Allies and Enemies — Alton’s After-Show
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
It’s no secret that success on Cutthroat Kitchen often entails strategy; it’s not enough to show up and cook on this evilicious competition, as at its heart the contest is a game that requires careful manipulation in order to win. While catching up with judge Antonia Lofaso on tonight’s all-new installment of Alton’s After-Show, the host explained that in Round 2′s quiche challenge, two of the remaining chefs could have potentially bettered their own outlooks had they joined forces to sabotage and outcook one rival in particular.
“If I’d been playing the game,” Alton said, “and I was Chef Gregory, I would [have] wanted to preserve Chef Bryan, so then I could have killed him in the end.” He mused of Chef Emmanuel, who likely had vast experience in cooking quiche on account of heritage: “Who wants a French guy to be able to fight a quiche battle?” Antonia agreed and suggested later, “They should have all actually ganged up on [Chef Emmanuel].” She added that it was “lights out” once Chef Emmanuel presented a quiche with Gruyere and bacon on account of these naturally rich, flavorful ingredients. ”Everything else could be bad because I put Gruyere and bacon together,” Antonia imagined as Chef Gregory.
Click the play button on the video above to hear more from Alton and Antonia, and learn their takes on the sabotages in Rounds 1 and 3.
Tune in to an all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen every Sunday at 10|9c.
One-on-One with the Chopped Tournament of Stars Round 1 Winner
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
On tonight’s premiere episode of the new Chopped Tournament of Stars, four sports stars entered the competition to take on the mystery baskets for an opportunity to earn a spot in the finale. A $50,000 donation to charity and the title of Chopped champion are at stake. Each athlete is familiar to the competition of his or her individual sport, but when it comes to the Chopped kitchen, it’s an entirely different ball game. Only one proved to have what it takes to win, showing a true charge of the kitchen. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the Round 1 winner.
Appetizer: organic green juice, alligator, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and mini rainbow marshmallows
Entree: turkey tenderloin, double-yolked eggs, finger limes and pattypan squash
Dessert: chocolate liquid breakfast drink, pink wafer cookies, crystallized ginger and red Bosc pears
First Round: Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Second Round: Charles Oakley
Final Round: Greg Louganis
Winner: Brandi Chastain
Judges: Geoffrey Zakarian, Alex Guarnaschelli and Marc Murphy
Professional soccer player Brandi Chastain came into the competition as a fierce competitor, and after making it through three grueling courses, she proved her might by coming away the winner and securing a spot in the finale. Brandi is one step closer to earning $50,000 for her charity, BAWSI, and the title of Chopped champion.
Which was the hardest basket for you and why?
I think the first basket because it’s the first basket. Before you get the basket, your mind is racing as to what would be in there, and all of a sudden you have the basket. So the hardest part is putting your head around those items and trying to come up with something. The first basket is unique in that way.
What were you expecting, coming into Chopped?
I guess I expected excitement and fun, but in terms of how it actually goes and what it’s like, I couldn’t have been any farther off in those two categories. It was completely different than what I imagined, in its function and its intensity. I feel physically drained yet I think it’s because mentally you have to be in those 20 or 30 minutes. I did not see that coming at all.
Who did you see as your biggest competition?
I had no idea. I mean, I knew that Greg, Charles and Jackie were going to be in the competition with me, but I had no frame of reference in terms of their cooking expertise. I felt that my biggest obstacle was me. Could I stay within my comfort zone with what I knew, or could I be just slightly adventurous?
Were there any basket ingredients you weren’t familiar with? Were you thrown off at all?
Yes, the little finger limes. I’ve never heard of them. They didn’t taste too different, but they don’t have a lot of pulp. In terms of how do they work, I had to guess. I didn’t taste the outside. I only squeezed the inside. I learned a lesson there that you have to taste the whole thing if I you’re going to use the whole thing.
What was your goal by competing on Chopped?
This competition had many layers for me. One, my son and I love the show. We watch it and record it religiously. So I wanted to do a good job for him. Two, I wanted to respect the judges because this is their life’s passion. So I wanted them to know I was serious about the competition — that I just wasn’t coming in here to fool around. Three, as a BAWSI girls’ ambassador, my goal is to win the $50,000 for charity and to impact more girls’ lives in a positive way.
What’s your strategy going into the finale?
That’s a good question because not knowing what it was like kind of gives you the freedom to just go, but now the tendency would be to overthink it. So now my strategy will be to keep it simple, not simple basic, but simple as to what worked and what could work potentially without going crazy.
Geoffrey said you moved like a professional chef and you baked a successful cake. For never having cooked professionally, how did you do it?
I know for sure that it came from playing soccer. My athletic experience and instinct just kicked in. You move in space and time and you have to see the big picture. You have to think ahead of time. You have to know the process of things, otherwise you’re going to get it wrong. I know that that clearly was an asset for me today.
Coming from sports you’re used to competition, but how has this culinary competition affected you and how you see cooking?
5 Foods To Always Have In Your Fridge
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
What I love is soccer. It’s been a part of my life since I was a little girl. I fell in love with it with the first kick, but there’s something uniquely special about being able to cook a good meal and for people to be able to sit down at the table, take a bite and go “mmm.” I feel that. I’m not only tasting it, I’m feeling it. Gosh, it’s good. I haven’t had too many of those moments, but I think I have a newfound appreciation for what food and good, healthy food means.
A fridge filled with health-promoting ingredients is an amazing thing. Next time you stand there scanning the shelves, make sure these foods are within reach.
1) Homemade Salad Dressing
Think that bottled dressings are just as good as homemade? Check the ingredient list and it might change your mind. Most store-bought bottles are high in sodium, added sugars and other highly processed ingredients. The best bet is to whip up your own batch.
2) Sliced Fruit
People who put prepped and sliced fruit front-and-center tend to reach for it more often. Instead of letting fresh fruit get buried and rot in the crisper drawer before you get a chance to eat it, keep seasonal goodies in your line of sight so you can always grab a nutritious snack.
Hot, mild, Dijon or grainy, this low-calorie condiment is a good shortcut to make multiple sauces, marinades and salad dressings. Use Dijon to make a basic sauce for a 20-minute roasted salmon dinner or work it into a vinaigrette to drizzle over veggies for a simple side dish.
Yogurt’s reputation has gotten a significant upgrade in recent years, with many people gaining a better appreciation for the dairy product’s easy adaptability in smoothies, sauces, dressings and marinades. Along with its creamy texture and tangy flavor, yogurt gives a boost of calcium, vitamin D and protein to sweet and savory recipes alike. (See the results of our Nonfat Greek Yogurt Taste Test.)
5) Hot Sauce
A fridge should always be stocked with a little excitement. Whatever your preference — Asian-inspired Sriracha or Mexican- and Louisiana-style pepper sauces — a few dashes of hot sauce can brighten dishes instantly.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »
Worst Cooks Skill Drills: Flavor, Flavor, Flavor
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
When it comes to cooking, the most-important aspects that determine a successful plate of food are taste and flavor — that’s a given. Food that tastes good is good. But on Worst Cooks in America, taste and flavor are oftentimes the last things on recruits’ minds. What happens quite often is they will overcompensate with salt or use way too many spices when they’re told their food is not flavorful enough. And on occasion they will mix up competing flavors, making, say, a Cajun curry — a dish that is confused and muddled.
The lesson that Anne and Bobby try to teach is taste, taste, taste. Taste as you go, as you cook, so you won’t end up oversalting your food before serving it. It’s all about layering flavors and making combinations that work well together and do not compete against each other. This is a cornerstone of learning to cook, and hopefully by the end of Boot Camp the recruits will have learned this lesson.
Watch the video above to relive some top moments and learn a lesson or two on adding flavor to your dishes. The next time you see a recruit going overboard with salt or not using enough of it, take it as a reminder of what not to do in the kitchen. They risk getting eliminated by not seasoning properly, but you might risk being shunned by your friends and family.