Food Network Star Finalists Answer: "What Do You Make for Dinner on a Regular Tuesday Night?"
In just a few short weeks, the spotlight will shine on Food Star Kitchen, and this year's cast of Food Network Star hopefuls will have to wow mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis not just on camera but also on the plate. From day one the finalists will be expected to demonstrate their culinary points of view and no-doubts-about-it cooking chops with inspired dishes. But before the contest begins, Star Talk is catching up with them to see what goes on in their own kitchens, away from the competition and when challenges aren't at play. Read on below to find out what they're making for dinner on an average night at home.
Aaron Crumbaugh: A salad with some kind of protein. Both my wife and I are very into fitness, taking care of ourselves, and so I always cook up a big piece of meat, but her thing — and she’s grown up this way — is we always have to have a vegetable. And so ... I always just end up making a huge salad because I can throw all these vegetables in it, bleu cheese, I can do ... whatever. I love cheese; I love salads. But I also have to have the protein and the meat. So, grill the steak or chicken thighs or a big side of salmon.
Ana Quincoces: Pork loin with a guava sauce or any kind of — definitely vegetables. We all are trying to watch our weight, so a protein with some kind of ... vegetables. That kind of thing is normally what we make.
Damiano Carrara: A seafood. I make a branzino, a whole branzino. I slice it up. I remove the head, I remove the tail and then fillet. And I make a beautiful branzino with a little bit of thyme and garlic, sauteed with a beurre blanc sauce with capers with some baby artichokes, sliced asparagus or sliced carrots.
Erin Campbell: Probably has to be stuffed chicken. I like to stuff chicken breasts with herb goat cheese and roll that in a panko bread, and … I serve it with fig-balsamic-glazed vegetables, and it's bomb dot com it's so good.
Havird Usry: Every night is like a mystery basket. I open up my refrigerator and there's no telling what's in there. But my favorite thing really to cook when I'm at home and for my wife is probably pork tenderloin. I love to cook pork — it's pretty quick in the oven. And then whatever side dishes that I could possibly come up with [with] what's in there. I love sweet potatoes, either oven-roasted sweet potatoes or a sweet potato puree, and then something green, whether it's just a seasonal salad or some roasted asparagus or something like that.
Jernard Wells: Regular Tuesday night and I’m at home, I think my best go-to dinner is probably making a Gouda-stuffed grilled cheese. And I like to take the grilled cheese, stuff it with smoked Gouda, and then the outside of it, I wrap it with hickory-smoked bacon and then sear it up, and that’s my go-to dish: a bacon-wrapped grilled cheese at the end of the day.
Joy Thompson: Well, if it's a Tuesday night and all the kids are home, then I have to make something that they like, so it's typical mac and cheese, fried chicken. Typical Southern momma — country-style steak, chicken and dumplings, those kind of things.
Melissa Pfeister: Fish in a sack is easy. Again, I’m about time, saving time, saving money, 'cause I’m on a budget, and just making it easy. It’s awesome to cook and you have 15 pots and you have an amazing meal, but you know what? Unless you have someone at home cleaning that stuff, guess who’s then stuck cleaning after you just slaved away in the kitchen? So, one that I love is, it’s just fish in the sack. You just put it in a baking dish with a bunch of foil, you lay all the stuff on, in a layer in the foil, your fish, your veggies, some lemon, some olive oil. You wrap it up in the sack, you throw it in the oven, you bake it, you’re done. Done. A meal right there, 20 minutes. All your cleanup is, by the way, not even a dish — you just throw the foil away.
Monterey Salka: Absolutely nothing, frankly. I know that sounds crazy. People always ask me, they're like: "You're a chef. What do you make for yourself?" And I'm like, "If I'm lucky, Top Ramen." Because I spent all day cooking for people and the last thing — it's like asking an accountant if he goes home and files his receipts. It's just work. Yeah, and also after working, my appetite — because you're tasting all the time — my appetite's gone. My favorite thing to make for myself is a classic roast chicken with some nice crusty bread and really good butter and some roasted potatoes and onions. Simple. Something I can just throw in the oven. Because, especially cooking for one person, I can't justify it. I really can't.
Rob Burmeister: Odds are, if I'm making it for myself, I'll grab a package of ramen noodles, make them how it says on the package, but then I add crushed red pepper, a little squeeze of lime, I stir peanut butter into it and make a pad thai. Because my problem is, when I do cook, I cook for 30 people, and I never really eat it myself. ... I eat like a college kid basically.
Tregaye Fraser: I'll probably make some rice curry chicken and some kind of vegetable to force my kids to eat. The thing about it is my kids are picky eaters. My husband's from Guyana, South America, which is Caribbean kind of food, and they are like their dad. They want rice every day. Chicken every day. Something Caribbean every day. So I try to switch it up. But on a Tuesday, it would probably be something that I know they'll eat and I don't have to worry about it.
Yaku Moton-Spruill: On a Tuesday night, see, we have this process. Since I work so much during the week, on Mondays I'll normally make something that'll last my fiancée and my kids throughout the week. So Tuesday will be the night when I'm flipping a leftover and turning it into a whole different thing, so if I did spaghetti on Monday night ... I'll pat them out in balls and make fried spaghetti balls or spaghetti salad, just something like that. It's always basically just an audible on what I made on Monday night.
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Tune in to the premiere of Food Network Star on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c.