Midterms: Mentors Weigh In

by in Food Network Star, June 19, 2012

The competition has reached its halfway point. Just five weeks from now, one of the nine remaining finalists will have his or her own Food Network show. In this exclusive video, we checked in with Giada, Bobby and Alton to see how they're feeling about their respective top three finalists. Are they surprised at who's made it this far, or were these their top contenders from day one?

They also size up the competition. Who's the team to beat at this juncture? And who's the most competitive mentor? Bob and Susie reveal which Food Network icon "does not want to lose, ever."

Do you agree with the mentors? Midway through the season, which team do you see as the front-runner?

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Comments (40)

  1. Lilah says:

    There seem to be three top competitors that are probably going down to the final four... and if they dont my confidence will be lost in food network star... thee people are justin, emily, martita and Ippy.

    Ippy and martita will battle it out.... fans would be split and though I don't like it i believe Martita would come out on top as if saying that the judges apparently don't like ippy and his laid-back attitude. For the justin and emily face off.... honestly I am not sure. Bob seems to ADORE Justin and so does alton, almost looks like a father son kind of thing.... while Susan seems to love Emily and alont alos likes her.... altogether i dont now... reply and tell me your thoughts?

    • Food Fan says:

      I could see Martita, Emily and Ippy battling it out in the finals.
      Hard to know who it'd be from Bobby's team.
      I dont think Ippy is too laid back. Thats probably just a tactic people use against him when they are rooting for someone else. Ippy has enthusiasm for food and cooking. Im glad he's not in-yer-face.
      Martita seemed nearly unstoppable but then showed a side of herself that rubbed alot of folks the wrong way. Will she bounce back? I dont know.
      Justin has his fans, but it amazes me that people overlook his dead-eyed stare into the camera and his monotone voice, (is that their idea of "Star-quality?) and then will turn around and gripe about more minor and less frequent things in others. Go figure.
      Who is Alont Alos? Is this someone above Bob & Susie?

  2. Cdragon says:

    Bobby gave us 5 cookbooks. You don’t watch cookbooks. You occasionally yank a recipe out of them and put them back on the shelf. His team is out of the running. It would take years for these people to find a persona that works on TV. His best chef Eric Lee had the light go on just as he was cut. Team Bobby has no chance.

    Giada created the Cheshire Cat team. They are invisible except for the smile. I haven’t seen anything from Martita that would make me watch her. Ippi is boring. If he didn’t have a unique ethnicity and culture he’d have been long gone instead of Eric. Yvan seems too fake to me. Giada seems like a stage mother. Her face agonizes over her team's mistakes even as she cheers them on. She grinds her teeth under her smile as the competition excels. Her worst problem is she won’t tell them what they need to hear. She just keeps working on their strengths instead of working on their weakness. Fun, fun, fun, smile, smile, smile. Giada has an outside shot at bringing the prize home.

    Alton is a genius. He has two stars right now. Emily and Justin are unique and I could see the loser of being offered a show. They can cook, they have unique viewpoints, they are fun to watch, and they are not competing for a show that is already represented on the network. By being brutally honest Alton has turned Martie into a good contestant. She is a long shot and her view is already well represented on the network. Given another week he might have given Judson a shot with his new weight loss viewpoint. But Alton is the only one who tells them what they need to hear at right moment s. He is not afraid to kick them in the butt or pat them on the back to keep them on the track. Team Alton is easily the front runners at this point.

    • Food Fan says:

      Interesting post.
      I coud see Emily going to the finals. And while he may seem rude at times, I find myself starting to gravitate more towards Alton's approach to mentoring. He gives useful info to his people. Not that the other mentors dont, but Alton seems to do better of getting right to the good and the bad.

      But mentorship, is different from the actual people performing.
      I can find some agreement with what you say about Giada's team.but I dont think Giada's people, should be penalized. dismissed or held back because of Giada herself. I dont Ippy boring. I would, by far, prefer him, to when Yvan went over thje top about "dis is Nue Yaawwwwk, bay-beeee", etc. he could show us new things. His smile melts away boredom and Giada early-on complimented his knife and plating skills in the kitchen.
      I could see Ippy, Emily and probably Martita battling it out at the end with possibly Yvan, niiki or Michelle moving up in the pack.
      There may be more upsets and surprises. Who knows?

      • JLF says:

        I can forgive Yvan his fashion show dramatics since he had been soundly chastised by Susie and Giada the previous week for having no energy, and pretty much told he'd better amp it up or head for the door. To his credit, after that one gaffe he has returned to his normal self. Whether you like that normal self is a matter of opinion.

        • Food Fan says:

          Yes. And to be Fair to Yvan, I wanna acknowledge that, too.
          I'm just hoping he doesnt revert to the loud New Yorker. Just as I'm hoping Martie keeps it short and doesnt go waayyy long-winded. But progress is progress.

  3. cook not chef says:

    Giada - asking Martita to bring out the fiery latina is offensive to me. please don't ask her to make a caricature of herself or of her heritage. it's a low-road approach.

    in general, i am amazed at how narrow minded TV production is, as evidenced by this show. these guys end up being exaggerations of themselves, like cartoon characters. just cook great food and teach me how to do the same. we don't need everyone to be a guy fieri. please no-

    • FanFare57 says:

      Yes, I noticed that too and cringed when Giada said that about Martita. I expected Martita to play along and shout, "Ole, Ole" while doing a little flamingo move as an exclamation. I agree with your thought about the seemingly narrow mindedness of the Network thus far.

    • Food Fan says:

      What if Justin and Martita both went to the Pitch Room and one of them went home?
      That may not happen. Then again, if Martie can be saved, popular ones can fall.
      Thats just speculation, but who knows? I think may be in for a couple surprises before this thing is over.

  4. cjcal says:

    Interesting you mention "exaggerations of themselves". Last weekend I watched an episode of Jaques Pepin on PBS and was enthralled. Nice guy, knowledgeable, creative, classy. Can you imagine what judges Bob and Susie would have dinged Jaques on if he was a FNS contestant this season?

    • beachinfrizzy says:

      I wonder how ANY of the old-timey FN hosts (Pepin, Marcel the Death by Chocolate guy, Earl Peyroux, Diana Kennedy, Madeline Kamman, the Too Hot Tamales, Martin Yan, Marianne Esposito, as well as Emeril and Mario) would have done had they had to jump through Bob and Susie's hoops back in the day. Honestly, can you imagine Justin Wilson at Fashion Week?

      • Food Fan says:

        hehehe...makes me wonder what kind of ringer next years candidates will be put through (or even the rest of this season). Where will it end, on the "scale-of-difficulty" ? I'm imagining Mario Batali at the Fashion thing..and Emeril on Chopped or Iron Chef.

        On a different note....
        I'd like to see a future season of NFNS...where...no one at all...not even 1 person...owns a restaurant or is a Chef in one....just a dozen people who are all "3-houses-down-on-yer-street" who can Cook like no one else!....trying to be the next Star.
        It seems like its slowly creeping in a direction similar to politics....i.e...when running for office you practically gotta be a millionaire to even run. And with Cooking, is it REALLY critical that you:
        A) cooked in Paris?
        B) or were/are executive Chef at a 5-star in downtown New York?
        Can anyone else compete? (like politics)
        How about 12 or 15 people-next-door who are "undiscovered Gems" each trying to outshine the others and amaze us with their awesome flavors and recipes? Homegrown regular folks-- without a website or restaurant building.
        For all the execs who love a story behind everything, here ya go...a classic rags-to-riches. "I wasnt famous at all. I coulda been your neighbor. But I cooked for a Sunday picnic, or some people at work, or at a campout and everyone raved that: NO ONE can Cook like so-n-so does!. People say I should be on the Food Network. So here I am, trying out."
        I'd like to see a season like that. Somewhere, out there, are fantastic cooks we've never heard of. Weren't the earlier seasons of NFNS like this?...before Guy...?

        • beachinfrizzy says:

          Right...they should forward those "I was at the top of my class at Le Cordon Bleu and then sous'd under Jean-Jorges and now I own a very successful catering company" resumes to "Top Chef". It's getting more difficult for a true 'out of nowhere' contestant to compete with all the established professionals who decide they now want to dabble in showbiz.

  5. JLF says:

    Well said.

  6. Wayne says:

    I don't blame Giada for wanting to win all the time. Who doesn't? Sure its how you play the game that counts & as long as we're all having a good time little Johnny. Yes. We tell that to our kids but we like to win. Her being a female, and kinda teeny probably makes her want to win even more. I think she was chosen as least to win on the poll here before the show started. Some people are just naturally more competitve than others. Sometimes when a woman is competitve it can be frowned upon but a man is a go-getter if he is competitve. Its accepted and sometimes even admired. She's alright in my book. I like all 3 of the mentors. Don't care for Giada's show though. Do like Bobby in all his shows...Iron Chef, Throwdown..all of em...and Alton..well he is the man!

    Personally I don't agree with Bobby's statement about having the 3 best left on his team (or however he put it). I think he knew his best cook was eliminated..Eric. And I don't know that Giada is the team Bobby should be most concerned about. But we'll see.

    • Wayne says:

      If I were chosen as the least one to win in any situation, I know I'd try my darndest to make sure I proved them all wrong. It would add fuel to my fire. But even if I weren't chosen to win, I'd strive to do my absolute best in a competition. Why enter it if you don't plan to give it your all?

  7. John says:

    The problem with this show is Bob and Susie they tell the contestant one thing and then the contestant listens and then they tell them that they shouldn't listen and be themselves which is not what they mean. Alton is the only mentor I like and I love his show and it goes to show you that you can teach someone to cook and have it be entertaining without having to tell a personal story. His show lasted ten years and longer and i don't remember him telling any personal stories.

    • Wayne says:

      I agree John. Once Alton had his grandmother on regarding some biscuits and they interacted well. But Alton never jawed about personal stories -- he is just his own quirky self and that in itself is entertaining enough! Don't know why the storytelling issue is sooo pushed onthese people and sooo important to the network. Its just downright boring. I wish the network could get that message. If the person truly has a story & wish to tell it...if preparing the dish reminds them of something that happened, fine, tell it, but don't feel obligated to share that stuff. Its not warming nor enduring, its just phony. I don't need images conjured up to make me smile while they fix the dish. Just cook please.

  8. Orson says:

    Anyone else pick up on Giada saying "I'm cute and sweet". She's not really full of herself, is she.... At the end of the day, it's still all about Giada, all the time, not really hee team. I like her less and less with each episode, and I didn't like her at all when it started.

  9. MirrorMirror12 says:

    Sorry to all of the Food Network fans out there, but this season of NFNS is garbage!!! It really seems the focus is off of the contestants, and on the mentors. It should be called the Next Mentor Star!! Also, where the mentors are concerned, there is way too much overacting taking place!!! Remember guys you all already have TV shows. The focus should be on the contestants. I have found it "unappetizing" to watch even one episode from start to finish. I'll find out on-line when the rest of America does!!! Also, give Jeffrey Saad a show on Food Network!! He has a great culinary Point of view!!!!

  10. Karen Yacovelli says:

    Get rid of Giada and all her shows it's so stale and she is so full of shit phoney