Paula’s Biggest Fan — Star Commentary

by in Food Network Star, July 4, 2012

As if the Miami sun wasn’t enough to heat up last week’s episode of Food Network Star, Paula Deen stopped by to attend the beach party the finalists threw for VIP guests at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. She and her son Bobby joined the mentors and network to taste and judge the remaining contestants’ dishes, and offer words of encouragement and constructive criticism to those who needed it.

No one had a better reaction to Paula’s arrival than Team Alton’s Martie. In one of the most endearing moments of the season, she became overcome with emotion and “is-this-real-life” thoughts, crying in the middle of the challenge, “This is a huge deal. I’m Martie Duncan from Birmingham, Alabama, and I’m cooking for Paula Deen!” Paula, too, became emotional during judging, saying that she “loved Martie the person” and “could identify with everything she said.” These two Southern gals were truly “birds of a feather,” as Martie put it.

Star viewer Arian @afgbruins21 couldn’t help but notice Martie’s over-the-top reaction to seeing and meeting the queen of Southern cuisine. “Dying Martie is fangirling over Paula Deen so hard I love it so cute #star,” she Tweeted, expressing the thoughts of the judges, mentors and fellow finalists, and earning our Fan Post of the Week.

Join the #Star conversation on Twitter and Facebook and your comments may be featured in our weekly roundup of Fan Chatter. 

Who’s your favorite finalist still in the running? Don’t forget to cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day and tune in to this Sunday’s episode at 9pm/8c to see who from #TeamAlton#TeamBobby or #TeamGiada goes home next.

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Comments (112)

  1. mise_en_place says:

    Martie's reaction was way too starstruck adolescent for me. I like enthusiasm, but that was over the top.

    • Adam says:


    • Jahnde says:

      I agree with mise_en_place, not only was Marty over the top but it came across as corny and scripted.

    • Guest says:

      I agree. I kinda like adults to act like adults.

    • fern says:

      Really? grow up. i am soooo done with paula dean. shame on the network for constantly backing her up after she continues her assault on america's health. she's a heart attack on a plate..literally! i'm 51 though i think age has nothing to do with it!

    • Barb says:

      Remember the old expression "gag me with a spoon"? That is the way I feel every time I see and hear both Paula Deen and Martie. Just too way over the top, as is Guy Fieri.

    • Barbara says:

      Geez how many times have u met a person that was not only a mentor but star!?..Martie You are great and I cannot wait till u have ur own show!!!

  2. Sam says:

    Great article! These special moments in the show are what keep me watching! MARTIE is so sincere. I would never think that she was starstruck, and in NO WAY adolescent. I think she was just showing respect, a common courtesy in the south. Unfortunately, some younger viewers do not understand that concept.

    Actually, I observed several contestants who appeared enamored with Paula. Who wouldn't be? She is a Food Network legend.

    Despite the intense competition, I do believe the Food Network wants an appealing authentic person to win. You have to look hard to find that in this group, other than Martie and Ippy.

    • mise_en_place says:

      I don't understand the concept of squealing, crying, and acting as if I'm wetting my pants as a sign of respect and/or courtesy. And I am 66 years old, not some unwashed youngster.

      • miatamama says:

        As a long time friend of Martie, I can tell you she was moved by the moment more than starstruck. Martie comes from a humble background and finding herself in the top ten, being tired and cooking for someone she respects was a bit emotional for her. I saw no squealing, crying or acting like wetting their pants.

    • Barbara says:

      Martie is genuine and has alot of heart, she may have gotten out of gate a little slow but she hung in there and improved every week! if she had not been in the last four, My vote wouldve been for the young rebel!! the other two do not have what it takes for a show, as far as I'm concern, I wouldnt watch them.

  3. Vermonter says:

    Martie? No way. Sorry. We're tired of her AND Martita.

    But we get turned off by Paula Deen's unhealthy cooking, too, not to mention the constant shows by Giada. Tiresome.

    • Jahnde says:

      Vermonter, you are so right on many levels bur Paula Deen comes across as very sweet and sincere, most of all I hope that everything works out for her concerning her health.

      • Vermonter says:

        Oh yes. I do NOT "hate" Paula. Those who know of her struggles to get where she is today have to respect her for that. We just do not find her food healthy (all fat, fried, etc.).

    • ihateyernyip says:

      Martita is awesome!! What we need here on food network is a Spanish cooking show...who wouldn't want to know how to make their own Mexican food???

      • Monte says:

        And what exactly would you call Marcela Valladolid? She has a show called "Mexican Made Easy".

        Besides that, Mexican and Spanish are WAY different cuisines.

        • mise_en_place says:

          Thanks for pointing that out. Apparently, not everyone knows the difference.

        • MoHub says:

          And so is Venezuelan. I get tired of people throwing Martita and Yvan in the same boat.

      • dan says:

        ya Martita is so awesome she can stand there for 30 sec and not say a thing and stil not get kick off I,m sure a 30 min show would be great , One min of Martita talking and 29 min of her just stansing there looking at cam ya awesome

    • Just my perspective says:

      Tired of Martita for sure! Love Martie!

    • Southern Mama says:

      Sorry, Vermonter, nobody is making you watch this network, these Stars, or, for that matter, to get on your computer and share your (bad) manners...
      I live in South Georgia, and we are Proud to call Paula one of our own; proud, also, that Alton Brown is a Georgian. I love the Southern influence that is brought to the 'Food Network' Table. Wonderfully delicious! Martie is charming! We Love her!
      Food Network-- keep up all of the Great Work! Thanks!

      • Vermonter says:

        Southern Mama:

        A bit defensive, aren't we?

        Did I say anything about Southern influence as a whole? We LOVE Alton Brown!

        However, Paula Deen's cooking IS pretty unhealthy. When does she use vegetables -- or vegetables that aren't fried or cooked until they are brown?

        And, again, Martie is just plain stupid. No way would she deserve a show.

        • Southern Mama 2 says:

          Do you seriously think Alton Brown would select a stupid person for his team when he had thousands to select from? Seriously?

      • Southern Mama 2 says:

        go Mama go! So many people on these pages need to learn a few manners. Notice how Alton Brown addresses his team as Ms. or Mr. last name. What a lovely courtesy and show of respect. I don't necessarily approve of his tone from time to time but it is a competition and he seems in it to win it. I also notice that Martie always refers to Mr. Brown as "sir" in an obvious show of respect. I agree with you. Nobody is forcing these people to watch or comment - so why would they? Makes one wonder who is behind the posting. If I truly hated something, I'd change the channel. I certainly would not rot run to my computer. find the website, locate the blog, find the thread and post over and over. Makes one wonder.

        • Pierogi Dumpling says:

          There's not many chefs as quirky and witty as Alton. I think he's a little sarcastic on the show to try get his competitors going. It's all for fun. Underneath he's a southern gentleman...

      • Southern Belle says:

        Alleluia amen Southern Mama. I love Paula Deen's warm hospitality. ALSO people are forgetting that PERSONALITY is a big factor here. If people are gonna wanna try your cooking, you need to be warm and gentle and outspoken at the same time as being friendly. I love Martie. Ippy too.

    • Shania Twain says:

      Wow - Justin's fans are evil and mean. You treat the other contestants as badly as he treated his girlfriend on his last whirl through TV land.

  4. Vermonter says:

    Then there'sGuy Fieri. What an obnoxious loudmouth he is!

  5. Vermonter says:

    Then there'sGuy Fieri. What an obnoxious loudmouth he is!

    • Amanda says:

      oh dear god if you hate it so much do us all a favor and take your unconstructive criticism and negativity else where!

      • Vermonter says:

        I'm entitled to voice my opinion, just the same as anyone else. My hope is that someone at the network will READ these comments -- all of them -- and realize that some of the "stars" they foist on us are NOT universally acceptable, so they lose viewers (like us) every time they put them on!

  6. Cindy says:

    I like Marty. Her reaction to meeting Paula was precious! The only shows I really watch on Food Network are Cupcake Wars, Restaurant Impossible and Food Network Star. I rarely watch any of the other stuff.

    • tchumeshe says:

      Then why the heck do you care about who wins? If you aren't going to watch any other shows, you can't say much about the competitors!

      • Cindy says:

        I enjoy watching competition. I like the sense of courage and strength the competitors embody. It's not everyone who is brave enough to quit their job or leave their family and go all out to accomplish their dreams. Its like watching the olympics. I enjoy watching others live up to the challenges they are faced with, calling on the spirit within and overcoming those challenges. Thats the way I live my life. I am a victorious overcomer in the process of facing my challenges head on and fulfilling my dreams. I like to see others do the same.

    • Pierogi Dumpling says:

      You picked some great FN shows to watch. Cupcake Wars is very popluar. I like the host too--he's a magician, that's cool. Chef Irvine is the best. I've picked up alot of tips from watching his shows. If you like Mexican food, I suggest Mexican Made Easy. The host is very sweet and authetic with her heritage. Paula is a good cook, I made a few of her dishes and the recipes turned out awesome--I was in awe I actually made them! Her sons just starting a few spin off shows. Both have their mom's (mama's) charm and are fun to watch as well. I like Martie's reaction to meeting Paula, it was like two long lost sisters reuniting! There's a huge sense of family and togetherness in the American South--and great grub! I'm sure the contestants of NFNS appreciate your support!

  7. jean jenkins says:

    I thought Martie's reaction to meeting Paula Deen was priceless! That is one of the things I find most endearing about Martie - she is REAL! That makes her entertaining, interesting, refreshing and someone I can truly relate to. She's not only a fabulous cook and party gal, Martie has personality and natural charm. She's a STAR in my boook!!

  8. mise_en_place says:

    Re: Guy Fieri: Yes, he is loud, but I do like the concept of his show. I personally will almost always opt to eat in a five star French restaurant any chance I get. BUT having travelled all over the US I appreciate that there is some wonderful food to be found in unpretentious, out-of the-way places. I like that he is helping to take the snobbery out of food.

    • Jewels says:

      When Triple D first came on I was a huge fan for the reasons that you stated. But the Food Network has now done it to death and shows too many re-runs of it. What was cute little witty comebacks by Guy Fieri now appear as snark and boredom on his part. When I come home from work I check the line up for the Food Network and several days it is almost nothing but Triple D during all the primetime hours. Enough. Over exposure in the long run wears on peoples last nerve. It isn't as if they don't have any other old shows to draw from. How about a night of Good Eats? Or Multo Mario? Or my favorite would be to get to see some really vintage Julia Child shows.

      • Vermonter says:


        Boy, do we agree! Good Eats is a winner. Molto Mario is gone, I think. Too busy and maybe too well off.

      • Food Fan says:

        I watch Triple D. And I like it. But, not too much of it. 2 shows back to back. The next day one show. Then maybe I skip it altogether for the next two days.
        Food Network could easily move the Pioneer Woman to an evening slot, and we'd still see plenty of Guy.
        Food Network could move Melissa or Sandra Lee or Marcella to an evening time-slot and we'd still see plenty of Chopped.

    • Vermonter says:

      We just do not care for Guy Fieri's loud talking and watching him stuff his mouth crudely with burgers or whatever. He's just a loudmouth slob. Sorry.

    • Deanna says:

      Yeah, I liked his show the first time.. When it starred Mark Silverstein and Jill Cordes, and was called The. best Of. The visited plenty of Dives and greasy spoons, but weren't confined to them, and we got to see. Five star and fine dining restaurants as well.

  9. cjcal says:

    I think Martie is genuinely thrilled, look at the smile on her face. This is nice. I am happy for her. Heaven knows, life is a tough row to hoe and more niceness in this world would help. Here we are on July 4, and the Kodak-moment picture of Martie and Paula is a sparkler.
    Martie may not win, but I bet her encounter with Paula Deen is etched in her heart forever.

  10. IJPUMG says:

    Paula Dean and The Food Network... Wow! That's enough to wanna make me puke up my grits.