All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an editor at Food Network, now living in New York City after being born and raised in the great state of Michigan. She likes her eggs runny, her pasta cheesy and has been known to throw back dozens of oysters at a time.

Chatting with Donal Skehan, a Mentor on the Brand-New Food Network Star Kids

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, August 3rd, 2016

Food Network Star KidsFresh off a game-changing Season 12 of Food Network Star, Tregaye Fraser joined the Food Network family as an on-fleek chef with an uncanny ability to entertain. But that doesn’t mean the search for Star power has ended. In fact, the journey is set to continue this month when Donal Skehan and Tia Mowry team up to discover the next budding culinary talent — a young talent, that is. On Food Network Star Kids, the mentors will ask pintsize cooks to not only strut their kitchen chops but also shine on camera, just as an adult Food Network Star needs to be able to do.

Recently we checked in with Donal to get his take on what it’s like working with kids and the joint culinary-camera challenges he and Tia have in store for the finalists. Check out his exclusive interview below for a preview of the season and learn more about Donal.

Just like Food Network Star proper, this competition is special in that it asks kids to not just cook well but to also present and perform well. Do you think one part is trickier to master than the other?
Donal Skehan: It’s a tricky one because, like, obviously, to be a cook you have to have incredible skills to make people enjoy your food, that’s — I think sometimes I believe it’s something you’re kind of born with. Either you can do it or, I mean, you can learn it, but I think it’s something that you know if you have it in your heart and it’s something that that’s the place that you cook from, I think that’s something really cliché, but it is, and it’s true, though. And I do think that side of it is such an important part to have because you can teach most things, but if you don’t kind of have it from the outset, it’s going to be very hard to kind of create. So I think in this competition you do, but as soon as people start cooking you see who’s a natural cook and who’s someone who has learned it as a skill. Both can be very good, but you do see it more out there than ever before.

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16 Things You Didn’t Know About Tregaye Fraser, Food Network’s Newest Star

by , August 2nd, 2016

Food Network StarYou know Tregaye Fraser as the newest member of the Food Network family, and you're surely familiar with her work as the self-described "queen of food fusion on fleek." But did you know that her favorite TV show is Power and that she likes to munch o...

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Exclusive: Chatting with the Runners-Up of Food Network Star

by , August 1st, 2016

After 10 weeks of challenges, Food Network Star mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis announced the newest member of the Food Network family in a life-changing finale on Sunday night. Damiano, Jernard and Tregaye all showed bright flickers of ...

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Exclusive: One-on-One with the Winner of Food Network Star

by , July 31st, 2016

Food Network StarAfter 10 weeks of challenges, Food Network Star mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis announced the newest member of the Food Network family in a life-changing finale on Sunday night. If you haven't watched the episode yet, don't read any furthe...

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Caption It: Balancing Act Edition

by in Shows, July 30th, 2016

Caption It: Balancing Act EditionWith the Summer Games just around the corner, the co-hosts of The Kitchen let their Olympic spirit shine this weekend when they featured a globally inspired feast complete with recipes from around the world (think Mexican burgers, Vietnamese hot dogs and Brazilian chocolates) — and indulged in some friendly competition. They created an over-the-top obstacle course that demanded not only balance, agility and focus but also a hearty appetite as they tried Bobbing for Doughnuts on a string.

Take a peek at the photo above from this morning’s episode. Here Jeff Mauro is enduring the Spoon Balance test, in which he’s attempting to navigate tricky pool toys while keeping the lime on the spoon in his mouth. Next up for him will be the doughnut station, and then it’s on to Marshmallow Archery in a race against the clock.

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Caption It: The Brink of Stardom

by , July 29th, 2016

Food Network StarThis. Is. It.

Fresh off last week's momentous pilot shoot with Guy Fieri, Damiano, Jernard and Tregaye are set to return to Food Star Kitchen for the last time on Sunday for what will be a life-changing finale — for one of them. These three Food Ne...

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Get the Recipes for the Finalists’ Last Food Network Star Dishes

by , July 28th, 2016

Smokehouse Pork Chops with Mac and Cheese"Each of you will have 60 minutes to cook the dish of your life," Giada De Laurentiis told the finalists on Sunday night. "And make sure, you guys, that the dish you make leaves no doubt that you should be the next Food Network Star."

That's some pre...

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Richard Experiences the Highs and Lows of Sabotage — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, July 27th, 2016

For Cutthroat Kitchen judge Richard Blais, there was no shortage of roller-coaster emotions as he tried his hands — or, rather, his tongs — at not one but two of the day’s sabotages during the After-Show. After host Alton Brown asked him to prep an everyday cobb salad, the judge was mostly pleased with the task. But in true Cutthroat fashion, the challenges didn’t stop there. “Why do you guys have to do this?” Richard joked after being saddled with a duo of challenges. He was forced to carry multiple shopping bags on both of his arms — which sounds easy enough — but then instead of being able to use his hands to prep the salad, he was given salad tongs. And that’s when the situation turned evilicious.

“The lettuce is going to be an issue,” Richard noted after he mangled his mise en place of fresh avocado and grilled chicken. When it came to cracking and peeling a hard-boiled egg, he said simply, “That’s not fun at all.” But once he learned the basic technique of working with tools upon tools, he couldn’t help but feel proud of himself. “Now I’m kind of crushing it,” he admitted, having successfully used tongs to hold a spoon and scoop out mustard for the base of his dressing. As he used the tongs to claw away chunks of bacon from the strips, he explained how downright diabolical this sabotage proved to be, calling it “one of the toughest challenges” he’d seen. Once again, though, the frustration didn’t last long. By the time Richard added the last of his ingredients to the salad, he admitted, “I’m feeling good about this.” Sure enough, he was pleased with the final results.

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WATCH: Rob Cramps Damiano’s Style

by , July 27th, 2016

Each and every one of the challenges on Food Network Star was important this season, from the finalists' first attempts at cold-open videos in the premiere episode to the holiday parties that took place in Week 9. But Sunday night's very last face-...

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“I’m Getting to O.G. Status”: Guy Talks 10 Years of Food Network Stardom and Directing Finalists’ Pilots

by , July 26th, 2016

Food Network StarWe're just days ahead of Sunday's Food Network Star finale and the announcement of this year's winner, and no one knows what the top-three hopefuls, Damiano, Jernard and Tregaye, are feeling right now better than Guy Fieri. Ten years ago this bona fi...

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