Sweet Genius

Food Network Delivers Best Quarter in History

1st Quarter Finished Highest-Rated and Most-Watched
Ranked #9 Cable Network

Guy Fieri Food Network StarNEW YORK – March 26, 2012–Food Network delivers its highest-rated, most-watched quarter ever posting a .6 among adults 25-54 (up 20% from 2011) and was watched nightly by an average of 1.3 million total viewers (645k adults 25-54), making it ranked 9th * among ad-supported cable networks for the quarter, up two spots from 2011.  March also culminated as the 7th consecutive month that Food Network has had “highest-ever” individual, monthly delivery.

Food Network’s Sunday night tentpole programming continues to drive the record-breaking success, beginning with Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off posting a 1.3 adult 25-54 rating for the season, having premiered as the #1 show in its timeslot. Returning series, Worst Cooks in America has averaged a 1.1 adult 25-54 rating over its seven-week run, with the upcoming finale to air Sunday, April 1st at 9pm.

Other standout primetime performers include Restaurant: Impossible which averages a .9 adult 25-54 rating and up 68% over year ago timeslot, Chopped (averaging a 1.0 adults 25-54 rating in its regular timeslot), Cupcake Wars (averaging .7 adults 25-54 rating) and newcomers Restaurant Stakeout, which has averaged a .9 rating adults 25-54 since premiering on March 14th and season two of Sweet Genius which premiered March 15th has averaged a .7 adults 25-54 rating, up 17% from season one.

*at time of release according to Nielsen Media Research

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.

Quick Hitter: “Next Iron Chef” Premiere Shatters Ratings

From the Food Network:

Food Network Has Best October Ever
With Record-Breaking Premiere Of ‘The Next Iron Chef’ Series

Network Finished 7th in Cable Prime
Up +20% from October 2010, Tied for Network’s Highest-Rated Month Ever

Next Iron ChefNEW YORK – November 1, 2011– Food Network harvests its best October in network history (up 20 percent from October 2010). The month was watched nightly by an average of 1.2 million total P2+ viewers, making it the highest-rated October ever posting a .6 in the core Adults 25-54 demo in prime.  The month culminated in the season four premiere of acclaimed series, The Next Iron Chef this past Sunday with a 1.4 A25-54 rating, up 40% from last season – a record season debut for the show and ranking 2ndfor the night among ad-supported cable networks. The premiere was watched by a total of 2.4 million viewers P25-54 and nearly 4.9 million P2+ viewers. The network also ranked 7th among ad-supported cable networks A25-54 for the month, up 4 spots from last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.

New primetime standouts like Halloween Wars (18 million total P2+ viewers) and Sweet Genius (nearly 15 million total P2+ viewers) propelled the month’s success, while primetime stalwart Chopped delivered its highest viewership in the series’ history with over 30 million P2+ viewers during October.

Review: Sweet Genius

Food Network’s newest spin on dessert competitions is called Sweet Genius.  One Food Network fan left a message on the Network’s official Facebook page describing it thusly, “Sweet genius = chopped + iron chef + sugar.”

Sweet GeniusHere’s the Network’s description, “Competition is sweet but by all means intense as four pastry chefs face off each week in unique dessert challenges. Whoever impresses Ron Ben-Israel — the Sweet Genius himself — takes home $10,000.”

Contestants are given some ingredients that belong in dessert and some that don’t.  That’s a tired gimmick and was never a good one.  The twist is that host Ron Ben-Isreal also gives them an “inspiration” like sand.  That’s different – stupid, but different.

As I have pointed out before I’m not a dessert kind of guy.  My idea of the perfect dessert is a second cheeseburger.  If you are a fan of dessert contests you will probably like it.  In essence dessert contests are all the same with the resulting dishes pretty much tasting the same.  Will it be a hit?  It will do well enough.  Desserts contest fans are cultish in their devotion to the genre.  They love their shows and apparently there are enough of them for networks to keep churning out these cookie cutter programs.  Sorry, had to do it.

I didn’t like it.  At all.  Not even a little.  It was better than Cupcake Wars.  Barely.

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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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