The Top 5 Most Shocking Moments on Mystery Diners
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
When a restaurant owner suspects his or her employees are not doing their jobs properly, they call Charles Stiles of Mystery Diners. With a sting operation that includes hidden cameras set up on location and a team of mystery diners who pose as customers and/or employees, Charles gets to the core of what’s happening. In most cases the employee is found to be stealing, lying or simply doing lousy work, but in some extraordinary situations, what gets revealed is shocking.
FN Dish recently caught up with Charles to talk about some of the most shocking moments he’s seen in his experience on the show. Here are his top-five moments (so far).
5. Ca’Brea in Los Angeles (Season 2, Valet Disservice) — The valet driver was stealing from customers’ vehicles and using the vehicles for food deliveries with the delivery guy as his accomplice.
4. Putter’s Bar & Grill in Las Vegas (Season 2, Night Shift) — The overnight bartender and manager was running his own bar out of the restaurant, serving his own alcohol, charging a fee at the door and letting the customers cook their own food in the kitchen.
3. La Traviata in Long Beach, Calif. (Season 2, Something Smells Fishy) — The head chef of the restaurant, which features organic ingredients and top-quality seafood, was found to be purchasing lower-grade seafood and produce that wasn’t organic so he could pocket the difference in cost.
2. Catharsis in Miami (Season 3, Dining in the Dark) — The employees of the restaurant, which features blindfolded dining, were caught messing with the diners. Their improper behavior included eating food off of plates, licking food, inappropriate touching and stealing.
1. Whiskey Dick’s in Las Vegas (Season 2, Singles Night) — The female night manager of the restaurant was running a dating service out of the restaurant using the waitresses to lure in male patrons.
Tune in to Season 3 of Mystery Diners on Fridays at 10pm/9c.
Enter for a Chance to Win Tupperware Summer Products
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Grilling season is in full swing and Food Network’s got you covered with hot dog and hamburger recipes, barbecued everything, salads, sides, desserts and more. What you may have overlooked are your grilling tools and summer gadgets — don’t worry, there’s a guide for that, too. But you can get a jump-start with summer grilling products by Tupperware right now. FN Dish is giving readers the chance to win a prize package that features:
The new Zest ‘N Press: a convenient two-in-one tool that zests and juices lemons, limes, oranges and other small citrus fruit — a perfect ingredient for almost any summer marinade.
The Season-Serve Container: a mess-free way to toss marinades over food and safely store the contents in your refrigerator or travel cooler as you fire up the grill for meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables.
The stainless steel Chef Series Spatula, Simple Indulgence Steak and Chop Seasoning Blend, and Chophouse Selections Recipe Booklet featuring easy-to-make grilled dishes.
You can buy your own summer-friendly products from Tupperware here, or enter in the comment field below for a chance to win them. To enter: Tell us your favorite Food Network dish to grill up during the hot summer months in the comments (you must include the recipe URL in the comments). We’re giving away a set that includes one Zest ‘N Press, one Season-Serve Container and one Chef Series Spatula to two lucky, randomly selected winners.
You may only comment once to be considered and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S. states, D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 to win. For the first day of the giveaway, all entries (answers) must be entered between 2:00 p.m. EST on May 23 and 5 p.m. EST on May 28, 2013. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of each prize: approx. $108.00. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.
So tell us: Which one of Food Network’s grilling recipes is your favorite and why?
Week One, Take One — How France Has Inspired Me
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Last week FN Dish announced that Melissa d’Arabian would be joining the roster of writers. Starting today, she’ll be answering fan questions, as well as sharing her own experiences as a working mom raising four young girls.
First, thank you for the incredible response via Twitter, Instagram, email and here on FN Dish — and for all of your questions. I’m eager to dive in:
Several of you asked about living in France, like Dawn and Linda T., and how that influenced me. As some of my fans know, I moved to Paris for my job (I worked in finance for Disney), and I was scheduled to stay 18 months. I met Philippe, fell in love, married him and stayed for four years. (Which leads me to share some quick advice: When you are single and in your 30s, be careful to only to travel to places you like because you never know when suddenly you’ll find yourself in love and having to stay there.) Lucky for me, I adore France, so I’m quite pleased to have it permanently etched into my life as a Franco-American-bicultural-bilingual family.
I can barely scratch the surface on the impact France has in our lives in one blog post, but perhaps the two main influences from my French life (and husband) are:
1. I have become more ingredient-driven in my cooking.
2. Our meals have become more about the people around the table than simply what is on the plate. If that sounds contradictory, read on. (No one ever said the French were a simple lot.)
(PHOTOS: Speaking of France and my family, here’s a peek inside our most-recent trip there.)
I find my inspiration in the ingredients.
Paris is a food-lover’s dream. Yes, exquisite restaurants abound, but I’m talking about the extraordinary markets, each with its own specialty. Just doing “regular” grocery shopping usually entails a visit to a butcher, the fishmonger and cheesemonger, a boulangerie (bakery) and a fresh produce stand. And at each market, I would find the most-gorgeous ingredients — food that begged to be bought, treated oh so simply, then served (that night, not next month, which explains the almost-nonexistent freezer compartment of most Parisian fridges). Arriving at the market with a cookbook recipe often felt like putting the cart before the horse. Don’t believe me? Next time you’re in Paris (you’re going next week, right?), head over to some of my favorite market streets: Rue Cler (in the 7th arrondissement), Rue Montorgueil (2nd arrondissement) and, for a truly local (read: non-touristy) experience, head over to the 17th arrondissement to Rue de Levis. And if your trip to Paris is foiled, try your local farmers’ market for ingredient inspiration.
The focus of our family table is family.
The French notoriously spend hours at the dinner table, eating, laughing and debating, enjoying course after course (which means a good hour is spent on washing dishes — more time to bond). And the dinner pace in the South of France is even more leisurely. When we visit my in-laws, it’s not uncommon to follow this pattern: have a meal, clean up from said meal, segue straight into prepping the following meal. (I do not exaggerate here for effect.) Life is busy and we have four little girls, so clearly these unrushed holiday-type affairs aren’t usually possible. But we can sit down around a table and take the time to connect. Here is what I know: It takes longer to connect than it takes to eat. Quite simply, our dinners last longer than our forks are moving. And our family is stronger for it.
Thanks to the French, I also developed a cheese and green salad habit, but I’m out of space for today.
I’ll answer more questions on June 6 — email me now if you already know your next question!
Star-a-Day: Daniela Perez-Reyes
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
You heard it here first: Food Network Star is kicking off an all-new ninth season on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, and returning judge-mentors Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there at the helm. This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly Mentor and Star Challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job: their own show on Food Network. While the contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds — including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging — they have but one dream, which is to become the next Food Network Star. From now until next month’s premiere, Star Talk will introduce one finalist a day until you, Star fans, meet them on camera during the show.
Now living in Haleiwa, Hawaii, after being born and raised in Peru, Daniela Perez-Reyes, 29, is a graduate of The Art Institute at San Diego. She’s currently the chef de cuisine for a catering company and is known for her signature sass in the kitchen, as well as for infusing classic Peruvian and Polynesian flavors into her food.
Click the play button on the video to watch Daniela’s casting video.
Visit the Food Network Star Headquarters for more exclusive interviews, plus behind-the-scenes images and videos of the finalists and mentors, and tune in to the Season 9 premiere on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c.
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto Off the Clock
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
If all Iron Chef battles were to be judged solely on creativity, then most of Iron Chef Morimoto’s opponents should just enter Kitchen Stadium waving a white flag. Few chefs I have encountered can take the Chairman’s Secret Ingredient to such unexpected places while still creating dishes that are as delicious as they are exciting.
He may not always emerge victorious, but he’s still the one Iron Chef who gives me a shiver of anticipation when I find out I am going to be judging one of his battles.
Here are Morimoto-san’s typically enigmatic responses to 10 probing questions:
Do you feel added pressure to maintain the standards of Iron Chef America, given your association with the original Iron Chef Japan?
MM: I always feel tremendous pressure no matter which country I do the Iron Chef battle in. This pressure, however, is not because I am the original Iron Chef Japan.
If you had to sum up the difference between Eastern and Western approaches to cooking in just one word, what would it be?
MM: Seasoning. In the West, I try to create strong tastes because there is a difference in the taste buds between the Japanese and Americans.
Your Stained Glass Sushi Roll in Battle Asparagus is considered one of the top 10 moments in the whole history of Iron Chef America. Do you consider it your finest moment in Kitchen Stadium, and if not, what is?
MM: No. And I can’t say what my finest moment in Kitchen Stadium is because I truly do my best for each battle.
Who was your culinary mentor?
MM: I’ve never had a mentor.
How would the current crop of American Iron Chefs fare if they were to compete on Iron Chef Japan?
MM: The criteria for judgment are different between Iron Chef America and the original Iron Chef Japan, so I really can’t say.
If there was a battle in Kitchen Stadium where you presented dishes — your finest dishes created with tuna — and Iron Chef Symon presented his best efforts with pork, who do you think would come out on top?
MM: I think it would be a draw.
What is your favorite part of any fish to eat?
MM: It depends on the fish. Each fish is very different, depending on the kind, the season, the size and the quality. So I can’t pick any specific part.
Have you ever considered any ingredient in Kitchen Stadium beneath you?
MM: I haven’t considered any ingredient beneath me. As an Iron Chef I should be able to accept any challenge. For example, in one of my battles, the ingredient was eggnog. Most chefs wouldn’t really consider this an ingredient to be used in cooking a meal. The actual battle was very challenging, but the results were quite good and I think interesting for both the judges and audience.
What would be the one tip you would give any aspiring young chef?
MM: Sharpen your knives.
What would your three desert-island ingredients be?
MM: If I brought ingredients to a deserted island, they would be rice, soy sauce and sake to drink. If I took ingredients from a deserted island, they would be fish, fruits or vegetables.