Sunday, September 30, 2007

Meet One of the "Next Iron Chef" Challengers

Introducing Executive Chef John Besh

John Besh grew up in Southern Louisiana. He loved to hunt and fish and soon found out about the culinary traditions of Louisiana. “With all the cultural influences in Louisiana,” he says, “it’s an exciting place to learn about food.” He has traveled and studied all over the world.
He has worked at prestigious establishments such as Maxim's in New York , The Windsor Court's Grill Room in New Orleans and the Cinnamon Tree in Baltimore. He travels to France every year as a chef consultant to train fellow chefs in the fine points of Louisiana cuisine.
His restaurant group owns and operates four restaurants. He also runs BRG Catering and a restaurant consulting firm named Olivet. In his spare time, he grows mico-vegetables and raises laying hens and Gulf Coast sheep. As if that was not enough to keep him busy, he is working on a line of artisanal butters and a cookbook featuring Louisiana, Ma Louisianne.
Food & Wine Magazine featured one of his recipes, which I am sure that you will enjoy.

Besh's Fried Goat Cheese and Frisée Salad
One 11- to 12-ounce log of goat cheese, chilled
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon minced rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon walnut oil
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 small plums, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 small head frisée, large leaves torn into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons minced oil-cured black olives
6 thin slices country ham or prosciutto (about 4 ounces)
1 tablespoon minced chives
1. Cut the goat cheese into 6 equal rounds and gently shape each piece into a 2 1/2-inch medallion. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic with 1/2 teaspoon of the rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle both sides of the goat cheese with the garlic mixture.
2. Put the flour, egg and bread crumbs into 3 separate shallow bowls. Dredge the goat-cheese medallions in the flour, then dip in the egg and coat with the bread crumbs. Transfer the breaded medallions onto a platter lined with wax paper and refrigerate until chilled.
3. In a small bowl, whisk 2 teaspoons of the vinegar with the honey until dissolved. Whisk in the walnut oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic and 1/4 teaspoon rosemary. Add the sugar and stir over moderately high heat until it dissolves. Add the plums and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the plum mixture to a blender along with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the water and blend until smooth. Return the plum sauce to the saucepan and keep warm.
5. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil until shimmering. Add the goat-cheese medallions and cook over moderately high heat until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes per side.
6. In a large bowl, toss the frisee with the walnut vinaigrette and olives and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the plum sauce onto 6 plates. Set 1 goat-cheese medallion in the center of each plate and arrange a slice of the country ham alongside with a little of the frisee. Sprinkle with the chives and serve immediately.
MAKE AHEAD The goat-cheese medallions can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days.

Recipe tip: Before dredging food in flour, let it firm up in the refrigerator for 15 minutes; this makes for easier handling and a more even coating.

In 1999, Food and Wine named him one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America”. Gourmet Magazine named his Restaurant August as one of America’s Top Fifty Restaurants. In 2006, he won the Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southeast. Zagat Guide rates his Restaurant August as the #1 restaurant in New Orleans.
In 2006, he competed in an Iron Chef Competition against Mario Batali and won in an andouille sausage battle.
Besh received his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America. He also trained in Europe. In the Black Forest region of Germany, he experienced truly localized cuisine. This made such an impression on him that he has made it his own style of cooking. Besh also served in the Marines’ infantry during Operation Desert Storm.
A true test of his stamina came with Hurricane Katrina. Not only did he get his own restaurants (Restaurant August and Besh Steak) up and running, but he also helped rebuild other establishments; such as Willie Mae’s Scotch House, which is a culinary landmark in new Orleans. He also acquired La Provence in Lacombe, La. from his late mentor, Chef Chris Kerageorgiou and opened Luke, a brasserie in the grand New Orleans tradition.
In his spare time, he is a spokesman for the Louisiana Seafood Council and a board member of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. He also works on a state program promoting Louisiana Cuisine. Just in case, he had even more spare time, he grows organic produce for his restaurants and is raising his own livestock – Bershire Pigs, Gulf Coast Sheep & Charolais cattle.

This is one busy man.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Great Video!

A picture is worth a 1000 words. With that said, check out the promo video for the "Next Iron Chef" This is a show that I can't wait to watch. If you are a serious foodie, you will find this show fascinating! What is the difference between a chef and a home cook? Watch and find out. Even though we don't cook professionally, we can always learn tips from the masters. The main ingredient in culinary skills is understanding food, not just how to prep, not just what cooking method to use, not just what to pair with the food, or not just what spices to use, but they understand the WHY of an ingredient. Learn from the Pros.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rachael Ray to Get a New Look

Rachael is trading in the mom jeans and tops for a little different look. James Jeans will be the style with flared jeans and jersey tops from Splendid. Ballet shoes always work well in the kitchen.

Rachael is very self-conscious about her body (who wouldn’t be, when people are guessing that you might be pregnant). She is a size six and has decided that she wants to dress thinner. On her talk show, she has been wearing a lot of Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses that give a more slender look. Maybe we can learn more from her show than cooking. :: Defining Your Blogs Worth: TopSites:

Off Topic, But What the Heck!

Sometimes, I go off topic. Since I mentioned some of the European Culinary capitals in the last post, I thought I would tell you about some of the great restaurants.

What are the very best restaurants? Here’s the top 50, according to The S. Pellegrino Report for 2007.

1. El Bulli - Spain (Best Restaurant in Europe)
2. The Fat Duck - UK (Chef's Choice)
3. Pierre Gagnaire - France
4. The French Laundry - USA (Best in the Americas)
5. Tetsuya's - Australia (Best in Australasia)
6. Bras - France
7. Mugaritz - Spain
8. Le Louis XV - Monaco
9. Per Se - USA
10. Arzak - Spain
11. El Celler de Can Roca - Spain
12. Gambero Rosso - Italy
13. L'Atelier Joël Robuchon - France
14. Hof van Cleve - Belgium
15. Noma - Denmark
16. Le Calandre - Italy
17. Nobu London - UK
18. Jean Georges - USA
19. Hakkasan - UK
20. Alain Ducasseau Plaza Athénée - France
21. L'Astrance - France
22. Can Fabes - Spain
23. L'Ambroisie - France
24. Restaurant Gordon Ramsey - UK
25. Troisgros - France
26. Le Bernardin - USA
27. Martin Berasategui - Spain
28. Le Gavroche - UK
29. Le Cinq - France
30. Charlie Trotter's - USA
31. Dal Pescatore - Italy
32. Daniel - USA
33. Rockpool - Australia
34. St John - UK
35. Chez Dominique - Finland
36. Alinea - USA (Highest New Entry)
37. Bukhara - India (Best in Asia)
38. DOM - Brazil
39. Oaxen Skärgårdskrog - Sweden
40. Chez Panisse - USA
41. Enoteca Pinchiorri - Italy
42. Cracco Peck - Italy
43. L'Arpège - France
44. River Café - UK
45. Oud Sluis - Netherlands
46. Combal Zero - Italy
47. Le Quartier Français - South Africia (Best in Mid East & Africa)
48. Taillevent - France
49. Bocuse - France
50. Les Ambassadeurs - France

The fifty best by Nation:
France 12
UK 7
Spain 6
Italy 6
Australia 2
Belgium 1
Denmark 1
Finland 1
Sweden 1
India 1
Brazil 1
Netherlands 1
Monaco 1

We are moving up on the list. America Can Cook!

I'm Really Looking Forward to this Show.

The “next Iron Chef” premieres Sunday, October 7th at 9:00 p.m. on the Food Network. Who will join Mario Batali, Cat Cora, Bobby Flay and Masahuru Mormoto as an Iron Chef? The challenge will have six episodes, ending November 11th. The winner will begin their reign starting November 18th with the new season of “Iron Chef America”. The show will move from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. to Europe. I haven’t found out where in Europe, but I’m assuming that Paris or Lyons will be one stop. Spain is moving up in the culinary world with El Bulli. London should be on the list with the “Fat Duck”. The possibilities are endless. The chefs will have to show their speed, artistry, flair for simplicity, innovation, resourcefulness, creativity and leadership.

Watch for upcoming profiles of the contestants.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

October 14th at Noon

The Premier of “The Gourmet Next Door” starts Sunday, October 14th. Amy Finley, the winner of the last “Next Food Network Star”, begins her new show about easy gourmet cooking.
Amy attended culinary school (Gregoire Ferrandi’s Ecole Superieure de Cuisine Francaise) in France. Amy loves to cook and travel. She has written a travel book about Italy. Amy lives in San Diego with her husband (who is French) and their two children.

New Food Network Shows in the Making
The Television Food Network has filed multiple trademark applications for new TV shows, including:

• Sugar Shack: Emeril is hosting a Sugar Shack event at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival (21-24 Feb 2008).
• Plate and Switch
• Snack Attack
• Alex on Fire

Who Had the Most Air Time on Food Network Last Month?

Who Had the Most Air-Time on Food Network last month?

Who bumped Emeril off the ‘coveted’ 8:00 p.m. prime time slot on weekdays?

During the week of August 20th, Rachael Ray had 10 ½ hours of air time, Paula Deen had 10 hours and Emeril Lagasse only had 8 hours. Alton Brown had 23 ½ hours on air time and received the 8:00 slot.

Alton could be known as the professor. If you need to know anything about cooking, he is the guy to see. Has Alton always been a foodie?

Alton Brown (age 45) lives with his wife DeAnna and 7-year-old daughter Zoey in Marietta, Georgia. After being graduated from University of Georgia, Alton spend 10 years as a cinematographer and video director. During breaks, Alton watched a lot of cooking shows on TV. He liked the concept of cooking shows, but found them rather dull and thought that he could do a better job. So, Alton and DeAnna
moved to Vermont, where Alton trained at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier. He developed “Good Eats”. This show is totally Alton. He writes, produces and stars in the show on Food Network. The show mixes wit with wisdom and has quite a cult following. Mike Menninger created a fan website for Alton. Every show is transcribed on this site; in fact, Alton’s crew has been known to reference it. Alton will have 191 episodes of “Good Eats” filmed by the end of the year. He would like to do at least 200 episodes, but his contract with Food Network expires December 31st.

Alton’s shows:

Good Eats
Feasting on Asphalt
Iron Chef America (color commentator)
Next Iron Chef (color commentator) coming October 7th.

Alton’s Books:

I’m Just Here for the Food (2002) (won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Cookbook in the Reference category) (over 300,000 copies sold)

Gear for Your Kitchen (2003) nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Cookbook in the Tools & Techniques category and an IACP Cookbook Award in the Food Reference/Technical category.

I’m Just Here for More Food (2004) (NY Times Best Seller)

Why does Alton do some of the crazy antics that you see on the show. He doesn’t believe that he has the charisma to carry it.

This year, Alton shot 20 episodes of “Good Eats”, spent a month riding a motorcycle up the Mississippi River and sampling ‘good eats’ at mom & pop eateries for his show “Feasting on Asphalt 2”, hosted the new show “The Next Iron Chef” and is currently being the color commentator for “Iron Chef America”. In his spare time, he crams food knowledge into his head.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Are You a Real Foodie?

If you are a real foodie, Rachael Ray may be looking for you. “So You Think You Can Cook?” is her challenge to ‘wannabe’ chefs. You can not be a chef or be specially trained to cook for a living. She is looking for a foodie. What is a foodie? Someone, who totally enjoys food and cooking.

The candidates will dwindle down to the top five. Then, there is just one catch, you will have to undergo two weeks of intense challenges. The winner will be announced in late November.

What do you win –
1. Co-host the Rachael Ray Show for a day.
2. Receive training at a U.S. culinary institute (this could be amazing!)
3. Your original recipe published in ‘Every Day with Rachael Ray’ (Get those recipes ready!)

Contest rules are posted on Rachael’s website,

The deadline for entries is October 3rd.

Some things that you may not know about Rachael Ray.

Rachael was born in Glen Falls, New York on August 25, 1968, and grew up around food. Her father is a Cajun from Louisiana – Creole, a mix of Welsh and French. Add Sicilian to the mix, from her mother, and you get some real food lovers. Rachael worked in several of her families’ restaurants. Then, decided to try her luck at Macy’s fresh-food department in New York. From there, she moved on to managing pubs and restaurants on Lake George. She then made her move to TV with a 30 minute meal segment for the local news on CBS in Albany. That is where the Food Network found her.

She married musician, John Cusimano, in 2005. Their home is on Lake Luzerne in upstate New York.

In the past 12 months, Rachael has filmed 285 episodes of her various shows. In her spare time, she runs the magazine ‘Every Day with Rachael Ray’ and has written 14 cookbooks.

Friday, September 14, 2007

And That's Italian!

Did you like the Sopranos? One of the most liked actors on the show was Steven Schirripa (Bobby). Can he act, yes. Can he cook, we’ll see. Steve Schirripa’s Hungry will premier in December on the Lifeskool Newtwork. This nine-episode show will feature ‘what else’, Italian-American dishes from his cookbook “The Goomba Diet: Living Large and Lovin’ It which was published last year.
Steve will introduce some of his favorite New York restaurants. You will meet top chefs and learn to slice and dice. Learn about cheeses and cannolis. It sounds like fun!

"It's going to be a mixture of comedy, history [of foods] and of course the cooking part and the stuff about lifestyle," Schirripa told the trade. "I'm a regular guy, and this is regular food for the masses. Whether you're here in New York or in St. Louis or Ohio, you're going to relate to it."

Even though the show ‘Sopranos’ is over, the name still carries on – in the supermarkets. Of course, spaghetti sauce will be offered. Salad dressings, starting with Caesar dressing, frozen pizzas, olive oil, and barbecue sauce will also appear.

Yesterday morning, I saw “Behind the Bash” with Giada on the Food Network. It featured the premier party for the Sopranos. What a party! They decked out the Roseland Ball Room as an Italian street fair. The Sopranos invited 1000 friends and got down to the business of having a good time.

I always think that it’s interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes. They showed the design crew come in that morning and set up red banners and thousands of lights. Vendor stalls were erected, displaying all types of Italian food. A few real vendors were invited to participate, some of the vendors were already known to the Sopranos stars.

Then there was the food - tons and tons of food. It amazes me to see how that quantity and quality of food is prepared.

One of the food items that was featured was the All-American favorite – PIZZA. But not just any pizza, it was a thin crusted Focaccia Pizza with fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella.

Thin Crusted Focaccia Pizza with Fresh Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella
Recipe courtesy Match Catering
Show: Behind the Bash
Episode: Sopranos Premiere Party
2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees F
2 1/2 ounces extra-virgin olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons for greasing the baking pan
1/2-ounce dry yeast
1/2-ounce honey
1 3/4 pounds all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
3/4-ounce kosher salt
1/2 cup cornmeal, to dust baking pan
18 Roma or Italian plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup packed basil leaves, chiffonade
6 cups grated mozzarella
Salt and white pepper

Preheat a convection oven to 325 degrees F or a regular oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the water, 2 1/2 ounces of olive oil, yeast and honey. Allow the yeast to proof for 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt, and mix with a dough hook on medium speed until the dough is pliable and elastic, about 5 minutes. If the dough is a little wet, you may need to add a little more flour. The dough should be moist, but not stick to the hands. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.

Brush the remaining olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet about 18-by-26-inches and dust with the cornmeal. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4-inch thick and prick the dough all over with a fork or rolling docker. Brush off any excess flour and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake the dough until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Cool.

When the dough has cooled, evenly top with focaccia with the tomato slices, covering the entire surface and lightly season with kosher salt and white pepper. Sprinkle with the basil chiffonade and lightly top with the mozzarella. You should be able to see the tomatoes through the cheese. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and slightly colored. Cool the pizza slightly and cut into 2-bite triangles.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

The finale was a Hazelnut Layer Cake with Buttercream, Chocolate Ganache and Toasted and Gilded Hazelnuts. This cake was amazing! When people talk about a cake that is rich, they usually mean the taste of the ingredients. But this cake was rich in another sense, there were $275.00 worth of gold gilded hazelnuts on top. Here is the recipe.

Hazelnut Layer Cake with Espresso Buttercream, Chocolate Frangelico Ganache and Toasted and Gilded Hazelnuts
Recipe courtesy Match Catering
Show: Behind the Bash
Episode: Sopranos Premiere Party
3 3/4 pounds hazelnut flour
1 1/4 pounds all-purpose flour
32 eggs
2 pounds sugar, plus 1 3/4 pounds sugar
48 egg whites
Frangelico and Espresso Simple Syrup, recipe follows
Espresso Buttercream, recipe follows
Chocolate Frangelico Ganache, recipe follows
4 pounds hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped, for garnish
Gilded Hazelnuts, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F on convection or 350 degrees F in a regular oven.

In a large bowl, whisk together the hazelnut and all purpose flour, breaking up any lumps. Set aside.
In the mixing bowl of a 20-quart standing mixer set on high speed, whip together the whole eggs and 2 pounds of sugar until tripled in volume, pale yellow and forming thick ribbons, warming the bowl of the mixer with a propane torch to increase the volume of the eggs. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl of a 20-quart standing mixer set on high speed, whip the egg whites and remaining 1 3/4 pounds sugar until thick, glossy, and firm peaks form. Fold the flour mixture into the whole egg and sugar mixture, and then fold in the egg whites.

Divide the batter equally onto 6 (18-by-26-inch) parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until the corners brown and the batter doesn't adhere to your fingers when you touch the cake, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

To assemble the cake: Place a layer of the hazelnut cake on a prepared cake board or inverted sheet pan. Brush with about one-sixth of the simple syrup and spread a generous layer of the buttercream over top. Place another layer of the cake on top and soak with the simple syrup. Spread a layer of buttercream and then a layer of ganache. Place the next layer of cake and repeat the previous steps until you have used all 6 layers of hazelnut sponge cake, ending with a layer of buttercream on the top.

Chill the cake completely to set. When chilled, trim the sides, and frost with a final layer of buttercream, reserving some buttercream for garnish. Return to the refrigerator again to set the top. Spread the remaining ganache over the top to make a smooth finished coat. Trim any excess ganache from the sides of the cake.

Press the toasted and chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake. Decorate the cake with buttercream piped from a star tip filled pastry bag, and decorate with the gilded hazelnuts.

Frangelico and Espresso Simple Syrup:
4 cups water
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup Frangelico liqueur
1 cup strong coffee
Combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and the alcohol has evaporated. Cool completely.
Yield: 8 cups

Espresso Buttercream:
2 1/4 pounds sugar
Water, to moisten sugar
32 egg whites
6 pounds butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons coffee extract
Pour sugar and just enough water to moisten it in a large heavy bottomed pot. Bring sugar to a boil, stirring constantly. Brush down any sugar crystals that form on the side of the pot with pastry brush dipped in water. Once the sugar has come to a boil, stop stirring and cook the sugar to the soft ball stage or 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. When the sugar reaches 240 degrees F, reduce the heat to low and whip the egg whites on high speed in a 20-quart standing mixer to firm peaks. While the mixer is on high, carefully pour the melted sugar into the whipped egg whites, being careful not to burn yourself on the molten sugar. Once the sugar is combined with the egg whites, reduce the mixer speed to medium, and continue to whip the egg whites and sugar until completely cool, approximately 30 minutes. When the egg white meringue is cool, turn the mixer back up to high, and gradually add the cubed butter. The butter may separate and become watery, but continue to whip on high until the water is re-incorporated. It is very important that the egg white meringue is completely cool so as not to melt the butter. When all the butter has been added, continue to beat until the buttercream is smooth and creamy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the coffee and vanilla extracts.
Yield: 19 cups

Frangelico Ganache:
10 pounds semisweet or 54-percent cocoa chocolate, pistols or chopped
16 cups heavy cream
1 cup Frangelico liqueur
Place chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Bring the heavy cream and Frangelico to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes and then whisk together until smooth and all of the chocolate is melted. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature so it reaches a spreadable consistency.
Yield: 16 cups
Gilded Hazelnuts:
1 pound hazelnuts, toasted
Nonstick cooking spray
Gold leaf (*See cook's note)
Lightly spray the hazelnuts with nonstick cooking spray and wipe off any excess. Place a single nut on the gold leaf and gently brush the gold onto the nut. Set aside to garnish the finished cake.
*Cook's Note: Gold leaf is edible and available at specialty spice and pastry supply stores.
Yield: 1 pound hazelnuts

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

In case you would be interested, the Sopranos food is Neapolitan food. This style of food is based in southern Italy around the Naples area. Neapolitan food is simple, fresh and wholesome. It is not fussy food.

Food Trivia
A cookbook helped to standardize the Italian language.. In 1891, Pellegrino Artusi published
“The Science of Cookery and the Art of Eating”. Up until that time, each region of Italy had its own dialect. Artusi’s cookbook, which was written in formal Italian, was so popular that it greatly influenced the creation of a common language for the entire country. :: Defining Your Blogs Worth: TopSites:

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Mario is Back?

Seems that Food Network can't make up its mind.

“Mario Batali is still a major part of the Food Network family. He is currently in production on new episodes of ‘Iron Chef America’ and we are also still filming specials with him as well, such as last springs’ ‘Chefography.’ We support him in his outside endeavors and look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with Mario. - Food Network Spokesperson” :: Defining Your Blogs Worth: TopSites:

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Guess What Happens Next!

Maybe I’m a little slow on the uptake but I finally figured out Food Network’s planning. I didn’t figure it out when the Latino cooking show, Simply Delicioso, was introduced and Jag on the Next Food Network Star was axed (sorry, I meant to say resigned). I totally missed the connection in the announcement of the new show “Food Dudes” – Good bye Paul from the Next Food Network Star. The Next Iron Chef challenge will start in October. I thought that they just wanted another chef. Wrong, Mario Batili was asked to leave the network. All his shows have been cancelled. You can find him on PBS now.

I’m looking at programming in a new light now. How do they select the contestants for their challenges? Everyone knows that the Food Network has been looking to change their programming to attract a younger audience. How will the audience connect with Blacks, Latinos, Gays, French (by association), Texans (even transplants), tall, short, big or small? Apparently, Afro-Americans did not give a lot of feedback, they were both chopped early. The model from Brazil, they already had Giada, so looks were not that important. The hunk from Michigan, it worked in the beginning, but soon played out. Contestants that really knew how to cook – gone. Healthy cooking – they already had Ellie Kreiger and she is good.

Texans – Big and bold food (beef). Not this year.

Latinos apparently have a really big market share.

French cooking, it didn’t work last year and it almost didn’t work this year, but America voted. (The Next Food Network Star)

The Gay from L.A., the majority of fans loved Paul. (Food Dudes) (I was really hoping that Paul was one of the Dudes)

Everyone loved Tommy, I’m watching for a show called the “Big Happy Chef”.

Are more shake ups in the offing? I’ll let you know as soon as I know.

From now on when Food Network starts to advertise a new show, I’ll start looking for the reason why. :: Defining Your Blogs Worth: TopSites:

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

How Does "Iron Chef America" work? :: Defining Your Blogs Worth: TopSites:

Are you interested in how “Iron Chef America” works? Do the chefs have a million food ideas revolving through their brains at any given time? Perhaps, some of them do. But, the challengers do receive a list of five potential ingredients. They receive the list between one week and one month before the show. One reason for the list of five ingredients is that perhaps an ingredient will arrive unfit to cook.

The Iron Chef America pantry includes more than 200 basics for use on the show. But, what if they do not stock that exact spice which will make or break a recipe? The chefs also receive $500.00 to go shopping for the missing ingredients. Is there a catch to this? The $500.00 must be spent on a range of items, not just a few very expensive items. They must not buy a higher-quality version of the secret ingredient.

The chefs are allowed to bring special equipment with them. All pantries are checked before the show to make sure that last minute food items don’t magically appear. (It’s been done before.) Everyone must follow the rules. What are the rules? The rule book is based on the original Japanese show.

The magic of stop tape. Television is all about drama. If you don’t act surprised at the secret ingredient, don’t worry, you can keep repeating the scene until you get it right. Each battle has 10 hours of footage. With a snip, snip here and there, the show will be cut to 35 minutes (without commercials). The cooking battle itself is taped in real time. If you drop something on the floor, the whole world knows it. No stop tape here. There are some things that are set up ahead of time for the battle. Stock pots are already simmering on the stove before the competition starts. No one can make stock that quickly!

Stop Tape: The chefs receive extra time to plate their dishes for the judges and Kitchen Stadium chairman – Mark Dacascos.

Stop Tape: Each chef gets 45 minutes to present his or her dishes. The judges get 90 minutes to evaluate the dishes.

This year, 24 episodes were filmed over a 20 day period in January. Talk about ‘no rest for the weary”!

StumbleUpon My StumbleUpon Page

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Filming the "Next Iron Chef" :: Defining Your Blogs Worth: TopSites:

The Next Iron Chef competition has filmed three of its six episodes at the Culinary Institute of America In Hyde Park, New York. The CIA takes an annual summer break, when the students moved out, the Food Network moved in. They commandeered six of their kitchens and started to tape 7 days a week.

"More than 70 people are here on site taping," CIA spokesman Stephan Hengst said. "It is by far the largest scale Food Network production that the CIA has ever been involved with."

Qualifications that the Food Network was looking for - Applicants must have a minimum of 10 years of culinary experience including at least five years at the Executive Chef level, and must be currently employed in the culinary profession in some fashion. Different cuisine styles are encouraged and candidates must have strong, competitive personalities that are appealing to viewers.

Television Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

Programming Strategy for the Food Network :: Defining Your Blogs Worth: TopSites:

Instructional programming will be aired during the day and weekends, cooking-based reality series will air at night. They are also targeting younger viewers. One example is “Food Dudes”. Two young chefs from Hollywood struggle with their catering business. (When I first heard the premise for the show, I really thought that they had found a place for Paul from “The Next Food Network Star”, but no such luck).

The ‘Food Dudes’ may not look the part, but they are serious cooks.
They prepare such dishes as duck breast with pickled watermelon and seared tuna over jicama salad. They are committed to cutting edge cruisine. If Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo look similar to you, you may remember them from an Iron Chef challenge with Cat Cora back in September of 2006. Look for comedy and drama.