All Posts By Sara Levine

Sara Levine is a Senior Online Editor at FoodNetwork.com and a culinary-school-trained home cook. Several years ago she quit her magazine job to go to Le Cordon Bleu, which led to a stint in Food Network Kitchen. Although cooking professionally wasn’t her thing, she loves frequenting restaurants and putting her own amateur culinary skills to work in her tiny kitchen.

Star-a-Day: Kara Sigle

by , May 7th, 2012

Kara Sigle

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Team Bobby’s Kara Sigle is a 31-year-old caterer and fitness guru from Chicago. She learned to cook from her mom and likes to put a healthy spin on favorite tried-and-true dishes.

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Star-a-Day: Linkie Marais

by , May 6th, 2012

Linkie Marais

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Twenty-eight-year-old Linkie Marais is Team Giada’s resident baking queen. Linkie grew up in South Africa and moved with her family to Mississippi at age 16. This trained pastry chef and wedding cake expert now lives in Massachusetts.

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Star-a-Day: Emily Ellyn

by , May 5th, 2012

Emily Ellyn

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Today we meet Team Alton’s quirky retro gal, 29-year-old Emily Ellyn. Emily grew up on a farm, trained at the Culinary Institute of America and Academie Internationale de Management in Paris and is now pursuing her Ph.D. in hospitality management.

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Star-a-Day: Malcolm Mitchell

by , May 4th, 2012

Malcolm Mitchell

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Team Bobby’s Malcolm Mitchell, 41, changed gears after four years in the Navy and decided to go to culinary school. He now works as a personal chef in Washington, D.C., often for big-name clients.

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Star-a-Day: Martita Jara

by , May 3rd, 2012

Martita Jara

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Today we meet Team Giada’s Martita Jara, 35, an interior designer and passionate home cook who grew up in her family’s Mexican restaurants in Southern California.

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Restaurant Revisited: Mama Lee’s

by in Shows, May 2nd, 2012

Mama Lee'sWhen Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team visited Mama Lee’s soul food restaurant in San Antonio, it had never turned a profit and was just weeks away from closing down. A few months after Robert’s major revamp — he even called in reinforcements from HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins — we caught up with Ken, the owner, to see how business is going.

Four months later, Mama Lee’s is closer to turning a profit. Sales are up 15 percent and Ken is seeing many new customers in addition to his old regulars. With the increase in sales, he is slowly catching up on overdue bills.

Ken still feels reinvigorated as a leader. “We’re holding staff meetings every other Sunday,” he told us, in order to address service issues and discuss customer feedback. “I’m re-energized.” Read more

Star-a-Day: Judson Allen

by , May 2nd, 2012

Judson Allen

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Judson Allen, 30, runs his own catering company in Chicago. Having recently lost 100 pounds, he focuses on healthy food, but also loves to cook with the Creole flavors he learned from his grandfather. Like his team leader, Alton Brown, Judson has a penchant for bow ties.

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Star-a-Day: Michele Ragussis

by , May 1st, 2012

Michele Ragussis

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Team Bobby gets today’s spotlight with Michele Ragussis, a 42-year-old executive chef. Michele lives and works in Brooklyn, but her roots are in New England.

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Star-a-Day: Philip “Ippy” Aiona

by , April 30th, 2012

Philip "Ippy" Aiona

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Today we highlight Team Giada’s laid-back Hawaiian native, Philip “Ippy” Aiona. At 23 years old, this executive chef is the baby of the Season 8 finalists.

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Star-a-Day: Justin Warner

by , April 29th, 2012

Justin Warner

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Today, meet Team Alton’s 27-year-old culinary daredevil, Justin Warner. A self-taught cook, he’s the chef-owner of a Brooklyn restaurant.

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