Team Alton: Down to Four

by in Food Network Star, May 15, 2012

Team Alton was the first to lose a member with the departure of Cristie Schoen in Sunday's premiere. Cristie, a movie-set caterer, came off as angry when she delivered her pitch for healthy eating (and a bland black-eyed pea and cabbage soup) in the Restaurant: Impossible challenge. She tried to redeem herself in the Producers' Challenge, but Bob and Susie ultimately felt that Josh had more staying power.

"I got confused and you lost me at the end. I don’t see the joy and the excitement that will excite an entire nation to eat healthy," Bob Tuschman told Cristie. She handled her early exit gracefully, but with regrets about her performance: "I’m really disappointed that I did not make it close to the top because I do have such an important message to share. I wasn’t able to communicate that message out."

Hear more from Alton, Bob and Cristie in her exclusive exit interview. Do you think she deserved to be the first to go?

Flip through Cristie's Star Scrapbook and more behind-the-scenes photos from Episode One.


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Comments (85)

  1. Violet says:

    Truly enjoyed the new mentor/mentee format. I feel that it's just the "fresh" approach needed for this show. The contestants already showed progress under the FN Chefs' guidance and constructive criticism. It will make for better competition. Hello to my fav Bob Tushman - I missed you!

    • vert2013 says:

      The jury is still out for me on the format. I liked it where the contestants were with a different group every week and everyone had to deal with everyone else. It also doesn't reward those who win challanges. Previously when they won they got first pick as to who was on their team for the bigger part of the compatition, now they're stuck with their team no matter what.

      • Food Fan says:

        I dont think people shoulda ever been rewarded with 1st pick. Likewise, I dont like now, where someone can survive on the coat-tails of the others on their team. EACH challenge should be how good the individual contestant did. Their raw cooking skills, looking good on camera, ability to teach/explain and engage the audience.

  2. Guest says:

    I'm just not sure how I feel about the new format. I think mentoring in smaller groups will help the contestants, but they are not working for a "team" show. I think Alton will be fine, he does not suffer fools, that is his nature. Bobby is probably best qualified for this format. Giada's choice of Josh was surprising as well as her apparent adoration of him. He should have been the first to go. I was glad to see some of the contestants put their hair up or pull it back. In real life, you don't cook with hair stringing down all over the place, yuck.

    • JLF says:

      We've only seen one episode. I suspect that future challenges will start focusing on the individual skills, not team challenges like a restaurant where the contestants have to rely on each other. That was a usefull exercise for the mentors to see how well each one is able to interact - brought out some interesting dynamics, like who is a natural leader, who pouts if they don't get their way, etc. The coaches need to know that stuff in order to mentor the cooks.

    • Food Fan says:

      Its good that they are getting coaching.
      But wouldnt it be better if all contestants were competing against all other contestants and not just the others on their team? or, is this simply leading to a "Final 3", the top 1 of each team??
      And then, whoever ends up winning, will whoever coached him/her...will that coache's method be the "new gold standard" of mentoring and now contestants end up being "clone's" of the teacher and lose their individuality? Admittedly, this is all down-the-road for future seasons, but something to note and guard against.

  3. hambrick91 says:

    I think Cristie was the right choice to go. She pouted and whined about having to do the soup course, then delivered a poor product, and did so in an angry fashion. Add to that a distinct air-headed quality, and she wasn't long for the show, no matter what her POV.

    i agree that Alton is not the most friendly mentor...but that's actually how I've seen him in other years. Last year, when the contestants had to shoot with him and had all of about 5 minutes to produce their segment, he was very cut-to-the-chase and not warm and fuzzy at all. So here we get to see it magnified by watching him in his "real" self for longer periods of time.

    That said, however, remember that his background was in film/tv production prior to getting into the culinary world. I think he actually does give great advice on how to interact with the cameras, and I like the team he's chosen and the reason he's chosen them. It's definitely out of the standard box, and I think will make for some interesting viewing.

  4. Debbie T. says:

    In reference to Alton, one thing I did like. When the mentors were critiquing their teams, he's the only one to do it one by one. Bobby and Giada did it in front of the team. To me, that made it a little more personal. I like Bobby a lot, and felt his audition of making an egg dish in 10 mins really proved they could cook. I've heard before, if a chef can't make an egg properly, they're not a very good chef. I know a lot of people love Giada, but I cannot stand her. I find her incredibly phony. Her schoolgirl crush on Josh is the only way I could figure he got through her audition. I found him rude and unprofessional by jumping on the counter, but she couldn't stop giggling...not my cup of tea.

  5. Athena says:

    I think the team thing might work--if at some point the teams switch, rotate, or are jumbled up in some other random fashion. So far, I like Emily, Ippy, and Michele in no particular order, but it is still early. I'm not impressed with Josh or Nikki.

    • JLF says:

      What's the point of matching them with a mentor who can get to know them and promote their strengths if they turn around and jumble up the teams just for the fun of it. There have been far too many complaints about how poorly FNS winners have done in the past few seasons, and this is a perfectly sound strategy to bring the contestants up to the level they need to be to succeed. Playing mix up will undermine the quaility of the mentoring.

      • AHW says:

        Anyone complaining about the past few winners must have poor taste. Aaron, Melissa, Aarti and Jeff have all done a great job with their shows. Likewise, most of the losing finalists who earned shows have also done some marvelous work. I like Kelsey, but I wish FN had not packaged her in such a chirpy way. I'm sick of watching cooks with chipped nail varnish cook without gloves; it's disgusting to think of that chipped toxic varnish going into the food. Kelsey's show is also aimed far too low; I'd rather see her work with more sophisticated recipes. Leave the childish barely-cooking-antics to Sandra Lee, RR, and Paula Deen.

  6. Another Cheryl <> says:

    Just saw the show tonight, the personal coaching for the contestants was spot-on and long over-due. I always thought they needed more instruction like that...with such a difficult task ahead of them. Emily is cool to me and Justin is odd but interesting - I remembered him as the (partner) winner on "24 hr. Restaurant." As a long shot call, those two are my picks, but there's along way to go, so kudos to all.

  7. Emily says:

    Season not starting off to a good start for me. Would've kept Christie!

    • Sam I Am says:

      I second that! FINALLY someone with some guts to stand up for a serious cause!!!! Just shows the food network is full of it. They should've kept her and given her some time to blossom and ease up a bit, but she has the right idea on getting a show that would help this lazy, fat and spoiled country get into shape!

  8. Dawn says:

    I like the new format. I like all three coaches. My favorites so far ,ippy and michelle. Keep up the good work.

    • Cookbook Chef says:

      I agree, I think we all stand to learn allot from ippy considering his Italian and Hawian background. I can't wait to see what new idea's he'll bring to the table!

  9. Luna says:

    I agree with Debbie T. about the crush thing. It's probably nothing big though. Of course, we don't know how the rest of her auditions went. Maybe he really was better than some of the others. I do think Cristie should have been the first to go though. She sounded angry, and she can't do that on her own show but I know she had good intentions.

    • Dianne says:

      I agree with Luna. They just didn't give Christie a chance. I'm sure after her nerves wore off and she felt more confident in front of the camera, she would've really nailed it. I would've really enjoyed watching her show. I'm a little upset they didn't even give her a chance and Josh, with the burnt egg dish won that challenge. Are you kidding me? Who's really making these decisions anyway?

  10. Food Fan says:

    On the whole, Im glad to see this new group of contestants.
    Less freaky and more mainstream (well, for the most part.)
    Also nice to see *less* restaurant owners.
    I'm hoping we can have less drama this season. We dont need any more "Penny's" or loud immature types (remembering last year).
    Perhaps its all part of TV....but its just gotten all-too-predictable with seasons having "the cast of characters":
    the Bully
    the shy, soft-spoken wimp
    the fast-talking nervous one
    the tough-guy/street-person
    the weirdo
    The health-fitness buff
    the unorganized ditz
    .....its just too predictable.
    This looks like a more mainstream batch of folks. Most of 'em, anyway.
    Just gimme:
    knock-yer-socks-off food
    from a good explainer
    with a warm smile
    who isnt irritating...and I'll watch. Happily!