canceled

Season 2 of Sweet Genius Premieres March 15th

Beware the Ides of March indeed, Sweet Genius returns.  From the Food Network:

NEW YORK — February 14, 2012 — Master Pastry Chef Ron Sweet Genius Season 2Ben-Israel returns to Food Network for the second season of the sugar-packed competition series Sweet Genius, premiering Thursday, March 15th at 10pm ET/PT. Back with more whimsy and wonder, each episode has four of America’s premier pastry chefs competing against one another through three rounds of challenges judged by Ben-Israel, along the way testing their creativity, ingenuity and imagination. The chefs are given surprise ingredients, an inspiration and a limited amount of time; with those three elements as a guide, they must create a delectable chocolate, candy and cake dessert. The winners from each round will advance for a final test, with Ben-Israel crowning the remaining chef Sweet Genius and receiving a $10,000 cash prize.

“Sweet Genius viewers will be on the edge of their seats as we continue to push the limits with inspirations and ingredients, while showcasing the talents of some of the best pastry chefs around,” said Ron Ben-Israel. “As a result, the desserts that the chefs create are truly outrageous.“

Over the thirteen-episode season, the chefs experience a myriad of new inspirations and ingredients, testing their pastry prowess. Whether it is making flamingo-inspired chocolate desserts with pink lemonade; creating candy desserts from rolled fruit snacks and shortbread cookies; or incorporating the inspiration of a music box to bake a cake using avocado and stinky cheese, each pastry chef will prove their imagination and skills worthy, but in the end, there can only be one Sweet Genius!

Ron Ben Israel Sweet GeniusAs Chef-Owner of Ron Ben-Israel Cakes, one of the country’s finest couture cake studios, Ron Ben-Israel’s cakes have been hand-delivered to destinations throughout the continental U.S and abroad. Ron started his confectionery adventures after a fifteen-year career as a professional modern dancer. Upon retiring from performing with companies spanning three continents, he utilized his art training, military background and ballet regime into the discipline of pastry arts. After arriving in New York City, Ron’s cakes were discovered by Martha Stewart while on display in the windows of Mikimoto on Fifth Avenue. In 1999 he established his flagship design studio and bakery in Manhattan’s fashionable SoHo neighborhood. He is a Master Pastry Instructor at the International Culinary Center in New York City, and has been awarded prestigious gold medals for his confectionery achievements.

Sweet Genius Season 2 Premieres Thursday, March 15th at 10pm ET/PT on Food Network.

Goodbyes From 2011

In 2011 we foodies said goodbye to a number of food shows.  Here’s a list:

Good Eats on Cooking ChannelGood Eats – after 11 years creator/host Alton Brown called it a series so that he could have more time with his family and to develop new projects.

Big Daddy’s House – after being declared the winner of Food Network Star 4, Aaron McCargo Jr. logged 61 episodes before moving on to the next stage of his career.

Crave – possibly the smartest show Food Network has done in years only received a single season but my guess is it will become the Firefly of TV food shows.  Troy, promise me I get to be in the big screen version!

Ace of Cakes – the show that introduced the world to cake decorating.  Duff Goldman and his hilarious staff of artisans, hipsters and other quirky personalities made cake into a trend.  I don’t blame Duff for all of the crappy cake shows on the air today because his was actually good.

Aarti Party – yet another Food Network Star show got the axe.  Currently only three of the seven winning shows are still in production.  Next to Guy’s Big Bite, Aarti Party was clearly the best FNS show ever.  EVER.  Like Good Eats it will live on with the Cooking Channel.  As for Aarti, she has a new series in the works that is a collaboration FNS 5 winner Melissa D’Arabian.

Update on Aarti’s and Jeff’s Shows

Jeff and AartiAfter scanning a few web sites and Facebook statuses I decided to reach out to Food Network itself about the status of the last two Food Network Star winners Aarti Sequeira and Jeff Mauro.  I chatted with Krista one of the network’s PR agents.  Here’s what I asked and her response.

Is Sandwich King still in production and if so when will new episodes air?

Information regarding Sandwich King is not yet available, though you may contact us around the middle of December and we hope to have an update available.

That sounds grim right?  The ratings were extremely good.  I wonder if there are other factors at work.  Jeff hasn’t updated his web site since late August but in that post he said:

Shooting a cooking show is the most mentally taxing performance art I’ve ever attempting.  The juggling of mental and physical requirements left me exhausted at the end of the day.  One flub and you have to do another take.  As the days went on, I did get more comfortable, so hopefully, by next season (if they give one) I’ll be even better.

Til’ then, it’s back to recipe development, sandwich research (eating), and maybe a little vacation with the family.

So will there be a second season?  I have to admit that after speaking with Food Network it sure didn’t look like it.  Jeff’s dormant web site and that last post didn’t help.  So I did a little digging, talked to some other cast members from season seven and they sent me to a post by Jeff on his Facebook page just this past Saturday:

Things are really starting to move along with Sandwich King Season 2. It will be similar, but more of what worked and less of what didn’t. Regardless, it will feature amazing sandwiches and fantastic locations. I’ll keep you posted when we start shooting in December. Look for it airing sometime in January. I think I smell an Emmy..local Emmy.

Is Aarti Party still in production and if so when will new episodes air?

New episodes are not scheduled for Aarti Party as those just finished airing in September. Her show is airing on our sister network, The Cooking Channel, though an episode will air on our network on November 26th and December 3rd at 8:00am ET/PT.

Aarti remains busy and has maintained her web site as she has done for years.  It’s where she got her start.  Though Krista’s answer seemed a little vague I think the picture we get is that new episodes of Aarti Party are all but done.  Old episodes will rerun on Cooking Channel.  Aarti did announce the other day that she has a super secret new show that just started production; more on that project HERE but be forewarned, it isn’t much more.

Guy Fieri Food Network StarBut now we are back to an issue that has plagued Food Network Star since it’s inception – it’s inability to produce sustainable hit shows. With this revelation that means that, at the moment anyway, only three of the seven winning shows are still in production – Sandwich King, Guy’s Big Bite and Ten Dollar Dinners.

In terms of the volume of shows Big Daddy’s House had the longest run of any show except Big Bite; it was recently canceled.  I cannot understand what goes on at Chelsea Market sometimes.  Big Daddy’s House had poor ratings because, quite frankly, it was not a great show yet it got 60+ episodes while Aarti Party had solid ratings but only got 30.  I think I have a better shot at figuring out the complexities of the female mind than I do the complexities of food television but admittedly the prospects don’t look good for either.

There you have it.  Now talk amongst yourselves.  That’s what the comments section is for.

Quick Hitter: Is Aarti Getting Another Show?

Aarti SequeiraFood Network Star 6 winner Aarti Sequeira has charmed viewers on her show Aarti’s Party on the Food Network and now on the Cooking Channel.  But rumor has it she has a new series in the works.  Who’s behind the rumor?  Well Aarti of course.

Tonight the giddy Goan girl posted this message on her official fan page at Facebook, “I’ve been shooting some segments for a new show you guys! Can’t wait for you to see it and tell me what you think. Now it’s off to bed because I’m up at 6am!!”

This will make her the first FNS winner since Guy Fieri to be given a second series.  In fact three of the seven shows produced by the reality show have been canceled.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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