One-on-One with the Latest Star Finalist to Go Home

by in Interviews, June 29, 2014

One-on-One with the Latest Star Finalist to Go Home"The elite eight," Bobby dubs the finalists as they arrive at Knott's Berry Farm, an all-American amusement park, for their first-ever live demo this week. The finalists are tasked with preparing a typical 4th of July feast (but matching it to their POVs), as well as presenting it to a live audience — 400 people to be exact.

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 episode — and reveal who was sent home.

In what would be his final week in the competition, Christopher headed into this challenge with a dish he was excited to present. "I probably got, like, the best dish — at least for me," Christopher said of his assignment of shrimp, plus corn and tomato salad, which fit ideally into his point of view. After spending Episode 4 in the bottom two, he found himself there again (with Reuben) after a weak live presentation.

Read Christopher's exclusive interview below to hear more from him. Learn how he felt about his elimination (after hearing he had the best dish), and find out who he felt should have been in the bottom this week.Christopher Lynch

If you could give me a word to describe how you're feeling right now, what would that be?
Christopher Lynch: Disappointed. I wish I didn't hear them say I had the best dish. I feel like, for the first time, that the challenge was kind of watered down. Truth be told, I feel like it's more of a personality competition than it is a cooking competition — which is fine. I'm here because I can cook. Obviously I didn't have the camera chops to carry it the way some other contestants can.

You had the best dish, but you ended up in the bottom with Reuben. Do you think you belonged there?
CL: I knew I was going to be up there. I didn't handle the timing of my demos as well as I should have; looking back, I could have done better. I agree with that 100 percent. I didn't think Reuben belonged up there. I felt, with all respect, that there were two other contestants that probably should have been up there. I think Sarah and Chris should have been on the bottom because they really decimated their food. But their performances on stage, which I did see, were fine. They were good — maybe not as good as others, but good enough.

Did you think you were going to pick up the camera chops along the way?
CL: Oh, yeah, totally. And I think that I have progressed, especially with the feedback. I think if you show promise and growth, you stay for another challenge, and if you don't, you're gone. Time is of the essence in this competition. Coming from Alton, Bobby and Giada, I will definitely take what they had to say to heart. They've been here — they do it for a living.

How would you explain to viewers at home what this competition is really like?
CL: It's really capturing the raw emotion that goes with cooking and these challenges. The producers of this show put the "real" in reality. It's funny because I personally don't watch reality television. You get a lot of people from various backgrounds together and hilarity ensues for the most part, but I think that it was a learning experience, for sure — for everybody, including myself. It's very structured and very regimented. Everybody takes their jobs very seriously. I was impressed by everybody in their work ethic, for sure.

Christopher LynchIs there a piece of advice or something that a mentor said to you that will stick with you and you'll take back?
CL: All three mentors gave me good pointers. Never food related, unfortunately — or maybe that's fortunate. It was mostly how to be comfortable in front of a camera. Maybe I thought that I was going to be able to wing it and go the distance, but really, if you want to compete on this level, you have to have some experience in front of the camera too. This was a big lesson for me on how to even be more comfortable in my own community, in my own dining room — getting out of the kitchen and talking to customers even when I don't have much to talk about. In this day and age you have to be approachable and accessible because they want to know who the person is behind the curtain.

What was your favorite and least favorite challenge?
CL: My favorite challenge was the Cutthroat Kitchen-themed episode, for sure. I'd never even seen the show, but I was working next to a guy who'd won it, so it was like a crash course and I kind of picked it up quickly. That was fun. My least favorite challenge by far was the YouTube episode because I just don't think you can try and make something viral; it just doesn't work like that. Things that are nonsensical and funny that happen spontaneously are funny, but when it's canned or forced it's not funny. I had a hard time. I didn't mind doing it — I wanted to show my teammates that I'm willing to do whatever it takes, and I felt that I did. But I just didn't see the importance of that into the competition because it definitely excludes people. Unfortunately it sent Aryen, who was really good at that kind of stuff, home. And she really gave it 100 percent, and there was no cooking involved.

Who are you rooting for now, going forward?
CL: Well, I like everybody. I really do. But I would say Lenny is the hands-down favorite. Or I should say it's just his to lose. I think that being a little older really works to your advantage in this competition. I think he can handle the pressures and the stress of it, but some of these other contestants have surprised me, like Sarah.

What's next for you?
CL: I'm going to go home and go right back to work. This is the longest that I've been off ever, and I'm excited to get back in the kitchen. It'll be nice to finally be able to tell my cooks and friends and family what I did and just hope that they’re proud of me for doing it.

Watch Christopher 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.

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Comments (84)

  1. Tinochka says:

    I'm not too upset that Christopher was cut, I've never warmed up to him. Yes he can cook, but I'm not sure that they would ever be able to teach him how to be able to connect with his viewers. He bores me. I don't want to be entertained and Chris annoys me to no end because all he is concerned about is performing.

    I have to agree with everyone about Giada. She has been extremely condescending this season and I was pretty upset with her tonight because she was so danged rude. You know exactly from her facial expressions who she likes and who she doesn't. I remember her earlier shows and she definitely wasn't the personality she is now. None of them are. It takes time and experience and to expect these contestants to be as good as you after 5 weeks is asking a bit much of them. Get off your pedestal and join the rest of humanity, you're not perfect.

    I do wish the judges were more consistent with their criteria for being kicked off the show. One time it's because they can't cook even though there was no cooking involved, the next time it's for not being able to entertain even though they had the best dish. I know I may sound like I'm contradicting myself because I didn't mind Christopher leaving, but I've never been a fan. I happen to love Lenny because he seems to have that combination of entertaining and cooking that you need to have. He can always tone down his exuberance when he has his own show. Remember, this is a competition and they all need to be a little bit more than they normally would in their show.

  2. mit says:

    Gosh, Giada really had it out for Christopher this episode. I don't mind that he was sent home, but what really annoyed me this episode was Giada. She was extremely rude and condescending for no reason this week. I agree with you all, her ego as now gone completely out of control.

    • Buffy says:

      Chris plays games. He wants to give the appearance that he is following the instructions when he is not.
      How well does a lie set with you?
      Granted there is editing but editing can't something the contestant did not present.

  3. CVeraS says:

    My respect for Giada went out the window a long time ago, when she wore a "partial dress" ( my own description ) to the Emmy's a couple of years ago - someone mentioned it on the blogs last year, and I googled it and could not believe my eyes. I am not the fashion police and I know she has a right to wear what ever she wants, but let's say was not classy. Modesty and humility, kindness, and fair play don't seem to be part of her vocabulary. Respect must be earned - and one's behavior reflects what is truly within.

    • shannon says:

      I was shocked at how cold and hard she was to Sarah when they were checking in with the competitors while they were cooking. There is no doubt in my mind Giada can not stand Sarah and will never be a fair judge of anything she prepares. Sarah will never win this competition.
      If Giada wants to be a hater so be it....but she is on tv...this includes visuals (yes we can see your expressions Giada,surprise !!) she is going to need to learn how get a poker face or the whole world will know what an unlikable judgemental person she is.
      I can definitely say Giada is not gaining any fans by doing this show.

      • CVeraS says:

        Sarah is beautiful on the inside and outside. Haven't you noticed that people who are only beautiful on the outside and seem ugly on the inside, usually detest the people that they can not be. Sarah - you go girl!

        • Crouton40 says:

          Well said CVeraS! and Shannon, too, above. I LIKE it.

          I am now a bit fearful for Sarah. People like her. She is confident on camera. She is upbeat. She teaches clearly, and tonight a lady in the audience described her (Sarah) as friendly.
          I think it's rotten luck, that twice now, Sarah has gotten stuck with making burgers (and one time, sabotaged at that). Let her do her thing and I know she will do much better on the dishes. But...even if she does great....i'm wondering now if she'll ever get credit for it. I hope I'm wrong as time goes on....
          Sarah was right about the cooking spoon/stirrer. Look for a youtube video of her on ABC13 news where she talked about better food in schools and especially the 2nd half of that video where she makes a wonderful Salmon dish. mmmm! and presents very clearly, too. Professional job w/ excellent dish.

          • shannon says:

            Lol, Crouton, I know, stuck with burgers again! I like Sarah and all but I am not making reservations at her burger shop. (Smile)

          • Monte says:

            I'd almost be willing to put money on it that Giada was the popular "mean girl" cheerleader girl in High School. Especially since, if I understand correctly, her family came from money. I'm not saying all cheerleaders are "mean girls", or that everyone who comes from money is mean.

            She just gives off that vibe. My wife even said last night, "Uh oh. Sarah pissed her (Giada) off", and I buy that, based on the face she made when she tasted Sarah's pasta.

  4. shannon says:

    Christopher was the right one to send home. I would eat at his restaurant in a hot minute or anywhere else he was cooking but I would never ever watch him cook or try to do a cooking show/demonstration, that would be like watching paint dry. I am shocked Bobby wanted to keep him around another week. I believe Christpher when he said he was trying to grow and doing his best,that speaks volumes. He tried, there was no improvement what so ever story over. Cooking is his forte entertainment is not.... you can not have one without the other on food network.

    • Myra says:

      You always, ALWAYS have the best critiques. I don't always post to say so, but your posts always get my vote.

    • Ellen says:

      You said: Cooking is his forte entertainment is not....

      But it's a cooking show. Then, if you can entertain, fine. Bobby has already said this and he's a judge.

      • shannon says:

        It's a cooking "show", not a restaurant.

        • Ellen says:

          That was a lame comeback. If I didn't know better I would think that you are Giada writing under the name of Shannon. It would match. But to each their own.

        • MoHub says:

          Precisely. There are plenty of cooking competitions, but FNS is the only one looking for someone to front a cooking program, and that means teaching and communication chops count almost as much as cooking ability.

          • Kim says:

            It is clear that the vast majority of people writing on here disagree with you.

          • shannon says:

            I really don't think the vast majority disagree with the fact that teaching and communication are skills that are right on up there with cooking ability. If you read people's comments they are expecting the whole ball of wax, which they should. If you are going to give the network 30 min of your hard to come by time you have the right to expect to not just watch someone cook, you should also be taught something in a clear concise manner. These are not unrealistic expectations.
            The debate at hand here is who should have gone home first. Neither Christopher nor Reuben personify the attributes needed to as MoHub put it "front a cooking show". The question at hand is if only one has to go this week who has a glimmer of a shot at getting more in line with what is really needed. The answer they came up with was Reuben. Unfortunately as I have said before and will say again you can not teach someone to have a warm personality, you either have one or you don't.

          • Lee Ann says:

            Haven't you even been reading all these comments? Far more people thought they should kept Chris and sent Rueben home. These people saying this are also viewers who watch just as you do.

  5. Christina says:

    How can you kick off the best cook off a cooking show? Makes no sense at all! I used to love Giada, but after tonight her facial expressions and cocky attitude was such a turn off. Camara skills is definitely something that can be worked on over time. Christopher is by far the best chef on the show, (Even the judges say it!) which is why he should have never been kicked off. Bobby Flay clearly fought to keep Christopher on the show because of his cooking skills. I think Giada needs to be reminded of the concept for the show she is judging!

    • Teri says:


    • guest says:

      "...reminded of the concept for the show she is judging!"

      I think therein lies the problem. I get the feeling that the network executives have decided that camera skills are more important than cooking skills, and the judges have been told to make decisions accordingly. Giada has apparently taken this advice, Bobby seems less willing to do so, and Alton seems to really be trying to walk a fine line in weighing each contestant's performance based on the concept of each episode and their cooking ability. I wish that more emphasis would be placed on cooking, but every year it becomes less important, and I don't think the judges have much say in the matter.

      • Collette says:

        ....and so, we get some nice sweet winner. Then after watching their new show six times, it finally dawns on us that they are boring as can be and the dishes they are teaching us (cough) are far too ordinary. Then, the show gets cancelled.
        We didn't learn anything. The judges should have picked someone a Star with more cooking-power. But too late. Another failed show.

  6. Suzanne says:

    Sad to see the "cook" kicked off the "food network" star. Yes, I want to understand and be able to "cook" what you're making-HELLO- Alex C- made a great dish following Chris but couldn't follow Reuben enough to make a dish. I don't watch food network to see the "hottest guy/girl" that can speak- I watch to learn to cook!!! And seriously-Reuben doesn't seem to make good dishes according to the judges and mainly I tune him out because of his poor English. But hey- maybe the English speaking audience isn't the goal of food network.

    FN- either it's a cooking show or the"next person up we like the best" but hey-just be truthful in your goal. Just seems as though your really inconsistent. IMHO- who would you choose-the "doctor that knows medicine the best" or the one "that is the most entertaining"? Harsh contrast but end the end-reality and/real world.

    • Spatula says:

      Bobby was right. Giada was wrong this time.
      It's a cooking show, not an entertainment show.
      It can be both but only if cooking comes first.

    • MoHub says:

      Actually, Alex had a tough time following Christopher's instructions as he didn't give any measurements.

    • Gina says:

      Brilliant! Incredibly well-stated.

  7. random person says:

    I think Christopher is a good cook but just terrible at doing a live demo even if it is infront of 4 people which is sadbut Rueben cant do any of them

  8. Robert says:

    I just saw the interview with Christopher and his replies to the questions asked of him and I APPLAUD him for being so honest with himself and all else. I agree wholeheartedly with him about everything he said, and I wish him well. But BOY oh BOY was he right on the money about Sarah and Aryen and Chris. My concern is tbat Sarah and Chris will be next to go, followed by Reuben and maybe Nicole. That leaves Emma, Loreal and Lenny in the top 3. Only time will tell if any of those 3 are good enough to earn our votes week after week.

    • Janet says:

      Maybe not. Lenny may be good but too much of a good thing and become tiresome to people. Emma is soothing but what good is soothing if I cant stay awake to listen? She may be genuine but someone with star power shouldn't make a mistake like crab cakes sticking to the grill. Loreal is improving. I could see her going far.

      • Robert says:

        Janet, you've got a good point about Emma and her crab cake cooking mistake. I felt AWFUL for her at that moment. Perhaps next week will be where she scores the best of all the pack. I can hardly wait to see the marketing presentations that will be forthcomng. I recall the last time when the FN had that episode - the guest judge was none other than MARTHA STEWART. Maybe SHE will do it again.

    • Linda says:

      I agree.

  9. Crouton40 says:

    See my comments about Rueben vs. Christopher in Alton's thread/discussion.

  10. Monte says:

    To tell you all the truth, None of this year's contestants have been compelling to me in any way. I honestly don't think I'd tune in for any of them if they had a regular show.

    But as an aside, I don't think FN's goal here is to produce a cooking show, per se. So I wouldn't look for the winner to have one.