Your Pre-Season Picks, Revealed

by in Food Network Star, May 14, 2012

Martita Jara

The Pre-Season Fan Vote tally is in! Before viewing last night’s premiere, 20% of you cast your votes for Team Giada’s Martita Jara, a spunky interior designer who grew up in the restaurant business and loves to cook with her family's Mexican flavors.

Team Giada’s finalists seemed to give the best first impressions, as they swept the top three. Laid-back chef Ippy Aiona from Hawaii was right behind Martita with 19% of the vote, followed by South African cake artist Linkie Marais at 15%.

Did Team Giada live up to expectations in the premiere episode? Do you think the challenge-winning members of Team Bobby or the quirky underdogs from Team Alton deserve some recognition? The in-season Fan Vote resets each week, so make sure to cast your vote for your favorite finalist up to 10 times per day.

Check out the complete list of Pre-Premiere Fan Vote results:

Pre-Season Fan Vote


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Comments (64)

  1. JLF says:

    Not surprised that the top 3 were from Giada's team - she said up front that she picked them for their potential to come across well on camera, not how well they can cook. That may get them through in the beginning, but as the cooking challenges get tougher she may find that her strategy backfires.
    AB selected his team with a priority on teaching skills, which is different than being camera friendly. But he does have some strong contenders in Emily and Judson.
    Bobby's group are hovering in the middle of the pack personality wise (except for Michele) but he chose his group for their cooking skills. I think that may pay off in the long run IF the contestants are teachable on presentation skills.
    Interesting how the 3 coaches' own personalities are reflected in their priorities: performers, teachers, cooks. We'll see who chose wisely.

    • jeri says:

      Yes, JLF, you are so right. Do you think the one with the best cooking ability, best camera appeal, and best teaching ability will win? Interesting thought!

      • JLF says:

        My bias is towards cooking and teaching neck-and-neck. Performing comes in last.

        • jeri says:

          I'm leaning that way too. Camera presence is important though. Would be kind difficult to try to learn from a complete bore!! I had one of those in college, barely passed the class, re-took with different professor and got an A! Not because it was mostly review but because the professor was vibrant, passionate, and really engaged the class. That's what someone needs to be when teaching. Cooking is not much different. I hope there is a good balance in the winner.

    • katy says:

      I think you are right. Bobby's team seems to be the strongest overall.

    • Food Fan says:

      That whole cooking-philosophy thing is fascinating. The problem is: ONE aspect alone wont do it. For anyone. More on that in a minute.
      Bobby emphasizes cooking ability.
      Giada emphasizes "selling a product" which I take to mean camera-presence.
      Alton wants someone interesting even a bit quirky who can teach, which is also a form of "selling."
      All 3 are valuable. Here's what I'm thinking:
      Suppose Bobby is right. Have the "Chops." But---as Giada basically said: You could be the greatest cook, but if you can SELL what yer cooking, who cares? I think that is a point. However---there's a comeback. Suppose Giada is right and someone is wonderful on camera and we like them, and they can sell us on their dish, only to find out that when we ourselves try to make it, we find out the cook that we like sold us on how to make a dish that is just ho-hum, so-so, just something to eat but not that great. How long will that last?
      And then there's Alton. He has a point, too. Suppose you have someone who has chops AND looks good on camera but they are interesting just cant teach or explain their way out of a paper bag? Their food LOOKS good. THEY look good. But i have no idea what they're doing! They are not clear. or unorganized. or vague. I might as well watch a 1930's silent movie on cooking.
      As I've said before, I look for FOUR things in a Star:
      Top-Notch food!--(bobby's emphasis)
      Simple, organized, clear teaching ability--(Alton's emphasis)
      Likable personality, warm smile, watchable.--(Giada's emphasis).
      from someone non-irritating, loud, dull or weird.
      And so....i find myself back to my same 4 things "total package."

      • Food Fan says:

        oops. above, ..but if you CANT sell a product...

      • Jerilee says:

        Thank you, Food Fan, for some insightful thoughts. Where have you been all these posts? (a few long seasons). you have good insights for "a guy 50+". See you around!

        • Food Fan says:

          yer very welcome. Glad you liked it, and thank you!
          (cant wait til Sunday)....

          • Jerilee says:

            Also can't wait for Sunday. Should be interesting with the "mystery dome" and the runway fare??? Sounds inrteging. Saw some previews, but what do they tell??

          • Food Fan says:

            One thing I have realized. (they do this quite a bit)....we see Susie F., Giada, a judge, etc. make a comment. And them immediately half a second later we see one of the contestants with maybe a shocked or disappointed look on their face--and we *think* the comment was directed at them. But it wasnt.
            It was a compete fake-out. It looks one way in the preview or before a commercial, then later, it turns out it isnt at all about who we thought it was meant for. They did it last year. I'm seeing it again this year.
            New challenge. Different from Chopped. I'm betting we see 1 or 2 unexpected surprises from the contestants.
            Who will be poised under pressure?
            Who's food will knock-their-socks-off?
            10:35pm west coast time. getting off the computer for now....

  2. [...] the original post: Your Pre-Season Picks, Revealed This entry was posted in Food Network and tagged aiona, alton, bobby, cast, finalist, giada, [...]

  3. girloftheworld says:

    This right now reflects the sad fact of pop facebook twitter culture.. and not anysort of true demographic other than those kind of like poll that said Alf Landon was going to beat Roosvelt in the campain that failed because it used car regestrations and telphone numbers to pull the people it polled-
    There are a lot of Emily fans that will get on board soon.

  4. jon petit says:

    this emily ellen one, need to see more of her, she was the most interesting to me because she's a natural

  5. Paula says:

    The new concept of Next Food Network Star pretty much sucks! I'm willing to stick with things for awhile but so far it seems about the 3 stars, Bobby, Giada and Alton and not the star-a-bees. Got a few favorites and will wait to see what happens.

    • Mommy of Eight says:

      I don't like the new format either. It's "The Voice" of the cooking chanel. I don't understand why these networks just don't leave well enough alone!

    • katy says:

      If it's not broke don't fix it. i'm not sure i like the new concept myself. I don't think that the team leaders should have to plea for their person in the bottom two. and what's with theThe 30 minute cook off ?

      • Food Fan says:

        I admit, that part I dont like. The part about "the Plea." I say let the bottom 2 have an easy 20 min. cook-off between them. Make their dish and present it, also, to the judges just before the judges eat it. Also, its possible this bit with Giada, Alton & Bobby MIGHT just be for this season, as whoever's team wins, that mentor will produce the winner's show. But---will that mentor then go on to produce all the shows for later seasons and then there wont be 3 mentors in the future? I really dont know. Would that be better? worse? why? I do like, that there is less drama this year amongst the contestants. At least so far.

  6. jeri says:

    Oh, I certainly agree with that! I would have a hard time learning a new cooking skill if the teacher were jumping on the counter and doing flips!!!

  7. miamicafe says:

    I think the first to go should be Alton.

  8. Glenna Stone says:

    This show is a thousand times better this year with the new format. However, the bottom line is the "camera friendly" aspect. These people can be fabulous cooks but if they're not star material it doesn't matter. I only see three potential stars-Michelle (loved her on Chopped), Justin and retro-woman (although the fact that I can't remember her name may not bode well). Great that the audience will choose winner.

    • Julie says:

      I thought Michelle was a jerk on Chopped. She was defensive, rude, and quick to anger, attitudes which will not serve her well on this show. She does have charisma and can connect with people, though. Be interesting to watch.

    • jeri says:

      Are you referring to Emily, with the cool glasses? She is one smart cookie. Michael Symon would like her, she cooks with bacon!! To go from Christmas farm to world wide franchise operations manager, WOW. And being a Ph.D candidate, THAT'S empowerment! Let's just see how she does with other apects of FNS.

      • JLF says:

        She's got my attention. In the early innings she seems to have the whole package - I'd be willing to watch her.

        • jeri says:

          We shall see if she has the skill to go with her credentials. I have credentials but no way do I have the skill it takes to be a FN star!!! LOL!!

        • jeri says:

          PS: My credentials are in an entirely different field. Nursing and cooking are WAY different. I didnt, in any way, intend to compare my skills with hers. I was just trying to say that credentials don't necessarily equate to stardom. I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I'm better. No way!!! She may have the cooking skill, I certainly do not. Put side by side, she would clean my clock!!!

    • Julie says:

      Re my earlier comment about Michele = Just caught the episode of Chopped with Michele, and I must have mixed her up with a different Chopped contestant that looked a lot like her. Or she was on a redemption episode with a more aggressive attitude. Either way, my apologies.

    • Allegra says:

      Actually I'm wondering just how many FN shows Michelle is going to show up on. First Chopped, then 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, now this. Please GOD do not let her win, she's an Anne Burrell wannabee.

  9. Drednm says:

    I hate the team format. Too much camera mugging time for the 3 stars.

  10. Tucker says:

    Haven't decided if I like the new format yet. It could work (especially if Alton is replaced with someone else). Call me cynical but I've always thought the next foodnetwork star has always been selected before the first challenge is begun. The show is just an elaborate (and scripted) way to introduce them. The writers need to come up with some new ideas though. They're starting to repeat themselves in order to create drama. When Josh needed eggs and asked Yvan to get them. Hmmm, I've seen this scenario before. Whatever will happen?? Big shocker when Yvan revealed he forgot to get them. And of course, every soap opera needs a resident b*tch to stir up trouble and it looks like the writers have assigned that role to Nikki this season. As for the audience getting a vote at the end of the competition. I think it's a hollow gesture since, as I've said, the winner has already been selected. Hey, I said I was cynical.

    • serious says:

      Geeez Tucker. It's just a network star contest!! A TV program to entertain. Get a grip man.