Bobby Talks Pet Peeves, the Biggest Mistake Finalists Always Make and Cooking vs. On-Camera Skills

by in Interviews, Judges, May 23, 2014

Bobby Flay Talks Pet Peeves and the Biggest Mistake Finalists Always MakeEarlier this week Giada dished on her fellow judges and behind-the-scenes moments (read the interview here.) Now we're asking Bobby Flay about his time on Star, what it's like to be a judge, what mistakes he's tired of seeing and if he could have survived the show as a contestant.

Star Talk: What are you excited for this season on Star?
Bobby Flay: This is the 10th season of Food Network Star, and every season the most-exciting thing to me is meeting the new finalists — people who have a chance to be the next Star on Food Network. So as excited as they are, I'm excited to see who they are just as much.

Star Talk: From the first season until now, what has changed?
BF: I feel like every season the finalists get better and savvier than the last. A lot of it has to do with the fact that they get to watch the seasons prior and they become students of the sort. It's definitely a game. It's a game until you actually get the job. That's the way it works. I take my role of a judge very seriously. In a way, we're mentoring people, as well, we're not just saying yes or no. We're trying to give advice, but I want to add somebody to the roster of Food Network who is going to strengthen the network as a whole. I think of it as adding a new player to our team to make it better.

Star Talk: What is one thing every finalist should come prepared for?
BF: I think the most-obvious thing is that we're going to ask what your point of view is. If you haven't thought about that before you got here, you probably shouldn't be here in the first place. To have a point of view that really tells a story of who you are, instead of trying to find the niche or find the hole in the network, trying to be somebody who is already on the network. Just be who you are, which is a very difficult thing to do. You hear people say all the time, "Just be yourself." But that takes practice. It takes practice to be yourself.

Star Talk: Fill in the blank: As a judge, it's important to ...
BF: As a judge, I think it's important to listen. It sounds very simple, but it's important.

Star Talk: When you're judging someone, is there anything you consider a pet peeve?
BF: Crutch words — words that don't mean anything — people use them all the time. Words like the word "delicious." I mean, I actually use it when I'm doing a cooking show, but I've already described in great detail what something is going to taste like, look like or smells like so you get a sense of what it really is. The words "delicious" or "beautiful," those words don't actually have any meaning when you're describing something.

Star Talk: What are two or three adjectives to describe your fellow judges?
BF: Alton is excitable and clever. Giada is tough. I would say Giada is the toughest of the three judges. She doesn't give an inch.

Star Talk: What mistakes do you always see contestants making?
BF: The biggest mistake finalists make every year is thinking they're going to teach America how to cook, as opposed to one person and seducing that person into watching you. If you're going to try to cook for everyone, you basically cook for no one. Every contestant makes that mistake.

Star Talk: Should there be a happy balance between culinary skills and on-camera skills?
BF: Giada and Alton and I differ on this. My feeling is if you can't cook, let's not even go to the next step. This is Food Network. You must be an authority figure on food, not just an entertainer. There's plenty of other networks where you can go be an entertainer and be successful. But I think on Food Network, you have to be able to cook first and foremost. And then, hopefully you can entertain as well.

Star Talk: Do you think you would have survived Food Network Star if it were around when you started?
BF: If Food Network Star was around when I was trying to get a job on Food Network, there's no way I would have won — no chance.


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