Despite Food Network Star finalists' highest hopes for success and their best attempts to at once craft top-quality dishes and present a winning personality on camera, week after week another rival will be sent home, unable to survive in the face of stardom. It's up to judge-mentors Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis to decide who should stay and whose journey has ended, and after every elimination, Star Talk will bring you the first interview with the ousted competitor.
If you haven't yet watched the episode, don't read any further. Star Talk is about to break down the ins and outs of the premiere and reveal the first finalist sent home.
Not long after arriving on the set of the first episode, finalists were already in the throes of a challenge, as they walked onto a celebrated movie back lot and pitched their points of views to superstar mentors Alton, Bobby and Giada. They had only 30 seconds to introduce themselves and what would ideally be a unique culinary perspective to the judges, and while a few rose to the occasion, many stumbled, including Donna Sonkin Shaw, who was ultimately sent home this week.
Donna's healthy focus appeared too blunt, and Giada had to remind her: "You can't hit people over the head with the healthy thing." Once the rivals arrived in Food Star Kitchen to work on their party bites for that night's red carpet event, Donna started making what she called "Donna's BLT," but the combination of ingredients didn't wow the judges. "You had a great message," Giada told Donna, who, looking ahead to the future, said, "I have a lot to share, and I'm going to keep sharing it."
Read Donna's first exclusive interview below to hear more from her and learn what she hopes fans will remember about her point of view.
How would you explain what this competition is really like?
Donna Sonkin Shaw: Well, it was a great opportunity for me to meet some really amazing people.
What element of the competition were you least expecting, be it good or bad?
DSS: I wasn't expecting that I would really like everyone so much.
Was there a moment in either of the challenges that you found especially difficult?
DSS: Standing in high heels for however many hours we needed to stand in them.
What's one piece of mentor feedback that you're going to take with you into the future?
DSS: To refine my message.
What do you want fans to remember about you and your message?
DSS: That you are what you eat. That your food becomes your body. And that you make choices every day at every meal.
What's next for you, and what are you looking forward to?
DSS: I'm excited to see my husband and my family and my clients, and resume my workshops and teaching private cooking lessons. I've been writing, so I want to write some more.
What's your early prediction for who you think is going to win it all?
DSS: I would totally watch any of their shows. I love what Aryen does. I find Loreal fascinating. Nicole, like, she's got such a great story. … Both Chrises I just adore. Luca's so charming. Reuben — he's my buddy, and I would totally watch his show. Lenny is a huge personality. Emma is my soul sister. Sarah's just [a] sweet, Southern girl. … I love Kenny.
Watch Donna battle for a chance at redemption on Star Salvation. Click the play button on the video below to see the first part of Episode 1, then head over to Star headquarters to catch the second part.
- Get the Recipes for the Finalists’ Last Food Network Star Dishes
- WATCH: Rob Cramps Damiano’s Style
- “I’m Getting to O.G. Status”: Guy Talks 10 Years of Food Network Stardom and Directing Finalists’ Pilots
- It’s Pilot Time with the Gold Standard for Food Network Star Success — Alex’s Star Report