Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Food Network Star Season 11 Begins June 7th With Some Changes

Photo - Food Network
Season 11 of Food Network Star will begin on June 7th, and the format and contestants were announced today.

The contestants competing this year are:
Emilia Cirker (Reston, VA), Jay Ducote (Baton Rouge, LA),  Christina Fitzgerald (St. Louis), Rosa Graziano (Los Angeles), Matthew Grunwald (Scottsdale, AZ),  Eddie Jackson (Houston, Michelle Karam (Santa Barbara, CA), Sita Lewis (New York), Alex McCoy (Washington DC), Arnold Myint (Nashville), Rue Rusike (Brooklyn, NY) and Dominick Tesoriero (Staten Island, NY).

Some of the changes this season:
  • Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are the only regular mentors/judges this year.  Alton Brown will not be on the show this year.  I reported this in February and guessed it had to do with his live tour happening at the same time as filming.
  • There will be guest judges helping out Bobby and Giada this year, such as: Sunny Anderson, Richard Blais, Anne Burrell, Melissa d'Arabian, Bobby Deen, Duff Goldman, Alex Guarnaschelli, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro, Damaris Phillips, Rachael Ray, Geoffrey Zakarian and comedian David Alan Grier.
  • The web series Star Salvation is back where a competitor who wins will get to rejoin the competition.  This year it is hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli and Jeff Mauro.
  • It appears that America will not get to vote for this years winner judging by the episode descriptions. The last two episodes are described as:
    • "The  winner  of Star  Salvation rejoins  the  competition,  while  the  final  four  choose  a sous  chef  from  the  eliminated contestants to help them cook the single best dish of their life.  They each have one take to present the dish on-camera, and Bobby, Giada, Bob and Susie choose the final three that will each film a pilot directed by special guest Rachael Ray"
    • "Season Finale - The nine eliminated finalists return to view the pilots along with Bobby, Giada, Susie and Bob.  Each pilot is screened and after the selection committee deliberates, Food Network President Brooke Johnson announces the winner – the next Food Network Star."
  • The press release says that the winner will receive their own Food Network show, but it also said that last year, and Lenny is no where to be seen.  We probably know the reason why, so hopefully the Food Network properly vetted the contestants this year.

Below is a player that has a plenty of information on the season such as a video preview, photos of the contestants, bios on the contestants, and episode descriptions.  I am sure some contestants have appeared on other shows and I may do a post on that in the future:

Restaurant Impossible - Gigi's Music Cafe Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Sunrise, Florida to makeover Gigi's Music Cafe.  The owner Gigi opened the business three years ago and her bad business decisions are taking down the business and bringing her daughter with it.  The books are a mess, the service is bad, and the kitchen relies on a microwave for cooking.  Robert needs to turn this place around for it to succeed and an unexpected boat trip with Gigi may be the start of the turnaround.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Gigi's Music Cafe to get an idea of how the restaurant/music cafe is doing since Robert Irvine visited, and here is what I found (note - all reviews are post Restaurant: Impossible):

Friday, April 24, 2015

Del's From Restaurant Impossible To Close

Photo - Del's
Del's restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which was featured on season 3 of Restaurant Impossible announced that they will be closing on May 2nd, 2015.  The restaurant has been open for 65 years, and co-owner Marianne Delpizzo is quoted in a local article saying,
"We can't make it anymore.  We're losing money. This city is growing young and trendy, and we're kind of old-fashioned.”

Marianne also credits the Restaurant Impossible makeover for keeping them in business a few years longer, but they couldn't change the image people had in their minds of Del's.  The building has been sold to a real estate firm who plans to get another restaurant to occupy that space.

The reviews on Yelp haven't been too great for Del's and owner Marianne responds to some of the negative reviews saying they should have brought it to their attention rather than posting on social media.  She also blames the negative reviews for hurting small businesses.

The Del's Facebook page has a lot of comments of support and people that are sad to see the restaurant close after all of these years.

Del's will be the ninth restaurant from season 3 (2012) of Restaurant Impossible to close and on May 2nd, the status of the Restaurant Impossible Updates Page will be changed to 'Closed'.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Restaurant Impossible - Lyon's Pharmacy Update

Photo -
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Elkton, Maryland to makeover a lunch counter inside of Lyon's Pharmacy.  The pharmacy was purchased over 50 years ago by Tony Sniadowski and is a staple in the community.  His daughter Marybeth is a pharmacist by trade, and is currently running the pharmacy.  There are rotting floors, long wait times for prescriptions, and they have been struggling ever since the death of Tony last year.  Robert needs to make over the pharmacy and lunch counter and needs the full support of the community to turn the place around.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Lyon's Pharmacy to get an idea of how the restaurant/pharmacy is doing since Robert Irvine visited, and here is what I found (note - all reviews are post Restaurant: Impossible):

Food Network Announces New Series For 2015

Photo - Food Network
Today at the Scripps Network Interactive Upfront (the company that owns Food Network), the Food Network announced the new series that will air on the channel in 2015.  Some of these series were already known and written about, but many are new ones that have just been announced.  There seem to be a lot of traveling shows (similar to Diners, Drive Ins and Dives) and more competition series.

Some of the highlights include:
  • A Michael Symon traveling show where he takes a summer road trip to taste America's best classics - burgers, BBQ, and beer.
  • A Curtis Stone traveling show where he travels to paradise locations to discover their culinary treasures and hidden gems known for their legendary dishes.
  • A traveling show featuring Jamie and Bobby Deen where they seek the best Southern cuisine, which is similar to their past show Road Tasted.
  • A Cutthroat Kitchen competition deep in the wilderness called Camp Cutthroat.
  • A Worst Cooks In America: Celebrity Edition that has Anne Burrell going against Rachael Ray.  Maybe this means no Rachael Vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-off this year?
  • A four episode series called Chopped: Impossible where competitors compete against Robert Irvine to win Chopped.

Series information and descriptions from (wt = working title)

Cutthroat Kitchen: Evilicious (April 2015):  Sixteen memorable chefs from previous seasons return to do battle in a five-round tournament. Alton Brown hosts as the chefs vies for a chance to win $75,000. Produced by Embassy Row for Food Network

Spring Baking Championship (April 2015)  Eight bakers must prove their abilities in front of tough-love judges Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman and Lorraine Pascale as they try their spatula at Mother’s Day brunches,family picnics, birthday parties and weddings. Hosted by Bobby Deen.  Produced by Triage Entertainment for Food Network.

American Diner Revival (May 2015) Ty Pennington and Amanda Freitag empower locals to save struggling diners. Produced by Bray Entertainment for Food Network

Guilty Pleasures (May 2015) Food Network stars reveal their most intimate, guilty food pleasures. Produced by Authentic Entertainment for Food Network

Craziest Restaurants in America (June 2015)  Series seeks out outrageous and bizarre food establishments,  from an underwater cafe to a zombie-themed bistro. Produced by Milkman for Food Network

Top Five Restaurants (June 2015) Food Network names America’s top five burger spots, the ultimate five steakhouses, the best five BBQ joints and more.  Produced by Authentic Entertainment for Food Network

Burgers, Brew and ‘Que (July 2015) Michael Symon takes a summer road trip to taste the best of the American classics: burgers and BBQ – and beer to wash it all down. Produced by Relativity Lifestyle for Food Network

Beach Eats (wt) (July 2015)  In each half-hour episode, Curtis Stone travels to paradise locations all over the map to track down culinary treasures and hidden gems known for legendary dishes in the region.. Produced by Karga 7 Productions for Food Network

Cake Wars (July 2015) Four bakers compete  to determine who will get to take a magical cake creation to a big event and advance their career as a baker.  Produced by Super Delicious for Food Network

Southern Fried Road Trip (July 2015)  Bobby Deen and Jamie Deen seek the best in Southern cuisine, from shrimp and grits on the Gulf coast to collard greens in Carolina. Produced by Follow Productions for Food Network

Camp Cutthroat (August 2015)  Alton Brown invites the most elite Cutthroat Kitchen alumni to a secret location deep in the wilderness for an extreme culinary throw down. Produced by Embassy Row for Food Network

Crazy Kitchen (wt) (August 2015)  Amateur competitors take on a revolving set of fast, fun games which test their knowledge, quickness, and common sense.  Produced by Electus for Food Network

Guy’s Grocery Games All-Stars (August 2015) In this five-episode stunt, some of Food Network’s and Cooking Channel’s biggest stars take over the grocery store aisles for an all-star supermarket showdown, hosted by Guy Fieri. . Produced by Relativity Lifestyle for Food Network

Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off (August 2015) Host Rachael Ray is joined by a rotating panel of all-star guests in this six-episode series where they mentor and guide  young competitors through a series of cooking challenges and obstacles as these junior chefs vie for their very own series on and the title of Kids Cook-Off champion. Produced by Jane Street for Food Network

Chopped: After Hours (September 2015)  Judges move from the table to the kitchen and take a turn at tackling the tricky ingredients of a Chopped basket.  Produced by Notional for Food Network

Deep Fried America (wt) (September 2015) The host scours the country to find the most inventive and mouthwatering deep fried masterpieces.  Produced by Magnetic for Food Network

Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition (wt) (September 2015) Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray each lead a team of celebrity-recruits through rigorous culinary skills-training and challenges, with the goal of turning them into skilled cooks. A $50,000 grand prize for charity is awarded to the celebrity contestant who makes the most impressive culinary transformation. Produced by Optomen Productions LLC, an All3 Media Company, for Food Network

Chopped: Impossible (October 2015)  In this four episode stunt, competitors wind up competing against Robert Irvine in a bid to win this contest. Produced by Notional for Food Network

If more series are announced, I will update this post with that information.  Looking back at the series announcement from last year, some of those never aired, so I am not sure if they will air this year or have been scrapped.  Any series that you are looking forward to watching?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

All-Star Academy Winner Crowned Tonight

Photo - Food Network
Tonight at 9pm ET on the Food Network is the All-Star Academy finale where one home cook will walk home with $50,000.  The three remaining contestants are August Dannehl representing Alex Guarnaschelli, Joseph Harris representing Bobby Flay, and Vanessa Craig representing Michael Symon.  Curtis Stone lost all of his competitors, so he will not be the winning mentor.

During the final episode, the cooks have to make it through three rounds of culinary challenges, which are breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The contestants will also get to cook side-by-side with their mentor.

The Food Network has a poll on their website asking which cook people want to win, and it seems like people are rooting for Joseph to win.  He has about 47% of the people rooting for him, while Vanessa has 34%, and August has 19%.

This post will be updated after the episode airs with the winner of this season of All-Star Academy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Food Network Related News And Links

Here is some recent news involving Food Network shows and chefs/personalities from the Food Network:

  • Katie Lee released a cookbook today called Endless Summer where Katie Lee, "known for her summer soirees," shares more than 100 recipes that are staples at these parties.  Hopefully there is no audio version of the book.
  • Marcela Valladolid gave birth to a healthy son named David last week, and there are plenty of pictures of her son on her Instagram and Facebook pages.  Congrats to her.
  • Alton Brown's Good Eats is available again on Netflix after being unavailable for some time. (Link)
  • Jamie Deen and Bobby Deen are currently filming a show for the Food Network called Southern Fried Road Trip where they travel the country looking for the best local food.  It sounds pretty much like Road Tasted that Jamie and Bobby have filmed in the past, but with a different name.  Looks like they have no hard feelings toward the Food Network for firing their mother.
  • American Diner Revival, which had a pilot premiere in January on the Food Network, has been picked up for a season (6 episodes) and will premiere in May on the Food Network.  It will be co-hosted by Ty Pennington and Amanda Freitag and the show helps struggling diners across America using the help of local residents. (Link)
  • With the Bobby Flay and Stephanie March divorce announcement last week, stories continue to come out, but nothing is confirmed.  Stories such as Stephanie is to receive $5,000 per month according to a prenup and is not happy about it, and that Bobby cancelled all of her credit cards. (Link)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Justin Warner's Web Series Foodie Call

In December 2014, the Food Network announced that Justin Warner was going to have an upcoming web series, and that the viewers would get to pick the concept.  The three concepts pitched were:
  • Warner's Walk-In where Justin explores trending ingredients and makes something with them.
  • Tomorrow's Eats with Justin Warner where Justin looks at new and trending restaurant concepts.
  • Foodie Call with Justin Warner where he had Jean Grae, a hip-hop artist on with him.  Jean brings him random ingredients, and he puts them together to make a dish.
It appears that Foodie Call was the winning concept as the first webisode of his web series has been posted and it features Justin Warner making cold brew coffee in a matter of minutes.  The video is after the break if you want to watch.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bobby Flay Separates From Wife Stephanie March - Divorce Looming

Photo - Twitter
TMZ is reporting that Bobby Flay and his wife Stephanie March (Law and Order: SVU star) separated three weeks ago and that Bobby Flay moved out of the NYC home.  They have both supposedly hired attorneys and divorce talks have started.

TMZ says the marriage has been deteriorating over the past year-and-a-half and reached a boiling point when Bobby Flay was busy with work and didn't come to the hospital to visit Stephanie until a day after her appendix burst.

If they end up getting divorced, this will be Bobby Flay's third divorce and Stephanie March's first.  They do not have any kids together.

This announcement comes just months after Giada De Laurentiis announced her divorce to her husband.  The night before that announcement, Giada supposedly had a "boozy night" out with Bobby Flay.  Giada later addressed tabloid cheating rumors and denied any cheating with Bobby Flay, Matt Lauer or John Mayer.  I am sure this Bobby Flay announcement will trigger more cheating rumors between Giada and Bobby.

Bobby Flay will be the third Food Network Star mentor to separate/divorce from their spouse in the span of six months.  Alton Brown filed for divorce from his wife in November of 2014, Giada announced her divorce in December of 2014, and now Bobby Flay has supposedly separated with his wife.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Restaurant Impossible - Zest Bistro, Lemon Tree Grocer Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Downers Grove, Illinois to makeover Zest Bistro, which is a restaurant located inside a grocery store.  Owners Tim and Shaun had experience as a chef and a produce broker, so decided to open a grocery store with a bistro inside of it.  After four and a half years, and nearly three million dollars in, the debts are continuing to climb.  Tim's wife Jessica also works there and this has caused some friction between Tim and Shaun.  Robert Irvine needs to fix the relationship as well as the restaurant and grocery store to turn this place around.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Zest Bistro and Lemon Tree Grocer to get an idea of how the restaurant/grocery store is doing since Robert Irvine visited, and here is what I found (note - all reviews are post Restaurant: Impossible):

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Deadspin's Drew Magary Competes On Chopped Amateurs

Photo - Food Network
Back in July of 2012, Drew Magary, who is a columnist at the popular sports website, applied to be on Food Network's Chopped and posted his humorous responses to all of the questions on the application.  Drew is a big fan of the show and when he heard there would be an amateur episode, he decided to submit an application.  Some of the questions and his responses are below, and here is the full post/application:

In a few sentences, please share your story: Tell us who you are and your current situation.
I'm a writer for Gawker and Deadspin and a correspondent for GQ magazine and I watch Chopped more often than is healthy. I wanna walk into that kitchen, take a deckle of beef and a pickled chicken foot, and I wanna rock Geoffrey Zakarian's nuts off. I cook at home all the time and have OK knife skills, along with a basic understanding of making sauces, roasting meats, and cooking pasta correctly. If you choose me, I will NOT overcook the pasta. I will let the meat rest properly. I will devein every shrimp. And I won't serve Conant red onions. You have my word.

If you are not a professional chef, list any goals past or present regarding cooking professionally.
I have but one goal: To go on "Chopped," win the $10,000, get Frietag to smile a devilish smile at me, and then retire UNDEFEATED. Once I serve you a title-winning olive panna cotta with rosemary caramel, I'm OUT.

Discuss some of the results/rewards of your cooking, the ways your culinary work has touched others.
Dude, you have NINETEEN essay questions on this application. Are you shitting me? This isn't Harvard Law School. I'm not gonna give you some flowery bullshit about my food touching the soul of others. I'm here to MAKE LOVE TO YOUR TONGUE. That's it.

Why do you think you can be the next Chopped Champion?
I will get everything on the plate. I will not serve raw chicken. I will not lose track of the clock, which is insane for chefs to do because the clock is right there and Ted is always shouting out how much time is left. I will not wander around the pantry like a moron. I will render my bacon fat until it's nice and crispy. I will keep my station clean and not throw food scraps on the floor like that one British lesbian lady did, which was so gross. I will not bitch about the ingredients in the mystery basket. "WHOA HEY CANNED FISH! I didn't expect this!" No kidding, idiot. You're on Chopped.

Chopped host Ted Allen saw the application and posted on Twitter:

So now here we are two and a half years later and Drew is getting his shot to compete on Chopped.

He didn't get a chance to "rock Geoffrey Zakarian's nuts off" or make Amanda Freitag smile at him as neither were judges on his episode.  He did follow through on his promise to not serve Scott Conant red onions, but he did break some linguine in half and wore a dad shirt to annoy him.

Despite an appetizer that was too large and a entree that was too small, Drew made it to the dessert round.  Instead of mentioning relatives that were dead as he said he would, he went with the premature kid story to win over the judges.  In the dessert round, Drew made a pavlova, and ended up winning the $10,000.  Who knows what will happen to that $10,000 now...

Hopefully Drew has some more commentary about his experience on the show.

Side note - Here is an article about the Doll Lady from the episode, and it is pretty weird as you probably expected.