Justin Warner doesn’t play by the rules. He eats jellyfish on Thanksgiving, serves cold-pizza terrine at his Brooklyn restaurant and writes rap songs about wine. But when Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay had to choose their teams of aspiring stars for the most recent season of Food Network Star, Justin’s unconventional approach caught Alton’s eye. Alton picked Justin for his group, and throughout the season Justin was a rebel, presenting wild combos like peanut butter–stuffed dates topped with seaweed. In the end, after 4.5 million viewers voted, Justin emerged as the winner. He says Alton’s guidance made all the difference. “It was a true mentorship,” Justin says. “Day one, Alton said, ‘No apologies.’ That’s how you win.”
Although Justin has been busy planning his new show (coming this fall), we managed to pull him aside for a quick Thanksgiving assignment: Come up with a fun new way to use leftover mashed potatoes. Justin took an old-fashioned candy idea and turned it on its head. Traditional mashed-potato candy is made with peanut butter, but Justin added umeboshi paste (Japanese plum paste) as a twist on peanut butter and jelly. Try the recipe (pictured after the jump).
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If you’ve ever found yourself watching an episode of Food Network Star and thinking “I can do that,” now is your chance to show us what you’re made of. We’re currently casting Season 9 of this all-star show and looking for those with top-notch culinary know-how, an infectious television-worthy personality and the willingness to compete in the ultimate multi-month job interview. Think you have what it takes to impress Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Alton Brown and top Food Network executives? If so, submit an online application and either attend an open casting call in one of the four cities below or send in a brief home video in which you strut your best culinary stuff.
Check out this all-in-one guide to Food Network Star casting to find more details on how to apply, rules and eligiability requirements and answers to common questions.
Click here for dates
Before tuning into the much-anticipated finale of Food Network Star tonight at 9/8c to find out which contestant — Ivan, Michele, Martie or Justin — will finally have their culinary dreams realized, watch a special episode of Chopped airing at 8/7c. Watch as past FN Star winners Jeff Mauro, Melissa d’Arabian, Aarti Sequeira and Amy Finley face the dreaded chopping block, judged by this year’s Star mentors Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis and Alton Brown. With unusual ingredients, you can certainly expect the unexpected from this showdown.
While Aarti has competed on Chopped once before, this will be Melissa’s and Jeff’s first time each on the show. “Food Network Star was still pretty fresh in my mind and I was anxious about doing another food competition,” Jeff says of being a contestant on Chopped. Jeff and Melissa both agree their first experience on the show was extremely stressful. “No matter who you’re up against in the Chopped kitchen, chances are you’re most likely battling yourself,” Jeff says. “We had a ton of fun and laughs during the process, though!” Aarti says that being on Chopped once before helped shape her mentality going into the show the second time around: “The last time I competed on Chopped, frankly I was so terrified of the whole thing that I couldn’t focus! This time, I decided to leave my ego at the door.”
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Food Network Star kicks off its eighth season this Sunday night, but this year’s competition will be like nothing you’ve seen before. Three of Food Network’s finest chefs and superstars – Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis – are joining the contest, not as judges, but as guiding mentors to groups of five hand-picked Star hopefuls. With the advice and support of their coaches, finalists on Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada will battle it out week after week in the ultimate job interview to prove they have what it takes to host their own Food Network show.
Get to know each of the contestants before Sunday night’s episode by watching a never-before-seen casting special on Saturday, May 12 at 9pm/8c. Alton, Bobby and Giada reveal why they chose each finalist for their respective teams and offer a behind-the-scenes look into this season’s competitive casting process.
Then tune in to the season eight premiere of Food Network Star on Sunday, May 13 at 9pm/8c to see which finalists are early favorites and who gets sent home first.
Cast your preseason Fan Vote now and join the #Star conversation on Twitter. Tell us: Will you be rooting for #TeamAlton, #TeamBobby or #TeamGiada?
Vic “Vegas” Moea, Penny Davidi, Justin Balmes and Chris Nirschel know the pressures of competition cooking. They also know what it’s like to be in front of a camera. These four Food Network Star finalists gave it their all last season, but still came up short in the end. That wasn’t enough for them, though. They’re still out to prove that they’ve got what it takes and they’re still out to take down each other — they did just that on last night’s episode of Chopped All-Stars.
If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — we’re about to break down the episode and chat with the winner.
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Every year, a new batch of cookbooks hits store shelves. Some bad and some good, but only a handful (or 19 if you agree with The New York Times) rise to the top and really shine.
You’ll see a familiar name while browsing their list: Former Food Network Star (season five) contestant Debbie Lee‘s cookbook, Seoultown Kitchen: Korean Pub Grub to Share With Family and Friends, made the Times list with glowing reviews.
Debbie’s small plates, cocktails and Asian-inspired comfort classics make Korean food accessible. Sure, you might not be able to pronounce some of the ingredients, but we bet her beer-heavy recipes will make fans out of even her biggest haters.
Last month, fans of Food Network Star had the chance to get up close and personal with Susie Jimenez, Mary Beth Albright, Whitney Chen, Vic “Vegas” Moea and the Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro, during the Food Network Star: The Official Insider’s Guide Book Tour.
We were there to snap memorable moments, including an unforgettable autographed sandwich signed by the Sandwich King himself.
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Fans of Food Network Star can’t choose the winner, but they are the voice behind choosing a fan favorite. All season long, viewers voted for their favorite season 7 contestant as many as 10 times a day.
With over 400,000 votes, it’s no surprise that this year’s winner, Jeff Mauro, was also crowned our Sandwich King. Not far behind him with 360,000 votes was Orchid Paulmeier, who fans loved for priding herself on her Southern barbecue.
Tune in to Sandwich King: Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. Eastern/ 10:30 a.m. Central
You’ve dedicated your Sunday nights to watching Food Network Star all season and because of that, you’re considered a Star super fan. We thought we’d say “thank you” by giving away one $30 gift card to FoodNetworkStore.com today.
So how can you enter? Today, starting at 4 p.m EST, Food Network will post a question to fans our Twitter account @FoodNetwork about something that happened during the season — they might even help fans by posting a hint. If you know the answer to the question, come back to this post and leave your answer in the comments section of this blog post. One lucky commenter (with the correct answer), will be randomly selected to will win one $30 gift card.
Read the official rules and leave a comment »
We started with 15 finalists in Los Angeles. Six moved on to New York City. And last Sunday night, a winner was crowned: Jeff Mauro is our new Sandwich King!
To put this exciting and exhausting journey in perspective, take a look back through the f...
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