Poll: Who’s the Most Improved Star Finalist?

by in Food Network Star, July 11, 2012

Who's the Most Improved Star Finalist?Think back to almost 10 weeks ago when we first met this season’s 15 Food Network Star hopefuls. As a group, they were a bit timid, unsure of the whole cooking-in-front-of-a-camera-for-famous-people thing, but extremely eager to prove themselves and their cooking chops to their mentors and the network. Thanks to the mentoring of Alton, Bobby and Giada, each contestant had the opportunity to grow as a cook and potential television personality, though some finalists’ stays at Star were too short-lived to benefit from their advice. The remaining six finalists, however, have enjoyed a month and a half of constructive criticism and countless chances to show their progress toward stardom, and this Sunday, Ippy, Justin, Martie, Michele, Nikki and Yvan will have a final few moments to demonstrate their improvement and promising Star potential in a promo for their would-be Food Network show.

Tell us: Which of the remaining Star finalists is the most improved contender?


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Comments (442)

  1. Dawson says:

    Martie has really come a long way. She's more polished and better able to edit herself with the time she's given.

    • Sumay says:

      I agree - but I really don't care for her POV. When we have parties - we don't mix cocktails and have finger foods. When we invite people over we have a real meal - and I try to make something I'm really good at. Is there really a need for something like this or could other food network people already teach us something about it - Bobby on the Grill - Giadi in Itialian foods - etc. I just don't think it is something I would ever watch.

    • guest says:

      That's because she was given many chances, unlike the other contestants they sent home too early.

    • Joan Rose says:

      I think Martie has the best camera appeal and gives the best presentation of herself and her food. She deserves to win. I have watched all of the programs, most of them 2 and 3 times. She is the best. I love her. Tell her I said so. Thanks

  2. Bob Toren says:

    I'm also going to say Martie. Still not my favorite to win but I don't think any of the rest have improved as much as Martie.

  3. Phineus says:

    Honestly, Martie has most improved from where she was a few weeks ago. Huge contrast from where she was to where she is now.

  4. Delilah says:

    Though most people will say Martie with a party (and yes I do believe she has improved a lot) but I stilI believe that Yvan has changed the most.

    He evolved from this timid person, a person I believe would have been out in the first three rounds. To somebody who I enjoy watching... though I still don't know if I would watch his show.

    • Ann says:

      I think Martie and Yvan have both improved the most mosted bested however it should be said. Once he told the story of his childhood he seemed to come out of his shell.

    • BMB says:

      I also believe Yvan is the one that has come as the front runner, also he has now more publicity than before. I go for him...

      • MoHub says:

        Both have improved, but I think Marti has come farther. However, Yvan's food seems more interesting, and that gives him an edge.

    • pattistarz says:

      I totally agree with you. But, I have a ???...Martie? She didn't explain how to prepare the "pickling" ingredients. I watched it 3 times, saw her add/pour ingredients into a bowl. Even as a veteran cook I didn't know what it was...someone learning wouldn't have a clue how to make it.

  5. SneakFromWork says:

    Won't really feel comfortable replying to this particular poll until Thursday, when Canada sees the latest episode (would be REALLY nice if the two Food Networks could co-ordinate this a little better, y'know?)

    Also, it would be far slicker to change the fan vote to a One Time operation. Put 10 checkboxes under each contestant name, so folks could distribute/assign all 10 votes AT ONE GO. Having to click a button and see the page refresh 10 times is poor design at its best and annoying at its worst.

    • Jewels says:

      Is this who I think it is? :D Hope so. And couldn't agree with you more!!

      • SneakFromWork says:

        It sure is darlin' . . . guess my cover is blown now. :D :whistle:

        And on-topic (since this IS Food Networks space) I will be taking notes during this episodes airing tonight. Seems there is going to be a lot going on.

    • Guest says:

      FN makes AD money every time the page refreshes. I doubt that is going away.

      • SneakFromWork says:

        Yes, I understand this. However, it IS possible to simply put in an algorithm to "register" the same number of page clicks as vote boxes checked. I mean seriously, if I didn't read or click on an ad the first time I loaded the page, I'm not likely to do it the 10th time I load the page. (Besides, I use Firefox and block all those annoying ads anyway . . . :P )

        Using a calculation makes it a win/win for the public and for the Network. The public gets the convenience and the network gets their "total clicks" hit count.

        • Blonde Browne says:

          Sounds like a good a system and not hard to do. Ten times is a lot to wait for the page to keep refreshing...
          FN uses dots for their check boxes in other voting surveys so you know it can be done!

          • Blonde Browne says:

            I would also like to request a chance to go back and edit our threads...sorry 'bout the extra "a".

    • ditto says:

      whichever way they do it, I wish they'd fix that 10x refresh thing. It's annoying. Otherwise, LOVE FN!

    • Addys says:

      Yes, great idea! There were times I just didn't have the time to go through the whole process and didn't cast all my votes.

  6. FNGossip says:

    I'm sure they have all improved quite a bit from the beginning to now. With the editing the way it was done, it definitely makes it seem Martie improved the most.

  7. cherrycooks says:

    Martie has improved, but Yvan seems like he emerged as a true contender following his presentation on Sunday night.

    • guess says:

      Yes, i also agree

    • KMJ says:

      I agree. He's like a dark horse suddenly coming up to the lead. He's never been in the bottom, so his food must be good. Martie's been at the bottom maybe twice. Also when Yvan opened up about his family's poverty he became much realer and his point of view made more sense.

    • disappointed says:

      He had the worst promo I don't want to see his family I want to see him and I hated the fact that he talked to his brother on the promo. What a disappointment. Once again, bad advice from Giada (eye candy and no substance)

  8. Food Fan says:

    Martie has improved the most. Without question.
    3 or 4 weeks ago, I would've thought it was darn-near hopeless. Then, in this last challenge, she was "unflappable." Who woulda thought?
    I cant say she's my favorite to win but Alton's mentoring has really paid-off for her.

    • Food Fan says:

      Just noticed:
      the 1st reply on her from Dawson says about 2 hours ago.
      Also about 2 hours ago on the other "expect the Unexpected" thread, on pg. 2 is a post from Doesitmatter, and this person mentions:..."Although her food has been either non-descript or not good and her performance has really just been so-so, the producers of this show want Marti. Why? I'll never figure that out."....
      and now...I also notice that Martie has rocketed up to #2 in the Fan Vote. Any thoughts?

      • Reuben says:

        My thought is that they are looking for someone to help fill Paula Deen's shoes. The powers that be think that is Martie with a Party. Didn't Paula have a show at one time called Paula's Party? I didn't watch it but a couple of times if she did. Bobby Deen's show on The Cooking Channel was only so-so. It may have been renewed for another season, but again I wasn't that impressed. Now we have Jamie Deen's show. Watched it once and absolutely did not care for it. Nothing personal because I have watched Paula's other shows and have gotten some good recipes and cooking tips. Can only take her southern drawl and y'alls for so long though. Just maybe the Network thinks they can start anew with Martie with a Party without the controversy of someone who is seemingly healthy and not someone who hid the fact they had diabetes and hypertension from the viewers in order not to lose their audience. Oh yeah! Forgot about the se harrassment suit and charges of rasism against Paula's brother. Really not good publicity at all. Sure the network wants to avoid that messy stuff and Martie with a Party will be a new beginning.

        • Sandy says:

          Oh for heaven's sake. Leave Paula alone. She isn't responsible for her brother. Everyone has had someone in a family that may cause issues. As for her diabetes......that is a private health issue that she is struggling with and people are making an issue over it. The drug company came to her to promote their product because she is a star people relate to and there are all kinds of celebrities that jump on these promotions, If you are going to be negative don't watch Paula. she is dealing with her health issues and people need to stop making a big deal out of the fact that she kept it private!!!

          • Reuben says:

            I never said Paula was responsible for her brother.... but when you're famous what your relatives do does have a tendancy make the news. Just saying! I happen to like Paula and like I said I do watch her show from time to time and every recipe I have ever made of hers has been delicious! She still hasn't come forward with the fact that she has high blood pressure. Just saying! It was reported she asked Dr. Oz to hold that segment of the interview she did with him. She looks great on the cover of the latest magazine! She has lost weight and she's walking and exercising and I wish her only the best of health. BTW, HGTV featured Paula's home recently and it is gorgeous. It is over 4,000 square feet and she has filled it with magnificant antiques.

          • Brenda says:

            From what I read it wasn't just her brother Paula made racist remarks as well. I can only take so much of her loud laughing. I really liked her when she first started but she grates on my nerves now. Marti isn't nearly as annoying.

          • Reuben says:

            That was my understanding of it too.

      • cherrycooks says:

        Given that Martie already has a following on her blog, I don't understand why Martie just didn't get a show like Ree Drummond ("Pioneer Woman") without having to compete on FNS.

        • Food Fan says:

          I wish more people knew about the Pioneer Woman. her food looks "totally scrumptious!". :)
          And also, since so many people talk about "energy"---she got a show on the Foodnetwork and obviously wasnt rejected because of "not having enough energy." I think she's fine the way she is. Hope she gets on the air during the week sometime.
          How much energy is too much? IMO--remember hoe nicely Yvan did this last time when his microphone went out? He was upbeat abd it was good---but i wouldnt raise the energy higher than that. Uo-to-it, is fine. But thats the upper limit. That still leaves a range...from Ina, to Yvan. :)

      • Wayne says:

        If Martie was chosen over Justin, well... I understand why Alton was crying.

        I believe Alton likes Martie a lot..he hugged her with such compassion when she had take after take before going in the pitch room...but clearly Alton prefers Justin over Marti.

        If Marti is chosen....Susie shows again that she chooses who she wants as winners each year and I think Susie possibly likes Marti over Justin.

    • bobbie says:

      Well said, and I totally agree with you!!

  9. Reuben says:

    I voted Martie too just because she seemed to recover so quickly from being "messed with." However, she was one of the last to demonstrate and I'm pretty sure (if not sequestered) the others that had previously completed their demos qued her in as to how they had been "messed with." She was well aware something hinky was gonna happen. She's not my favorite competitor though. I just don't see her as having as much to teach as the rest of the competitors, i.e. Ippy, Justin, Yvan. I would have voted Yvan as the most improved, but I'm still not sure he has conquered the voice cadence problem yet.

    • guess says:

      Yvan presentation was excellent. As the judges said, each one was challenged with their own weakness, and Yvan managed him so well. Besides, his food is always great, elegant, he is charming and polite...

  10. quest says:

    really who cares as you got rid of Emily and did not give her the chance " to improve in your eyes"
    and she was let go after her one and only visit to pitch room.
    This show must be rigged or the powers that be are looking to hire someone to fit a specific profile.

    • Reuben says:

      My thoughts exactly! How much would Emily have improved had she been given the chance (although I am very hopeful we will see her again)? I think the powers to be are looking for that specific someone to fit that specific profile. My bet is Martie with a Party will win and Justin will be the runner-up.

      • Food Fan says:

        Defnitely! Emily was well-on-her-way and there was nothing that coundn't be fixed or tweaked.
        I'm hoping for Ippy to win. The idea of Pacific Rim meets European would offer a wide variety possibilities and new twists on things. Its something network isnt already doing. Ippy has been true to his POV and and makes tasty dishes.
        Improving is nice but Martie still needs to catch up to others.

        • Juli says:

          I agree. I rooting for Ippy as well and feel that Martie still has a way to go. She still hasn't demonstrated her ability to talk and cook at the same time. And every single episode it shows her being flustered over preparing her food. What would she have done if he had to actually prepare the food on in her, removing the bones and all. Don't forget that Justin helped her remove the bones from her fish.

        • Reuben says:

          An Ippy win would make me very happy too!

        • BMB says:

          But Ippy is not the only one with a connection with European gastronomic food. Yvan has the fusion of Latin AMerica (not only Venezuelan, Ecuadorian, and more), European, and American )all around the country. Only check about his books, or look for him in youtube... He is really a Pandora's Box.

          • Food Fan says:

            I still like Ippy.
            But Yvan also has food-knowledge and has shown growth. He would be my 2nd pick.

      • cherrycooks says:

        If there's an empty niche that needs to be filled on FN, it's Asian cuisine. There hasn't been a show that solely featured Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Pan-Asian, etc.) for a very long time. Many of the current hosts occasionally prepare Asian-inspired dishes, but there isn't a cooking show entirely devoted to this popular cuisine. In that case, Ippy would be the go-to, but I'm not sure that he could carry his own show. That said, there has to be a plethora of talented, experienced Chefs who could host an Asian-inspired show, so it's hard to figure out why FN execs have ignored it.

        • Reuben says:

          I don't know if you get The Cooking Channel or not, but Easy Chinese is pretty good. Host is Ching-He Huang. But you are correct FN definitely needs to fill the Asian cuisine niche!

          • cherrycooks says:

            Our cable provider offers Cooking Channel on one of the higher tier plans, but it would mean paying for many more channels that we'd never use. I've perused the CC schedule, and it doesn't impress me enough to justify the additional cost. I don't really even watch FN as much as I did in its early years when there were many more cooking shows.

          • Reuben says:

            That's a shame. It should go hand-in-hand with FN! Only a select few channels worth watching and they charge an arm and a leg to get only one or two more worth watching.

          • cherrycooks says:

            It might be nice to have both, but many of the shows on Cooking Channel are reruns from the early days of FN. I'm sure that I saw every episode of Giada's "Everyday Italian" at least a dozen times, and I have the series cookbook. I have every episode of "Two Fat Ladies" on video as well as all of their cookbooks. At various times, I watched many of the shows/hosts that are now featured on CC when they appeared on FN.

          • Reuben says:

            Adore the "Two Fat Ladies"!! I also have Giada's "Everyday Italian" series cookbook.

          • cjcal says:

            Ohhh, yessss! "Two Fat Ladies" is awesome! And I confess, I watched (and liked) "The Naked Chef" Jamie Oliver.
            Good posts, folks!

    • favnetwork says:

      Yeah I definitely think Emily deserved to be in the finals more than Martie...