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.

Farewell to Retro-Rad

by , June 26th, 2012

Emily Ellyn and Alton

Team Alton will bring only two finalists to Miami after saying goodbye to Emily Ellyn in last Sunday’s episode. Emily embodied her “retro-rad” POV to a T, but after seven weeks she was still unable to open up and get comfortable on camera. After her presentation to the media panel, “awkward” was the word Jess Cagle from Entertainment Weekly used to describe her. “That’s a word you never want to hear about someone in front of a camera,” said Bob Tuschman.

Alton saw great potential in Emily: “She was a ready-made package. You could look at her and know what she was about. Retro-rad was great. She lives it. When she wasn’t on camera, she was on the side crocheting. She was the real thing!”

Through “happy tears,” Emily reflects on the Star experience and working with Alton: “There’s no way to even prepare for something like this. The whole thing was awesome. I gave it my best, and I made great food. I was more upset when I was voted off that I let Alton down. He was there for us 5,000 percent.”

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Team Giada: Down to Three

by , June 19th, 2012

Team GiadaTeam Giada thought they had last Sunday’s food-court challenge in the bag. A Mexican-themed kiosk, with Martita on their side? No problem. But for South African dessert queen Linkie Marais, Mexican food was uncharted territory: “I don’t even know what they serve for dessert in Mexico!” Stumped, she ran with Martita’s suggestion of churros and hoped for the best, despite the fact that she’d never made them before.

Sure enough, the texture of the churros was off and Linkie tried to re-brand them as “biscotti.” But her confidence was shaken, and it showed. She ended up in the Producers’ Challenge, where she gave Bob and Susie a solid chicken dish, proving that she shouldn’t be pigeonholed into pastry. Still, in the end, it was pitch room veteran Nikki who prevailed, sending Linkie home.

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Midterms: Mentors Weigh In

by , June 19th, 2012

The competition has reached its halfway point. Just five weeks from now, one of the nine remaining finalists will have his or her own Food Network show. In this exclusive video, we checked in with Giada, Bobby and Alton to see how they’re feeling about their respective top three finalists. Are they surprised at who’s made it this far, or were these their top contenders from day one?

They also size up the competition. Who’s the team to beat at this juncture? And who’s the most competitive mentor? Bob and Susie reveal which Food Network icon “does not want to lose, ever.”

Do you agree with the mentors? Midway through the season, which team do you see as the front-runner?

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Restaurant Revisited: Horton’s Kids

by in Shows, June 13th, 2012

In a special episode of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine faced his toughest challenge yet when First Lady Michelle Obama assigned him the task of rebuilding Horton’s Kids, a children’s community center that provides many services such as serving after-school meals in one of Washington, D.C.’s neediest neighborhoods. Mrs. Obama gave Robert three missions: Give Horton’s Kids a dining room, update their kitchen and create a community garden for them.

A few months after Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible-style transformation of Horton’s Kids, we checked in with Executive Director Brenda Chamberlain to see how the organization is doing. “Everyone loves and is impressed with the new, transformed Horton’s Kids!” says Brenda. “The vibrant space establishes a sense of community for the children.”

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Team Alton: Three Remain

by , June 12th, 2012

When Bob and Susie declared that Team Bobby and Team Giada were both winners of the Guy Fieri live show challenge, it was bad news for Team Alton. All four members faced the Producers’ Challenge and the pitch room, where no matter what happened, one teammate would be going home. Alton went to bat for all of his finalists: “Every one of these people is going to make your brain tie up in knots. You’re not going to be able to let one of them go,” he told Bob and Susie.

But they had to pick someone, and in the end, Judson Allen bid farewell to the team. Judson had recently turned a corner with his new POV, focusing on healthy food and his personal weight-loss journey, but he continued to struggle with his authenticity on camera.

Before heading home, Judson reflected on the experience of working with Alton: “I don’t think words can sum up how much I have valued his mentorship.”

Bob and Susie also share their take on Alton as team leader: “He’s getting so attached to his team. When they suffer, he suffers. I don’t think people see that side of Alton,” says Bob.

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