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!

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Comments (86)

  1. gr8islegrl says:

    Danushka should be eliminated soon. It'll be terrible for the Food Network to keep her in the "running" only for the drama and the TV ratings - creating another Omarosa, like Trump loves doing.

  2. [...] kitchen skills and ultimately convince the mentors of their staying power on the network. With Daniela's early departure last week, the contestants learned that most will not enjoy the time they need to prove their [...]

  3. Stephanie Hyatt says:

    I am just catching up watching the first episode and did I hear Bob say one of the contestants sounded like "librarian? Well Bob T., come to GA and meet a girl with a huge personality who can read a book, educate, and cook at the same time! Speak up anyone! Librarians have a personality and can cook.......or this one can! Bob, you broke my heart...........

    • beachinfrizzy says:

      Hi Stephanie, go to Justin's Rebel Recap blog and read "Amy"s comment - you'll find some kindred spirits on these boards : )

      • Stephanie Hyatt says:

        No thanks. I love Bob and Suzie! I will stay on the topic. And, bless her heart.......yes, the right contestant was selected

        • beachinfrizzy says:

          Those kindred spirits I was referring to were librarians who also were disappointed in his stereotyping. But whatever - to each his or her own.

          • Shannon says:

            beachinfizzy, I certainly got lost somewhere in the above train. Left me scratchin' my head ?

          • DeGeorgetown says:

            There was another librarian in another thread who was annoyed by the "You sound like a librarian" comment. Beach was just trying to let Stephanie know she wasn't alone... she didn't seem to appreciate it.

          • Shannon says:

            Quite Right DeGeorgetown, that's what left me scratchin' my head. Stephanie requested folks to "Speak Up", Beach reached out and was rebuffed when she offered the asked for kindred spirits. Glad we viewed it the same way (smile) .

  4. Stephanie Hyatt says:

    And, I am still as mad as Paula Deen without butter and cream cheese!!!! Try holding the attention of 20 Kindergarten students for 30 minutes! As educators, we are natural entertainers.......I've got my eyes on you Bob! I am proud to be an Elementary School LIBRARIAN!

    • beachinfrizzy says:

      Ahh, Bob's a fuddy-duddy stick in the mud. He was probably born 30 years old.

      • Stephanie Hyatt says:

        He is a very warm and caring person. He and Suzie seem to really care about those on the show.

  5. Debra says:

    I can see that the other fans feel the same as I do about Daniela going home & not Danushka. All of the judges said negative things about her except Bobby Flay. Why? All of the judges EXCEPT Bobby Flay said positive things with Daniela. I read one comment from a fan saying that the fans should calm down, just a show. The person is right but it's a contest & the contestants should be judged fairy. Sending Daniela home wasn't fair. I don't care for anyone who rags on other contestants the way Danushka does. I think Daniela was very nervous & I know I would have been too. Can anyone imagine Danushka having a show? No smiles, always negative. She considers her a goddess? She better take a good look at herself & also read what other fans are saying about her. I don't even want to watch any of the other shows.

  6. Parris says:

    Just caught up on the first episode and will watch last nights episode tomorrow. A little lagging! lol Anyway, i'm glad that they took away the "Team" approach this season. This format is much better. However... I did notice that if you put these contestants side by side with last seasons contestants, they are identical! The same personalities. As far as Danushka being retained, I think that was a big mistake. I agree with one of the above posters, she may be there for a more dramatic effect. Please, please, please don't let this show go the way of all other reality shows! Focus on the food, the cooking and style. NOT drama. That is the quickest way to lose viewers and respect. Otherwise, thanks for the episode. Looking foward to the next.