Poll: Who Was the Best Mentor?

by in Food Network Star, July 19, 2012

Alton, Giada and Bobby - Food Network StarWhen it comes to mentoring, Bobby’s, Alton’s and Giada’s styles couldn’t be more different. In the season premiere, we learned what each was looking for when they hand-picked their teams of five Food Network Star hopefuls: Bobby sought out no-nonsense cooks, Alton culinary teachers and Giada outgoing personalities. As the season continued, it turned out that the mentors’ selection criteria mirrored their own leadership styles.

Bobby found it most effective to maintain a professional relationship with his team and to tailor his instruction to each individual's needs. He spoke of his approach to the other mentors in an exclusive video. “I really try to bounce off the people that I’m mentoring, because I feel like they sort of drive me to the way I’m going to mentor and what I’m going to actually utilize to help them,” he said in Miami.

Alton’s natural teaching ability came to light in the midseason of the competition when he held one-on-one reviews with his finalists, offering them constructive criticism and tips on how to improve. Justin found his meeting extremely helpful and said that Alton was “one the most effective teachers I’ve ever had.”

Though Bobby and Alton primarily focused on training their finalists, Giada strived to create a family-like atmosphere on her team, offering motherly advice when her hopefuls needed it most. Yvan was especially grateful for Giada's guidance after he gave a successful live performance with Guy Fieri. He said of his mentor, "It's funny how a producer can really get the best out of you. It's like a mom. They know what you need even when you don't."

No mentor’s method was completely foolproof — all three teams having suffered losses — but finalists on each team achieved winning moments both in the kitchen and on camera. If they could repeat the season, do you think Bobby, Alton and Giada would choose to mentor in the same way?

Check out this behind-the-scenes video of Alton, Bobby and Giada comparing their mentoring styles and discussing the pros and cons of their approaches to the season.

Tell us: Who do you think was the best mentor?

Be sure to tune in to the finale on Sunday at 9pm/8c to see who you chose to be Food Network’s newest star.

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Comments (458)

  1. Richard says:

    Alton's team rocked. As far as I am concerned the final three should have been Justin, Martie, and Emily who it seemed apparent was only eliminated to keep the teams even during the competitions. Her only mistake that week was none. She was up only because Justin and Martie did the best and one person had to be up. Her first time and even without any major flubs. Still disappointed about that even though I understand it. But Alton, I feel, did the best at picking and mentoring his team members. Go team Alton

    • Barbara says:

      Alton for sure!!..that question shouldnt have ever been asked!...now if u asked " who makes the foodnetwork shows rock and roll?...answer Alton for sure!!

    • Food Fan says:

      A BIG distinction should made!
      How--you mentor, is one thing.
      Who--you pick to be on your team to mentor in the 1st place is whole different ballgame.

      • Sumay says:

        Yes - but Alton not only picked a good group of people with definite POVs - even though one team member didn't develop his until it was too late - but he also mentored them and helped them see their strengths and weaknesses.

        (1) Alton tried to mentor Christie - helping her develop her POV but she couldn't be saved in time

        (2) Alton tried to mentor Judson - one problem was his on-camera issues (perhaps he was still uncomfortable with himself because of what he has been through) and Judson was not completely up-front about the reasons for his POV. This is one thing I felt Alton did not succeed in - and perhaps it is not in the requirements or within time limits of the competition. However, if you sat down and talked with Judson at length - asking the right questions - you would have found out those secrets to his POV and helped make him a contender.

        (3) Emily - she was a full, complete and wonderful package - I really think she mostly was sacrificed because it was time for someone to go on Alton's team. If it were a problem for her to talk about specific family memories - Alton could have helped her better to find a way around that. If memories of grandma during the 50s were important (for what specific reason - we don't have to know) - he could have helped teach her to talk about her past without talking about the issues she wanted to avoid - it can be done.

        (4) Justin - one problem I have had with Justin is that he is quite arrogant - at least what I witnessed during the 24 hour restaurant challenge. It is obvious that someone mentioned that to him - because he was MUCH LESS arrogant during this show (aside from one time because he was heckled). At each show you can find Alton reminding Justin not to get too cocky - so he also reigned in Justin to help him in the competition.

        (5) Martie - at first I thought he was favoring Justin - but it seems that Alton was trying to be stern with Martie about her time issues. Obviously this tactic worked. He knew she had a solid POV - and she had the skills to charm the pants off of anyone - so he worked with her to improve her weaknesses.

        Overall - I think he did a pretty good job - and only a bit of minor improvement (if allowed in the competition) would have been needed.

        • Food Fan says:

          To illustrate and tie it back to my original comment:
          Lets take: Justin, Martie and Judson.
          I was never wild about these contestants in the beginning at all. Either too quirky or somehow a turn-off. Judson sounded too much like some motivational speaker. Alton said dont sell me, just tell me.
          Martie rambled and was long-winded. Justin was just too extreme and sounds dull.
          Alton's teaching/mentoring is great, with useful advice, and hes really helped Martie get better, and she's made the effort, but how much better still would Alton have done if he would had some of Giada's likable people from the start. So again, a person may be a great mentor, but still not pick the best people *to* mentor. Emily and Martie, personality-wise turned out to be the best of his bunch. "Quirkiness"--is like a Habenero pepper. Go lightly. :)

      • cherrycooks says:

        Good points, FF. Alton selected his team based on their creativity, their ability to think outside the box, and their willingness to be guided by his advice. Bobby basically chose the best cooks, and Giada's team was all about appearance and personality.

    • Valorie says:

      I hope Martie doesn't win. Alton gave her special attention far above the others and she wouldn't be in the final without his "extra" help. He practically cooked for her sometimes.

      • Bobbrowntown says:

        we only see what is shown, I bet he spent hours on all of them. He is a perfectionist.

    • bobbrowntown says:

      agreed, early on I thought Emily was one of the strongest candidates. It seemed it was one of the trip up shows that got her down.

      • steve says:

        What took her down was her unwillingness to let them invade her personal life. The instead of simply asking her what the problem was, Alron got in her face yelling while interrogating her about why she chose a retro POV.

        • Sumay says:

          Those are strong words - got in her face yelling while interrogating - were we watching the same show? I thought he tried to ask and when he saw that she wasn't comfortable he backed off. Could be wrong though.

          • Guest2012 says:

            I agree with Sumay. From what I saw, he seemed to be gently prompting her to reveal info, and when he saw that she was uncomfortable revealing her personal story, he stopped.

          • Monte says:

            I agree, too. To that point, you shouldn't have to have a touchy-feely or tragic personal story (nor should you have to reveal one) in order to teach someone how to cook.

    • DearMisty says:

      Here we are at the end & STILL talking about Emily (& the unfairness of booting someone just to keep the teams even). Wake up & smell the coffee, Bob & Susie!

    • gstamat77 says:

      I loved Alton's mentoring. Food Network would do well to have Alton do more shows like this. Alton really has a fantastic personality, much more than Good Eats can show case. He really cares about people and seemed so genuine.

      I hope Food Network will let the cable companies put the repeat episodes on the On Demand soon.

    • beachy12 says:

      I agree Alton was amazing. He was so realy and genuine. Bobby was okay but I think his personality is not really one of a mentor. I like him though! Giada was a good enough mentor but she kind of got on my nerves and her shirt skirts was like not professional. Alton Rocked!!!!!

    • Bonnie says:

      I agree one 100 percent. I loved emily!

    • Linda says:

      So great to see almost everyone feels the same. I also thought Alton's choices were the most talented. His style is also very professional and classy. He is not self centered - but focused on his team.

      • Mona says:

        I like Alton well enough but his 2 finalist leave ALOT to be desired! Can't stand Justin or Martie......couldn't/wouldn't watch a show with either one of them

    • fluffy says:

      I totally agree with you! GO JUSTIN!!!

    • MaryEllen says:

      Yes, Alton rocked! He was a mentor, producer, and believed in his team members. He didn't "abandon" them along the way. He tried to bring out the best in them. Also, he didn't act like Giada, with her cheerleading -- (a total turnoff that is apparent with her shows), or Bobby's "disconnect" and being nonchalant with some of his team member's (lack of) POV.

    • Dani says:

      Giada comes across as an ice queen and looks like an anorexic/bulemic. The atmosphere around here was so very fake; was she EVER genuine?

      PLEASE do not bring her back next year. I do not even watch her regular shows.

    • @PamelaGrow says:

      Agreed. Emily was awesome. I was rooting for her and Justin from the get-go. Marti's fun but nothing new over Paula Deen.

    • meme says:

      Alton was the best, but I was disappointed that the show spent so much time showing how to be on camera. I don't feel we got to see what the contestants could cook. I really didn't like the format.

  2. Ashley says:

    Alton for sure. His team was fantastic, and I actually liked everyone on it. Plus, his team was the only one to still have two people on it at the end. I'm pretty positive Justin or Martie will win. Look how much Martie and Justin improved from the beginning.

    • steve says:

      Maybe I'm the odd guy out watching FN but I don't watch cooking shows based on most improved, story telling, or whether chefs get personal on the air. I only watch those who are hosted by folks I want to learn cooking skills from.

    • Reece says:

      Yep Alton was the best, he taught, he was right in there with him. Giada was too much of a cheerleader and you could tell she had her favorites. Martita stayed too long, she had no depth, who was she? I would have like to have watched Ippy POV, hawaiian food, aired in Hawaii, to bad he couldn't develop his skills.

    • Gayle Garcia says:

      I think they made a big mistake. Its should have been Ippy. I would love to watch him and cook his foods.

  3. @CJBC65 says:

    Giada obviously had her favorites from the git-go and Josh wasn't one of them. She was just short of rude to him and all those looks of disdain once she realized he needed a lot of work really annoyed me. Yes, he was dismal, but maybe if she had given him the kind of attention she smothered on Martita he would have done better.

    While I am a big Bobby fan, he lost me the minute he made that comment to Malcolm about being surprised he was still there. I was shocked, considering I found him far, far more helpful and nurturing than Anne Burrell on the last season of Worst Cooks in America. Maybe it was because these guys are pro's who should know better - but it wasn't as if Malcolm couldn't cook. If anyone in the history of NFS deserved a comment like that it would have been Penny Davidi.

    Which leaves Alton. If they had to break the rules for anyone, I am glad it was him. He was by far the best mentor - though he had some rudeness issues in the beginning he seemed to work his way out of them a couple weeks in and they did end up being successful in turning Martie around. I just wish that they had broken the rules by keeping Emily rather than keeping Martie.

    So, Alton Brown all the way. If they do change the format back next year I hope they keep him around some how.

    • Barbara says:

      I agree!..but I must say..I never cared for Giada anyway..she has such a pasted smile and she isnt convincing to me!

      • bobbie says:

        I am with you, barbara

      • giadastinks says:

        Yup, Giada is such a FAKE and while her dresses are cute, she's too old to be wearing them. I got so annoyed when watching her critique people, she makes rude, UGLY faces and picks at the food she doesn't like rudely. And the cheerleader comment someone above made is totally true, I don't buy it either. ANNOYING

    • LOUISE says:

      I agree with all you say, especially with the way Giada has been so obviously unprofessional with her comments, body language and facial expressions towards some of the participants not on her team. If this action has not been recvognized by the two food network hosts then they need to rewatch the episodes more closely. DO NOT INVITE GIADA TO ANY OTHER SHOWS AS A JUDGE!

    • [undisclosed] says:

      I completely agree. Really, Martita didn't even have good flavors like Josh did... and yet, Giada still paid the most attention to her. And what was with Bobby? In the producers challenge with Nikki and Linkie, he made a comment that was downright hurtful. So yes, Team Alton is the winner.

    • FOOD FAN from Maine says:

      I think Giada is a good mentor even though she is like SUPER motherly. I mean, she hugs everybody! Also, when Giada smiles, she shows all her teeth, even the molars, which is creepy. Anyway, I think Giada's team was my fav, besides Alton's. Alton is a great mentor. Justin and Martie have been in the competition for so long. They are part of the final 4. Like, someone would get eliminated, and it wouldn't be from team Alton. Alton is doing something right. I don't think mentoring is really Bobby's thing, but he is such a huge star you kind of expect him to do it. This season of Food Network Star was my FAVORITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) <3 I feel sort of guilty that I want Martie or Justin to win and not Michele, becuz I am from New England.

      • maritza b. says:

        This was the first season of FNS that I watched completely. I really enjoyed Alton as a mentor which is why I voted for him, but I'm rooting for Yvan to win. The FN needs more diversity, in general. Yes, there are "Latin"-inspired shows, but it would be nice to have one from a male's perspective - South American is a plus since we mostly see Mexican shows and recipes. I will say that I loved that Giada had the international crew. I did NOT like how rude and condescending she was to them, though. Bobby grosses me out and his comment to Malcolm was completely uncalled for since "his girl" Nikki deserved to go home weeeeks ago. I couldn't stand Martita, either. Blah! Alton did a great job as mentor though. I think one of his mentees will definitely win. Oh well. :)

        • Monte says:

          Yvan would have probably worked, if Giada hadn't made him basically change his POV. South American cuisine (especially tapas) would have been an interesting perspective.

    • Jeunisse says:

      Omg I so agree about giada, every time she said Martita she had the biggest smile, but she was like so uninterested with everyone else, even though I thought that Ippy was the best on her team, he had the best pov and was not boring I don't know what the judges were thinking, but yes Alton and his team were the best

    • Mona says:

      I thought that Giada was absolutely school girl giddy over Josh, especially after he jumped up on the counter! Giada looked like she could hardly contain herself when Josh was around......and then Josh screwed up big time, Giada gave him the ole evil eye and switched gears to her other favorite Martita.

    • Guest says:

      Totally! Giada was like, hugging Ippy all the way through the competition

      • beachinfrizzy says:

        All the way through UNTIL Yvan made Susie cry that artificial tear. Then Giada dropped Ippy and his so-called 'lack of energy' like a hot - well, maybe lukewarm potato. The difference in the difficulty of his challenge (audience talks over him then LEAVES) vs. Yvan's audio and Martita's peppers was ridiculous.

        • ehmily says:

          I know, poor Ippy! Liked him, would have totally watched his show. I was so angry with Yvan's challenge, I mean... he's LOUD as fuck and you're trying to handicap him by taking away his mic? AND he demo-ed a small bites meal that wasn't "family style." Eugh, Yvan...

      • Ippy Fan says:

        I really blame her for hugging Ippy though. I'd want to hug him too!

    • beachinfrizzy says:

      Spot on about all 3. Giada's favoritism and 'bus throwing' was awful and inexcusable. She made it all about HER and her cut-throat need to win, hitching her wagon to whichever contestant she thought was going to carry her over the finish line at any given time, not to mention her childish squealing and clapping and close-to-inapproapriate constantly pawing the men.

      I too ended up being very disppointed with Bobby, after admiring him in Worst Cooks. I get and appreciate his 'food first, then develop a personality' philosophy, but it didn't work for this format, as evidenced by two of the best pure chefs in the competition being eliminated (Eric and Malcolm). Not surprisingly, given what "The Network" keeps harping on for their NFNS, his last two standing ended up being the ones with the best-defined POVs plus most 'personality' to begin with - off-putting as those personalities may be, depending on which viewer you ask. (YMMV).

    • beachinfrizzy says:

      (Part 2). As for Alton, I was surprised he'd signed on as a mentor, given how gruff he was in his one 'mentoring' appearance very early last season. Glad he mellowed out and took a more cerebral approach after his appalling tirade at Martie - they both thrived after that harsh wake-up call (methinks Bob and Susie had a little chat with Alton after seeing the shock on the faces of the panelists). Judson was a case of too little, too late, and Emily went in large part because it was Alton's team's "turn". I don't consider having two finalists as breaking the rules; they've played fast and loose with the eliminations all season. The way I see it, it's their show, they're going to tweak it to their desired effect as they go along and I'm SURE the contestants must have signed off on something acknowledging that in order to participate.

    • Mona says:

      Malcolm didn't make anything that was memorable to me and he absolutely refused to have any type of POV. I liked Malcolm in the beginning and couldn't wait to see what he made, but his rude, cocky. arrogant mindset did him in and I hated to see that.

      • Sheila says:

        Obviously we didn't watch the same show. Malcolm was never rude, cocky, or arrogant. And each of the judges acknowledged his talent as a chef. Your comments say more about you than him.

      • beachinfrizzy says:

        When was Malcolm rude? If anything, Bobby was the one who was rude by that "I can't believe you're still here" crack. What did that say about Bobby's mentoring of him, was he purposely trying to get Malcolm sent home by ignoring him and not taking the time to work with him on developing a more focused POV out of his well-received dishes?

    • Pcanpie says:

      you got that right.. what a b**** I can't stand that PHONEY smile... can you spell teeth???? GIADA.... and that freaking accent.. she has been in this country since a small child and yet when she says spaghetti or something else italian she pulls out the itialian accent... she is rude rude rude.. and says negative things I think to anyone that she is afraid is much better than she is...she has her nose so high up in the air it is a miracle she doesn't drown in the rain... I wish they would get rid of her!!!!! she needs to take a look back at some of her early stuff.. she SUCKED big time.. when her daily show appears I change channels.. and if I didn't like the next foodnetwork star as much as I do I would turn it off too just so I didn't have to listen or look at her.. BOB and SUSIE you need to get rid of GIADA!!!!

    • Unknown says:

      I only watch the last season of worst cooks and Bobby was damn good in that he even gave out tips to Kelli who was the opponent. I choose Alton he kinda acts like a cartoon character and made me laugh the most and he doesn't hold back.

      Bobby was the most professional out of the 2 mentors if he had that personality like he did in worst cooks he probably will be the best mentor. I think after Eric left he kinda lost his motivation.

    • maria says:

      I agree, Giada had her favorites from minute one and if you look closely her favorites are good looking, have big smiles and are minorities, just like herself. Giada was born in Italy and moved to the US when she was 8 years old. She picked Ippy, Ivan, Martita, etc because she was convinced that, like herself, they will win on their good looks and perly smiles just like she did. What she left out is that she is the granddaughter of Dino De Laurentiis a famous movie director and very influencial and well connected in Hollywood so she did NOT earn her fame on her looks, far from it. As a matter of fact her real last name is Di Benedetti but she changed it to Di Laurentiis for obvious reasons. To the point, her candidates are good people but it takes A LOT more then a big smile to became a food mogul celebrity, unless of course you are highly connected and born into an influential family like Giada.

  4. jayceedavis says:

    *formerly Jewels*

    Since Alton's contestants did the best, I have to give it to him. I think he did a very good thing having people he thought could teach prove it and getting to his final five that way.

    Bobby is very laid back and while I don't think he did a bad job mentoring, I question the ones that he chose. Nicki in particular.

    *sigh* Giada. I just have nothing good to say about her except that she picked Ippy, Linkie and Yvan. But I think her mentoring, over the top, 12 year old cheerleading was unprofessional and really a turn off. Sorry I am not a Giada fan.

    • elelem says:

      Cannot stand Giada. I think she is rude and walks within her own realm of superiority! She's a fake and a fraud with a rat-like cheesy smile. And say, did you notice those huge bags under her squinty little eyes? MEOW!!

    • Ahlia says:

      I, too, find Giada one of the only reasons to turn off the Food Network (Sandra Lee is reason number one). I find her Jaws-like smile to be both phony and aggressive. Watching her with her kids, oh I mean Food Network Star hopefuls, is like watching a sorority house mother get her sorority girls ready for a party. No thanks.

  5. FNfan says:

    Giada is a joke with all the face making and jumping up and down. Who does that? She needs to grow up before she can mentor anyone. Too much fake ness in her to really enjoy anything she is doing:(
    I have been a big bobby fan but I don't think he was a good mentor this season. He didn't really teach his team, which was never really good to begin with.
    Team Alton all the way!!!!!!!! He was the best mentor and did a wonderful job picking his team!

    • bobbrowntown says:

      I like Giada, and I thought her support in some of the challenges was very helpful. but Alton is a teacher which Bobby and Giada seemed to miss.

    • bobbie says:

      U are right....Giada really turned me off.

    • Jeremy says:

      I agree, there were certainly times when it seemed like Giada was acting like a teen girl.

    • Jeannine says:

      I agree. I think Bobby is a great chef, but he doesn't know how to mentor. He did not know how to bring the best out of his team. For instance, Malcolm, without having a POV. Malcolm did not think it was important to have a POV. Susie was trying to help Malcolm. Bobby should have a made it clear to Malcolm and the rest of the team how important it is to have a POV. Alton was able to really bring out the best of his team Bobby and Giada just seemed like they were figuring things out along the way.

    • Carlos says:

      That's what I liked about her...her spirit! Alton seemed mean at times and I always respect Bobby, but needed to get more involved!

  6. cjcal says:

    Yep, count me in among the Alton voters. He fretted, sweated and stewed over his team. He was like a shepherd tending to (and protecting) his flock. He brought Martie around. Alton really helped Judson rise to the brink of where he needed to be. And Alton got Emily exactly where she needed to be - with her ethical judgment intact - despite the judges' decision. Alton allowed Justin to be himself, a true gift from a teacher.

    In the end, Alton's method of choosing his team proved to be the best. He wanted creative folks who could teach.
    Here's why:
    Bobby wanted great chefs (OMG, Nikki??) he could teach to be great show hosts, and obviously this did not work out (Malcolm, Eric, etc.). But I will give Bobby credit for keeping his cool among his team. In the end it looks like he genuinely happy for Michele's success in making it to the finals.

    Giada went for the lively personality (OMG, Josh??), and it could be argued that her top "lively personalities" were doomed by the camera (Ippy and Martita) or by weak cooking (Linkie's churros). I think Ippy and Yvan made it so far because in their personal lives they are naturally resilient. They had to overcome the camera, the time pressure, and Giada's lack of empathic coaching. Giada has her faults, but at least she waved cues from the South Beach crowd.

    OVERALL, we must consider FN's relentless quest to keep team numbers even. FYI: Giada's biggest success was keeping the most team members the longest. I have no idea how she managed this!

    • steve says:

      In Linkie's defense, it was Martita who talked her into making the churros after Linkie said she knew nothing about Mexican food... then Martita refused to tell her ANYTHING about how to make them.

      • Sheila says:

        It was a competition. I was no fan of either of them, but why should Martita have shown Linkie how to make churros?

      • Michael Cohen says:

        I've got to add here. Linkie was eliminated because was put in a challenge where she was forced to cook Mexican food, a cuisine she was completely unfamiliar with. If we went back in the time machine and told Martita to cook South African food, I'm pretty sure she would have bombed out. I'm sorry; it was a ridiculous reason to cut Linkie.

  7. Guest says:

    Giada is a horrible mentor

    • guest #3 says:

      Totally agree. She should NOT be invited back on this show...so high school and immature. I hope SHE reads this blog!! Maybe she will try to get better. HA!

      • Trisha says:

        Yes I agree also. She needs to tone down that horse smile and get over herself. To much, look at me attitude.

      • cherrycooks says:

        For Giada, FNS was little more than a weekly fashion show during which Giada paraded a vast array of decadent decolletes, thigh-high hemlines, four-inch heels, ever-changing hairstyles, and too much makeup. Giada should have spent more time focusing on her team instead of her appearance. As usual, it was all about Giada.

        • Food Fan says:

          Lets talk fashion and a bit of peronality.
          Here's what I note, as a guy:
          I do like Giada's informal-ness in her personality and despite the cheerleader-like things, I do feel that if she were my mentor, she could make me feel more like I'm talking to a good friend, than a "master/student" type of thing. That part is good.

          As for fashion/appearance:
          The 2 big things with Giada:
          1. I would try to tone down the ear-to-ear teethy smiles. Do smile. But not quite so wide.
          2. Cleavage. She takes alot of heat from that with low-necklines, etc. (mostly from women, but some men, too).
          But there's good news:
          Giada has a great figure, nice eyes and beautiful hair! So, she doesnt *need* low necklines to get attention or noticed.
          It amazes me that there is all this flack and controversy over things that are so easily fixable! For example, think of all the "Giada-flack" we read about her appearance/dress. I notice, that such flack about, say, Melissa, Marcella, Ann Burrell, or Sandra Lee is practically non-existent! (shrug). Seems like an easy-enough fix. So why not fix it?

          • Brenda says:

            So true sooo why doesn't she???

          • Food Fan says:

            The picture of Giada, above in the yellow dress is good as-is! Smile, and everything. Why not just do more like that?

          • Stinky says:

            Giada is very pretty. The NERVE of her!!!!!

          • Lisa says:

            No, it's not really a smile, more like baring her teeth. Most of her smiles feel forced and not Duchenne smiles (genuine with eye crinkling.) I almost feel bad for Giada. I think she's trying to prove something with how she dresses and her makeup. She gets some bad press in the tabloids as well so she may be trying to present a different facade.

            She should focus on her good recipes and less on striving for "sex appeal," and I think she'd be far more likeable and her ratings would go up. As much as I'd love to try her recipes, I'm turned off by the persona.

          • Sumay says:

            I personally think she is a beautiful woman who should be proud of all she has accomplished. It is sad that the main way a woman has to show her worth - despite the many accomplishments - is in sex appeal alone. I am certain that there is much more to Giada than what you see on screen - and I'm sure the people that know her would agree.

          • steve says:

            I'm a guy and have never known any guy who agreed that a woman has to show her worth through sex appeal alone. The only folks who I've ever known to say that are women.

          • Bob Toren says:

            Food Fan,
            Very well put and nice to see it layed out with good and bad points with the bad points outlined as constructive criticism and not just mean and nasty comments. Giada has her faults but she's human too and deserves at least a little respect for stepping up to the plate and being a mentor...a pretty big job for anybody.

          • Food Fan says:

            Thank you Bob Toren!
            Yes, it is a big job for anybody, male or female.

          • Elderleigh says:

            My first reaction would be - because that is all SHE feels she has going for her. Anyone with real talent does not have to go to such extremes. I think she may be very insecure in her ability to cook and uses her physical attributes as a deflection device.

            So she cooks on tv and writes cookbooks - but she may be just a competent actor and I am sure employs a bevy of others to do the actual leg work for any books.

            Prior to this show, I found her annoyingly condencending with her over emphasized pronounciations but after this, I feel she is really at heart the typical mean girl cheerleader. No more Giada - please.

        • steve says:

          For me it wasn't so much about appearance except for that fake full-tooth smile. For me her personality and manner did her in... I used to think she was hot until this season of FNS. Now I don't think I could stand being with her for an evening.

        • Smoke_alarm says:

          I don’t see anything wrong with the way Giada dresses as long as she’s not showing too much cleavage. Her grin is a bit annoying but I think it became a habit somewhere along the way. She probably doesn’t even realize how often she does it. Even though I like makeup I think she needs to soften it up a bit because as a woman gets older heavier makeup accentuates our age. I get bags under my eyes too and the worse thing to do is put liner under the lower lashes. We have adjust it somewhere around the age of 40 (give or take). Susie has adjusted her makeup over previous seasons. She knows. Giada’s over exuberance doesn’t bother me either. Maybe if I were standing next to her it would be annoying – afraid she might give me an elbow in the face on accident or something.

    • Nancy says:

      way harsh people.

      • Sumay says:

        I don't think we can ASSUME everything about Giada. Obviously she can cook and perhaps she even genuinely cared about all of her team. It is really hard to know someone 100% just by watching the edited version - perhaps even her cheerleading was over-emphasized by those in the edit room and made her unappealing to more people - I couldn't say. I am not absolutely in love with her - but I think it is hurtful to bash her character no matter how much you disagree with her. Sometimes it is better in life to just agree to disagree and leave it at that. I'm not a fan - but you can't always believe EVERYTHING you see.

        • Food Fan says:

          I hope I wasnt too harsh. I'm just echoing what many before me have already said. I'm trying to talk about it while still being constructive.
          Some of what I said was also positive.
          Others have written farrr more sarcastically (before) than what I did here. But anyway, nuff said from me about that.

          • Sumay says:

            Food Fan:

            No - my comment wasn't about any of your comments - which have been pretty useful by the way. I just don't think we need to pick apart her looks and nail her to the wall because we see (real or imaginary) imperfections. It just isn't right - no matter if you are a celebrity or not - it hurts - period. If you wouldn't want someone to have that same attitude towards you - then don't do it to others. Basic moral lessons we all should have learned in Kindergarten.

            I agree that her behavior was a little over the top and it turned me off early in the competition - but I wonder how much of her "behavior" was just played on and on again by the way they edited the video. Even on the promos they are always focusing on her acting that way.

            Her team members seemed to feel that she cared and helped them become better cooks - so I can't second guess them - they really know who she is and how she is in real life. We can only guess.

          • Food Fan says:

            Thanks for your reply.

            You make a good point. No matter what people may feel about her, her team members seemed to get along with her and be grateful for her instruction. I don't recall any of her people rolling their eyes over Giada's advice.

      • jayceedavis says:

        Nancy, I don't think it is that harsh. She has plenty of fans to stick up for her, I think when you are a National celebrity, you have to take the good with the bad.

        • Stinky says:

          Hmmm. Seems the, um, "heavier" women on this blog are fine with dishing it out against Giada, but get upset when anyone defends her. Jealousy is such an ugly trait. Just because you have more chins than Chinese phonebook, it doesn't give you the right to hate someone for being beautiful.

          • Lisa says:

            Wow, really? You assume the commenters are overweight and are therefore jealous? You can't tell someone's weight from their comments but you can tell a troll.

          • Stinky says:

            Just throwing "catty" judgments back in their faces. They don't like, they shouldn't engage in it.

          • ehmily says:

            WTF how can tell who is heavy and who is not from these little black and grey silhouettes? Get out of here, asshole

      • Sanita says:

        Nancy I agree. In Italy that is how women dress. Women of all ages. How much of what we saw at home was edited? Case in point, Ippy's exit interview. Did he look like he lacked engery? I am just saying.......

    • Straight shooter says:

      Don't listen to it Giada. You're a nice person and a caring mentor. I don't care if I get thumbs down or not. BS

    • Guest says:

      I wouldn't be that blatant. She is OK, though not as good as the other two

    • Neighbor Dave says:

      I agree. I enjoy her cooking, and she is beautiful, but this show made her into the annoying cheerleader in High School that was mean under the surface and everyone hates.

  8. Sumay says:

    Alton Brown - you could tell he cared genuinely about his team. He also was always giving good advice and helping his team - always evaluating their strengths and weaknesses and helping them use them to their benefit in the competition.

    While I really think he did a great job with his team - I am also concerned that one of his team members (at least) did not get the support early in the competition for developing a POV that suited him. Judson had a great perspective and it wasn't brought out of him until the very end.

    I don't really know how much the mentors can do - but if it was in the realm of their responsibilities - it would have been great for the mentors to have more counseling in the beginning of the competition to make sure (1) they have a POV (2) why they have that POV (3) does that POV suit them or is there another story (4) will their POV stand up in the long run. If they really had a lot more one on one mentoring about that in the beginning I think many of the candidates would have had better legs to stand on in the competition. I've seen too many contestants - not only this year but in years past - who only find their POV at the last possible moment or they really struggle with one throughout the competition. While it may not always be obvious at first to the contestant - I'm sure that everyone (even those who cook clear across the board) cook with some POV or another. Even I do - as a home cook.

    I am reminded of Vic Vegas from last year who struggled so much with this as well - "Vegas Style" became "Momma's Boy". I just wonder if the competition would have been more fierce from the get-go if he started out of the gate as "Momma's Boy?" He probably would have given the other contestants a real run for their money from the get-go.

    I mean, I don't know about everyone else - but I would love to see the competition be fierce out of the gate - everyone has a solid POV and then the competition mostly focuses on their cooking ability and camera skills. That would be more fun, in my opinion. However, when you are still talking about "you have no POV" up until the end of the competition - it's just not as neck and neck goodness as you get at the very end of the competition. Imagine how much fun it would be to watch each week if you started out that way!

    I also thought Bobby did pretty well helping his team but Alton was great up until the very end - his team felt his support and concern until the end of the competition. Bobby seemed to be there for his team with personality and on-screen advice in the beginning but then just stepped back and let them do their thing. Not sure if it is due to editing that it looked like that. I also feel a bit concerned that one of his team mates got so far through the competition without realizing that it was important to have a POV. If having a POV is central to the competition - you definitely need to make sure you have one! Come on mentors - try to drill that into their heads before you run the race!

    Giada seemed to help support certain team members over others. It seemed as though she abandoned those she thought weren't going to make it and focused more on those she felt had more promise. This assumption could also be due to editing - so I'm not sure. It seemed as though her team felt she cared for them and I guess that's what matters most.

    • Sumay says:

      By the way - what I said about developing the POV:

      "why they have that POV" - it does not necessarily entail "what childhood trauma brought you to this decision" - it is instead "what place does this POV play in your life?" "why is this POV important to you" and if you so care to share "what brought you to this POV?"

      I was thiinking back to the competition - and I may be wrong - but Michele always had a solid and definite POV - but I rarely remember her sharing stories about memories or family members (except for the final video) but she always got through the competition anyway.

    • Food Fan says:

      OK. So Bob & Susie demand that all Cooks have a point of view. Its needed for Marketing purposes. Fine.
      So let's do this:
      NEXT year: FROM DAY ONE---ALL candidates will be specific and with clear precison, say exactly, this-is-my-point-of-view and this is what I mean by it. Then also include it as a thing-to-click-on along with the profile and bio online. ....Aha! Just had an inspiration: then, after doing that, how do any of you reading this feel about this? When ALL of the cooks are standing on-set at the kitchen counter and on-camera, why not have each and all of them say at the very beginning of all their presentations: (for example) "Hi. My name is Jennifer and MY point-of-view is _________. And for today's challenge, I'm making you a".....
      Why not? Just SAY yer point-of-view at the start of all presentations. Make it an automatic thing. Another bonus is: this would somewhat force the contestants themselves, to better define and stick to, their own point of view. because if they have to "re-declare" each time on camera for each dish. they will think twice (more than they did this year, dont ya think?) about how they wanna be thought of, and--since they themselves keep saying it, we the audience will notice even more glaringly if they keep changing their POV. Just my wheels turning...
      But I think its talked about wwaaaayyy too much.
      There is one possible problem though which I dont like: if everyone has to keep re-declaring their point of view each presentaion, then people will be more-locked-in-than-ever on some narrow point of view and will be unable to show range and breadth of talent and might be accused too often (by the judges) of violating their point of view. Hm. I dont want that, either. Grrrr...how about just 1. Put it in their Bio 2. Maybe mentions it in presentations the 1st three episodes of the season--and then just stop talking about it and if anyone wants to know, click the cook's Point of View online, but enough with the judges harping about it.
      Remember the BIG thread with all the posts about Emily? Tons of people were loud n clear about:
      Too many stories. Enough already!
      Too much droning on about POV.
      Too much tell-me-who-you-are.
      Lets hope the Network listens and learns from their viewers.

      • cjcal says:

        You're on the right track regarding contestants declare a POV. I also think they could do a "this is my POV, and this is why ..."
        AND as the progress through the competition, contestants can change their POV as long as they explain why. After all, during the weeks of taping, contestants are likely to experience self-growth and tweak their POV.

      • cjcal says:

        Here's another caveat about POVs - Yvan was wavering between tapas (I think) at the start, and then ended with a POV about family fare. I kind of think he was guided toward this by Giada because of his strong family background. So, he wound up with with Family Style and created a mac & cheese dish for his pilot. On the other hand, he has a great empanada snack recipe (2.5 hrs to make) currently posted on the FN website.

        I like Yvan. I also think his mentor was perhaps too influential regarding his POV.

        • Food Fan says:

          Good post.
          Yep. Could be.
          I'd rather have Yvan teach us about South American, than more family-style dishes, although both are useful.
          I could be happy with either Yvan or Martie being the winner.
          However, while it is true, that people grow in these competitions, and its good that they do, its better if they come outta the gate with one definite point of view and stick to it. otherwise, it becomes too much like anyone running for President and doing a flip-flop or changing their minds on the issues. Rightly or wrongly, I think too many people would see it that way.

        • beachinfrizzy says:

          Yep. Giada jumped all over the tugging-at-the-heartstrings poor-boy-who-loves-his-family angle and hijacked his elegant South American-inspired small plates POV into a bargain-basement male version of her own show, complete with horde of hungry diners digging in and telling the cook how wonderful she - I mean he - is. If I want to watch smiley siblings bonding over macaroni and cheese I'll watch reruns of Eight is Enough or Full House. Blech.

    • Mona says:

      I loved Vic Vegas but would NEVER watch a show called Mama's Boy! I love competition right out of the gate, there was NO competition between the contestants or teams this year......it was like putting a bunch of kids in the sand box and making sure that they all played nice together. There doesn't have to be nastiness towards each other but make it interesting!!

      • Sumay says:

        I was surprised by Vic's character - he's not usually the type of person I would root for - but I was. It was heart warming to see him have so many fond memories of the women in his family - it's not the side of a man that you usually see - and it's about time! As for the show being called "Mama's Boy" or whatever the name was - I would think hearing that name on Food Network would have made me take a double-take and would make me wonder what the show was about. In the end, though, I'm the kind of person that is mostly interested in what types of food does that person cook. It seemed like he cooked some pretty good food - and that would have been enough for me to watch.

        As for the nastiness - it may have made a lot of headlines last year but I really don't know if it was helpful for anyone. Penny seemed to be a pretty good cook and she could probably have been able to teach us all a thing or two about her style of cooking. Unfortunately - her approach to the competition didn't allow her to blossom as she could have.

        I think having a great competition - based on "cooking chops" / ability would be more interesting to me that personal attacks and "catiness" whether from the women or the men. That's one of the reasons that I love shows like Iron Chef and Chopped - it's not about your attitude but what you put on the table. There may be some arrogance displayed by the contestants in those competitions - but at the end of the day - may the best man / woman win.

      • Food Fan says:

        What do you think of this:
        Suppose next year, no one gets eliminated in the first two episodes, then at the end of episode 3, there is a triple-elimination of the bottom 3 people. This allows everyone better chance to show what they can do before going home and gives us a chance to get to know them.

        • AZAltonFan says:

          I love this idea. I always feel bad for the first couple to go. We never really get to know them and the first really doesn't have a fair shot at it.

      • cherrycooks says:

        Food Network already has two "mamma's boys" - Jamie and Bobby Deen. Talk about not letting go of the apron strings! Paula keeps her sons too close for comfort.

        • Jellybean says:

          I think that the Deen brothers are on FN to restore the positive image of Paula Deen, since she's received a lot of criticism from the public about her "unhealthy" dishes and her diabetes diagnoses . I don't think they have their own FN shows because of nepotism, but rather it was FN's way of revamping Paula Deen's public image thru healthy eating/lifestyle that's being promoted by the Deen brothers. I read somewhere that Paula Deen did not want to radically change her recipes so that they're more healthy. She wanted to keep cooking on FN like she always has. She did however, change her eating habits and adopted an exercise routine that helped her lose about 30 lbs. Paula Deen's sons demonstrate healthy recipes on their new shows to show that the Deen family is trying to live more healthily and that they care about taking care of one's health.

          • Sumay says:

            I don' t know how she can happily contribute to other people's unhealthy lifestyles while knowing that it contributed to her own problems. It seems irresponsible and uncaring. What she should do is go through her recipes and see ways that she can make her foods healthier in different ways - and then show us how to do it. I would have WAAAAAY more respect for her then. Until then - her sons can do whatever they want - but it is HER RESPONSIBILITY.

          • Sumay says:

            A good place to start would be - DON'T USE SO MUCH BUTTER.

  9. Sumay says:

    I don't know - but I wonder if Giada focused more on helping Ippy make better use of his style (laid back) and stopped making it seem as a negative for him - would that have helped? It just seemed as though she and the others just pushed him against the wall for this instead of finding a way to make it work for him and his POV.

    Perhaps if he started out of the gate - not saying "I'm bringing you to Paradise" but actually saying something like "in today's hectic world everyone dreams of slowing down and relaxing on our sandy beaches. On my show you will not only learn how to relax and slow down your hectic life - but I am going to bring you to the Islands through my cooking."

    I know that's not polished, but it is only a post, afterall. Hopefully - you get the idea. Anyway - if it was made to be a part of his POV - perhaps everyone could have gotten past that and if it were twisted to be a positive - instead of a negative - perhaps he could have won.

    • Sumay says:

      I guess I still would like to say - I think ALL OF THE MENTORS - could learn a little something about helping their team with their POV. This is just another example.

    • Food Fan says:

      I think offering a calming, relaxing show would have been good. They could even said: RELAX with me, and the islands, as I show you my Exciting food!

      • mamagamer says:

        I would of watched Ippy show in a heart beat....I thought he was great...a true Hawaiian laid back feel...not a hundred miles a minute California feel to him....an who doesn't want to learn how to cook Hawaiian food!

    • Shannon says:

      Sumay, I completely agree with you. Giada did make Ippy's style seem like a detriment. If she had just told Suzie and Bob that his relaxed style was the goal and sold that show instead of telling them he is getting better and more energized....well it would have been a whole different ball game. The mentors were there to "sell" their contestants..I feel Giada let the ball drop with Ippy. I think if you would have been there and spoke up for him instead of Giada he may have been a finalist. Because yes, I got your idea of the pitch that should have been used.

      • Food Fan says:

        She was too busy pushing Martita.
        I did like Martita, even alot, in very beginning....but then somewhere back in the 4th? 5th? episode...things just kept going downhill.
        I do give Giada some good credit, though. She did pick people that in the very beginning were immediately likable right away (Linkie, Martita, Ippy). Alton's people tended to be more turn-off-ish (except Emily) in the beginning, but have since gotten better. Bobby's people were more "flat" personality-wise, but had some nice Cooking chops.

        • steve says:

          Martita's fail point for me was when she threw her own team mate under the bus. I get it that it's a competition but Martita set Linkie up by talking her into churritos knowing she knew nothing about them then refused to tell her anything about how to make them.

    • Bobbrowntown says:

      I would love to see a slow movement show. A slow food show. I like Guy Fiery, but sometimes I don't want over the top food personalities. I want a calm person telling me what is in season where and what I can do with it.

      • Food Fan says:

        You should watch "Barefoot Contessa" (Ina Garten)--if you aren't already. She's mellow and knows whats in season.

    • Smoke_alarm says:

      I think that’s a good point, Sumay. I think that FN (Bob and Susie) should let the mentors show them what the mentors saw in their chosen team members. FN should trust the three mentors enough to give their vision of each contestant a chance as opposed to Bob and Susie expecting people to fit inside their tired (personal story, energetic, POV) mold.

    • DearMisty says:

      AMEN, Susmay! I would love to see a laid-back IppyShow

    • kju128 says:

      Exactly - I would love to see Ippy's show!

    • kat says:

      Sumay, your intro line for Ippy is wonderful! I am having an extremely stressful day, and I just logged on to escape for a few minutes and as I read your words, I could literally feel my muscles relaxing! I'm team Alton, but I was also voting for Ippy because I love his personality and concept. I hope they still give him a show. Thanks for the very insightful post, Sumay.

    • EVA says:

      Agree about Ippy. He definitely had a POV. I just think they didn't get him.

    • Jellybean says:

      In my humble opinion, I think that Ippy had a nice personality and that it was not too laid back. Bob and Susie obviously disagreed and that's why Ippy got sent home. I noticed however, in past seasons of the Next Foodnetwork Star that Bob and Susy criticize contestants for being too cheerful and fake or too calm (by looking like nothing ever bothers them), yet several months or a year after the Next FN Star season ends, the FN gives losing contestants that they criticized for being too fake, their own show on the Cooking Channel.com. Two examples currently on the Cooking Channel, are the "too cheerful" Kelsey on "Kelsey's Essentials" and the too calm and zen personality, Jeffrey Saad on "United Tastes of America". They both have nice personalities and seem to be good chefs. I feel that FN has talented chefs but some of them seem a little artificial in the cheerful personality department. I don't think they can help it because, seeming totally personable and natural on tv does not come naturally to everyone. I think as long as you're a good chef who can teach others simple yet delicious recipes, and have a pleasant, engaging personality, who cares if you're a little fake, as long as you're not blatantly annoying.

  10. Zatara says:

    I found Alton brown to be an excellent mentor and teacher... its after all in his blood! I hope somehow they keep him around, he made the show very interesting!

    And plus, I could really tell, that beneath all that hard love he gave his contestants, he still truly cared for each one of them!

    • Sumay says:

      I hope they are working on making another show for him - it doesn't have to be "Good Eats" but something else where he can show his cooking mastery.

      I would especially *** LOVE *** LOVE *** LOVE *** LOVE *** if he were to put a show together to help us see ways we can make our own cooking healthier. Perhaps a show entitled "Healthy Eats" where he teaches us how to incorporate healtheir cooking methods or healthier ingredients to support healthy living - since that is more of his focus these days.

      • cjcal says:

        Healthy Eats - great idea!

      • Food Fan says:

        Healthy is good. But then i think of Christie Schoen abd being eliminated so early.
        Wouldnt it be a riot, to have all the contestants come back for the finale' and ask why Christie was sent home so early and see if anyone has the guts to say on TV: because America doesn't wanna eat healthy! It would be one of those embarassing-but-true things.
        Still, i wouldnt want any sort of extreme "Tofu, soy and carrot juice" type of show.

        • Sumay says:

          I don't think she was booted because she couldn't cook - she was actually booted because she didn't want to make soup and it turned out that way because it wasn't her thing. She was just not inspired from the beginning - at least that's what I made of it.

          I'm sure if you had eaten at her table once or so (and no, I have not) you probably would have liked something she had made - if not all.

          Health DOES NOT mean tofu, soy and carrot juice - and that is why we are so ignorant about healthy food. Healthy has really evolved over the years. Besides - by healthy I mean closer to the way food was intended - ANYWAY - not processed - not laden with corn syrup and artificial ingredients - but NATURAL FOODS.

          There are a lot of ways to change ingredients or prepare something so that it tastes great and is less damaging to your health. If we are not interested - then, so be it - but it would be sad if everyone waited until they were on their deathbed because of their lifestyle to decide to care.

          • Food Fan says:

            We could definitely use more NATURAL and unprocessed foods.
            Eric Lee might have been very good that way. At least he was about "from scratch" and fresh ingredients. It would have been good to see what more Christie was capable of.
            Maybe next year, no one will be eliminated for the 1st 3 episodes and then a triple elimination of the bottom 3 people. Everyone would have more of a chance and we'd get to know them a bit better.

          • Deanna says:

            Honestly, though, I am turned off, when I see a recipe advertised as "Gluten Free, Vegan, and Paleo!" I can eat pizza crust, and it doesn't have to be made of cauliflower. It's pretty exclusive, and so I am just turned off by that terminology. It comes off like it's a superior way to eat.

          • Ippy Fan says:

            Christie had a bad attitude. Instead of having passion about wanted to help people improve themselves by eating more healthily, she expressed her anger about how unhealthy people are.

          • Monte says:

            I think one of the things she should have done was this:

            Hold up a small piece of cardboard and say, "This is what a lot of people think health food tastes like. I'm here to dispel that notion!"

            THAT would grab my attention.

            That's one big reason I didn't like "Hungry Girl". You're a "Hungry Girl" because your food looks like it tastes nasty!

            But to that point, there is a certain "condescension" that certain health food advocates have -- almost like they're better than everyone else.

            I do agree with the previous poster who referenced fresh ingredients, and non-processed foods are the way to go. That, and portion sizes. You can still have that burger...just have it once a month, or once every couple of months.

            Have the chicken breast. Just season it nicely and bake it. Sauteed broccoli with a dash of kosher salt and some cracked black pepper? Absolutely! Yes, please!

            Macaroni and cheese made with store-bought cheese and cream? Sure. Just don't eat five pounds of it at once.

            Oh, and don't forget to exercise!