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

by in Interviews, July 13, 2014

One-on-One with the Latest Star Finalist to Go HomeJust as the finalists were getting used to Food Star Kitchen, the competition moved from Los Angeles to the bright lights of Las Vegas this week. But that wasn't the only road bump the remaining finalists hit. Within the first few moments of the show, they learned that while they were competing, eliminated finalists from the first six episodes were vying for a second chance on Star Salvation. With this news, they watched a fan-favorite return: Luca. "I'm not going to be an easy contestant to go against," he promised. For Episode 7 he kept that promise and took the top spot along with belly-flopping Lenny. Three finalists weren't so lucky: Chris, Emma and Sarah.

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.

There's no doubt that Chris Kyler is an entertainer (as fans saw in the YouTube episode) — and he certainly has charisma. In Episode 6 we saw him shine with his butter coins. But after a lackluster performance this week, he was sent home. His filet didn't deliver, and according to the judges, he failed to deliver the culinary POV he promised week after week.

Read Chris' exclusive interview below to hear more from him. Learn how he felt about his elimination, the feedback he got from the judges and who he thinks is the finalist to beat.

Chris KylerStar Talk: What three words would best describe how you're feeling right now?
Chris Kyler: Disappointed, honored, but not happy. I'm at peace. Is that corny?

Considering the three of you standing up there (you, Emma and Sarah), do you feel like the judges made the right decision?
CK: No. I feel like I'm constantly growing, adapting and learning. I feel like I had the entertainment and the charisma to really grow in this industry, so no, I don't really feel like I should be going home now. But maybe they don't see me beating some of the others later on.

Is there anything you would take back from this last challenge, or do you stand by what you've done?
CK: In the end, looking at what I did, I was really confident about what I made in the kitchen. Go back and watch the episode: I cut with purpose and I season properly. There are a few things that I could've done — I mean, I wanted to cook the tenderloin a little bit less so that it was perfectly medium-rare and cooked properly. But I felt like the flavor profiles were there. I tasted all of my elements. I just don't understand how they didn't enjoy it. But I do respect what they said, and going forward I'm just going to master what I do. I'm the type of person who will come back and be like, "Taste this!" and make sure that it's undeniably the best food they've ever had. I'm just going to become better, you know?

In your own words, tell me what this competition is really like.
CK: This competition really tests all levels of your psyche, your cooking abilities — it was lots of different emotional pools. It tested everything that the average person doesn't have to deal with: how you perceive people, how you adapt to your environment, how you handle stress, pressure, the cameras and getting critiqued. It's just a lot of different things that they demand from you in order to be a Food Network Star, so I guess the answer to your question is yeah, it's tough. I mean, this life is tough. Being a celebrity chef, it's a lot of things to juggle. Trying to present and be entertaining, be engaging — there's a lot that goes into it. I definitely respect it now more than before. When I used to watch Food Network I was like, "They're not really cooking!" Now I think, "Whoa! This is a whole 'nother beast."

Chris Kyler, Bobby Flay and Giada De LaurentiisIs there a piece of advice you're going to walk away with from any of the mentors that's really stuck with you?
CK: Be confident in my skills, talents, abilities and be an authority on what I do. When or if I do other cooking shows, I'll need to convince whoever's watching that I know what I'm doing. I have to be in control of it; I can't be wishy-washy like, "Maybe add this, maybe not." I have to say: "This is it. This is how it should be." You have to be an authority.

Who do you think is the finalist to beat in this competition?
CK: Honestly, I didn't think of Lenny as competition, but this guy is a natural — he's an entertainer. The guy is amazing and I have to tip off my hat to him. I'm a good judge of character, and I feel like Lenny just has an incredible personality. You can't practice that type of stuff; the stuff that he says is off the cuff. At first I was skeptical about his cooking skills, but I really feel like he knows what he's talking about. And yeah, the guy is funny, man, he's just funny.

What's next for you?
CK: After being on Cutthroat, I've had a few people come to me with opportunities to do little things, and I only hope that continues and grows.


Similar Posts

Luca Looks Back on a Wild Ride

Italian-born Luca Della Casa came into the competition with his heritage as a point of view, and while his culinary offerings were strong, he struggle...

Comments (239)

  1. Guest says:

    Just other words...

  2. Just Sayin' says:

    Loreal reminds me of trailer trash.

    I'm just sayin'.

    • Rhonda says:

      Sounds more like you're just scared that she's doing better!

      • Buffy says:

        People are not afraid or worried that one person is doing better.
        She comes across as raggedy. This may not be her fault. The FN plays a part in the presentation of the candidates and this is what the FN thinks of its audience.

        • shannon says:

          Do you think they dressed her to match her voice and demeanor?

          • common tater says:

            Compared to previous challenges, Loreal was more at home and humorous in the kitchen tonight. In tonight's top three.

            Once again, Emma was likeable and tonight she gave the best food descriptions but despite being liked she landed on the bottom. Sarah took a real nosedive tonight. She had no sooner gotten over the pageant comments from the first show and now why on earth would she shoot herself in the foot by even thinking of wearing a tiers? Bad move. She seemed to be making a lot of excuses tonight. However, people have had horrible nights and made a comeback before. Luca seemed to get by on charming women at the pool. How many tokens were from men?

          • Buffy says:

            You are correct about Sarah. I did comment that she made a lot of excuses in earlier episodes. I question if the tiara is her tiara, why is she traveling with a tiara?

          • Buffy says:

            That could be a part of it. I just know each week she is looking more like a maid and something else I won't mention.

  3. Just Sayin' says:

    Judges seem to really like those 3 L's Lenny, Loreal, and Luca.

    Lenny the Looney
    Luca the Looker
    Loreal the -- what IS she? Is that really her persona or an act?
    Nadia (which I don't watch but you see her on previews for her show)--Nadia is clearly doing an act but I'm not sure if Loreal is acting or if that is really who she is. It's sorta kinda hillbillyish.

    I'm just sayin'.

    • shannon says:

      Very "hillbillyish". I am guessing hillbillies want her to get a little class.

      • Just Sayin' says:

        You're bold Shannon girl! I love that! Not because you agreed with me, but because you dont seem to be interested in those lil plusses or minuses--

        I'm just sayin'.

        • shannon says:

          The thing with Loreal that I dislike the most is that she does not always talk like that. It's an act, she needs to get a better act. Sure,she seems to have a bit of hillbilly in her and that's ok. It's the overly exaggerated personification I can not stand. It is not cute. And thanks, you are right, I don't care if my opinions are not favorable to some folks, it's my opinion and I am entitled to it. I ALWAYS give explanations why I feel a certain way.

  4. Fashionista! says:

    Giada's white dress was so beautiful! I really didn't like Sarah's orangish top above. It looks like someone was about to pull it down off of her in that picture above.

    I'm at a point whereas I don't care who wins. None left are favorites for me.

    • shannon says:

      I thought the same thing! Most of the time Giada dresses so wrong for her age. This color blocked white dress seemed made for her,and I bet it was. It looked like a Victoria Beckham, I wonder if it was. Giada won a prize for wardrobe today, but not for judging.

    • ellen says:

      Giada's dress was reminiscent of Sharon Stone's in Fatal Attraction! Even the way Giada sat was like her in the movie!

  5. Food network lover says:

    Cannot believe that you kept Sarah tonight!!! She is such a whiner & I would NEVER watch her!!! So she didn't get the beef~get over it!! Chris definitely had his own problems but at least he's not annoying!

    • Ms Isabel says:

      FNL you are so right! I'm going nuts here - every time Sarah moves on to the next show I'm left wondering WHY? Guess the next challenge is going to be as a GROUP!? Wonder who she's going to manage to fudge it up for? Already feeling sorry for whoever she's going to work with! I'm a Lenny fan, he entertains and has proven he can cook and talk at the same time. Love Luca too! He too has proven he can cook but honestly, it wouldn't matter to me - I'd WATCH any show with him on it!

  6. lilacprof says:

    Loreal needs to go along with Sarah! I don't think either could draw and audience.

  7. Ken says:

    See Marion's reply to guest. She makes the most sense.
    It's just too weird that people aren't talking about Luca, Loreal or Lenny hardly at all. It's a pirahna frenzy on Sarah. Marion was right.

  8. CommonSense says:

    Emma is superb in describing food and has a nice voice...she should be on the Unique Eats show whereas they describe food.

    Wonder if Lenny was a bit jealous that Luca was doing well. Rosetta Stone remark was funny at first but the 2nd time seemed to have a bit of a bite to it.

    • shannon says:

      I agree the first time it made me laugh the second time I realized he needs new material for his act.

    • Buffy says:

      Lenny's comment is only an indicator of what will fly out of his mouth years from now

  9. Fashionista! says:

    I guess the requirement to get into the pool party was that you had to have a great body and be beautiful or handsome.

    No regla folks allowed. I mean, folks with a little bit of weight or plain looking. Only one with a belly was Lenny doing his belly flop.

  10. CommonSense says:

    Did some of them go to Lenny just so he would follow through with that belly flop or was it really his description of his food? Maybe that secret weapon of doing that dive was the cream on the top to persuade them over.

    If I had 3 tokens I would have went to Lenny's for his burger, Luca's for his grandma-inspired dish, and I guess Loreals food looked good even tho she did not describe it.

    • Cindi says:

      With you on Lenny & Luca... still deciding on who would get my last token

      • Monte says:

        If Luca wins, are they going to call his show "50 shades of Luca?" He can stand there behind the camera, take his shirt off, and describe foods in that Italian accent -- no cooking required.

        • Ace of Hearts says:

          Good point. VERY good point.

        • Buffy says:

          Yes, please. :)

          • Monte says:

            This ^^^^ is proof that at least a few women who watch want Luca to win just because he's hot. He doesn't need to know how to cook. He's hot, and that's all that matters -- right??

            Would you feel the same if men said "I want X to win because she's hot...I don't care that she can't cook..."?

          • MoHub says:

            Looks don't enter into it for me, but Luca does exude molto charm in addition to being able to cook. I was on Team Vic in season 7, so I'm not a woman who's swayed by a pretty face.

            And numerous posters on various boards have commented on how pretty Nicole is and how Sarah isn't as pretty as she thinks she is, and I'm not on board with that angle either.

            It's a cooking-and-presenting competition, not a beauty contest.

          • Buffy says:

            I am not able to explain it, but Luca has something that draws me. His first introduction on the program relayed this message. I am drawn to men who cook well.
            ball. Paula D son is nice looking but I am not interested in his program.
            I would not feel anything about men choosing a woman because she is hot because I know men are visual first. There are a couple of women on FN who cannot cook and have never tasted their food. I know because I followed the instructions presented and the dish was horrible. I had to use another recipe for the same meal to get it right. I should have known not to use her recipe when I saw her prepare lumpy gravy.

          • Alfredo says:

            Will the Luca-lust wear off? He is a good looking guy but he sort of meanders through making his dish and aside from his looks, how would he really have much star power in Bob Tuschman's eyes?

          • CommonSense says:

            I think his confidence level would shoot up thus helping him with star power attraction as tuschman wants...that is, IF he was chosen. I find it strange that thus far noone (judges) ever have a problem with understanding him yet when Emma did that silly french accent AND when Aryen did her Igor imitation, the judges couldnt understand either of them--but Luca's accent seems to be easy for them to understand. I understand all of them so no problem for me.