DIY Gives Iron Chef Symon His Own “Man Cave”

man caves iron chefA neat crossover idea between DIY and Food Network as Iron Chef Mike Symon is visited by Man Caves hosts Jason Cameron and former NFL star Tony “The Goose” Siragusa.  Undoubtedly this episode was made to capitalize on the buzz from the upcoming Next Iron Chef Chef 4  Read the Presser:

‘Man Caves’ Tony Siragusa and Jason Cameron Create Ultimate Gym for Food Network’s ‘Iron Chef’ Michael Symon

Special Episode of DIY Network Series Premieres Friday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. ET

NEW YORK, October 6, 2011 – DIY Network, the go-to destination in home improvement television, premieres a special episode of the popular primetime series, Man Caves, when hosts Tony Siragusa and licensed contractor Jason Cameron create the ultimate guys paradise for Food Network’s Chef Michael Symon.

Premiering Friday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. ET, Siragusa and Cameron create a luxury gym in Symon’s basement to get him motivated to work out.

Considering how much time Symon spends in the kitchen surrounded by food, Man Caves is there to create a much needed space to help him unwind—and stay in shape.  The Man Caves team constructs a top-notch facility with steel accents and warm teak wood using a wrestling theme. The space is masculine, functional and hi-tech. It even includes large flat screen televisions hidden behind gym mirrors and a full service juice bar.

This special episode premieres just two days before the season premiere of Symon’s show, The Next Iron Chef airs on Food Network on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. ET.

Members of the media may also obtain additional press materials, talent bios and show images by registering at DIY Network’s online media newsroom.  Viewers can also become fans of DIY Network and interact with other home improvement enthusiasts and do-it-yourselfers through Facebook and Twitter.  DIY Network is available nationwide on DISH Network Ch. 111 and DIRECTV Ch. 230, and additional cable channel designations may be found by checking local listings and

Saturdays in the South: Nashville, Tennessee

Originally published by Current Magazine in 2007.

Titans StadiumHidden between the sprawling high-rises and the studios of Music Row is Vanderbilt University.  The lone private school in the Southeastern Conference, Vandy is best known for its law and medical schools.  Though nicknamed the Harvard of the South the Commodores would surely make quick work of the Ivy Leaguers were they to ever meet on the gridiron.

Because of its urban location within the spiraling growth of vibrant Nashville authentic tailgating is limited.  However the city is what makes Vanderbilt’s experience unique in contrast to the rural locales of the other member institutions.  In a way, it is the cultural capitol of the South with its history in music, racing, radio, publishing, sports and even politics.  In the days before television chances are you listed to the Grand Ole Opry on WSM each Saturday night.

The Ryman Auditorium, longtime home of the Opry is about a ten minute cab ride downtown.  There you will find Ernest Tubbs’ Record Shop and the infamous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.  Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Café, and the Wild Horse Saloon are all within easy walking distance as well.  Historic 2nd Avenue is host to everything from honkytonks to souvenir shops to jazz clubs to Irish pubs.

Nearby Printer’s Alley is grittier than the Disneyesque 2nd Avenue/Lower Broad area.  It is an actual alley which was once nested amid the many publishing houses that occupied downtown Nashville back in its heyday as the South’s publishing empire.  Today it features more of a Bourbon Street feel with blues bars and a metropolitan vibe that provides natives with music and libations deep into the night pouring the local favorite Gerst beer.

Just off the Vanderbilt campus in either direction are two of the hippest neighborhoods in America.  To the south, the campus gives way to 21st Ave. and the ultrachic Hillsboro Village which is filled with niche coffee houses, artisan bakeries, foreign movie houses and modish restaurants.  Hillsboro flows into Music Row making it prime terrain for star gazing.

It is home to Sam’s Place Sports Bar & Grill; the place for post game food (fantastic pizzas) with a view of the country’s other football games via multiple televisions.  Almost hidden is Sunset Grill (Belcourt Ave.) which is posh and trendy, if not a little pricey except for the affordable late night menu on the weekends.  The best known eatery in the neighborhood is the Pancake Pantry which, as the name suggests features superlative pancakes but the star is the steak and eggs which come with the best hash browns on planet earth.

It is also in the Village that you will find the best Sunday brunch in town.  Jackson’s Bar and Bistro not only offers novelties like French onion hash browns, chicken salad torrado, Jackson’s BLT (with fried green tomatoes), and cookie dough egg rolls, but their patio is a must for those into people-watching.

To the north you cross West End Avenue to get to Elliston Place.  The best live music venues in the city speckle the street along with dining pleasures that range from the Middle East to the Deep South with stops in Austin, St. Croix, and Chi-town.  Novel shops vending fine cigars, antique books and tie-dyed guitars act as buffers between rockers, groupies, frats, yuppies and tourists.

Just a block or so down Elliston Place from the stadium is Rotier’s.  It looks like one of those places your parents would have warned you to avoid as a child.  Sure it’s a dive, but it is also the home of Nashville’s best burger (served on French bread).  Other notable Elliston Place haunts include Obie’s Pizza and the Wingbasket.

For singles looking to sample some of the local flavor the Gold Rush (also on Elliston Place) is a strange brew to say the least.  Before the party crowd shows they dish out some of the best Tex-Mex in town.  After the dinner rush fades, the co-eds show up but the weirdness does not end.  Up stairs is a typical frat bar with pool tables, dart boards, and Top 40 music.  Downstairs is where the rockers hang out.  The frat bar closes before the rocker bar which makes for an interesting scenario as many a Kip has lost his Muffy to a Tommy Lee wannabe.

The tailgating that does go on for Commodore games is unique as Centennial Park, located just across West End Ave. from Dudley Field fills with fans of both teams.  The park makes for what is probably the most cultured tailgate experience in the South.  Standing in its center is a full-scale replica of the Athenian Parthenon.  The modern Parthenon, which was originally erected for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, houses the city’s art museum whose permanent collection contains a group of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists.

During September you can double your pleasure with a visit to the Tennessee State Fair which features rides, exhibits, rodeos, tractor pulls and other attractions or perhaps take in one of Nashville’s two major league sports franchises – the Tennessee Titans (NFL) or the Nashville Predators (NHL).  Or maybe checkout the Nashville Sounds, the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Nashville has a culinary legacy.  It is a unique take on traditional fried chicken called hot chicken.  There are many places in town that do their own version of hot chicken, practically one in every neighborhood.  The sovereign of Nashville hot chicken, however is the renowned Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack (East Nashville near the Titans’ Stadium).

Nashville is a metropolis with ten colleges or universities and over 1.5 million people.  Visiting fans have long enjoyed away games to Music City because of the many things to do and see, plus the hospitality is impressive.  So much so that recently, Travel & Leisure magazine named the citizenry the friendliest people in the nation.

Nashville Hot Chicken
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Stuart Reb Donald
Prep time: 8 hours
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 8 hours 35 mins
Serves: 4
  • 8 chicken quarters
  • 1 recipe breading (follows)
  • 1 recipe rub (follows)
  • 1 recipe marinade (follows)
  • 16 slices white bread
  • 8 pickle dill spears
  • Vegetable shortening for frying.

  • 1/2 cup hot paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili de arbol
  • 1 teaspoons habanera powder (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • Mix and seal in an airtight container.

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup rub

  • 2 quarts buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup rub
  • 1 bottle Tabasco sauce
  • Mix and refrigerate.
  1. In several large zip top bags place the chicken and marinade.
  2. Seal and refrigerate at least 8 hours, turning every two hours.
  3. Heat an iron skillet to medium heat and add shortening to 1/2″.
  4. Remove chicken from bags and let excess marinade drain.
  5. Coat in breading and fry for 20 – 35 minutes, or until done.
  6. When chicken is done remove to draining rack and coat, liberally, with rub.
  7. Serve over two slices of white bread with a pickle.

Weber Grills Helps You Elevate Your Tailgate

When you’re grilling up some pre-game fun, bland food and flavors are simply out of the question. So say, “Sayonara, boring,” because this tailgating guide will help you up the ante from regular, run-of-the-mill meals to bold, knock-their-socks-off gourmet grilling. Inside, you’ll learn the rules for making your parking lot party a winner, plus discover five mouth-watering recipes that are sure to score you a tailgating touchdown.

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What’s Cooking for Football Season?

Auburn's Jordan Hare Stadium
I guess it could be said that my hometown (Mobile, AL) is the epicenter of football.  We have our hometown South Alabama Jaguars starting their second season of NCAA play.  An hour or so away is the University of Southern Mississippi.  Two hours away is New Orleans home of the Super Bowl Champion Saints of the NFL.  Mobile also is roughly four hours from LSU, Alabama and Auburn.   All three are power houses from the nation’s toughest conference, the SEC.

Suffice it to say, we love our football here.  We also love great food so football season is also the height of our party season.  But football parties are not solely the domain of Mobile or the state of Alabama or even the South.  Starting this weekend football fans across the nation will be breaking out their best recipes to impress their guests and more importantly those who dare to wear the colors of the other team.

In the current issue of Southern Tailgater Magazine I have an article entitled Top 10 Tailgating Trends for 2010.  In the course of writing that article I chatted with Carrie Oliver of the Artisan Beef Institute where she offered burgers made from dry aged beef as a coming trend.  Unfortunately the constraints of the article kept me from using all of the information Carrie gave me.  With football season here I thought it a good time to share with you the rest of her expertise on the subject of grilling, trends and artisan beef.

According to Carrie, fancy condiments are out, dry-aged beef burgers are in.  Or as she puts it, “Bland is out, flavor is in.  Because when you use top quality beef that’s been dry-aged before you grind it, the burgers themselves have flavor. You won’t even need to use condiments.”

Carrie has a free tasting guide that you can download from her site.  With it you can learn the ins and outs of the new artisan meat movement.  You can even send in the results of your tasting and she’ll post them for the world to see.  You will also find reviews of the beef, pork, lamb, and poultry from different artisan farms and butchers.  She also has information on artisan lamb, poultry and the South’s favorite, pork.
Oliver is also a founder of MeatCamp™, a one-of-a kind education and tasting series for artisan beef, pork, lamb, poultry and goat that is augmented by a moderated chat series known as #MeatCamp on Twitter.

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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.

Stu’s Latest Kindle Single is Just $2.99

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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