating food always involves great emotion, from the person who cooked it to the person who eats it. CHOPPED looks easy when you're sitting on your couch with a bowl of popcorn, but let me tell you, it's a whole different world when you open that basket, and Ted is giving you that stare.

Q:  On Chopped no one ever mentions the food being cold (or too hot). Due to the format of the show, as a judge do you just accept that the food will probably always be cold and must shift your focus on other aspects for critique?
Alex:  Yes. We never factor in temperature. Would be unfair, as everyone finishes cooking at the same time, but we taste the food person by person, which means the fourth contestant has food that waits far longer than the first

Q:  Finally, my wife has given me a free pass to make sweet sensual love to you and Amanda Freitag at the same time with our bodies smothered in nutella while AarĂłn Sánchez cheers us on. Can you please get the wheels in motion on making this dream a reality?
Alex:  Love your questions so far, but this one might get you CHOPPED! :)

Q:  Are there going to be any more Iron Chef America episodes? It appears that Food Network has cancelled the show, even though there is no official mention of it.
Alex:  I am confident that show will come back. Stay tuned.

Q:  Hey Alex!! My wife and I watch Chopped a lot. I've always wondered, on average how long does filming for an episode take place?
Alex:  An average episode of CHOPPED takes 14 hours to film. One episode per day.

Q:  Also, what does Geoffrey Zakarian smell like?
Alex:  Geoffrey smells like - that is fucking brilliant - he smells like Madagascar vanilla extract combined with 25 year barrel-aged Scotch. And orchids.

To read the full AMA, here is the link.