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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Comments (1,358)

  1. @foodiediva says:

    From the start I liked Justin's energy, his vision about cooking and of course the creativity. I think FN and we the audience made a really good choice which will bring something new to the tv food 'table'. I really think that Justin's connection with his Dad is heartwarming and inspiring. The intelligence Justin utilizes in his cooking adds that depth and practicality that I enjoy from Alton. Yippee! I had tears in my eyes - so happy for both Justin and Alton!

  2. Swim Keystone says:

    Well deserved! I am looking forward to watching!

  3. Tina says:

    Awesome. I think he is a very memorable young man and something that the Food Network needs. I like to see different styles of cooking show. We need some more like 'Bitchin' Kitchen' (I know that is from a different network, sorry) that are also entertaining. Wonderful choice. Great job Alton.

  4. mary says:

    Really, really, really looking forward to watching Justin's show. I voted for him and truly believe the best person won. I must say all the finalist were great.

    • Marsha says:

      Aspic salad is gross.

      • Monte says:

        Have you TRIED it? You do realize he used the SAME ingredients in a Cesar Salad, right? And he dissolved/melted the aspic over the salad.

      • Katie says:

        Yes, I suggest you try something before you shoot it down. Don't judge a cook book by its cover.

        Besides, you know how when you have leftover steaks/porks/etc juice, and when you out it in the fridge for a while the fat will become solid? It's just the same thing. Kind of. Okay maybe not. But still, it does melt, so you're not eating cold gelatin-chicken-broth-Parmesan cubes on grilled lettuce.

  5. jan says:

    Very happy Justin won I think he will be a big assest to the network

  6. SA ~ Texas says:

    So very happy to see Justin win! I voted for him 10 times a day every day possible! Can't wait to see his journey continue. Most exciting season so far!

  7. DDG cha says:

    Loved Justin as well, but Martie definitely needs a show, or at least a partnership with Justin on a show! Let's face it, they would work so well together!!

    • Bonnie says:

      I agree. I'm happy for Justin and looking forward to his show, but I like Martie a lot, too. I would love it if she joined Justin from time to time. They are a super team.

    • Mary says:

      Oh good grief NO NO NO. She'd bring him down and wouldn't shut up for a minute. Go away Martie.

      • MsWinston says:

        I agree Mary! I would never watch any program she was on -- just dreadful!

      • winnie says:

        I agree, too, Mary! Martie is a no, no; she is common and would be a detriment to Justin's show.

        • jance says:

          How rude can you people be? I suspect you are ALL quite common. If you were so wonderful, I think you would have been on the show.

      • AzGM says:

        Justin and the rest of Alton's talented team (together with the new format) are the ONLY reason Martie made it past the first few weeks. In any other season, she'd have been gone within the first few challenges. Don't bring her back - she'd be BAD news for Justin's new show.

    • FN fan says:

      I would love to see them do a show together. There is a connection between them and they work so well together. It is something different. FN has never done anything like that.

    • JM61 says:

      Justin WON. HE gets a show, Martie doesn't. He said he'd be honored to have her as a guest, but NO he doesn't NEED a partner. He is good enough on his own. He won on his own, we like him, we want him. Stop trying to pile people on his back. "oh maybe he'll have Martie on! Hey Justin have Yvan and Ippy on!"

  8. rich corbett says:

    justin congrats, i wish you the best of luck cant wait to see your show but i cant help but to think of you as alton jr.thats a very good thing

  9. Josh Tappe says:

    Alton Brown's(my food idol) protege... That IS an incredible weight. I do hope he is up to the Challenge set forth upon him. :-) Best wishes in your career! :-D

  10. Ashley says:

    Justin completely deserved it. I'm so happy for him. I think he'll do great on the Food Network. I think his relationship with Martie was adorable and she is like a mother to him. I am definitely going to watch his show, I'm so happy! CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!