Before Season 10 kicks off, the editors of Star Talk wanted to sit down with show's ultimate trio of stars, Giada, Bobby and Alton, to talk about what fans can expect, their favorite elements of the show, as well as what they think of each other. First up, Giada De Laurentiis.
Star Talk: How has the show evolved?
Giada De Laurentiis: I think that the finalists have become more savvy. Each time the viewers are able to watch the show, they start to understand what we're looking for. Although, having said that, each time Bobby, Alton and I meet a new group of finalists, they tend to have the same issues. I think they're getting savvier, but they're still missing the point as to what we're looking for. I think they think they're polished, but they're not quite as polished as they need to be. I think people think this job is very, very simple, when actually it's a bit more complicated than they anticipated once they get into it.
Star Talk: What are the most-common mistakes you see in finalists?
GDL: I think there are several. One is too polished and media trained. Second, I think that they all come in thinking that they're going to pitch their point of view. They're passionate, so of course they think they should be the next Food Network Star — as if that's enough to get you this job, which we all know it goes way deeper than that. We're looking for charisma. I think the finalists need to feel empowered, show they can be a leader, be an authority and also be a little spontaneous so we never get bored.
Star Talk: Fill in the blank: The hardest part of being a judge on Food Network Star is …
GDL: The hardest part of being a judge on Food Network Star is feeling like you may have crushed somebody's dream.
Star Talk: Why do you think the show is still relevant?
GDL: I think the show is still relevant in this industry because everybody wants their five minutes of fame. I think being on Food Network has become more popular than ever, and I think everyone would love to be a Food Network star. The bigger the network becomes, the more mainstream it becomes, and the more people want to be a part of it. And I think that's fantastic.
Star Talk: Do you think you would have competed on the show or even survived if it were around when you started?
GDL: If the show were around 12 years ago when I started, there's no way I would have made it through! Bobby, Alton and I will all say the same thing — we would have never survived. It's very, very difficult, and to put yourself in that position is hard. Not only are the challenges hard, but the journey's hard. I think that the way the finalists interact with each other and the way they either support or don't support each other has a lot to do with your success — what it does to your head and your emotions. After all, it's a competition, so as much as people want to support each other, they also know there's only one winner. I think that's part of the intrigue of the show.
Star Talk: Is there anything behind the scenes that still boggles your mind?
GDL: I think that how many hours it takes for us to actually make a 45-minute show. The hours that we work. All of the behind-the-scenes jokes and antics that go on between the three of us that nobody ever sees. The viewers would really appreciate a little glimpse into that a little more than they have seen in the past.
Star Talk: What two or three adjectives would you use to describe Alton and Bobby?
GDL: Let's start with Bobby. I would say confident. I would say genuinely kind and giving, and I think a friend you can really count on. If you need a friend, they'll both be there for you. And Alton — funny. Such a dry sense of humor, but so funny. He makes me laugh all the time. Also, incredibly intelligent. Like, off the Richter intelligent. Sometimes it goes right over my head; he's so smart.
Star Talk: What is your favorite thing about being a part of this show?
GDL: My absolute favorite thing about being a part of this show is I think helping people's dreams come true. I always say, when you decide to be part of Food Network Star, be prepared for a soul-searching journey. And when you come out of it, whether you win or not, you come out with a little more clarity on who you are and what you want to do with your life. And that is a great thing to be a part of. It's like giving back.