Star Exclusive: The Winner’s First Interview

by in Food Network Star, July 22, 2012

Justin Warner and Alton BrownJustin Warner, Team Alton's rebel with a culinary cause, is our new Food Network Star! Just moments after the curtain fell to reveal his face beside Alton's, Bobby's and Giada's on the wall of esteemed Food Network talent, we caught up with Justin to hear his reaction to this life-changing win.

Justin, if you had to describe in one word the feeling you had right before they announced the winner, what would it be?

JW: Nuts.

What's something you took away from this experience?

JW: I realized I have a strong desire to teach people. I never knew that until I saw the reaction of fans in the audience and on Twitter. I say to myself, "Wow! They trust me with that?" Because a year and a half ago, I didn't even know how to cook. To now be an authority on these things, at least in some people's eyes, it's amazing and I'll never forget that.

You and Alton have a very special relationship. It seems as if you're his protégé — you even used a clip from Good Eats in your pilot. How does that make you feel?

JW: First and foremost, it's an incredible weight put on me. Alton said, "You have the ability to represent a brand I created and take it further." To have that blessing was a paternal push I'd never felt before. Like, here, baby bird, go. It's an incredible honor, truthfully.

When you first started this competition, did you set out to create a show like that or was that something you two decided at the end of your process?

JW: Well, I'm a big fan of Good Eats because he tells you how to practically cook things. But as you can see, I'm not a very practical person. The idea though is that I've used a lot of those concepts to create the foundations of the things at my restaurant and in my life. For example, I'll take something that is normal and I'll go wild with it. To have the definite answer for normal in a decidedly abnormal, but revolutionary show, which is Good Eats — to have that as a starting point is nuts.

After the curtain fell to the ground and you saw your portrait on the wall with other Food Network stars like Guy and Rachael, how did you feel?

JW: I felt like the new software was being installed. It's not just a new chapter; it's like a new book. It's like a series you thought would never be picked up — I have no idea what I felt like! This is something I believe in, but I didn't know other people believed in it as strongly as I did. When you're a rebel, you never expect anyone to go with you on a cause, but I think this was the right time and the right place.

What do you have to say to all your fans out there who voted for you?

JW: Thanks for the support. I have the best fans, especially on Twitter. They're so funny, cool and so creative — one even made a rap video about me. There are Tumblrs out there about me cooking. I never would have thought this was possible.

Check out the the full exclusive video of our interview with Justin and conversations with runners-up Martie, Yvan and Michele. Plus, check out the final four Star Scrapbooks and flip through the best moments of the finale.

Questions for Justin? Chat with the winner himself in a live Facebook chat TODAY at 3pm EST.

What did you think about Justin's big win? Share your thoughts on the finale in the comments.

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  3. Food Fan says:

    Its worth repeating.
    I posted the following comments many weeks earlier.
    It has a +37.
    Alot of people felt the same way. It mattered. Here it is again:

    Food Fan · 27 weeks ago +37
    Its Good that so many viewers have written/posted their opinions. With that in mind:
    I hope that FN keeps, and refers back to, the BIG thread about Emily and Teams and Point-of-view and all the many, many loud-n-clear comments soooo many viewers have already expressed:
    1. NO More Teams! Everyone against everyone is better, like older seasons.
    2. No "rescuing" of a bad performer just cuz the rest of their team did good.
    3. No more sending a good candidate home just to keep all teams even.
    4. LOTS of people said they DONT CARE about "stories."
    5. Respect Privacy. Stop with all the tell-us-who-you-are. We can read their bio.
    6. Stop giving Cooks advice and then criticizing them for following it.
    7. Stop Confining & Restricting people to ONLY their narrow iron-clad POV. Let them show range and breadth of talent.
    8. Let people be themselves as long as not too loud/dull/hyper/weird.
    9. Dont send an otherwise great person home for just one bad night.
    10. But a maximum of 2 times in the pitch room. Keeping Nikki and Martita so long this season was just too much.
    Those are the big-ones! Cut-n-paste, print, and keep on the office desk. (grin). If these are practiced next year, things will be better for sure.

    • FoodFan says:

      One more thing:
      NO ongoing FAN VOTE poll this next season!
      1. Because it shouldn't be: "Whoever has the most facebook-friends, wins.
      2. Last season, neither Martita or Ippy won, despite great standings in the online fan vote.
      3. It's too much like the nauseating, every-3rd-day polling in a political race.
      Just vote at the end between the last 2.
      4. Besides, anyone can push a thumbs-up or thumbs-down button. Its far better to join the forum/blog and POST your opinion and SAY why you think anyone sucks or totally rocks!

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