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It's hard to believe that it's been seven years since Guy Fieri won the second season of Food Network Star. Since that unforgettable moment, he's dominated homegrown eats on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and cooked up a storm on Guy's Big Bite — he's the ideal example of Star success.
Last Sunday night, the final three finalists — Damaris, Rodney and Russell — had the opportunity of a lifetime. They got to pick Guy's brain for tips and tricks. No stranger to filming a pilot, Guy mentored the finalists through their tapes.
Star Talk recently caught up with Guy to ask him about his time with the finalists and what the winner will need in the future.
What was your experience like on Star this season??
GF: I had a really nice time with all of them while I was producing their pilots for Episode 10, and they all have so much talent that I think the gain — the expectation for the next Food Network Star competitors — is that the bar has been raised so high. I mean, you have to be the best of the best.
Do you think that's different from when you first started?
GF: I think that it's a lot different from when I first started. We didn't have examples to follow. But these folks are sharp. This is not shooting fish in a barrel. It has to be deep down, genuinely, what they're about. It's what people want to see. There's no other way to do it. You can't make it something it's not. You either got it or you don't. You have to let the real you come out.
At the end of the day, after it all gets broken down — when you're focused and exposed to what's happening — fans want to know the stars are the real deal. And the finalists all have real-deal qualities. What they're doing is what America wants. I think that they're just going to have to trust themselves — like a Luke Skywalker thing. May the force be with them. And it's going to be America that says, "We want more of what you do."
What will the new winner need to embrace and embody to succeed?
GF: They've been through one of the toughest competitions there is, and they've proved their cooking and on-camera skills. They have appeal. When they get the opportunity, they need to really bring it, because no one will give it to them. Whoever gets the opportunity needs to attack it with 10 times the vengeance that they attacked the Food Network Star with.