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Mentors’ Restaurant-Style Meals to Make at Home

by , July 31st, 2013

Chicken CacciatoreEven if you’re a frequent restaurant diner, there are surely times when you want to dig in to dinner in the comfort of your home, and on these nights, you shouldn’t have to settle for average, predictable dishes. You can indeed turn out restaurant-style meals — like the ones the finalists reinvented during last week’s Star Challenge — with quick, simple recipes. This week, Food Network Star mentors are sharing their can-do versions of a few of the meals the competitors made over at Phil Trani’s restaurant. Try Giada‘s, Bobby‘s and Alton‘s top-rated recipes for chicken cacciatore, salmon and steak to enjoy professional chef-quality plates in your own kitchen.

Rodney transformed the chicken cacciatore at Phil’s into a pie, but Giada’s Chicken Cacciatore (pictured above) is a tried-and-true classic that’s full of traditional flavor and texture. After quickly browning chicken breasts and thighs, Giada simmers them in a bold white wine-tomato sauce with sweet bell peppers, onions and briny capers until the meat is cooked and tender.

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Poll: Did the Right Finalist Earn Salvation?

by , July 26th, 2013

Chad Rosenthal and Lovely JacksonDuring last Sunday’s episode, Lovely made a surprise return to the on-air contest after besting six previously fallen competitors on Star Salvation. Maintaining her “party on a plate” point of view during the exclusive Web series, she proved to host Robert Irvine her culinary chops and commitment to the competition. But now, looking back on her performance and her rivals’, do you think Lovely was the correct finalist to earn a second chance at stardom?

Do you think Daniela or Andres — the first two ousted contestants — warranted more time to show off their skills, or should Danushka have stayed, on account of her one-of-a-kind attitude? Would you have liked to have seen more from restaurant chefs Viet, Chris or Chad, or was Lovely indeed worthy of redemption? Tell Star Talk by voting below for the competitor you think most deserved salvation.

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Star-Worthy Pastas to Make at Home

by , July 24th, 2013

Nikki DinkiWhen it comes to cooking in the Food Star Kitchen, mediocrity will never suffice. Week after week, Star finalists must turn out camera-worthy meals that are both deliciously inspired and intelligently presented. But just because mentors demand excellence on the plate doesn’t mean the rivals have to concoct complicated dishes that take hours to prepare; easy-to-make, quick-cooking offerings are also acceptable, and the finalists proved that with their preparations of classic pasta dishes duringlast week’s episode.

Damaris PhillipsDamaris‘, Stacey‘s and Nikki‘s pastas were among the simplest prepared during the Mentor Challenge, so much so that you can make them easily in your home kitchen. Nikki’s Fire Island Burst Tomato Pasta with Lemon Herbed Goat Cheese Balls is a family-friendly plate that puts seasonal cherry tomatoes to work. Nikki starts by sauteing the tomatoes with garlic until they’re soft and sweet, then she tosses the sauce with linguini and tops it with a sprinkle of fragrant basil and mint. For an indulgent finish, she studs each plate with a few goat cheese balls, which she’s rolled with bright lemon zest and fragrant basil, mint, rosemary and thyme.

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

by , July 23rd, 2013

Rodney and Lovely - Food Network Star 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 Food 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.

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POLL: Which Finalist Do You Think Is Returning This Sunday?

by , July 20th, 2013

This Sunday, in a dramatic and shocking twist to the season, Chad or Lovely will re-enter Food Star Kitchen. For the past four weeks, previously eliminated contestants have been given a second chance in a Web series called Star Salvation, presented by Buitoni.

Lovely’s managed to out-perform five other talented contestants in the first three episodes. But will Chad finally put an end to her streak?

Before the winner is revealed Sunday night (9pm/8c), relive the journey to salvation, and share your predictions in Star Talk’s poll.

Caption It: Taste Tester

by , July 19th, 2013

Alton BrownFrom private chefs and culinary instructors to restaurant owners, underground chefs and James Beard Award semifinalists, this year’s cast of Star finalists boasts a long and impressive kitchen resume. They’re keenly aware of what it takes to turn out balanced and full-flavored dishes, but thanks to the pressure of cooking on camera and against the clock — for a panel of esteemed food stars, no less — some of the rivals’ offerings have proven disappointing, some even inedible. While the Selection Committee has demanded culinary excellence from day one of the competition, now nearly two months into the contest, the judges are finally starting to see consistently stellar plates.

In the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday’s all-new episode, it looks as if Alton’s come across a dish he especially likes. No need for utensils or a tasting table here: He’s gone hands first into a pot of one finalist’s offering, picking at it while looking over his shoulder with a serious side-eye. What kind of food do you think is waiting for Alton in that pan, and who do you think made this sample-worthy meal?

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No-Bake Sweets for Sunday’s Star

by , July 17th, 2013

Chocolate Cream PieNo matter who you’re with or where you’re watching Food Network Star from, you surely have on hand 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 recipes 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.

This week is proving to be a doozy on the heat index, which means that after days of sticky humidity and all-around sweatiness, the last thing you’ll want to do come Sunday night is turn on your oven to make dessert. But just because you won’t be baking doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy deliciously sweet treats. For this weekend’s all-new Star, cool off with a few no-bake desserts, like the indulgent-yet-refreshing recipes below.

Ready to eat in only 10 quick minutes, Food Network Magazine‘s Chocolate Cream Pie (pictured above) is an easy-to-make beauty featuring a store-bought chocolate-cookie crust and a filling of cream cheese and cocoa powder. Top the pie with fluffy whipped cream and chocolate shavings for an extra-special presentation of a stress-free dessert.

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

by , July 16th, 2013

Chad and Russell - Food Network Star Season 9Every 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 Food 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.

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Cook Your Heart Out: Watch the Final Episode of Star Salvation

by , July 14th, 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.

The humble potato made a second appearance in the form of potato chips on last Sunday’s episode, where host Robert Irvine tasked Chris and Lovely with making it the star of a dish. While Chris agreed with Robert’s critiques of his dish, he disagreed that Lovely used enough potato chips to truly highlight the ingredient as a prominent feature. In the end, Chris left Food Star Kitchen for the final time.

Lovely’s got her eye on the prize. She’s managed to out-perform five other talented contestants at this point. Will Chad finally put an end to her streak? This week they’ll have to cook their “hearts” out.

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Caption It: Here’s Looking at You

by , July 12th, 2013

Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby FlayCome evaluation, the Food Star Kitchen turns into a scary place week after week. As finalists stand wide-eyed awaiting judgment, three successful chefs and stars stare back them, ready to dole out several notebooks’ worth of critiques about their food and performances. Sometimes the scene ends with tears and an emotional goodbye, but other times the atmosphere is far less tense — perhaps even happy — be it on account of one contestant’s superstar presentation or particularly camera-worthy meal.

Check out the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday’s all-new episode: Giada and Alton look out to the remaining finalists during evaluation and smile, while Giada points two fingers at them, doing so in a seemingly positive way. Do you think the mentors look particularly pleased because the group as a whole was successful this week, or did one competitor deliver an especially knockout performance? What kind of feedback do you imagine the judges are giving here?

 Write your best captionsBefore 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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