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Caption It: High-Five

by , July 5th, 2013

Food Network Star, Season 9 FinalistsA finalist’s journey on Food Network Star is a rollercoaster-like experience of high and low moments, often fluctuating between flashes of intense pride and painful disappointments — sometimes within the same week. It’s up to them to revel in their personal progress and slices of victory, and recognize their flops, while, of course, avoiding becoming discouraged by the missteps. While some know how to take the difficult days in stride and learn from them, others find themselves hung up on thoughts of weakness or particularly critical feedback.

In the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday’s all-new episode, it appears as though this group of contestants has no trouble embracing a happier moment of the day. Here, they’ve come together for a quick second of celebration, high-fiving and laughing with each other on set. What do you think has these rivals in such a good mood? Does it look like they’re once again working in teams, or are they simply supporting each other in the competition?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out what’s going on, we’re challenging you, Star fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

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Sunday’s Star Menu: A Finalist-Inspired Barbecue Feast

by , July 3rd, 2013

Memphis-Style Hickory-Smoked Beef and Pork RibsAs Sunday afternoons turn to evenings and the hours until the next episode of Food Network Star tick away, how do you settle in to watch the latest premiere? No matter who you’re with or where you’re watching from, you surely have on hand a spread of eats and drinks to last you through the episode, right? Here at Star Talk, we want to see what you’re munching on. Every Wednesday, check back for a themed menu to get you ready for the episode ahead, and on Sunday nights, snap photos of your spread and share them with @FoodNetwork via Twitter and Instagram using #FoodNetworkStar.

Just as you may host weekly viewing parties to take in the latest happenings in the Star Kitchen, so, too, do this season’s contestants, throwing food-focused bashes with their families and friends to catch themselves on television. Last weekend, rivals and friends Rodney and Chad came together to watch the 4th of July Live challenge (see the photo below), and they told Star Talk that true to the styles of the Pie Man and Barbecue Guy, their menu was a hearty one. At each of his three Dangerously Delicious Pies shops, Rodney offers a selection of classic dessert-style pies, plus savory options with chicken, pulled pork and potatoes. He brought a few kinds of both varieties to the party, while Chad stayed true to his point of view, providing the ultimate barbecue feast: Memphis-inspired ribs, traditional barbecue sauce and spicy coleslaw.

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WATCH: Anything Can Happen on Star

by , July 2nd, 2013

From missing ingredients and gadgets to fake fire alarms, Sunday’s episode of Star challenged the remaining contestants’ culinary skills as well as their patience, live-demo capabilities and on-the-spot thinking.

Click play on the video above to watch some of the funniest and most awkward moments that prove anything can happen when the cameras go live.

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From Mistake to Magic: Watch Star Salvation Episode 2

by , June 30th, 2013

For the first time in Star history, one eliminated contestant will have a chance to re-enter the competition in a four-week Web series called Star Salvation, presented by Buitoni. Last Sunday, host Robert Irvine tasked Danushka, Andres, Daniela and Lovely with a series of culinary skill challenges that resulted in a double elimination.

Going into the second episode of Salvation, remaining contestants Danushka and Lovely are joined by newly eliminated Viet, who is pretty sure he can outcook his opponents. This week they’ll be tasked with making something tasty out of failed foods like overcooked pork chops, mushy veggies and burnt nuts. Who will be one step closer to returning to the competition?

Click the play button above to watch the second episode and find out who will advance to next week’s episode of Star Salvation.

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Caption It: Bunny Ears

by , June 28th, 2013

Damaris Phillips, Russell Jackson and Nikki DinkiEach episode of Food Network Star runs for about 42 minutes total — not including commercial time, of course — but to produce that short amount of television, finalists, mentors, camerapeople and behind-the-scenes crew devote three whole days to filming a single show. Shooting often starts early in the morning and doesn’t wrap until late in the evening, and while the process is indeed efficient and organized, the cast is surely left with downtime, both on the set and behind the scenes. It’s up to them to fill that time on their own: Should they try to anticipate future challenges, hash out go-to recipe ideas, reflect on the competition in their journals or chat with contestants?

Given the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday’s all-new episode, it looks as if Russell and Nikki have taken the moments before filming begins to simply goof around with each other, donning silly faces, lighthearted expressions and bunny ears. Do you think they’ve become slaphappy by their long days on set, or are they using the play time to de-stress from the competition? Will they be able to regain focus and professionalism before the next challenge begins?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out what’s going on, we’re challenging you, Star fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

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WATCH: Food Network Stars Dish on Their Favorite Dinner-and-a-Movie Combos

by , June 27th, 2013

This past Sunday, the remaining contestants took a break from Food Star Kitchen and traveled to Cinépolis Theaters in California for a dinner-and-a-movie combo challenge that Bobby, Giada and Alton will never forget (relive the contestants trailers by watching them here). The episode got Star Talk editors thinking: What would be the ultimate combo using an existing movie? Elf and a big plate of spaghetti? Christmas Vacation and not-so-dry turkey?

Star Talk caught up with Food Network stars, including judge Bobby Flay, Star Salvation‘s Robert Irvine, Geoffrey Zakarian, Marc Murphy, Amanda Freitag, Guy Fieri, Jeff Mauro and Anne Burrell, as well as other famous faces, to ask that very question: “What’s your favorite dinner-and-a-movie combo?” Click the play button above to hear what each had to say.

Now tell us: What’s your favorite dinner-and-a-movie combo? Share with Star Talk editors in the comments below.

WATCH: Star Salvation Episode 1, a Second Chance at Stardom

by , June 23rd, 2013

For the first time in Star history, one eliminated contestant will have a chance to re-enter the competition in a four-week Web series called Star Salvation, presented by Buitoni. Each Sunday night after every Star episode, Robert Irvine, host of Restaurant: Impossible, will test the finalists in a series of culinary skill challenges that will determine whether they stay or go.

In the first episode, fans will see the infamous Danushka, Andres, Daniela and newly eliminated Lovely return to Food Star Kitchen for a rigorous challenge testing their basic culinary skills that they’ll have to complete in just 15 minutes. Who will be one step closer to returning to the competition?

Click the play button above to watch the first episode and find out who will advance to next week’s episode of Star Salvation.

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Caption It: Face Plant

by , June 21st, 2013

Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby FlayIt’s no secret that the finalists face a mountain of pressures week after week, cooking against the clock in all-or-nothing challenges, strutting their stuff for a crew of cameras and enduring hours-long evaluations that ultimately determine their futures. But what about the mentors, Alton, Bobby and Giada? They, too, grapple with a series of Star stresses, as it is, after all, up to them to narrow down the crop of contestants before you, the fans, choose your next star. The burden is on them to find each competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, and give them the tools they need to show off the former and improve the latter, all while maintaining the distance and fairness of a judge. Alton, Bobby and Giada handle the job differently depending on the day, but for each of them, when the work becomes particularly trying, sometimes all that’s left to do is laugh.

Take a look at the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday’s all-new episode: Alton, Giada and Bobby have gathered at evaluation, and it seems that for Giada, the moment is simply too much to bear. She’s face-first on the table while Alton offers a well-meaning giggle and Bobby displays a look of apparent confusion. Do you think they’ve just endured a particularly difficult elimination, or have they taken a brief break from deliberation to relax among friends?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out what’s going on, we’re challenging you, Star fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

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One-on-One With Guest Judge Alex Guarnaschelli

by , June 18th, 2013

Alex Guarnaschelli on Food Network Star Season 9No one may know the pressures of reality cooking competitions better than Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. She’s a force in Kitchen Stadium and arguably one of the most-straightforward Chopped judges at the table. Beyond competitions, she’s a chef who has been wowing patrons for years at her restaurants. Simply said: Alex knows her stuff and can probably describe it better than anyone else.

This past Sunday, Alex joined Alton and Bobby at the judges’ table for a special Chopped-themed episode of Star. Star Talk recently caught up with Alex and asked her about her time on the show, including her reaction on Danushka’s infamous “bored” comment.

Your face was priceless when Danushka revealed her “boredom” during the challenge. What was your initial reaction to hearing that? Was that a Chopped first for you?
AG: Standing on the middle of the subway at rush hour, waking up late for a final exam or frying an egg for the queen of England would be less stressful than that kitchen. I think boredom is a curious reaction. I also think if you know you’re bored, and cooking is such a demanding profession, it might not be a good fit.

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VIDEO: Danushka’s Not Impressed

by , June 17th, 2013

One of Food Network Star‘s most-contentious finalists ever, Danushka Lysek provided plenty of camera-worthy drama in her brief three-week run in the competition. She sparked rivalries among finalists, delivered unapologetic smirks, stares and eye rolls, and she even stupefied the Selection Committee with her seeming indifference to the challenges at hand. “My goal with doing this competition was knowing I’m not like anyone that’s on the Food Network,” Danushka said after being eliminated, and indeed she proved to be one of a kind.

Click the play button on the video above to watch Danushka’s best, most-hilarious reactions during her time on Star and see a mashup of some of her now-notorious faces. Do you think Danushka deserved more time to prove her commitment to the competition, or were the mentors justified in sending her home? Tell Star Talk what you think in the comments section below.

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