Farewell to Retro-Rad

by in Food Network Star, June 26, 2012

Emily Ellyn and Alton

Team Alton will bring only two finalists to Miami after saying goodbye to Emily Ellyn in last Sunday's episode. Emily embodied her "retro-rad" POV to a T, but after seven weeks she was still unable to open up and get comfortable on camera. After her presentation to the media panel, "awkward" was the word Jess Cagle from Entertainment Weekly used to describe her. "That's a word you never want to hear about someone in front of a camera," said Bob Tuschman.

Alton saw great potential in Emily: "She was a ready-made package. You could look at her and know what she was about. Retro-rad was great. She lives it. When she wasn't on camera, she was on the side crocheting. She was the real thing!"

Through "happy tears," Emily reflects on the Star experience and working with Alton: "There's no way to even prepare for something like this. The whole thing was awesome. I gave it my best, and I made great food. I was more upset when I was voted off that I let Alton down. He was there for us 5,000 percent."

Hear more from Alton, Bob and Emily in her exclusive exit interview. Did you want to see more retro-rad, or do you think it was Emily's time to go home?

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


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Comments (333)

  1. jmck says:

    Biggest mistake ever to get rid of Emily. Nicki was up for elimination 3 times and should have been the one to go - she is a dime-a-dozen show host - Emily is a one-of-a-kind wonder and I would have watched her show. Will not watch a show with Nicki in it.

    • PhilR says:

      Wahhhhhh, Nikki is still in the competition, I would never watch her, blah, blah, blah......like a three year old throwing a temper tantrum!

      • poppakap says:

        Dude, you are simply a bully and a blowhard. Someone expresses their opinion, supports it with data, and you attempt to silence that person by accusing them of being juvenile. Sounds like you and Nicki may be quite copacetic.

    • flemke says:

      There is no way Martita should have made it through after leaving 30 seconds of dead air. I would watch a show with Emily. I cannot imagine watching a show with Martita. She is boring. I LOVE good Mexican food but I just can't imagine watching her cook it.

      • Emilllyyy says:

        Niki is like the "new Penny". Why FN is keeping her on the show I have noooo clue......

        • Lindsay says:

          There keeping her on the show because she's all drama more drama means more entertainment more entertainment means more viewers but I hate Nikki I like Justin!!

    • Guest says:

      I know what you are talking about.
      And I cant believe nikki is still on the show.
      She shouldove been cutt a longgg time ago.

    • MaryCruz says:

      Yes i totally agree. Everyone on the food network grills and GRILL next door has been in the bottom too many times. A real star can do better than just keep their head above wate each week. Emily is unique, beautiful and a perfect example of a lady to bring back an era that brought families closer together with food but with wholesome tastes and values. What else would be more perfect for the food network. She can not be replaced.

    • Fenton Gal says:

      I totally agree with you. I don't plan on watching whoever wins because I don't like any of them. Emily was different and her show would have a larger audience appeal.

    • AprilS says:

      I agree, biggest mistake to get rid of Emily. She would have had such an interesting show that I would love to watch. They already have grilling shows and how many Mexican shows do they need. Emily's show about retro food updated is what the home cook is looking for, taking their Mom's recipes and updating them and maybe making them healthier. Throw some syle in and what a unique show for the network. I'm hoping they will set a show up for her on their sister network, I've seen other cast out contestants on the other network

    • Cheryl says:

      I absolutely agree with every line of your comment. I am so very disappointed in FNs ability to see that with these troubling times some of us want to escape, at least for an hour, to a simpler time! Emily was classy, knowlegeable and a lady at all times . . . just a joy to watch!

    • Victoria Gruntz says:

      I agree, I am for Alton's team all the way, Nicki should have went, she has a bland personality where as Emily keeps you interested. Maybe they will give her a show on the cooking network, they already gave a few losers a show on there.

    • LSanders says:

      I'm 58 years old and too scared to use a pressure cooker. I was SO hoping Emily would win so she could teach me how to use one. Very disappointed for her and for me.

      • Jerilee says:

        Look for Good Eats episode 402, aired 4/18/01, titled "Pressure", from season 4. I mistakenly bought a cooker at garage sale....very bad results. Never touched one again until I watched Alton Brown's "Pressure". I am also 58 and was scared to death after mine "blew up". So, get a NEW cooker, watch Alton, and go for it. Emily got me curious, hubby got me a new cooker, and Alton gave me knowledge. Watch Alton before getting cooker, I think he gives tips on buying. Have fun, I am. Good luck.

    • khoglen says:

      Totally agree!!! And they chose Emily's burger to be posted as the best recipe from that challenge but voted her off! What is wrong with Bob and Susie -- hello what were they thinking??? I am really disappointed in their ability to judge this competition any longer. The last few FN winners have done nothing outstanding on their shows.

    • JLP says:

      I have to agree. Weren't all the mentors and judges saying over and over again that it was all about the food knowledge and the personality? It seems that Emily had both in spades, while both Nikki and Martita have made bland or even bad food. She was my favorite and I would have watched her show in a heartbeat. Perhaps a true surprise would be bringing her back for a second shot. I know it's just television, but Emily was a doll.

  2. Emily fan says:

    Yes letting Emily go was a HUGE mistake, FN needs to update their evening shows, I am getting a bit tired of diner, drive in and dives. It would have been great to watch a retro rad cooking show at night.
    Something different and with these challanging times it would have been nice to "escape" and remember a Simpler time. FN missed a huge chance for a new spot. Emily was real and really enjoyable to watch. Sometimes I wonder about Bob and all as maybe they just don't get out of NYC much and join the real world.

    • Alex says:

      I couldn't agree more. Emily could have tied some history/education (like Alton does) about that time period as she cooked. Her food was interesting and she has a unique personality. I too am getting tired of Diners, Drive ins & Dives, the whole line up in the evening. I find myself watching less and less of FN. FN missed a chance to have something different and aside from that: how can someone who leaves 30 seconds of dead air stay? Or go to the cutting room 3 times and stay? I can't help but feel this is fixed. Major disappointment judges. And do you get out of NY to do research for new shows? There are a lot of folks who live neither on the east coast or west coast.

    • Liblet28 says:

      Yes I agree I think this season I am starting to doubt bob and Susie's decisions. I am not watching the show any more now.

    • Wayne says:

      Yes they missed the boat when they let her go. I can't understand why a network has a thermometer (the blog) which lets them know who their viewers want to see...and then when they find out..they ignore it! Their ratings could have shot up thru the roof! Why annoy your viewers & keep re-runs of DDD on over and over and let the new people that we want to see, get eliminated? You do receive the talent to make new shows but you send them away. Keep it up. You are going to lose viewers if you stay on this streak, but if it doesnt matter to you, please continue. Ignore us and we'll begin to ignore you.

    • flemke says:

      Me too. Can we PLEASE have something besides Guy and Diners, Drive-in and Dives. I love that show but 8 episodes an evening is a bit much.

    • Fenton Gal says:

      I agree with you also!

    • Barb says:

      I agree that letting go of Emily was a big mistake...I would only watch her...at the Food Court, if not for her, her team would NEVER have won...they both failed to finish cooking in the time allotted!!! And she was the only person that should have won...I think the judges are idiots!!!
      I don't know what the judges are thinking about how much they love Justin with his bright lipstick & weird food & Michelle with her lifeless & catty personality...I would NEVER tune in to either of them.

    • DedraLee says:

      I agree with the updates on the evening shows!!!! I, too, am tired of Triple D, Restaurant Impossible, and Chopped.........RERUNS, RERUNS, RERUNS. I, also, agree with the comment about not getting out of NYC and joining the real world!! I also like Martie.......she seems to be a SIMPLE Southern gal (like me) who is sorta clumsy, but she is a REAL person!!!

  3. JMT says:

    This was a difficult one to figure out. Nikki is just so unpleasant and Martita keeps bombing, and we don't need another Mexican or grill cooking show. I imagine the judges have a strategy, but not sure what it is.

    • Sharon says:

      I've lost confidence in the judges and their trying to contort contestants to fit their ideal images, when we all know that only one can win. Hence, it is cruel to torture these people when you know that they are not all getting shows.

      • SilverScribe says:

        I have to agree. I'm getting really tired of the network execs insulting our intelligence by thinking that we want to see the same tired clones of what they already have on the air, while they boot really original and interesting contestants to the curb.

        Emily was quirky and cool to watch. Nikki? Wouldn't watch that girl on a bet, and her standing in the voting rankings might mean we won't have to.

    • poppakap says:

      I thought exactly the same thing Sunday night. It seems to me the network execs are making excuses to clear out Justin's competition; Nicki and Martita don't stand a chance against the guy. While I like him a lot, I liked Emily's POV a lot and dug her presentation skills and would have liked to see her battling for the title with the last couple contestants.

      It's clear to me that Nicki is a goner pretty soon. I actually find her attractive from time to time, but don't like her POV or style enough to watch a show with her starring. Martita on the other hand is doing something FN already has enough of and reminds me too much of last year's finalist that didn't win (I forgot her name, although I really rather liked her cooking and energy).

  4. Nadia says:

    I think Nicki should have went. One day she's miss tough girl, the next day she's putting flowers on plates. Bob and Suzie didn't say to change personalities, they said tone it down and be your self.

    • Jennifer says:

      They told her that her own personality was too strong, not bubbly enough. She's been reprimanded so much that she doesn't know what they want of her, and I'm glad she finally said "stick it" to them. I'm not a big Nikki fan, but I am glad she and Ippy put their foot down and said enough is enough. I like Martita, but I think that 30 seconds of dead air is unforgiveable in this instance, and she should have been eliminated. She didn't even attempt to make a come back, so much as I hate to say it, I think Martita should have gone.

      • Jerilee says:

        Hello Mentor ,,,,,where were you when Nikki is in the middle of this identity crisis???????

        • Grandma Joyce says:

          Nikki will start yelling at us soon, but here goes. I don't understand it, Alton stated "the real Emily" never was seen...but we always saw a smiling, pleasant person. Nikki, I'm sorry, but sincerity, warm, kindness...not seeing those things.
          Neither Linkie or Emily snapped out at the audience as Nikki has done, and they are both gone.
          I don't quite understand it. Talented folks with sincerity, kindness, and warmth have been sent home, like Eric, Linkie, and Emily, and less likeable folks keep hanging in there.
          Oh well, so whose team is due to have a member sent home next week? Which most talented person in the team will it be?
          I 'm not sure if I am just tired after a day of work or tired of seeing good folks sent packing and less deserving folks stay.

    • flemke says:

      I think Martita should have gone. That 30 seconds of dead air was not even forgivable.

      • Elderleigh says:

        I agree. I just can not warm up to that woman.

        If they want a show with a latina vibe why not give Susie from last year a shot? She had more personality - which seems to be a big concern- in her little finger that Martita has in her entire body. She just wants to look pretty - not unlike Giada.

    • Nadia says:

      Emily should have stayed.......
      Martita left dead air for thirty seconds. and they just shrug at it.
      Nicki...... I have know idea what she's really like. Is she tough or all girly girlish?

    • Kathleen says:

      And yet they eliminated Emily, the contestant who has asserted who she is and what she stands for since day one. They eliminated her based on her personality, which was memorable and possessed the star qualities that the past few FNS winners have absolutely lacked.

      It is as if Bob and Susie have a mold they want filled for the winner. Clearly Emily didn't satisfy what they were looking for and they eliminated her the moment she falters, whereas they keep Nicki, who has been up for elimination three times and Martita, who makes a major error yet has the potential to be molded to the ideal.

      It's a shame that FN is unwilling to open up to a unique cooking perspective.

  5. Guest says:

    I still hope Martita wins-she's my favorite finalist, followed by Ippy.

  6. EGC says:

    What a shame! Emily has a unique and interesting viewpoint, which neither of her competitors have. I find Martita and Nicki not particularly interesting and would never watch shows produced around them. What makes for great cooking shows are interesting personalities and someone we would love to cook next to in a kitchen.

  7. Phineas says:

    I like Emily a lot, but I always wondered if a show about 1950's food was sustainable. When I think of the average American home cuisine of the 1950's, what comes to mind is casseroles (the 50's were actually called "The Casserole Decade" due to the varieties of canned cream-of soups that hit the market) and meatloaf, stroganoff, instant potatoes, TV dinners, and pretty much anything from a Betty Crocker cookbook. Frankly, I don't find much of it appetizing.

    On the other hand, I loved Emily's personality. She was always smiling and pleasant to watch. I think she has the potential of being a TV personality...a little more time and practice, who knows? I'm sure she will be fine, this competition is not the end of the world, and we will probably see her again.

    • Jerilee says:

      You have no interest in seeing those canned recipes brought to life with simple, fresh, unprocessed to death, ingredients? Homemade can be made simple, good tasting, and in about the time it takes for a lot of flavorless TV dinners. It certainly doesn't take genius, just simple instruction. Most young people don't a clue how to fix meatloaf, much less punch up the flavor. Emily would have been the perfect hostess for a show like that. I'm so saddened to see her eliminated

      • Phineas says:

        Actually, no. Growing up with a mom whose cooking style was 1950's (giving away my age here), I have no interest in any new or fresh way to make casseroles and meatloaf. Just the thought of a casserole makes my stomach hurt, and any kind of meatloaf induces nightmares. My siblings and I used to hide her Betty Crocker cookbook to try and protect ourselves from the horrors lying in wait in those pages. In fact, much of Melissa D'Arabian's recipes are simply throwbacks to '50's fare with fresh ingredients, and I still find them unappetizing. So 1950's foods, anyone? No, thank you!

        • Food Fun says:

          There's alot more to the '50's than Casseroles.

          • Phineas says:

            Not much. Food-wise, the 1950's were the frontier for the era of convenience. Home cooks were looking for ways to cut corners in the kitchen and save time. The result was casseroles, meatloaves, TV dinners, instant potatoes, instant oatmeal, canned soups, boxed stuffing, frozen vegetables, canned spaghetti, etc. Yes, you can re-invent those recipes with today's food perspective of fresh ingredients, but the culinary POV of the '50's was so narrow to begin with, you'd run out of ideas after a dozen shows. Re-inventing recipes from the 1950's would be an interesting idea for a cookbook, but no so much for a TV show.

            Again, I think Emily was one of the most likable in this competition. A little more practice, she may have succeeded to the final. But honestly, I don't think we've seen the last of her.

          • SKBL says:

            And fondue and swedish meatballs and slow-cookers and canning and .....
            Just 'cause your mom wasn't a good cook doesn't mean you can trash a decade (and I'm that old too)

          • Guest says:

            I’m sorry to disagree, but my memories of the 50's were quite different. We did not eat like that at all. I remember not having a very big refrigerator, and no freezer, so we went to one of the public markets every other day. The vegetables were fresh, the poultry was sold live (I still have nightmares), and the seafood was caught that day. The bakeries and the delicatessens were awesome and we even had an "arabber", a vendor with a horse-drawn cart, that came through the streets every day with fresh fruits and vegetables. As a matter of fact, most of the public markets are open ‘til this day, and I still go into the city at least once a week.
            I thought this was what we were trying to get back to--fresh ingredients, no preservatives, corn-fed cattle, free-range chickens, no HFCS, no genetically engineered food, etc. I think Emily could have done a great job updating recipes from old cookbooks. I don’t think she was going to be trying to re-invent canned spaghetti, instant oatmeal or tv dinners.
            My grandma lived with us, and she and my mom were excellent cooks and bakers. They never bought "convenience" foods. My grandma would say she could make better for half the price. Of course, she would say the same thing about clothing, and unfortunately her dressmaking skills were not on the same par as her cooking skills. I still smile when I see the old pictures of my Mom and my sisters and I in those dresses made from the same bolt of fabric. We were so cute! (rolls eyes). Ah, but I digress.
            At any rate, I’m with Emily all the way! I'd go back to the 50's in a "New York Minute". Then I wouldn't be this old. Yay!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great day!

          • cherriesjubilee says:

            You've made some good points, Phineas, but having grown up in the '50s, my mom must have been the exception to some of your perceived "rules" about the era. Mom made everything from scratch and rarely made casseroles. There were never boxed cakemixes, instant potatoes, TV dinners, or other "convenience foods" in my childhood home, and canned soups were for emergencies or my finicky brother who sometimes wouldn't eat what the rest of us had for dinner. We probably had frozen veggies occasionally because there weren't the plethora of produce markets that we have today. My mom wasn't a gourmet cook by any stretch of the imagination, but we ate good, wholesome foods that were well-prepared and tasty. I still credit Mom with my passion for always cooking with fresh ingredients and making everything from scratch.

      • Liz says:

        But if you follow Emily's cooking, she made some great meals, kind of re-inventing classic dishes. She was a fresh face and viewpoint, sorry to see her go. I can't wait until Nikki leaves.

        • Phineas says:

          She did. But back to my original point: I don't think that the idea is sustainable, given the narrow culinary POV of the 1950's. Melissa D is already doing the re-inventing of classic home dishes, and even she is beginning to reinvent her own reinvented ideas.

        • Kate says:

          I totally agree with you and I can't wait until Nikki leaves too, she should of left along time ago! I'm hoping Justin will win!

    • Sharon says:

      Had same thoughts about the sustainability of such a "niche" show.

    • Robert Ostrowski says:

      Phineas - I only wish that Emily had a much stronger camera presence and ability to deliver what she's capable of doing each week and let the chips fall where they fall. Her cooking skills were FABULOUS to watch. And when she did her demo on her 1950's-style burger, it brought back memories for me of going to Rosie's Diner and Gunther Toody's Diner out here in Denver, CO, along with Ruby Tuesday for just that very one thing! I'm sorry that Emily won't be in Miami next week, but she won't be forgotten with ME for very long.

    • Roriness says:

      I thought it was more of a show of how to bring that vibe to our century. It was a bit gimmicky, but she just could not bring it personality wise.

      She should have slapped Martie when she screwed her on time and then made some drama, yeah!

  8. ColdFish says:

    I'd love to see Emily do a web series. Judging from the high volume of impassioned responses from Emily fans, she'd have quite a sizable audience. (Then again, between being operations manager of Sublime Doughnuts and pursuing a Ph.D., she may be too busy!)

  9. Go Justin says:

    I'm so sad to see Emily go!:( I'll miss you! Can't to watch your show! I really hope Justin wins. Go team Alton!!!

  10. crafty says:

    what a HUGE mistake to lose emily and keep nikki.; on every level. this is the first time i've been totally dissappointed in this show.