Team Giada: Down to Three

by in Food Network Star, June 19, 2012

Team Giada thought they had last Sunday's food-court challenge in the bag. A Mexican-themed kiosk, with Martita on their side? No problem. But for South African dessert queen Linkie Marais, Mexican food was uncharted territory: "I don't even know what they serve for dessert in Mexico!" Stumped, she ran with Martita's suggestion of churros and hoped for the best, despite the fact that she'd never made them before.

Sure enough, the texture of the churros was off and Linkie tried to re-brand them as "biscotti." But her confidence was shaken, and it showed. She ended up in the Producers' Challenge, where she gave Bob and Susie a solid chicken dish, proving that she shouldn't be pigeonholed into pastry. Still, in the end, it was pitch room veteran Nikki who prevailed, sending Linkie home.

Throughout her Star run, Linkie struggled with confidence issues that caused her to stumble over presentations. "In the end, I realized that it's mostly because of the language barrier," Linkie explains in her exclusive exit interview. "That was where a lot of my confidence problem came from." Giada tried to coax her through this, sharing her own experience of moving to America as a child.

"I am so honored and humbled that I had the opportunity to work with Giada," Linkie says. "I don't think she realizes how much she's influenced my life. She made me realize that I don't have to change who I am."

Hear more from Giada, Bob, Susie and Linkie in her exit interview. Do you think she deserved to go home over Nikki?

Flip through Linkie’s Star Scrapbook and more behind-the-scenes photos from Episode Six.


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Comments (84)

  1. ChefAnthony says:

    Martita is still my favorite & Yvan is just as charismatic. Ippy has more chops than Yvan but, the Network can work much easier with someone who is confident and personable in front of cameras. Ippy is clearly the weak link when it comes to being a television personality. He just doesn't have it. I'm hoping to see Martita in the finale.

    • ChefAnthony says:

      Other thoughts: Team Bobby is going to come down to either Michele or Nikki and I'm leaning towards Michele.

      Alton's team is a no-brainer. Justin is clearly the favorite and Emily gets on a lot of people's nerves. Don't be surprised if she's gone soon. She is not going to stand in Justin's way so Emily fans don't hold your breath for an Emily win. Not that I like Justin's personality, which I don't but he is clearly both a fan favorite and Alton's pet. Not just that, just look at Bob and Suzie get all googly-eyed over him.

      If it comes down to Justin, Michele & Martita, then my choice would be Martita. Outside of this competition I'm sure she has a wider range of cooking skills but was forced into picking a POV for the sake of the show's format.

      • SilverGirl says:

        I have to say though that Martita doesn't have that strong of a chance at being 1 of the final three. Giada describes Martita at being "fiery". Wheres the fire? I noticed that Team Giada called Martita "Mama" on occasion. Mama's are classified at being remembered as kind and forgiving. But does the network think the same (As Martita being fiery)? That being said I think Yvan has a chance. People have been so focused on finding a star in the first people they see that I'm pretty sure they wave off Yvan. He has a very fun personality and Giada is right, personality does count of 60% of a Star. Look at the past stars; Aarti is charming and puts story and twist in her presentation and food; Guy had major personality, I don't think the network focused on his food all that much.

        • Frank Demeo says:

          I think Yvan lacks a little bit of refinement but, I can totally see him doing tv as well. He does have his moments and he is always outgoing and personable.

    • Frank Demeo says:

      I like her too but, don't be surprised if the network leans towards Justin. That may not be a bad thing for Martita though, since winners tend to get crappy contracts with bad time-slots and limited viewership (As has been pointed out by a few people here many times) . Making it to the final stages may prove better than actually winning ;-)

    • shawndale says:

      i saw Yvan on Chopped. He did great except for going over the time limit, which was a first for me. He looked hot with facial hair. He has a great personality. I like him the most but think it will go to Justin.

    • kathy says:

      Martita is too fake and to full of herself to be a true star. Ippy does not impress me at all. I would watch michele, emilie, and malcom.

  2. Food Fan says:

    I see it differently. Alot! And I have reasons why:
    For starters, Ippy has alot to offer.
    I dont believe he's a weak link as you say.
    I dont believe he doesn't have it as you say. He has a great smile. His food has excellent flavors and he can bring something new.

    Emily has toned-down the retro-rad thing and as long as she doesnt revert and bombard us with it later, she is a good explainer and creative. I prefer her over Justin as she is not sooo "out there". Justin is too much out there and monotone with a blank stare on camera.
    Yvan is still finding his way. Ippy already has his POV and is more grounded, and has a great smile, and can teach us how to make the dishes. Remember the Live Show challenge when we saw and heard Ippy explain what was in the dish, and then we saw him give Guy the finished product. He did this better than others.

    Martita is more vocal. She is charismatic but that may not be enough, as she has now gotten many negative comments from people about how she acted on the last challenge.
    Ippy is also someone people can like right away and has none of this problem.

    Its hard to predict who will be the last one standing on Bobby's team.

    • Frank Demeo says:

      I agree about Emily having more personality than Justin but, I think the masses will win every time. Justin seems to be the one people rave about and the one the judges/network swoon over. For that reason, I also see Martita in the top 3 (Or whatever they do at the finale). All we can do is speculate though :-)

      • Food Fan says:

        We all speculate. No harm there.
        But doesnt it seem strange, that people would "rave" about someone who speaks in a monotone voice and stares blankly into the camera and hardly blinks? I would say this about anyone, too. Not just Justin.
        I think some of these people just have an Army of facebook-followers...cuz...the comments they are getting on here...dont jive hardly at all with the fan vote. So I think its gotta be just a bunch o' "friends" hitting a like-button.
        I think it would be wise for the Food Network to stop and consider: before they get too excited about the next over-the-top whatever...stop and think of how soon it may fizzle-out and the public gets bored with it.
        "Practical usefulness" has more longevity and than "outrageoues or loud entertainment."

        • Frank Demeo says:

          Well to be fair, I've seen a good share of pro-Justin comments here.

          I think there is a clear distinction between someone being likable and someone being great for television. For example, I think Martita would be better on tv than Ippy (I like Ippy), I think Michele would be better on tv than Malcolm (I like Malcolm), ...etc. Justin has a dry, monotone personality and he's dull. Yet, there's that dry wit. The wigs at FN might see a Jerry Seinfeld of the culinary world (Well, not really but dry/dark jokes etc). They might like the idea of him more han his actual personality....and they might feel that will resonate with people. I don't agree. I think Martita runs circles around him. She was on the news again yesterday later in the day doing a "celebrity workout" with some trainer. She was so at ease and retakes. live tv...and she didn't even break a sweat.

          • Food Fan says:

            Ok I can acknowledge that. Who knows what the Network is looking for?
            I'm hoping its not Jerry Seinfeld but I can get the idea of it. Personally, i think there are better ideas, but yer point is understood. I would just hope they pick something a lil' more down to earth. It can still be enjoyable and something where people would be enthused about tuning-in. Too many of the over-the-top things dont last...i.e...Tom Pizzica.
            I agree that Martita runs circles around him. She's good on camera.

          • Food Fan says:

            ps...the last challenge, for Martita, not near as much. People are reacting negatively. Perhaps she may redeem herself. Unknown. She seems to do better in video-clips, youtube, etc. But she does have it over many others, camera-wise.

          • Frank Demeo says:

            She blew the last challenge for sure. Presentation wise, that is.

        • Food Fan says:

          Part 2--Title: Creativity Gone Wild.
          Remember Tom Pizzica, from last year?
          He had (only temporarily) a show, where he made outrageous and creative stuff...i.e...a giant, humungeous Hamburger for 4 people, etc...weird pizza's and whatever else. Oh, it was "creative" all right. I dont think that show is on anymore. I doubt it lasted even 6 months but I dont know the exact time.
          It mighta been "cool"---but it quickly burned out. It was just too much.

          • Frank Demeo says:

            Well, I agree that Justin's creativity may not translate into an actual watchable show you have faith that the Network will recognize that before it's too late? ;-) if he doesn't win, he still gets some tv gig somewhere.

          • Food Fan says:

            I can only hope that the Network would recognize pitfalls before its too late. Whatever they decide, I just hope they give us, the audience, an explanation of why, and what convinced them to do whatever they end up doing.

        • Violet says:

          Good point. My concern with Justin is that will we be able to go to local grocery stores to obtain the ingredients he'll be using in recipes? Don't believe that will be the case with Emily. Justin has a place on TV, but I don't see it in a "cooking show" genre. Perhaps travelling to exotic places exploring their local cuisine, but then is this concept already be shown on TV?

  3. NotaFan says:

    Personally, my favorites are Ippy, Yvan and Michelle. Neither one of them are "out there" like Justin and Emily, who is too retro imo. The rest aren't memorable to me. I have too sit and think about who are still on there, and Martita has shown me a side of her I do not like at all during the last two weeks.

  4. Guest says:

    Martita has still been my favorite in the competition, and she will continue to be my favorite finalist.

    • Frank Demeo says:

      I'm still thinking Martita as well. Love her or hate her, she's just more comfortable with being a "star" then some of the others. People need to realize that and start thinking about what this competition actually is about. It's isn't a cooking contest at all.

      • Food Fan says:

        I'm trying to "stay open" to you...but, now ya lost me.
        You say: not a cooking contest.
        Hmm. Bobby might disagree with you. He said: if they can Cook, he can teach them the Camera.
        I will admit that it isnt *only* about cooking...but what do you think it is, then?

        • kathy says:

          Food Fan, I am with you. This is about cooking. I liked last years format better than this years. But, I do like the fan voting and blogging part. Kathy

          • Food Fan says:

            Thank you, Kathy!
            I have often said: I look for FOUR things in the next STAR:
            Incredibly delicious food
            Explained clearly, simply
            from someone likable/"engaging" w/a warm smile
            who *isn't* loud, weird, dull, or too intense.
            Satisfy those 4, and we've got a great cook, who people watch, who gets ratings for the Network. Such a deal! :)

      • Brenda says:

        I like Martita but I am tired of Mexican and italian
        . Please give us something different!!

        • Violet says:


        • kathy says:

          BRENDA, I am with you. We need someone who KNOWS something about seafood and can give us some good idea's and recipes for seafood. We like itlalian and mexican food also but am ready for someone who can give some sea food ideas. That is why I am pulling for michele. By for now. KATHY



      • kathy says:

        Martita is to fake and comes off that way. She has showen a side of herself I did not like in the last show by not helping her team mates in the last challenge.

    • kathy says:

      Sorry but I disagree. She comes off too much of a fake to me . We already have giada and another mexican cook that is on sat. I forget her name off hand but it is time for someone who can give us some seafood dishes and knows the background of sea food. Michele fills that void. Also, she shows off her boobs all the time. I'm not old, have boobs also but I don't show them to everyone all the time.

  5. Arianna says:

    I really hope Martita doesn't make it. Even if her food is not too bad, her attitude stinks. Not much of an example there.
    My favorite person went home last week, and I'll miss seeing her on the show, so the only other person I hope to see winning is Justin. He is original, very confident, and experienced; everything a cooking star should be.
    I wouldn't mind seeing Michelle win either. Her audition with Bobby was very exciting to watch. She needs to bring that energy back

    • sammy b says:

      I agree wole heartedly. NO MARTITA!!!!

    • SilverGirl says:

      I totally agree with you on the Linkie deal. I still don't get why she went home. Linkie has a big personality and she is always so friendly even if she did lack confidence. Linkie has an interesting background; she grew up in South Africa, she is interested in deserts which is not common with someone coming on the Food Network. I strongly believe that Nikki needs to go home ASAP. She is harsh and really has no personality, and even if she did, you wouldn't know it by the way she acts in front of camera. Polished? Nuh-uh. She makes up personalitys and stays with them ,for what? A couple hours?

      • Nadia says:

        THANK YOU! Linkie was my fav. fn needs a dessert show! nicki also needs to go.

      • Violet says:

        Linkie went home because she hesitated and stumbled too many times on camera. She did not present herself well. Nikki will soon follow as it appears as though she has anger issues (she mentioned past life issues and she sounds as though she hasn't moved on from them). She's definitely not somebody you can take a seat and cozy up too. Too bad though Nikki's recipes sound delish.

  6. Arianna says:

    One more thing, since Aarti asked about Giada's team; if the FN is going to keep this format, please get a better mentor than Giada. She dropped one of her own. You can't keep saying " I gotta build that confidence" and not build it. Help build it Giada! Lead your team, love them and stand up for them

    • Esf says:

      I finally got to watch the last episode online last nght. It was pretty obvious that Giada, knowing it was her team's "turn" to lose a member, decided ahead of time that this person was going to be Linkie. Apart from some rhetorical statements about confidence she seemed to provide no real guidance at all. Her input about what to make could've made a difference in the outcome.

    • kathy says:

      I agree 100% with you. Kathy

  7. Annie B says:

    Wow...its' not a cooking contest at all ? It SHOULD be since the show is on Food Network....and the audience shouldn't accept anything else. The winner is supposed to be the best chef with an interesting POV....and audience appeal.
    Ippy is it.
    Martita has shown her mean-spiritedness.

    • guest says:

      Totally Agree!

    • Food Fan says:

      I asked him about that, above, and he didnt answer the last part.
      Cooking matters.
      When I acknowledged...i didnt necessarily agree with all of his who is better than who. It was more an acknowledging of the Network may have its own reasons for whatever it is looking for. I, and you, or any of us, may disagree with the networks decision. Of course, we hope they make the right one. Many of us will differ on what that is...which is why I told Frank that whatever the network decides, I at least hope they share their specific reasons with us posters/viewers.
      I was glad for Frank's back-n-forth with me. Sometimes I may agree and other times not. But thats OK. People agree, and disagree, with me, too.
      But if its not a cooking contest, then what is it? Television. Right.
      But as I said in an earlier post (being deliberately drastic just to make the point)--if the network put on a hot lingerie super-model to get more viewers...but all she could do was show us how to make a mediocre plate o' Mac-n-cheese...what good is it? It wouldnt last.
      The point is: Food and skill in the kitchen, matters.
      I dont think Frank was saying it doesnt matter.
      I keep going back to:
      Food and personality and teaching and not being a turn-off.
      At this point, for me, the 2 who I think come closest are: Ippy and Emily.
      This doesnt mean no one else is good, they are! But i think Ippy and Emily have the best potential --overall-- at this point. But we all have our opinions....

    • Jerilee says:

      I have come to realize FN is about FOOD. Cooking channel is more about cooking. The winner of FNS may very well end up on Cooking Channel, along with some of the non winners. Who will be on FN? Who knows. FNS has, so far, a way of methodical elimination. Will it continue? How does the fan vote play? The fans are supposed to pick the winner, how?? The show is taped 4 weeks in advance!!!

      • FanFare57 says:

        Jerilee, I agree. If you know, what happened to the fan vote of NIC when Anne B seemed to be ahead of the pack? I didn't notice anything mentioned regarding the fan vote at the end of that contest.

  8. Alice says:

    Well I want anyone from Team Alton to win...I like Emily but Justin is fine too. Nikki wears too much makeup and there is enough grilling shows. There aren't any "retro rad" shows and Emily would have a good show. I love Altons show Good Eats so i want him to win! But if he doesn't, maybe Ippy. Martita, no. Why? Because there is another mexican show already called Mexican made easy. I think that might be on cooking channel..but there are enough Mexican shows. I'd watch a retro show or a Hawaiian show too, just Ippy is like on middle ground. Not Yvan because he is...i don't know. Martie: Not really. I really don't like party shows, but since she's on team alton, I woulnd't mind if she wins. Oh ya Malcolm. Nah, too easy to forget, and i'm not interested in soul food.

  9. markohio says:

    IF it boils down to one finalist per team, I would have to go with:

    Team Alton - Justin - Truly a different drummer in the cusine world. I think he is a diamond in a rough; he has unique ideas with food, I enjoy his comments on the show. I think he would be fun to watch, and would be something different on FN. Not sure that show would have lasting appeal, that would be up to him and FN.

    Team Giada - Ippy - I think he is another contender for the finals, and potential for his own show. The Hawaiian.Italian ideas, his refreshing, genuine, laid back approach, his passion for cooking all add up to a show I would watch. I think we will continue to seeing him grow in the next few weeks. (Dark horse - Yvan)

    Team Bobby - Michele - Yes, she can cook, and if each team has one person in the finals, she has a strong chance to be Bobby's person, but I do not think she will win. I am not sure we need another tattooed, spiky blond hair, with a nose ring person on a show. I am not sure many would watch that. Sorry to all the Michele fans, but we all know looks are usually in the equation.

    Emily is the other strong candidate if one team would have two people make the finals.

    • Food Fan says:

      For me, its looking like Ippy, and Emily.
      Ippy---could do wonders showcasing all the variety and new twists from Hawaii and his Hawaii-Italian combo's. It would be new. His smile lights up a room. He's been cooking even as a small boy. Its in his blood. He has a passion for cooking!
      The laid-back is fine. He is relate-able and at-ease in the kitchen. Very good flavors.
      Emily---creative without being too extreme and makes things i would eat. Alot of foods were eaten in the '50's. Who knows how Emily might jazz (or rock) them up? Clear presentations.
      Hard to know who to root for on Bobby's team...

      • Violet says:

        Emily's recipes are appealing, but will we be able to obtain the ingredients Ippy uses in his?

        • Food Fan says:

          Yes, we will.
          I'm sure Ippy has alot he can show us. Hawaii has Mangoes, Guava's, Coconuts but also Lamb, Cocoa, great seafood. I'm sure we can get those "on the mainland". But who knows what interesting combos he may come up with? He could teach us things.
          It would be fun. And New.

    • FNfan says:

      Not IF, it will.. If you read the upcoming episode descriptions(click my name if interested), you will see that each team brings 1 to the final. I think Giada will go with Martita, as she seems to love her. I agree that emily might be getting the raw end of the deal with this format, as if she was on a different team, her and justin could be in the final.

  10. FoodJunkie says:

    Here’s my take on the contenders, one in particular. Regardless if Ippy is the winner of NFNS or not, I think we have a show in the making. He’s so unique and not in your face. European cuisine with a splash of the Pacific and Asia flavors. Food you know with at twist. I would watch this show.

    • Bristol says:

      But Ippy isn't "European Cuisine with a splash of the Pacific and Asia flavors" is he? He admitted this himself that he was Hawaiian and Italian. I didn't think that Asia was in the mix either.

      • JLF says:

        Italy is in Europe, and the Hawaiian Islands have many Asian influences, I'm sure including culinary influences.

    • Kaye says:

      I would definitely watch Ippy too.

    • Food Fan says:

      I heartily agree.
      Its amazing they haven't done a show like this already. The variety of foods. The interesting twists. I think his easy-going nature makes him easier-to-follow when he teaches. He's most definitely a serious contender and if he wins, I would tune-in. Often! Who knows what we could learn?

    • kathy says:

      Sorry foodjunkie, but ippy shows me nothing. I agree he has some good food idea's and can cook but am not sure he would last long on tv. Look at the sandwich king. I think he has a good personality but he is a wash-out already. kathy

      • Food Fan says:

        ooooh, I hafta really disagree on that one.
        Because there's a big difference. No one needs to be taught how to make a sandwich.
        On the other hand, the sheer variety and interesting things that Ippy would come up with that we haven't seen before...or even neat ways of putting a yummy twist on ingredients we already know, would be new--and tasty! I think Pacific Rim meets European would have far staying-power than sandwiches. Its interesting. More variety of flavors.