All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an online editor at FoodNetwork.com, covering top-tier show and talent packages and managing the FN Dish and Star Talk blogs. She grew up in a tight-knit Italian family in Michigan, where food was the focus of most conversations and it wasn't unusual to talk about the next day’s lunch and dinner menus while eating breakfast. Maria graduated from Barnard College in 2012 and currently lives in New York City. She likes her pasta cheesy, her eggs runny and her oysters briny.

Caption It: You’re Invited to a Tiki Party

by , July 1st, 2016

Food Network StarThis Sunday marks the seventh week of the competition for the remaining Food Network Star finalists. With just a few challenges standing between them and potential Stardom, it's high time they celebrate with a party, right? Right. Well, kind of. This...

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This Week’s Winning Recipes

by , June 30th, 2016

Food Network StarThough all of the Food Network Star finalists' finished dishes should be camera ready and pleasing to look at, this week's Mentor Challenge put a special emphasis on artful culinary designs. Smiley faces, turkey patties a la turkeys, flowers and fish...

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“And What Was the Purpose of This Again?” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, June 29th, 2016

Marc Summers, a first-timer in the Cutthroat Kitchen arena, stopped by tonight to judge the Time Warp Tournament finale, a ’90s-themed extravaganza complete with (a very) up-and-coming boy band and a replica of a Double Dare-style obstacle course. Clad in signature shiny-gold Hammer-style pants, Marc shuffled back and forth and hammered thyme packets into a wall, just like Chef Clay did in Round 2. “And what was the purpose of this again?” the judge asked Alton Brown. According to the host, the purpose was quite simple. “It’s to humiliate whoever’s doing it — and to force them to waste time for about five minutes, when they really could be doing something better,” Alton explained. That’s the beauty of this sabotage and many others; in each and every round, you can be sure they’ll both test the limits of the competitors and deliver on the diabolical hilarity that comes from watching chefs bid on challenges and endure them, no matter the eviliciousness they may bear in the process.

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WATCH: When the Wheel Isn’t Your Friend

by , June 29th, 2016

Let's be honest: There was pretty much no chance that Rhett and Link's Wheel of Mythicality was going to yield such friendly "Will It" combos as peanut butter and jelly or strawberries and cream on Sunday's latest episode of Food Network Star. But ...

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The Trickiest Surprise Ingredients Featured on Cooks vs. Cons

by in Shows, June 28th, 2016

Cooks vs. ConsJust when Cooks vs. Cons competitors think they’re set to cook the assigned dish in Round 1, host Geoffrey Zakarian is on hand to change their plans with the announcement of a mandatory surprise ingredient that must be showcased. And again in Round 2, though competitors can prepare any dish they’d like, their freedom goes only as far as yet another surprise ingredient. Cereal, soda, pickles, mushrooms and chocolate — all of these sweet, savory, tangy eats and drinks, and others, have made appearances, though not all the uses of them were wholly successful. When we checked in with Geoffrey recently, he told us about another ingredient he’d like to see revealed in the future. When we checked in with Geoffrey recently, he told us about another ingredient he’d like to see revealed in the future: “I think … another protein, like a chicken that they have to butcher or something they have to butcher — that would wipe me right out.” Browse photos to see how both professional chefs and amateurs approached the surprises.

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Watch Episode 3 of Star Salvation

by , June 28th, 2016

Just as the remaining Food Network Star finalists worked with their own food wheel this week (remember when the wheel matched bread pudding and kimchi, octopus and macaroni and cheese?), so did the hopefuls on Star Salvation. Host Eddie Jackson unv...

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The New York City Wine & Food Festival Returns in October — Buy Tickets to Hang Out with Your Favorite Chefs

by in Events, News, June 27th, 2016

New York City Wine & Food FestivalIf you’ve ever watched Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Geoffrey Zakarian and Alex Guarnaschelli on TV and thought to yourself, “Man, it would be so cool to meet those chefs someday,” that day has come — well, it will in a few months, actually.

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One-on-One with the Latest Food Network Star Finalist to Go Home

by , June 26th, 2016

Food Network StarWith only 11 short weeks to ready finalists before a winner will be chosen, the Food Network Star beast is such that week after week, hopeful competitors will fall, faced with the crushing disappointment of elimination. Here on Star Talk, we'll be br...

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Exclusive: Geoffrey Zakarian Previews the New Season of Cooks vs. Cons

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, June 24th, 2016

Geoffrey ZakarianFresh off a hit first season, Cooks vs. Cons — the game that asks if a professional chef can be outcooked by an amateur home cook — is set to return for Season 2 on Sunday, July 10 at 10|9c. Recently we caught up with Geoffrey Zakarian, the host of this culinary whodunit, to get his take on the success of Season 1 and what to expect from upcoming battles. Read on below to hear from him in an exclusive interview, and find out the pro-or-joe hunches he develops while watching each contest unfold.

Fans really gravitated toward the first season. Why do you think this is such a craveable game?
It’s on everybody’s mind that they all want to be a chef. So it’s very fun for people to imagine trying to trick someone like myself and two judges into [believing they’re] a chef, so I think it really sets up their interest first. And then the premise is great. It’s very quick. It’s easy to understand. You get it right away. And you’re just hooked because the chefs and the amateurs are both very interesting people. Pros are interesting, and the amateurs are interesting. It’s really great casting.

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Caption It: The Funny Side of the Competition

by , June 24th, 2016

Food Network StarFood Network Star mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis expect the best from the finalists in terms of on-camera charm and culinary expertise. And the mentors know just how to deliver no-nonsense challenges that test both skills, as they are kee...

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