One-on-One With the First Star Contestant to Go Home

by in Interviews, June 3, 2013

Food Network Star Episode 1 EvaluationEleven episodes, 12 contestants, countless challenges and only one ultimate dream come true. Every Sunday, Bobby, Giada and Alton will take on the difficult task of eliminating one finalist in the quest to help guide fans to vote for Food Network's next sensation. And this is no easy task. Check back here every week to read Star Talk's exclusive exit interview with the latest Star hopeful to leave Star Kitchen.

If you missed the show and recorded it, don't read any further — Star Talk is about to chat with the first finalist to go home.

Daniela Perez-Reyes, from the very beginning, proved she had the smile, charm and culinary chops to be on Food Network Star, but her journey was short-lived.

Daniela Perez-ReyesWhile Bobby enjoyed her Peruvian potato dish, the mentors, network executives and focus group didn't enjoy her 30-second pitch tape. "Daniela has a lot of presence on screen — she's very vivacious. The problem is, it's hard for her to get her stories across to the camera," Giada said in an interview.

Ultimately it was decided that Daniela had too much of a journey ahead of her and was sent home. As she was leaving, she said this isn't the last you'll see of her, and Justin Warner summarized it best in his Rebel Recap post,:"I think that statement is la verdad."

Do you think she deserved to go home? Tell Star Talk in the comments below.

Being first to go is always the hardest . You have such little time to get across what you need the judges to know. What was your time like on Star
DPR: Regardless of going home first, I enjoyed the experience. The making of the show itself is impressive, and I had a great time being part of such a professional team.

What were some of the biggest surprises you encountered?
DPR: The biggest surprise to me was to meet and learn about the other contestants and realize how talented and experienced they were compared to me. I couldn't believe I was part of this team of such amazing chefs. I can't believe I got to compete with chefs that have won Iron Chef America — one of the hardest competitions on Food Network.

If you had to choose one mentor to continue through the process, who would it be: Bobby, Giada or Alton?
DPR: I liked Alton — he showed me his sensibility and heart, and that definitely stuck with me. I would have loved to get mentored by him.

Just one episode into the season, who are you betting on/who do you think are the toughest contenders?
DPR: To me, Stacey Poon-Kinney is probably the strongest right now. She's humble, has a great personality, is a creative chef and also has the TV experience required to reach the audience. I would love to see her win this!

What's next for you?
DPR: I just recently started working with Hi'ipaka, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and perpetuate the human, cultural and natural resources of Waimea Valley. Waimea Valley is a sacred valley located in the north shore of Oahu. I've been working in the kitchen with the implementation of local, organic, unadulterated and seasonal products from the area. I have some other amazing projects in the works, too, so stay tuned!

Star Exclusives

Similar Posts

Luca Looks Back on a Wild Ride

Italian-born Luca Della Casa came into the competition with his heritage as a point of view, and while his culinary offerings were strong, he struggle...

Comments (86)

  1. girloftheworld says:

    everyone needs to getover that the "unknowns" are not really unknown...They have all been seen before. Even if on the sopranos. Think about it if you are 40 years old and this "has always been your dream" and yet you have done nothing up til now to achieve that. then you probally are not very good at it...they alllll should have some sort of experince. I like the audince at least fakes that they know what the we at home want

  2. Emily says:

    Danushka needs to go. It was a mistake to send home Daniela. Peruvian cuisine is the latest and hottest food trend on the planet, and we could have learned a lot from her!

  3. Food network watcher says:

    Danushka should have gone home. Her voice is annoying and she seems to be stuck up. I love watching the Food Network shows, but I would not watch her.

    • harleyrider says:

      Annoying is right. This chic has no emotion at all when she talks. Liven it up. Man! More boring than late night elevator music.

  4. John M says:

    Danushka should have gone! No appeal to her at all... like nothing stinks, and boy does she stink...

  5. Deb says:

    Danushka should have gone home. Very uninspiring, monotone, boring...well you get the hint! Would never EVER watch her show if by some miracle she would get one.

  6. Melissa says:

    They are keeping Danushka on for the same reason they kept Penny on in a previous season. To cause drama!! I'm just glad I'm recording these shows now so I can fast forward through the commercials and not see or hear the The Food Network FREAK that won last season.

  7. Carlos says:

    Danushka reminds me of him. She has a monotone voice like he did. There's no expression on her face. She looks blank like he did.

  8. Meilin says:

    I'm done with the personality contest. Food Network needs to be looking for someone to teach us how to cook something interesting. Daniella just might have done that.
    Danushka better be next to go... she is so arrogant and unbearable... she was a total joke on Chopped too.
    Penny might have been there for drama, but at least she cooked interesting food.

    • Janet says:

      Danushka is even worse then Penny so far. At least Penny could cook. I saw her last sunday. She went from boring to sounding like watch me and we're gonna have fun, Dammit. Can she redeem herself?

    • beachinfrizzy says:

      Eh, to each his own but I didn't think Penny's food was interesting...steak salad wraps? That's what I make for my kids' dinner when I don't feel like cooking. She made an appetizer that resembled wet cardboard out of lavash, which was supposedly right in her wheelhouse. She couldn't even make friggin' macaroni and cheese without burning it. I can't remember anything else she did.

      • Marion says:

        The panel didn't like her attitude but it was her food that kept her on as long as she lasted.

    • Shannon says:

      I was not a fan of her personality or her food, but that is just my opinion.

  9. foodie.girl says:

    I can't believe that Danushka stayed! They probably just kept her on for the viewers.

  10. Diane says:

    I hope Stacy makes food better than her restaurant serves.