Watch as I take a frugal culinary journey in our nation’s second largest city. Cuban breakfast sandwiches, Greek Spanikopita, Boiling Korean Seafood Soup and all american donut holes are all devoured for under 24$! 24 AMERICAN DOLLARS!. Trust me, my stomach and love handles were just as flabbergasted.
Sandwiches can be a lot of things – but dessert? I definitely thins so, and I head to Oak Park to innovative pastry shop Sugar Fixe to prove it. With some pointers from chef and owner Cindy Summers, I get inspired to whip up a sandwich that would make Elvis proud – a crunchy, sweet, creamy and fried PB&J. Next, I reinvent the ice cream sandwich by pairing ice cream with homemade chocolate turtles. Every dessert needs a beverage and this Sunday I go overboard with a Portillo’s-inspired Chocolate Cake Shake. Lorenzo and my nephews are stopping by to taste it all!
Sunday on Food Network
11:00 AM/10:00 AM CST
Live Tweeting: @jeffmauro
New locations, new set, new vibe, new SANDWICHES, same ol’ host. This season of Sandwich King will definitely blow your mind. In thanks to a new production company (Bobby Flay’s Rock Shrimp Productions), a new and talented director (Chris Sgueglia – Cash Cab, Bobby Flay’s Throwdown) and fabulous recipes, this season will hopefully break every Food Network Record known to man. What those records are, no one knows.
Stay tuned for more updates!
I am officially done with the Food Network Star Book Tour! 2 weeks, 8 cities, countless interviews, TV appearances, airports, and thousands of books signed. What a whirlwind. I honestly loved every minute it. My room service ordering ability was greatly improved, as well as my airport-navigation savviness. Meeting the thousands of fans was the true gift. Little did I know how many people love this show. You hear about ratings and see the facebook and tweeter responses, but in person it is a whole different sandwich. The spectrum of fans is diverse: Toddlers, teens, Dads, Grandmas, Babies, Moms, etc. The outpouring of support was mind blowing, and getting to meet everyone one -on-one really humbled me. Not to mention all the signatures!. I even signed a sandwich, in mustard, and took a bite. Truly a dream come true.
As for the first two episodes of Sandwich King, I feel they came out stellar. It’s hard watching yourself for 22 minutes under the microscope of HD television. Every silly thing said, repeated phrase and goofy face is up front and center. That’s going to take a little getting used to, but overall, I’m proud. 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. Thank you all for being great fans. This is truly only the begining, and I’m glad you’re all with me…
A Sandwich a Day….
and. Boom goes the dynamite. Yep, I won.
Thank you all for the barrage of support. It’s truly overwhelming to wake up one morning and realize you just achieved a dream. As cliche as that sounds, it is fact. I did it. All you need is some drive, a destination and a good woman. Sarah was instrumental in every stage of this process. She supported the hell out of me, and I put her through hell in the process. It wasn’t comfortable leaving my family, I left her with bills, no duel income and a 2 1/2 year old who required constant attention. Not to mention a couple midwest blizzards. I love her and did this for Sarah and Lorenzo more than anything.
Now that the secrets out, I can be honest here. My show has been wrapped since early July. We shot 2 weeks in NY in the studio and another week on location at many great joints in Chicago. What I hear from THE MAN, the show looks great and I’m excited to watch it for the first time along with my family.
The book tour thus far has been awesome. Not only am I getting out there and meeting and greeting and signing and grinning, but all the press and publicity has been a whirlwind of cooking, talking and schticking. I’m loving every minute. I was born for this.
Sandwich King premiers this Sunday at 11:30am ET / 10:30a, CT.
I’m signing Food Network Star: The Official Insider’s Guide at the following locations
8/20: Barnes & Noble – McLean, VA – 2:00 – 4:00pm – w/ my gal Mary Beth
8/22: Tattered Cover – Highland’s Ranch, CO – 7:30pm – 9:00pm – w/ Suzie!
8/23: Barnes & Noble – Cherry Hill, NJ – 7:00pm – 10:30pm – w/ my BOY VIC VEGAS
8/27: Macy’s on State – CHICAGO, IL!!!! – 2:00pm – 4:00pm – w/ VIC VEGAS!!! AGAIN!
8/27: Meijer’s – St. Charles, IL – 6:30pm – 8:30pm – w/ VIC VEGAS
Check out the book:
Holy Moses. More to come! TV Shows! Radio!
Thanks again to everyone. A sandwich a day….
That Iron Chef challenge was the real deal. Ridiculously stressful, the 1 hour deadline seems like enough time to execute 3 dishes, but its not. I remember after I got back from taping FNS, they started running promos for Sunday Night TV on Food Network. There was a shot of Bobby Flay during an Iron Chef America competition. His face was drenched in sweat and he had a look of utter exhaustion. Like he just gave birth. To Michael Symon. That image was a true indication of what it feels like to compete in kitchen stadium. We really had an hour, we really had minutes to construct a mental menu and at the end, I was mentally and physically mangled.
That being said, the commentating was a blast. I loved bantering with Alton, following the food and flexing my culinary knowledge. I would gladly enter kitchen stadium again, but this time, maybe with a notepad not a knife. But never say never….
Top 3! Going to the finale. Whitney came through with her culinary skills. She fabricated those lobsters very quickly and made a killer bisque. If it weren’t for her speed, I would have been in the weeds fo sho.
Next week there will be a surprise elimation camera challenge and then two go on to shoot their pilots. That coupled with a hilarious reunion show should amount to 2 epic hours of television. Who will win? Who will fail? Who will go on to tape their own show? The answer to all those questions….Penny.
A sandwich a day….
We started out this episode eating our faces off. Literally, I ate at 5 different locations in an hour, averaging 4 items per location. That’s like 118 meals in a hour. I truly did lose weight when taping in LA. I truly gained it all back in an hour. That being said, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” camera challenge was the least stressful and most enjoyable camera challenge to date. I loved tasting, talking food and interviewing each of the chefs/owners. It was truly a dream come true.
The Roast on the other hand, was a different story. The cooking portion was a breeze (I finally got back on the deli slicer horse which put me right back at home). At that point, I was gone for 9 weeks, and not only hadn’t I hugged my wife or kid, but I also hadn’t had the opportunity to use a deli slicer, which I tend to operate for at least 80 minutes a day. The slicer coupled with the fact that I was doing a fantastic and personal favorite dish (Italian beef) made it a very enjoyable cooking experience. Having the knowledge that I was a failed comedian (professionally at least) about to serve and present to a bunch of successful comedians loomed over me the whole time. I knew they knew about my past, and that they would be hardest on me. My goal was to not lay it on too thick. Be me, but sit back and get whatever beating they were gonna give me. If I could throw in a joke here or there, so be it. But my goal was to show I could be a star not a standup.
Kaboom. Third win in a row and going into next week’s Iron Chef challenge with a fair amount of momentum and confidence. WHAT. WILL. I. DO. WITH. SAID. MOMENTUM?
I love you all. Thanks for supporting me and all the great facebook messages and tweets and whatnot.
A sandwich a day….,
I arrived in NYC with a revived spirit and an excitement for a change of scenery, studio and cityscape. I was ready to take on any challenge they threw at me and no matter what, I was going “balls” out. However, when Ina walked in the room I had a feeling our first camera challenge would be a bit shaky for me. Ina is a food-star legend whom I greatly respect,but we are cut from two very different clothes. My first reaction was “oh crap, how will I impress her amidst the girls (and vic) who are all super fans?” So why not make a 5-meat cupcake? At least if I’m going down, I’m going down swinging for the fences. Granted, I swang my bat so hard it slipped out of my hands and hit the pitcher (Bobby), catcher (Bob), and the left fielder (Ina) so hard that it knocked out all their incisors. If you were to see my FNS journal, beside “Italian Sub Cupake” I had written “Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcake” which would have been a wiser albeit less entertaining decision. My cupcake was a behometh, an abomination and overall, the funniest thing I’ve ever made. It makes me very proud and I have no regrets. Especially my prosciutto floret garnish.
The Rachael Ray show was a challenge I HAD to win. Not only to erase my cupcake from B & B’s minds, but to also show that ultimately, I am a good entertainer. Being in RR’s studio was daunting but I never let my nerves get the best of me. I remember waiting to perform and my fellow finalists where all very, very anxious. I said screw that, this is mine to win. When the cameras started rolling, I just turned on auto pilot and did my thang. It went by so quick I can’t recall the specifics, but I do remember feeling elated at the end. I knew I connected with the audience and RR and wanted to do it again, and again, and again. I was hooked. My only regret is pronouncing the silent “s” on Illinois. I know. I know. I know. Sorry to my fellow Illinois residents. I was in the moment and it just came out. Well aware.
This was my first solo win and it felt great, especially with such an ENORMOUS challenge. Part of me felt that if I didn’t win FNS, at least I hopefully proved to someone out there that I can handle myself in this genre. Thanks everyone for the kind words and the continued support. I love you all equally but some more than others.
Next week, Gilbert F’in Godfried. The former comedian feeding and attempting to entertain legitimate comedians. WHAT. WILL. HAPPEN!?? Til’ Then….
A Sandwich A Day…
Warmth. Warming. Warminess.
Salad. Salade. Ensalade.
Not too bad of an episode. I move on to NYC, Penny and Chris go home. Many people are rejoicing in the streets on account of this fact. The hatred of Chris and Penny on the blogosphere is mind boggling. With those two gone, it frightens me to see where all that hate is diverted. Is it my turn? Next episode is another barn-burner for me. Let’s see. I got along splendidly with both Chris and Penny and never had any problems with either of them. Still talk to both of them to this day.
My Chicken Vesuvio Sandwich was an original creation that wasn’t highlighted as much as my dull performance. Oh well. I’m learning, right!? Those camera challenges are very difficult. 1 minute to do anything just isn’t natural (just ask the wife…hey oh.) I would be thrilled to never have to do a 1 minute camera challenge ever again.
Cooking for wolfgang in our tiny kitchen was a thrill. I loved this challenge and enjoyed displaying my refined salad making abilities. When I was charged with the first course, I knew a salad was necessary. I did not want to bombard Wolfgang and the committee with a bread, meat and cheese bomb. A little dainty handheld bite of raw beef and fried wanton sounded like my best bet. At least they liked my presentation.
Jyll’s unfortunate risotto debacle was the main event of this episode, and watching Wolfgang call out for beef stock in our kitchen was pretty hilarious. I just sat back and thought to myself…”well, this just increased my odds of NOT going home.” That’s how you think during this comeption. It’s not polite, I know, but at least i’m honest. Other peoples failures where often a source of inner joy for the other finalists. Any one tell you different, they be lying.
Overall, I just couldn’t wait to get out of that house and on plane. I was done with LA and that big ol’ house in the hills. I needed to refresh my mental screen (Alt F5) and buckle down in order to win this thing. At this point I missed my family terribly and just wanted to hug the hell out of them. Getting green lit to NYC only brought me closer to my family, and at this point, I might as well bring home the title. These were my thoughts, among many others. Manly the following…”what is TV like?”….”do these people ever stop speculating what the next challenge is?”……..”what does it feel like to be hugged, other than hugging an eliminated finalist goodbye?”……..”how much pastrami are they gonna let me eat in NY?”…..
Next week Ina & Rachel. Will I impress them? Will I scare them? It’s an even bet that I’ll illicit a little bit of both…