Mentors’ Eats and Drinks for a Finale Viewing Party

by in Recipes, August 7, 2013

GuacamoleAfter watching 10 weeks of competition and making your voices heard in this season's finale vote, you, Star fans, are just days away from meeting the newest Food Network Star. No matter if you're rooting for Damaris and her Southern-inspired Eat, Date, Love idea, for Rodney's pie-focused pilot Pie Style or for Russell's deliciously sinful Guilty Pleasures concept, anxiety will be at an all-time high on Sunday night, when one hopeful will earn the job of a lifetime.

Russell Jackson, Damaris Phillips and Rodney HenryBefore you watch the next Food Network Star accept his or her new title on Sunday, prepare a few easy-to-make snacks to enjoy during the show. Classic TV-watching munchies like chips and dip, plus a sweet treat of cookies and lemonade are go-to picks, and this year's Star mentors are sharing their easy recipes to make at home.

For a platter of crunchy, salty snacks, try Alton's top-rated Guacamole, a no-fail fan favorite made with traditional ingredients, like ripe avocados, lime juice, garlic and cilantro. Alton recommends letting the prepared guacamole rest at room temperature for an hour before serving, so the flavors have time to marry.

Bobby's bringing an indulgent dessert to the party: his Triple Chocolate Cookies, featuring both bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate, plus white chocolate chips and semisweet chocolate chips. These five-star beauties bake for no more than 11 minutes, which means they're a cinch to prepare in a hurry.

Made with just a handful of ingredients, Giada's Italian Lemonade will surely quench your thirst. This summertime sipper is sweetened with a basil-laced simple syrup, which offers a fragrant, herbaceous note to her refreshing drink.

Tune in to the finale of Food Network Star on Sunday, August 11 at 9pm/8c to find out who fans have chosen as the winner.

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Comments (65)

  1. Jennifer says:

    Thought Susie was unnecessarily hateful with Russell when she told him she didn't know why he was there. Can anyone explain why ANY of the three are still there? Time to put this crappy show to rest. Looks like Bobby and Alton are tired of it anyway, and with this season's crop of non-talents, I'm tired of it too.

  2. Dana says:

    Stacey and Nikki were excellent contestants throughout the season, and their absence from the final three is more than unfortunate. I would watch a show that either of those two hosted, while you couldn't pay me to watch shows by any of the three that made pilots. Vintage modern and meat on the side are concepts that are relatable and consistent with contemporary food trends - things I could, and would, make at home. Putting pie dough around something just doesn't seem innovative- while we're at it, the bacon-bourbon concept is a little one note too. The wrong people were sent home, and the ratings of whatever joke of a show that comes out of this debacle will prove it.

  3. Cindy S. says:

    The top three should have been Nikki, Stacey and Chad, but since they seemed determined to get a rid of the most consistent best people, I'm rooting for Russell (even though I am already sure he didn't win cause he did not seem as popular.)

    My rankings for the final three if anyone is interested is:
    Russell - Although he came in the bottom 5 times, he was also in the top the remaining 4 so when he is on, he is solid. Plus, it also means for almost half the show, he helped set the bar.

    Damaris - Although she was only ever in the bottom once, she also only ever won a single immunity and only once placed in the top which means she pretty much coasted through most of the show just riding in the middle of the pack. Although to be honest, I could easily handle her winning cause she is pretty much almost tied with Russell in my eyes and seems like a really nice friendly person.

    Rodney - Easily at the bottom for me. Not only did he have 4 bottom placements (one less than Russell), his only shining moment was a single immunity win. And based on what I saw, I personally think he should have been in the bottom even more often than that but Giada seemed determined to keep him so they overlooked some of the bad things he did in favor of putting others in the bottom who did lesser things. Oddly enough, although he is in the bottom of my list, he is also the only person I knew half way through was guaranteed to make it in the top 3.

    • msjs0315 says:

      So you're OK with Russell's nutritionally irresponsible POV?

      • Cindy S. says:

        Yeah, I also had no Issue with Paula's pov of adding a stick of butter to everything (which is just as unhealthy). It is about being an adult and being able to make my own choices. Just as I have no desire to rip off all the shows with spicy foods (which I can't personally eat a lot of because it hurts my stomach) I am also mature enough to know that just because I see someone cook with tons of bacon that I also should not eat that everyday either.

        Honestly, if someone is not capable of watching a show like Russell's that is all about cooking unhealthy foods without having the automatic compulsion to have to make the food themselves, then they have a lot more serious issues than who wins a cooking show. Not to mention at that point, we should probably start cutting all the candy/desert making shows as well since they also encourage people to work with (ie later eat) lots of sugary bad food as well.

        • msjs0315 says:

          To me it's not about whether I can eat responsibly and make my own choices. It's that FN thinks this is what we want, a guy whose food misses at least as often as it hits and has staked his career on bacon, bourbon and duck fat.

          And you yourself would have preferred others with more nutritionally balanced POV's.

          • Cindy S. says:

            I never said he was my first choice. Like I stated before, the top three should have been Nikki, Stacy and Chad but not because of their PoVs but because they were all great with cooking, personality and stage presence.

            But I will relent on one thing, I think going by wins/loses/middle of the pack positions, I have changed my mind and put Damaris in first for who is left. After all, she might not have had as many high moments as Russell, but at least her food will probably always taste decent (even if it was not the best.)

            After thinking about it, if I had to chose one show to watch, I would prefer to learn from a person that at least makes edible good tasting stuff every week as opposed to someone whose food is either top notch (best of the pack quality or horrible) depending on the week.

            But no, I still see no issue with having one show out of the hundreds of existing ones stating it is okay to indulge in some sinful foods. It is out of hand when people are supposed to feel guilty eating bacon or chocolate or not jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon (when gluten only even hurts the small minority of people with a specific disease or allergy against it to begin with. There is even a stupid gluten-free only dating site.)

            It might be wrong, but the best tasting thing I have had this month was actually a very unhealthy burger mixed with hamburger, sausage, bacon, onions and spices. And whether it is deemed acceptable to eat these things or not anymore with the current health-crazed society, I don't care, I will eventually eat it again. Plus I will continue to enjoy watching the cake and candy making contests on FN who also star people who stake their whole careers on sugar and fattening foods.

          • Crouton40 says:

            Some misc. thoughts. Just writing this off the top of my head. May possibly revise, but what immediately comes to minds is: While we are all responsible for what we each eat.....and I myself enjoy a good bacon-cheeseburger....I don't eat them that often. It could be said that just because Russell may do a show on unhealthy foods, it doesn't mean we have to eat that way each day. True. But---I just dont feel it's a good idea to:
            1. Feature
            2. Promote
            3. Showcase it on a regular basis...i.e...with a show.
            I like an occasional hot-fudge sundae. Occasional french fries. Or bacon-cheese burger, or sweet apple-cinnamon pie, or a platter of Nachos w/all the trimmings. So let's stop there. That's 5 items. All high-calorie, and having either sugar, hi-carb, or fat. So yes, now n then, I may have them....but that (to me), is different than going on tv and today we have a fattening burger, tomorrow a fattening sundae, wednesday's show, I show you fattening Nachos...and on and on day after day. It's not that we can't ever eat them...but I wouldn't wanna be promoting it on a daily basis. I'm not aware of any Lo-cal sins. As far as cake and candy, I always thought that if the show: "unwrapped" vanished tomorrow, I;d never miss it. Does anyone really care how M&M's are made? But that's just me....

          • msjs0315 says:

            When I was a kid I cared very much how M&M's were made. Luckily the factory was nearby and still gave tours. Got to tour the old Sara Lee factory, too.

            Unidimensional TV shows got nothing on a plant tour.

            Unwrapped held my interest for about three episodes. I found it formulaic and boring. Wouldn't even know if it was still on.

            I'm a great fan of all those foods Crouton40 mentioned. Always will be. What impresses me in a cooking show, however, is variety. Colors, textures, flavors, techniques. Appetizers, breakfast, dinner, lunch, snacks, drinks. Meats, veggies, grains, dairy, fruits, nuts. I don't want a show where I know in advance the final product is encased in a brown crust or tastes like bourbon-bacon candy. Would FN feature a show based on broccoli? Doubt it. To me, Rodney's and Russell's POV's are about as credible.

          • Michele says:

            I think the problem with Russel's show (and Rodney's for that matter) both rely on the fact that you WANT to eat that certain way. I believe the reason people watch cooking shows is to get certain tips or possibly directions to certain restaurants. The problem I see with their shows is that the idea can only last so long. Okay, you can add sins to dishes, whatever.. how hard is it to simply add salt or sugar to a dish... are those even sins? And the pies can't last long ( The pie he made in the pilot didn't even look that good ) I have to disagree with people about it being similar to the Sandwich King because at least he could make side dishes with it.. what do you eat alongside pie? He's literally going to make a pie every episode and that's it. Hopefully Demaris wins so I won't have to see them anymore

      • Jack says:

        How is that different from Paula Dean and half the other shows on that network? There are plenty of shows that feature food that is not "nutritious". It's not the Healthy Food Network. There is room for all perspectives.

        • msjs0315 says:

          Paula's gone, Jack. Got booted for low ratings. And overall FN viewership was down 17% in the 12 months ending 4/30/13. The daytime shows that are reportedly doing well feature a wider variety of foods and cooking techniques than what Russell's proposing.

    • Carlos says:

      So, Russell is 5-4. That makes him half-a** talented.
      The final three should have been, Damaris, Nikki, and Chris or Viet.
      Damaris has always been reliable and grown better and better. Rodney must have connections to have gotten this far.

  4. Chavala says:

    Stacy should not have been sent home...my jaw dropped when they called Russell's name...I thought Stacy was definitely going to nab the win. She was the only one I would have actually watched, bar none. They are obviously looking for someone with 'schtick' than actual talent and passion. I now don't care what the end result is, I have lost interest.

    • Dawn Hemby says:

      I agree!!! I thought Stacey was going to win! she had it all!

    • Bonnie says:

      I agree 200%. It was so ironic that Giada with her Cheshire cat phony grin would tell Stacy that she thought she was not connecting and not real. Stacy was girl next store, big sister, loving Mom and attractive and watchable - all in one; truly had the "IT" factor. I mean, seriously, G, "I'd follow him anywhere". Look at the past few winners and how "popular" their shows have become. I don't think I watched more than one or two of them - the sandwich guy and the party arty gal. I think it may be time to put this show to rest. If they are in the least professional, Stacy will get a show as past non-winner have; then they will see what she has!

  5. Vanessa Cole says:

    I still say this:

    FN needs to have a woman win since the last 2 seasons were won by men and face it, R&R (Rodney and Russell) are not "it" (and FN knows that)

    AND

    FN has known about the Paula Deen issue all along (original case was filed in 2011) and they are looking for a replacement.

    Every year I grow more disappointed in NFNS...

    • guest says:

      Damaris is not just a replacement. She's a competent Chef in her own right. But if anyone could fill Paula's shoes, my money's on her. Did Paula ever study culinary anywhere?

      • msjs0315 says:

        If FN wants a "Paula replacement", I'd love to see a winner-take-all competition between Martie (from last year) and Damaris.

        • guest says:

          Huh? I don't get it.
          #1. I think Damaris would easily win. It wouldn't even be close.
          Martie was all about finger-food and parties. She does those well but there's just no comparison between that, and all the wide range of dishes that Damaris could make.
          While Damaris is not the same as Paula, she is more southern than Martie, who is more about entertaining and parties.

  6. Kathy says:

    In general this has been the weakest crop that the show has ever had. Rodney is ONLY there because of his personality. And his pilot... copy someone else's recipe and stick it in a pie crust? Seriously? Don't know who's going to watch that, or what the point of it is. I agree that Damaris is by far the strongest of the 3.

  7. Just Watching says:

    I have watched FNS since the first season. Like many of others have said, the show and the network have been deteriorating every year. I was disappointed to see Nikki go. I liked the idea of meat on the side. I think that is a very healthy way to eat.

    As for the remaining finalists, Damaris is the only one that I may watch. Just my thoughts on the finalists:

    Rodney - Pie Man and Guy Fieri wanna-be. He is just a take on the Sandwich King. He could call the show PIe King. Same idea, turn everything into a pie. A novelty/specialty show maybe but every week, I don't think so.

    Russel - Seven Culinary Sins. A cute idea, but his show should really be called Bacon, Bacon, and More Bacon. Don't get me wrong, I love bacon, but almost every recipe has bacon with some occasional duck fat added it. Just a little to repetitive for me.

    Damaris - Eat, Drink, Love. This is not my favorite show concept, but Damaris' recipes have been good and appealing. There are things I may actually make.

  8. swilson821 says:

    I don't understand why Rodney made it past the 4th or 5th episode; he's obnoxiously similar to Guy Fieri, which is why I assume he's still there, being the last successful winner of the show. Rodney comes across like an incoherent, babbling, former cokehead. I find absolutely nothing charming about him, to the point where he makes my skin crawl. He's the epitome of the drunk dad who always wanted to be a successful rockstar, but had to settle at some point for tacky embroidered shirts and an officious attitude to convince those around him that he didn't spend the past 50 years being a f*cking loser.

    The elimination of Stacy and Nicki failed to pay homage to broader trends in cooking, especially amongst younger sets, who enjoy updates on the meat-and-potatoes preference of our elders, be it in a mostly vegetarian form or reinvention of classic dishes. I will say I concurred with the judges' opinion of Stacy being creepily composed or campy on camera. I don't think that was from a lack of her trying, but rather her being a kind of boring person at core. Nicki demonstrated that she knew what she was doing in the kitchen; her dishes looked great, she was great on camera, and could've worked on bridging that small gap to sound slightly more authoritative. At some point, this criticism just became a broken record.

  9. serious foodie says:

    I too, have been EXTREMELY disappointed in the FN lately. I know they seem to be looking for new concepts, but a recipe wrapped in a pie shell?????? so far anything that he has put out all season long hasn't even looked appetizing to me. Frankly his pie crust doesn't look appealing at all, and what he stuffs in them, forget about it! He talks like he has a mouthful of his own pie, and I wouldn't watch this show ever. FN don't spend the money!!! If Giada loves Rodney so much, let her fund his show!! Frankly, I think she is just looking for another man to flirt with. Notice she rarely has anything good to say about any of the women cooks' food offerings through the whole competition!! Fake if you ask me!

    As to Russell, he's another one I wouldn't watch a minute of. He comes across too boring, unsure of himself, forced, weak , and weird. I know that there are alot of inovative chefs inventing new ways to prepare and serve bacn, but come on, how long is that trend going to last??

    • joyce says:

      I do not understand Giada's fixation on Rodney...the guy is ridiculously simple. I don't think that he grew at all throughout the whole competition...stayed exactly the same one note! The others including Russell seemed to take the advice and incorporate it! Not Rodney, he already knew it all!

  10. Savory says:

    Yes! Thank you, Damaris and Food Network. What a good recipe.
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/damaris-philli...

    • Savory says:

      Always be sure you do highlight/paste the beginning http://
      Do not start with the www because doing it that way you may get an error message.