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. Christine says:

    Like the rest of the fans I want to congratulate you. I feel almost certain that it was MY vote that won it for you.
    ( only kidding of course). I'm excited to see your show !

  2. Gary Burt says:

    I voted for him because he is unique. He brings a new way of looking at things and does it in such a nice way. I will definitely watch his show!!!!!

  3. codyor447 says:

    Sorry cant get past his lipstick. Nothing to see here. Another reason i have stopped watching foodnetwork.

    I wonder if the contestants are told what demographic the target audience will be? This demographic is obviously the 24-32 age group, which makes this choice logical, but pandering. What the foodtv network doesnt seem to understand is that there are millions who actually want to learn something. This guy falls short. Seriously, serving fish bones and aspic? McDonalds sounds better and i hate their food!

  4. BEE says:

    Yay Team Alton! Although I liked the other 3...Jetson's pilot seemed more interesting..his seem more daring...he's willing to do something new and something different which is play off the basic recipes and make it his own...make food in an unconventional way. Even though I like the other three's personalities better...Marty is fun fun fun, Michelle is cool (tired of seeing chefs with spiky hair though), and Ivan is full of energy and love. I liked that Ivan is family oriented but their are so many chefs on the food network that are too...he's not doing anything different in that aspect. Michelle..I truly think it was her on again off again love affair with spunk and energy when she is high energy she is on an all time high and when she is low, she is low....not so good plus the spiky hair thing was getting to many food network chefs do I have to watch with the spiky blonde hair.....she didn't seem original in that aspect but I love her POV - her New England. She got major points because I love seafood and I know she would've had good recipes. Marty likes to Party described her perfectly....I loved the idea but i just didn't see it holding up and going far for some reason, like something is missing..she has the best personality out the four for tv because Marty knows how to pull viewers in with her charm. I think the problem was that she reminds others of Paula Dean...we already have one Paula Dean...the Southern drawl can either be comforting and adorable to some and really annoying to others. Also out of the four she was one of those who dishes was a complete hit or a complete miss and I think that shook viewers faith in her ability to create really great tasting dishes most of/at all times.

  5. BEE says:

    Michelle is so high energy one minute and low energy the next that she would have bore me. The hair...seen it already (Guy Fiery and Ann from Food Network), . The one I felt bad for was Eric, I think he went home too too soon...especially when the judges and mentors were saying his food was the best tasting out of all the competitors. I would have loves to seen how his show would have been..smh. Well through the whole competition I was rooting for a few people on all three teams....I rooted for Emily, Judson, Justin, (didn't start voting for Martie until five episodes a towards the end) on Team Alton. Nikki, Eric, Mitchell on Team Bobby. Ippy, Yvan, Martita on Team Giada.

  6. R Walters says:

    I just knew Justin would win, look who his mentor is! I voted for him and was so excited that the person I voted for actually won!

  7. Just Jenn says:

    Congratulations! I have been a fan from the beginning, I see true artist in Justin and can't wait to see what he comes up with next. I love how he thinks outside the box! I can see Alton Brown and Justin having so much fun in the kitchen now!

  8. john says:

    I knew Justin would win very early in the show. I still rooted for Martie though. I was thrilled to see that they were friends.

  9. Harry says:

    Was very happy to see that Justin was the victor in the program. I would not like to be following in the foot steps of these contestants. I would enjoy watching any of the contestants as they all had something great to share with us all. I wish them all the very best. Justin will be bring some fun new life to the programing.
    Great Work.

  10. alex Turns says:

    i wanted another female to win. BUMER