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. Linda says:

    Congrats Justin you Rock! Had never been so excited for a Star to Win on your Night!! Love your Show Name and will be waiting to see you always with what you will be surprising us with on your new show.
    Alton Job well done!

  2. Dylan Moran says:

    i think justin deserved it. he worked so hard. this will be a fun show to watch.

  3. sydney says:

    hi justin

  4. Jerilee says:

    Replying to cherry cooks post 1day ago about Melissa' s nose or eye fill. Didn't look that way to me, just watched re-run of Chopped episode.. She had her hair ulled back, didn't have on eyelashes, or the usual make-up we see on her show. She looked "natural". Says a lot about her shows make-up people, doesn't it.

    Posted earlier but it didn't show. Probably will and I will sound like a Dodo, repeating, but oh well. I'm tough and if there is criticism I can take it. Sorry if that's the case, thanks!!!!

    • Jerilee says:

      Also sorry for name typo (spell checker dint like and I missed it). Try again.... cherrycooks. There , I got it!!!!!!

  5. davidian says:


  6. Bonnie Howland says:

    I voted for you Justin and I was in tahoe for the Celebrity gold tournamen. After I was watching the final results with a group of people who do not watch much of the food network. My husband had to go back a day early. I was so happy for you! I love trying new things with food. I grew up in North Dakota and it was onlyh meat and potatoes and I have come along way baby!! Can 't wait to see your new show to inspire me more. (By the way I made the most awsome Chili Verde tonight)

  7. Dana Highmist says:

    Congrats. I my self love good eats and have missed that knowledge and fun . It wasn't just a show it was an adventure , and I see that with you . A show my kids and I can watch again with fun an learning. So happy for you and can't wait to see you on my TV in the near future.

  8. Scott says:

    Congratulations, Justin. I think that you have the ability to give us a new take on food. I just hope that you will make sure that you always have a "cooking" show that gives us ideas on how to cook and recipes that we can try. Don't let them send you to report on how other restaurants make food or how "marshmallow peeps" are made.

  9. rightsideonly62 says:

    A guy that's a girl wins out over a girl that's a guy. Has FN lost their mind? Where's Anthony Bourdain when you really need him?

    • Core says:

      Oh please don't drag that guy into it. Best to leave Bourdain in a remote area somewhere, eating obscure food.

  10. Edmck says:

    Wow. The perception of the contestants, judges, etc. is so diverse. Bottom line... Can't please everyone all the time. If you don't like him don't watch his show. Simple - really. It's not like there aren't a hundred and fifty or more other channels to watch or anything

    • guest says:

      You sound like you could care less about any network exec being in touch with their audience.