One-on-One with the Latest Star Contestant to Go Home

by in Interviews, July 16, 2013

Chad and Russell - Food Network Star Season 9Every Sunday, Bobby, Giada and Alton 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 Food Star Kitchen.

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

A Pennsylvania-based chef passionate about all things barbecue, Chad Rosenthal survived seven weeks of competition before ultimately being sent home. During his run, he served several winning dishes, but his inability to prove his progress thus far forced his exit.

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

Chad Rosenthal - Food Network Star Season 9You seemed to gravitate toward Memphis-style barbecue in the beginning of the competition. Is that what you’re known for at your restaurant?
CR: Yes. My first place was a Memphis-style BBQ joint — it was all about pork, smoked low and slow over hickory wood smoke, with beans and slaw, just like you find in Memphis.

What’s your favorite style to cook at home?
CR: If you're referring to barbecue, I favor the Memphis, dry rub style of true BBQ. I love to taste the meat and smoke — the sauce can always come later. Beyond barbecue, I love comfort food. What's comfort food, you ask? Anything that makes you happy when eating it or cooking it. I can cook it all!

After working so closely together with the same group for seven weeks, you must have formed strong friendships with the cast. Any funny behind-the-scenes stories you can share?
CR: All 12 cast members are awesome and unique in their own way, especially The Barbecue Guy (if I may say). We all have huge personalities and are all used to being the "talkers" in our own settings, so when we were all together, getting a word in wasn't easy. It was actually pretty funny at times! Rodney, Chris, Viet and I started a whiskey club, outside by the pool at the hotel we were staying in near the studio. I became pretty tight with Rodney when Viet and Chris went home. Rodney had a blender by his toothbrush — that's all I can tell you!

Philly-to-Texas Grilled Veggie BBQ SandwichWhat was your favorite moment of the competition?
CH: I won't name names, but during an interview on the 4th of July Live episode, someone told me that Bob Tuschman told him that my Philly to Texas Grilled Veggie BBQ Sandwich was the best of the day and that he actually took a sandwich back to his hotel room. That was a huge compliment!

Who do you think was the most intimidating judge/mentor? And which judge’s mentoring style was most beneficial?
CH: Alton was the most intimidating and, at the same time, made the biggest impression on me in so many ways. He's very scientific and I'm not. He's a straight shooter and taught me a lot about not only cooking, but on-camera presence. He seems to really care about the show, the outcome and teaching us as much as he can, in the short period of time that he has with us. It doesn't hurt that he likes bourbon either.

As “The Barbecue Guy,” do you have any tips for your fans who want to make authentic barbecue at home but may not have a grill or smoker?
CH: No [laughing]. My tip would be to make or go buy a smoker if you're going for authentic barbecue. No shortcuts here. You saw what happened to me when I tried to make barbecue in 30 minutes.

Watch Chad compete for a shot to re-enter the competition on the final episode of Star Salvation now by clicking the play button below.

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Comments (74)

  1. Baja Betty Guest says:

    I was sorry to see Chad go also, but who would have been the other alternative. I see a few struggling with the live tv aspect as that is difficult if you have never done it before. But for some don't mistake their being comfortable in front of the camera for confidence as it can be arrogance instead. I just loved how Stacy managed to not finish her dish and had the nerve to ask for help! WOW! Well we all know who the hero in this was NIKKI ! Stacy shows her arrogance but by cutting everyone else down-using words like -lackluster- to describe other people's dishes. Who made her an authority! Notice she never mentioned how lackluster she was in her delivery of her dish! In my opinion she needs to go! The pie guy is ruff in his delivery but has made some good pies. Personally I think the winner should be Nikki or Damaris. Still missing the humble and adorable Viet!

    • steph says:

      I like Damaris and Nikki. They are both outgoing but if I had to choose between the two, I'd say Damaris because she's more reliable with her cooking. She knows more and I like her humor.

      • Shannon says:

        I wonder why when so many people like Damaris (like me) and have such positive things to say about her, that her numbers on the poll are so amazingly low.

        • steph says:

          Her competiton is running scared. What I wonder about is why so many who don't like Damaris can't say why who they like deserves to win more. All they do is just bash. Someone on here called Rosie doesn't like Damaris or the Pioneer Woman. Maybe she doesn't like southern food. Besides Damaris, I see the word "annoying" used to describe different people online but no one says how they are annoying. Somehow, they just are. God forbid they could show how who they want would make a better star.

          • Callie Carver says:

            First off they shouldn't let people vote 10 times per day. Only once. And when people go onto other browsers they can vote another 10 times. If you have several browsers loaded you can lean the vote a certain way. I got tired of voting because it looks like Rodney and Stacey fans are doing just that. There no way with what they have been cooking that they are getting those number of votes.

        • Wayne says:

          Yes Shannon, that poll always seems to be phony and completely not indicative of the preferred ones according to the comments/blog section.

          And I prefer Damaris over Nikki too! Damaris even got the auction crowd laughing. That was something pie man purposely tried to do and couldnt. You either got it or you don't.

          • Crouton40 says:

            You can add me to the list--of people who prefer Damaris. Yes, she got the Auction crowd laughing. That's good. And, I remember weeks ago, there was a challenge where even Justin had mentioned in his recap that Damaris (at the time) "had them in stitches." So...while some folks are going on about how Stacey and Nikki are good on camera, they are not the only ones. In this recent Auction challenge, didn't Bobby Flay say (to Damaris) something very close to: "tonight, you showed the selection committee what we've been wanting to see..or looking for..." that effect. Nice! I think that what may have happened is, early-on when the judges wanted her to tone it down, she was seriously making an effort to follow what they want (and no one has followed their advice with more conscientiousness) and people may have
            seen Nikki and Stacey be (i almost wanna say loud-ER), but none of the three of them are extreme that way. Damaris DOES have a NATURAL radiance or bubbliness (and I know its natural because I saw it in her video and I think everyone, is most natural in their own video)--and then there was the "in stitiches" thing AFTER her audition video...and now again in the Auction, she was connecting beautifully again with the people. Its there! Perhaps the judges clamped-down on her a bit tight, earlier. But now, when they let her be comes out very well. Hence, Bobby's good words. (my opinion).

          • Robert Ostrowski says:

            Crouton40 - you may as well add me to the list as well of Damaris' supporters - she's got my vote already now. I am all in favor of allowing HER brand of Southern culinary genius to be all the more the reason for the NFNS. But I hope that she will showcase her homeland's culinary expertise both on the road and at home, as that would be the icing on the cake, so to speak.

        • CVeraS says:

          The episode where Damaris was on the judging panel clinched it for me. If I had never watched Food Network before and tuned in just to that scene, I would have thought Giada was the contestant and Demaris was the star.

          • Deb says:

            I was amazed. She was professional and fair, as if she had already been doing it for a long time.

          • Shannon says:

            I liked Damaris from her initial video, along with a couple other competitiors. When I saw that she is great fun, humorous and can cook too I liked her even more. When I saw that she can switch to being professional and communicate effectively..well that was the deciding moment for me too. Even if there are bad days, (everyone has them) I know she has the ability. I just hope that FN recognizes that. I would without a doubt watch her show.

  2. Guest says:

    I was sorry to see Chad go also he appears to be. Great BBQ guy

  3. Myra says:

    I wouldn't mind Chad if he wasn't just a BBQ guy with a sweet tooth. FN already has enough BBQ shows. Chad is Jewish, I'd love to see some Jewish food, he has to do something in addition to BBQ. Right now Damaris is the only one I might watch. If Chad broadened his POV, I might watch him. Stacey is the absolute worst, you couldn't pay me to watch her. Can someone tell her to back off on the amount of grease she puts in her hair? It just looks greasy and dirty and plastered to her head. Sorry for the negativity.

    And give Viet a show!!!

    • Robert Ostrowski says:

      Myra - I admit that Jewish food would be worthwhile promoting on the FN, but if it were me, I would first decide to immerse myself in it up front! I'm a Jewish food lover and my mother's side of the family has its Jewish side in Waukegan/Zion, IL - north central Chicago, although I experienced it more up front in New York City via their famous delicatessens. It would be WONDERFUL if the FN were to have a show that showcases our country's Jewish culinary expertise up front - and maybe at the Carnegie Deli in NY, which is famous for their chicken matzo ball noodle soup - reportedly worth getting SICK for!!

  4. Peter says:

    Russell is a pure phoney. All this hype about his special sins and his unique food, he has not presented a strong plate of food since this series began. He is far from creative, he tries to talk a strong culinary game but in reality even Bobby sees through him but for some reason they keep giving him another chance? Come on people get real he will not be a TV draw, you know it, just make the right decision. I also agree there are enough BBQ shows out there, probably the least qualified field of contestants so far.

  5. Deborah says:

    I think you all made a BIG mistake in letting Nikki go. Rodney is so inconsistent and should have gone.