Presents for Foodies: Food Network Star Book

This time of year I am always scrambling for holiday gift ideas. It’s not that I’m not a generous person… it’s just that sometimes, come on, people are hard as hell to buy for. Being a food-minded individual, I often solve this dilemma by throwing a cookbook their way and calling it good. In this case, here is something to please the masses: Food Network Star: The Official Insider’s Guide to America’s Hottest Food Show. It’s chock full of recipes and television gossip. We all know people who love Food Network, so there! One gift to cross off the list.

How good is this cookbook? Well, it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. FNS:TOIGTAHFS, as I like to call it to save time, offers a wide array of recipes, from the laughably simple (Carissa Seward’s Shrimp Puffs), to the reasonable (Eggs en Cocotte from Amy Finley), to the elegantly involved (Alex Hernandez’s Beignets with Rosemary Caramel). It’s fun because recipes from basically every cheftestant from every season of the show are featured, so it’s easy to pick a selection from one’s favorite. I, for example, eagerly sought out recipes from the Hearty Boys. Then, upon seeing that their featured item was lobster pot pie and reminding myself I was supposed to be saving money for other presents, decided to go with something a bit more pedestrian.

I would hardly call Guy Fieri my favorite “chef” but hey, he is probably the ultimate Next Food Network Star winner. This dude is everywhere! How’s his food? There’s only one way to find out, and that is to make one of the recipes that catapulted him to stardom.

Chipotle Pasta

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Philly Burger Beatdown


The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– The locals are not taking kindly to the new Philadelphia location of Bobby’s Burger Palace.  That’s what you get for defeating Philly legend Delilah Winder on Throwdown.

– A new iPhone app will let Mark Bittman follow you around like some kind of creepy food genius.  Question:  How comfortable are you bringing a several-hundred-dollar electronic device into the kitchen with you?

After the jump…food television Upfront-a-palooza!

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Makeover Edition


The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Wait…if Gordon Ramsay gets a facelift, does that make him more or less scary than before?  (Note:  The above photo is not an artist’s rendering of the surgery.)

– Suffering from Julia Child overload yet?  Never fear — there’s a new book coming out.

After the jump…a chef you’ve never heard of on a show you’ll never see, a food show that you can watch between episodes of Stargate and showings of Blade Runner and we get to see what Adam Gertler is willing to eat in exchange for having his own show.

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Behind the Scenes


Nothing pleases me more than waking up on a weekend morning and switching on the Food Network. I love watching marathons of Iron Chef America or Food Network Challenge, hours and hours of great entertainment. I’ve always wondered what it actually takes to make a food show (even though we’ve all seen behind the scenes footage of our favourite studio audience sitcoms).

A few weeks ago I gate crashed was invited to the filming of Kelsey & Spike Cook, a show of roughly five minute webisodes from Kelsey & Spike Cook is a fun spin on classic dishes. Kelsey, of The Next Food Network Star, tends to go by the book, while former Top Cheftestant, Spike, in true form, turns it around and breaks from the norm of conventional cooking. I actually witnessed him rolling out pastry with the handle of a broom.

Check out those shenanigans and a few behind the scenes secrets after the jump.

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Feed Us Back: Comments of the Week


If you haven’t already, check out the dozens of great after school snack memories ESers are sharing. Anyone else surprised that the majority of them involve peanut butter? I guess PB is the real kid-tested, mother-approved snack. Although Hugging the Coast clearly places first in weirdest snack category:

Mayonnaise sandwiches! I used to eat Hellman’s mayo on Arnold’s white bread after school before my mother came home.

AK thinks DC’s rising star chef has a shot at winning the Next Food Network Star:

I think Teddy will end up surprising people on NFNS. It’s unfortunate that they’ve made him look like a cartoon but the guy is seriously talented. His food is fantastic and he’s a natural teacher which makes him perfectly suited for doing a cooking show. Hopefully we’ll get to see a little more as the show goes on that his goofy behavior isn’t “acting”, he’s just a naturally outgoing, ebullient goofball who loves food and loves to teach people to cook.

La Morgan is ready to follow Paul and Yoko’s lead:

I’m a fan of meatless Monday too – I also really like Mark Bittman’s approach (The Minimalist) where every meal is veggie or vegan until dinner. Not that it means I follow this, but managing meat consumption by abstaining within one day or meal is a good way for carnivores like me to learn to design meals without meat, without having to be as careful as a vegetarian about my meal balance/protein consumption. Definitely nay on Yoko’s hat, btw. Yikes.

But ladygoat disagrees on both counts:

Most Catholics can’t even manage meat-free Fridays during Lent, so I don’t think meatless Mondays is going to make anyone vegetarian. But, it’s a fine idea – at least it gets people thinking about other food options. And YAY on her hat. Awesome.

(Photo: RachelBruce1)

Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: But She Has Sassy Bangs!


Hey, Food Network!  What the hell are you doing?

Far be it from me to tell you how to do your job, but I’m starting to think you blew it with the first episode of The Next Food Network Star.  Did you really start off the season by eliminating the cute, perky blond who identified herself as “Housewife 2.0?”  She appeals to both the guys and the girls!  I just don’t think you have the right mindset.  And by “mindset,” I mean the typical reality show producer technique of keeping contestants around solely because they appeal to the audience and make for plenty of news coverage.  In other words, the reason they kept that marginally-talented Susan Boyle on that British show for so long.  (ZING!)

In other news, we’re running another contest here at Endless Simmer.  Just give us your “last meal on Earth” and you can score some bad-ass Top Chef gear.  I know what you’re thinking…”another contest?!?”  It’s all part of our master plan to run as many contests as your local top-40 radio station. Be sure to stop back next week to nab some tix to the monster truck rally.

Shall we smörg?

A look at the folks on the upcoming Top Chef Masters: Slashfood thinks Kelly Choi could be “the new Padma” and Eat Me Daily wonders who the hell Jay Rayner is (other than an extra from Pirates of the Caribbean, by the looks of it.)

Gordon Ramsay finds out the hard way that Australian women don’t like to be called “pigs.”  Who knew?

Post-jump goodness:  a video podcast worth checking out, some gratuitous meat (and a burger, too) and a new way to get your gambling fix.

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Bobby Flay: Love/Hate

Bobby Flay and the finalists of The Next Food Network Star.

At Toastmasters, they teach you not to start a speech without an opening joke, so:

Q: What do you get when you spell “Bobby Flay” backwards?
A: Tyler Florence.

Get it? Of course you do.

Like a lot of people, I have a love/hate relationship with Food Network. I adore the brainy didacticism of Good Eats, the goofy travelogue of Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives, and the stoner vibe of Ace Of Cakes. On the other hand, five fingers: I cringe at the encroaching blight of cooking competition shows, wonder why so many people tune in to Food Network Challenge just to watch a cake fall over, and if I have to sit through one more factory tour on Unwrapped, I’m gonna hurt somebody.

This week, Endless Simmer was invited to sit in on a conference call with Bobby Flay; New York native, television chef, and host of the fifth season of The Next Food Network Star. A lot of people have a love/hate relationship with Flay. They admire his passion for cooking, drool over his baby-fat good looks, but still hoot when he loses on Throwdown. Like it or not, Flay has become, along with several other single-name chefs, the new face of a post-Emeril Food Network.

Fortunately, we were able to eke out a little insight into the man’s mindset towards his profession and what the world thinks of him:

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