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VOTE: Who Do You Think Is the Scariest Chopped Judge?

by , June 15th, 2013

Someone will get chopped on this Sunday’s appropriately themed episode of Star (watch an extended preview here). Like most Star and Chopped endings, it won’t be pretty. And it wouldn’t be a real Chopped experience without a Chopped judge present — Alex Guarnaschelli, especially. Alex has judging down to a T, not to mention she understands the stress of these competitions, having recently won The Next Iron Chef.

Standing in front of the judges’ table on Chopped is scary for any contestant, especially when he or she is waiting to hear the criticism from the judges. Both Alton and Bobby have admitted they believe Alex is the scariest Chopped judge to face. But what do you think? Vote in Star Talk’s poll below.

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Caption It: What Caused Alex to Make This Face?

by , June 14th, 2013

Bobby Flay and Alex GuarnaschelliChopped fans know that when it comes to doling out blatantly honest criticism and no-nonsense feedback, Alex Guarnaschelli, a longstanding member of the judges’ panel, does it best. She has more than 15 years of experience at the table and knows what winning dishes look and taste like, which means that come Sunday night, Food Network Star finalists will have to cook above and beyond Alex’s expectations if they want to impress her. She’ll join the Selection Committee as a guest judge during the Chopped-style challenge, overseeing the contestants as they attempt to fuse mystery basket ingredients into camera-worthy meals.

While some contestants may indeed prove to her their culinary chops, others will inevitably disappoint — and then some will simply be so shocking that Alex is rendered nearly speechless at the sight of it. Take a sneak-peek look at the snapshot above from Sunday’s all-new episode: Bobby can’t help but chuckle as Alex looks on in amazement at what’s going on in front of her. What do you think has caused her to make such a face?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out what causes Alex’s stunned face, 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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The Infamous Shimmy: Duck Fat Will Never Be the Same Again

by , June 13th, 2013

After watching Damaris Phillips‘ premiere performance last week, judge-mentor Bobby Flay had but one piece of advice for her: “Don’t try to seduce us.” It appeared as though she took that instruction to heart, but, unfortunately she let history repeat itself this week during the Burger Bash challenge, and it almost forced her week-two elimination.

Not long into her live cooking demonstration in front of the Selection Committee and an audience of 100 guests, Damaris once again resorted to uncomfortably suggestive body language as she described a key ingredient in her dish. She revealed duck fat to be the must-have addition to her pimento cheese burger, and she accompanied the announcement with a shoulder shake and shimmy that left the audience both grimacing and laughing — “at her,” no less, according to Alton Brown.

Damaris realized almost immediately the mistake she’d made, explaining, “When I get nervous, I default to being awkwardly sexy sometimes.” Come evaluation, she knew she’d be in for harsh feedback: “My presentation was crap. I went up there and did exactly what the Selection Committee told me not to do.” Bobby indeed doled out hard-to-hear criticisms, among them that her demonstration was “a little off-putting,” and Damaris was simply unable to hold back tears in front of her peers and the mentors.

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On Location: Burger Bash and the Mansion at Culver Studios

by , June 11th, 2013

Culver Mansion - Food Network Star Season 9After arriving at The Culver Studios Mansion to find an array of ground meats, plus various cheeses, buns and condiments, the contestants weren’t surprised when the mentors revealed this week’s challenge to be burger-themed. They had one hour to prepare a signature burger, which they demoed in front of a 100-person audience. Browse these behind-the-scenes photos to see the mansion up close, the pantry outside of Star Kitchen and what it looks like when the cameras are turned.

Click here to browse the entire gallery of photos from Episode 2 now

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One-on-One With the Latest Star Contestant to Go Home

by , June 9th, 2013

Food Network Star Episode 2 EliminationEvery Sunday, Bobby, Giada and Alton take on the difficult task of eliminating one finalist in the quest to help guide fans to vote for Food Network’s next sensation. And this is no easy task. Check back here every week to read Star Talk’s exclusive exit interview with the latest Star hopeful to leave Star Kitchen.

If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — Star Talk is about to chat with the latest finalist to go home.

Andres GuillamaA childhood obesity prevention coach, Andres Guillama, was the second finalist sent home from the competition. His inability to commit to what could have been a successful culinary viewpoint prevented his growth on camera and in front of the focus groups. His “bland food,” according to Bobby, didn’t help his case. Week one’s potato omelet with chorizo lacked seasoning, and last night’s burger wasn’t much different. Despite being eliminated, he left the competition confident in his future.

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Share Your Early Season Rivalry Predictions

by , June 8th, 2013

Share Your Early Season Rivalry PredictionsThe first episode of Star encompasses so much information: fans meet the finalists, they’re introduced to the finalists’ POVs, which may or may not change throughout the season, and, most-intriguing, fans get a good grip on individual personalities. Which Star contestant will have the most spirit? Which one will act as the mom of the group? And which will cause the most trouble?

With a lineup of finalists who have competed on Chopped, Iron Chef America and Extreme Chef, just to name a few, the competition is more cutthroat than ever, and with that brings natural rivalries. In the first episode, two pairs of rivalries were quickly established: Danushka vs. Lovely and Russell vs. Viet.

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Caption It: Alton Means Business

by , June 7th, 2013

Alton Brown and Giada De LaurentiisWith only 11 weeks of competition between their premiere performances and the finale, Food Network Star hopefuls have the narrowest of windows to leave a lasting impression on the Selection Committee. It’s up to them to find their culinary hooks quickly, sharpen their kitchen skills and ultimately convince the mentors of their staying power on the network. With Daniela’s early departure last week, the contestants learned that most will not enjoy the time they need to prove their progress, and come Sunday, their star potential will be tested in a new way during live demonstrations at a Burger Bash-inspired event.

Check out the sneak-peek photo above from this weekend’s episode: Alton’s delivering what appears to be a not-so-gentle remark to the competitors during evaluation. Do you think he’s speaking to the entire group, or is he singling out one finalist who’s especially struggling? After just two weeks of competition, should the mentors demand progress, or should they understand the time it takes to learn and improve? How long is too long to wait for a finalist to demonstrate growth, on the plate, on camera and on stage?

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

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PHOTOS: Behind the Scenes Moments From Episode One

by , June 5th, 2013

Behind the Scenes of Food Network StarEach episode of Star takes hours to tape, so it’s no surprise that not every moment and reaction is captured in the 60 minutes fans get to see on air. Every week, Star Talk will give readers an insider’s look at what goes down on the set of Food Network Star — from the judges to the contestants to the environments in which they cook and present.

Click here to browse the entire gallery of photos from Episode 1 now

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One-on-One With the First Star Contestant to Go Home

by , June 3rd, 2013

Food Network Star Episode 1 EvaluationEleven episodes, 12 contestants, countless challenges and only one ultimate dream come true. Every Sunday, Bobby, Giada and Alton will take on the difficult task of eliminating one finalist in the quest to help guide fans to vote for Food Network’s next sensation. And this is no easy task. Check back here every week to read Star Talk’s exclusive exit interview with the latest Star hopeful to leave Star Kitchen.

If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — Star Talk is about to chat with the first finalist to go home.

Daniela Perez-Reyes, from the very beginning, proved she had the smile, charm and culinary chops to be on Food Network Star, but her journey was short-lived.

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Star-a-Day: Viet Pham

by , May 30th, 2013

Viet PhamYou heard it here first: Food Network Star is kicking off an all-new ninth season on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, and returning judge-mentors Alton BrownBobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there at the helm. This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly Mentor and Star Challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job: their own show on Food Network. While the contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds — including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging — they have but one dream, which is to become the next Food Network Star. From now until next month’s premiere, Star Talk will introduce one finalist a day until you, Star fans, meet them on camera during the show.

Viet Pham, 34, was born in Malaysia and moved to California when he was a child. This James Beard Award semi-finalist grew up cooking for his brother at home and later graduated from the California Culinary Academy. Now the owner of a Salt Lake City restaurant, Viet was victorious over Bobby Flay in Iron Chef America Battle Ground Meat and is known for creating globally inspired cuisine.

Click the play button on the video below to watch Viet’s casting video.

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