Chatting with Alex and Jeff, the Mentors of Star Salvation

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, June 22, 2017

Star SalvationNearly four weeks into the Food Network Star competition, several finalists have already experienced the sting of elimination and left the contest in defeat — but perhaps they'll be back. Starting Sunday night immediately after the new episode of Food Network Star, which premieres at 9|8c, Alex Guarnaschelli and Jeff Mauro will come together to mentor those ousted competitors on Star Salvation. This web-exclusive series on FoodNetwork.com will feature six weeks of challenges for the finalists eliminated along the way, and in the end one hopeful will earn the ultimate redemption: a chance to return to Food Network Star and rejoin the competition.

We checked in with Alex and Jeff on the set of Salvation about what they're looking for in a Star hopeful and their own roads to Stardom on Food Network. Read on below to hear what they had to say.

You've both mentored on Star Salvation before. What have you learned before that you’re bringing to the competition this year?
Alex Guarnaschelli: My co-hosts always went to the culinary school of Food Network, so to speak. I think I bring the street smarts half, which is someone who offers advice about how to do a few fundamental things in front of the camera without having gone through this exact process. Plus a few totally impossible things that I actually learned from working with Bobby Flay: "Hey, relax and be yourself. Hey, if you don’t like the shirt you’re wearing, change into one that’s comfortable. Hey, if you make it like that at home, chances are you should have the nerve to make it here, in this competition, the exact same way."

Jeff Mauro: Follow my instincts and look for the complete package, and look for somebody who is maybe looked over because of a bad day or a bad dish, and see through that one flub.

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Star Report: 7 Key Takeaways from Finalists’ 5-Course Dinners

by in Food Network Star, Recap, June 19, 2017

Food Network StarThe name of the game this week was experiential dining, and for one reason or another, the competitors indeed served up an experience—though for some it's probably an experienced they'd like to forget. We're looking back on the best moments (and the cringeworthy ones).

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One-on-One with the Latest Food Network Star Finalist to Go Home

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, June 18, 2017

Food Network StarThe nature of the Food Network Star beast is such that no matter how much mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis have to teach the finalists, their time is limited, which means they're forced to make quick decisions about who has the greatest potential for success. Week after week finalists will fall in a series of eliminations, and following each gut-wrenching exit, we here at Star Talk will bring you insider interviews with the fallen hopefuls. If you haven't watched the latest episode, don't read any further until you do, because we're about to break down the show and talk to the person sent home.

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Star Report: 9 Unforgettable Moments in Week 2

by in Food Network Star, Recap, June 12, 2017

Food Network StarThis was a doozy of an episode. Not only did Bobby and Giada spring a double elimination on the finalists, but almost every competitor was saddled with a struggle — in the kitchen, during a presentation or with a fellow teammate — as they worked in groups for a hospitality-themed challenge. Luckily, though, Aunt Sandy (aka Sandra Lee) was on hand to guarantee a goodtime. We're looking back on all the ups and down; check them out below.

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One-on-One with the Latest Food Network Star Finalist to Go Home

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, June 11, 2017

Food Network StarThe nature of the Food Network Star beast is such that no matter how much mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis have to teach the finalists, their time is limited, which means they're forced to make quick decisions about who has the greatest potential for success. Week after week finalists will fall in a series of eliminations, and following each gut-wrenching exit, we here at Star Talk will bring you insider interviews with the fallen hopefuls. If you haven't watched the latest episode, don't read any further until you do, because we're about to break down the show and talk to the person sent home.

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One-on-One with the Latest Food Network Star Finalist to Go Home

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, June 11, 2017

Food Network StarThe nature of the Food Network Star beast is such that no matter how much mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis have to teach the finalists, their time is limited, which means they're forced to make quick decisions about who has the greatest potential for success. Week after week finalists will fall in a series of eliminations, and following each gut-wrenching exit, we here at Star Talk will bring you insider interviews with the fallen hopefuls. If you haven't watched the latest episode, don't read any further until you do, because we're about to break down the show and talk to the person sent home.

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Star Report: 9 Things That Happened on the Premiere That Got Us Talking

by in Food Network Star, Recap, June 5, 2017

Food Network StarSeason 13 of Food Network Star kicked off on Sunday night, and in true Hollywood fashion, the bright lights and lofty expectations of the big stage proved to be too much for a few finalists, who found themselves struggling through their auditions. But after the mishaps and missteps, we kept coming back to a few unforgettable moments. Relive them all with us below.

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Star-a-Day: Matthew Grunwald

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, June 5, 2017

Food Network StarMatthew Grunwald has become something of a Food Network Star regular in the last few years. After his first stint in the competition back in Season 11, which ultimately ended in a Week 2 elimination, he returned for a shot at redemption on Comeback Kitchen last year, but ultimately he didn't claim victory. This year, however, he returned to the Comeback Kitchen arena, more primed than ever for a win — and he did it. He out-performed Jamika Pessoa in the Comeback Kitchen, Season 2 finale and earned a spot among the Season 13 cast of Food Network Star. Read on below to learn more about Matthew.

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One-on-One with the Winner of Comeback Kitchen

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, June 5, 2017

Food Network StarMatthew Grunwald is no stranger to the Food Network Star rodeo, having competed in (and lost) in both the Season 11 contest and last year's premiere iteration of Comeback Kitchen. Just a few weeks ago, he returned to Comeback Kitchen for a second time and earned the win. Following challenge victories in all three episodes and advancing to the final two with rival Jamika Pessoa, Matthew delivered a game-changing performance in the Comeback Kitchen finale, ultimately securing him the coveted ticket back to Food Network Star.

We caught up with him to chat about all the action on Comeback Kitchen and his strategy looking ahead to Food Network Star. Read on below for an exclusive interview.

Tell me about the final challenge on Comeback Kitchen. What was your goal in executing your dinner-party menu, and do you feel like you accomplished it?
MG: In Comeback Kitchen this year, I did really well consistently, and so it was almost the mindset of it was mine to lose. And finishing strong was the motive. Tyler kept saying, "Slide into home plate, bottom of the ninth inning." And I get that because had I dropped the ball, this very well could be Jamika talking to you right now. Because if she won a competition, I won a competition, and going into this last competition, I feel like I had a little bit of an edge, but the pressure was so on that I feel like it actually would have been a downfall had I dropped the ball, cause it would have shown Tyler and Valerie that under pressure I would cave. So I really had to finish strong.

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One-on-One with the First Food Network Star Finalist to Go Home

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, June 4, 2017

Food Network StarThe nature of the Food Network Star beast is such that no matter how much mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis have to teach the finalists, their time is limited, which means they're forced to make quick decisions about who has the greatest potential for success. Week after week finalists will fall in a series of eliminations, and following each gut-wrenching exit, we here at Star Talk will bring you insider interviews with the fallen hopefuls. If you haven't watched the latest episode, don't read any further until you do, because we're about to break down the show and talk to the person sent home.

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