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

by in Interviews, July 20, 2014

One-on-One with the Latest Star Finalist to Go HomeSarah and Emma found themselves surviving elimination in Episode 7, and because anything can happen in Vegas, with luck changing by the minute, these ladies had the advantage of selecting the teammates they wanted to work with in this week's challenge: an unforgettable four-course dinner for the Selection Committee.

It didn't seem like there was much of a competition, though. Team Sarah (including Luca and Nicole), blew the Committee away, captured the win, and left Emma, Loreal and Lenny up for possible elimination.

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.

Las Vegas would wind up being the last stop for Emma Frisch. She was sent home after an odd (to say the least) team performance and a mishandled Mangalitsa pork loin dish.

Read Emma's exclusive interview below to hear more from her. Learn how she felt about her elimination, the most-surprising thing about Star and who she'd like to see win the competition.

Star Talk: How are you feeling right now?
Emma Frisch: Sad, but grateful and excited to move forward with my life and see what opportunities are spawned from this incredible experience.

Let's go off of the experience first. How would you describe your time on Star?
EF: I've never done something this hard in my life. This is really the hardest competition I've ever done, the hardest test of my own morale and integrity, and a real journey of personal discovery and growth.

What have you found out about yourself?
EF: I know that I don’t like to play dirty in competition. I love cooking with other people and creating food that is really brought to life with stories, especially inspired by my family, and that that's such a driving force in all of my cooking. I've also learned that I really create a sense of warmth and invite people into my food experiences, and I'm a good storyteller, so it feels good to be leaving with some really strong skills that I feel confident in. I've learned a lot about cooking — I mean, that's the great thing about food, is that it's just an expansive, never-ending universe. And everybody here has a different style of cooking and has different tricks under their belt, so it's been such a joy to be cooking with the best chefs in America and both bonding and making friends, but also making food together.

Emma FrischTell me about your experience the first half of this episode.
EF: The first half of this episode was just divine. I mean, I got to go to Nobu and have a tasting menu with Chef Nick in a private room, and every dish was exquisite. It was just such a treat. Thank you, Food Network, for giving me that experience! And I was so excited about it and excited to tell about it on camera that I think I really roped in the mentors with my enthusiasm, so it felt good to be coming off that with a high note.

Neither you, Lenny or Loreal really had a good day today. How do you feel about the mentors' decision?
EF: I think that the mentors' decision today was such a close call — none of us performed well. I didn't think Lenny was going home. He's just done so well in all the other challenges, and Loreal and I have both been on the bottom a couple of times. But the mentors and Food Network know what they're looking for, and I'm going to thrive somewhere else.

Looking back, what has been your favorite challenge and least favorite challenge?
EF: My favorite challenge is probably tied between the product challenge and the commercial. I loved making the pickled beets, and I loved doing the French-inspired commercial even though I didn’t succeed in the mentors' eyes because of it, and I loved doing the Reese's commercial with Nicole and Reuben. That was just one of the most-fun days I've had here. I would say my least favorite was today — I really struggled with the challenge. I wasn't feeling well, and we were really put up to a really hard test in a small amount of time.

Emma FrischWhat's the most-surprising thing about Star that you'll walk away with?
EF: I think that the most-surprising thing is that when you feel like you're on top, you get slammed down onto the bottom. I've had so many days where I felt so great about my performance and my choice of food — I taste my food to make sure it's to my liking. So I think that for someone who's so passionate about food, one of the most-difficult things is having your food be criticized and unappreciated, and I think that this is why this is a competition.

How did you feel about the mentors? Did any one piece of advice really stick out to you?
EF: The one piece of advice that has totally stuck with me is that when I speak, I'm very meditative and soothing, and part of that is the tone of my voice, but I can use more dynamics, and the more that I was able to bring in all the different intonations into my voice. I need to really express my enthusiasm in the way that I do when I'm talking to a friend as opposed to giving a presentation. So I will absolutely walk away with that piece of advice.

What's next for you?
EF: Well, what's next is a lot of exciting stuff. My husband is opening a glamping hotel — you know, glamorous camping — in Ithaca, N.Y., where we live, and I'll be designing the food experience for that. And we're looking to pop up in lots of other places as well; we'll potentially be in the Hudson Valley and Lake Tahoe, so that's just such an exciting project, and it's a dream we've shared for a really long time. And I'm also working on another restaurant project. I can’t say the name at this point, but it's also based in Ithaca, and I'm hoping that will come to fruition in the next year, so there's a lot. I mean, I'm very excited about what I'm involved in and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be here, but I've had the perspective the whole time that my life is amazing and I'm very fortunate. I've really built a reputation as a cook. I have a food blog that I'll continue to write and teach cooking classes, so I'm really going to dive back into the kitchen and be where I'm happiest.

Who are you gunning for now?
EF: I would love to see one of the ladies on top. I love everyone, but I think it would be great if Nicole or Loreal came out on top. But really anyone at this point could make it. I'm going to be a fan of whoever is the next Food Network Star.


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Comments (237)

  1. Jelaza says:

    I thought Sarah and Luca did the best job with their presentations today..

  2. Pat Callahan says:

    I think I'm out. Emma was the only finalist left whose show I'd actually watch. Sarah, Loreal and Lenny are annoying, and the others are boring. No way I'd waste any time tuning in to see them.

    • Mike says:

      I'd probably watch Luca because I think he's sincere and would enjoy what he could bring from his heritage. I like Nicole but not interested in seafood. And the other three.. yeah.. annoying as hell.

      • Jo Jo says:

        I agree, think he is the only interesting person left. And why do they always show Lenny tipping his hat... it is so fake. his shtick is a little over the top. He might be a good cook, but I don't think I can watch 30 minutes of this guy on a new show if he wins.

        • Larry says:

          Sorry JoJo I think Luca is a nice, genuine, and charismatic person, but he doesn't have the energy to carry a show. I would turn him off in 5 minutes. He'll mention Italy, his grandmother, and cook something decent with his dreamy accent. Put that on repeat every week. No thanks. Its just not in his personality, no 'star power'.

          • Buffy says:

            I think FN makes him say his grandmother. However, I will not be interested in Luca's grandmother each week. Luca has something and I want to know Luca's approach to cooking. There is something intriguing about a person from another country, who decides he will work at a restaurant in Texas in San Antonio. Luca is under playing something. I want to know who Luca is today.
            I saw something again that I cannot put my finger on in a photo shot, Luca has something positive.

        • freebyrd_96 says:

          Lenny is by far the most ANNOYING & FAKE, FAKE SO FAKE person on the show !! He can cook but I would NEVER, EVER watch a 30 Min. show of him. He get's way too much attention but that's only because he HAS to be in the SPOT LIGHT at all times, Like when he jumped in the pool ! To me that just shows how desperate he is and he knows he has some GOOD COMPETITION ! I would like to see Luca win, But if not him then ANYONE but Lenny, Please send his ass home quickly !!!!

      • tommy says:

        Couldn't have said it better. I'm stunned how far Lenny, Loreal, and especially Sarah have made it

    • Diane says:

      She might be classy and nice but her voice made me fall asleep. She would never keep anyone's attention through an entire show. I am glad she went home.

    • lll says:

      emma was the one whose show I would have wanted to watch...genuine, warm and liked the kind of food she made. I don't care for the over the top folks, it just feels phony, and would not want to watch their shows. Sad to see Emma go, was hoping to have a chance to vote for her in the end.

    • cin says:

      I agree Emma was a natural and I just loved watching here, she was so real on camera and off. I can't figure out the rest of them if they are faking it or are just truely who they are. Food Network should offer Emma a show anyway or something within in Food Network, she would be amazing.

    • Deborah says:

      Totally agree. I would never tune in for any if the others.

    • poo_noodle says:

      I liked Emma, too. I think I'd watch Nicole, though. I'm just sad they sent Emma home. After the episode I told all my friends how much I hated Julius Caesar.

  3. chef anne watcher says:

    Emma is a classy lady! I really enjoyed you on the show and I wish you the Best of Luck with your future endeavors!

  4. guest says:

    I was so jealous watching everyone get to taste a different decadent dish. Yum. when Star Vote asked us to pick between the 777 burger and the $1000 sundae I wanted to vote BOTH. Sorry to see Emma go she seemed like a genuinely nice person.

    • Just Sayin says:

      If the rich spend that much for food, they're not only rich but stupid too.

      I'm just sayin

  5. Jo Jo says:

    Team Luca,,, He is the only interesting persons left. I hope Lenny doesn't win. They show Lenny tipping his hat... it is so fake. his shtick is a little over the top. I don't think I can watch 30 minutes of this guy on a new show if he wins.

    • VAR says:

      I agree. Lenny is too phony. I couldn't watch a show that he starred in!

    • redleviathan2000 says:

      And Luca's Italian accent that should have been dropped years ago is not fake? I can't stand dudes like him who think that sounding illiterate is cute.

  6. Goozman says:

    Luca or Lenny to go home next. Luca cooks but isn't charismatic. Lenny cooks but is over the top.

    • clara says:

      Doubt it, the selection committee loves both of them...They brought back Luca to frame a redemption story or whatever and love Lenny

  7. Heather says:

    I think the losing team got ripped off. The other team got the great food and Team Emma got the weirdo food. There was no way they could do anything with that.

    • Mark says:

      And last week when Sarah didn't get the Beef everyone was saying too bad. Adapt! It's what a Star does. So let 'em adapt now. It works both ways

      • Gwen says:

        I agree with you 100% Mark! A food star has to be all-around good and able to adapt to anything.

    • Buffy says:

      I can say that it is nice for Loreal to remind the audience she is a butcher girl only to call shellfish meat.
      For some reason, the flower did not look like a sprinkling of rose petals

      • Jack H says:

        Some people do consider seafood to be meat.

        • guest says:

          It would be considered a protein not a meat, a butcher would never distribute a shellfish, cross contamination. It would come from a fish monger or seafood purveyor.

        • MoHub says:

          Certainly, since it comes from a living animal, it is technically meat—although maybe not in culinary terms. However, a vegetarian would most certainly consider seafood to be meat and would not want to see an animal die to provide such a protein.

    • tommy says:

      I didn't think it was that bad. I'll give you the sea urchin, but it seems like anyone worthy of a cooking show should be able to handle a pork loin and some langoustines.

    • DanC says:

      Agreed. I think the show is rigged for Sarah to win. She has too much airtime bitching behind people's back. She is the only one that is not likable in the final 5.

      • MoHub says:

        As my inner conspiracy theorist has noted before, I'm thinking it's rigged for Sarah to be in the final three, but not for her to win. I'd say that privilege is reserved for Lenny or Luca, and probably Luca, since a lot of viewers don't care for Lenny's OTT demeanor (or his belt buckles), and the viewer vote would more likely favor Luca.

        I think Luca's whole too-early trip to Salvation and return to the competition was engineered to give him a redemption arc that would propel him to the ultimate win in the viewer vote.

        • Chappy Sam says:

          I thought the same thing about Luca! Giada raved about him one week and the next week, still very early, he was voted off? Weird… and then when he came back in, I had the same "conspiracy theory" lol! I, personally, do not care for him. Something about him seems insincere.

          Both Lenny and Loreal annoy the living bejeebers out of me. Lenny: used-car salesman-ish, OTP, etc. does anyone believe he has any cowboy authority whatsoever? The only show I'd ever consider watching him on is a show where he had to live the life of a real cowboy. He'd crap his pants after a couple of hours. Plus, he seems so immature. When the judges praise him, he lights up like a little kid. Similarly, when they don't like something about his food, he pouts like a little kid.

          Loreal seems like a sweet person, but weird as heck. What's with all the "whoop-whoops" and "what?!"s that she does? Plus, she's even more cloying since she started shoving her POV down everyone's throats. If I hear the words "butcher babe" again, I'll scream! It reminds me of Creepy Rodney going on and on about his pies.

          Unfortunately, I haven't been all that impressed with anyone this season. Nicole would probably get my vote at this point, based solely on personality. I'm not into seafood, though, so I probably wouldn't even watch her show.

          Sigh... There's always next year. :(

    • Buffy says:

      I understand. Actually, Loreal could have a rich sauce for langostino or perhaps a nice soup. I don't remember how she served the dish.

  8. Jay says:

    I don't think there is one person left that I'd be interested in watching for 30mins! Luca is nice, and I'm glad he got a second chance, but I don't think he'd hold anyone's attention for a 30 minute show! I think I've watched my last of The Next Food Network Star! It's just the same old same old! I think it needs revamping and needs new judges!! Bring back "Worst cooks in America" at least that's entertaining!!

  9. gloria says:

    out of all of them I believe Lenny is the one who has the whole package,he's comfortable on Television and in front of people and he can cook all the things a food star needs to succeed

    • gloriahrdlicka says:


    • Mike says:

      Really.. And you'd watch that for 30 minutes each week? Yikes.

    • SpV says:

      Lenny is over the top obnoxious. His whole cowboy schtick is overplayed. That may have worked for his appearance on Guy's Grocery Games, where he shared the spotlight with 3 other people, Guy, and the judges until he got eliminated, but it is way too much here and definitely for a 30 minute cooking show.

      • Buffy says:

        I can see how people like Lenny. I learn more about him each week.

        Mouth open like an 'O' means he is thinking.
        Mouth open like a small 'o' means he is saying whody whooo, that means he is calling for an answer or taking small breaths.
        Wide bugging eyes means he is making up a story and the wide eyes will distract the listener from the truth.

  10. Lea says:

    I know people find Lenny fake, but I think he's got Food Network-star charisma à la Guy Fieri/Rachael Ray, and even though I'd rather be friends with Luca or Emma, they don't have the high energy that Food Network is known for with their hosts. And Lenny actually cooks good food, whereas Sarah and Loreal just aren't consistent. So I understand why people root for Lenny; I used to find him off-putting, but I now actually think he's a genuine cowboy-chef, an authority that's sort of different, not just putting on some bad act. Plus, we know Food Network loves 'super American' chefs - think Paula Deen, that pioneer lady, the fake Paula Deen, all the other Southern personalities....

    So, I predict Lenny will be in the final, and win depending on the votes. Nicole or Sarah will be out next, is my guess.

    • SpV says:

      I guess to each their own. I find his overplayed cowboy schtick to be obnoxious and I find he takes over the top and tries to go beyond Guy Fieri. It's all to the point that I just can't stand when he's on screen.

      • freebyrd_96 says:

        Totally agree SpV, Lenny is the Most OBNOXIOUS one left, He soaks up the spotlight by doing things like jumping in the pool or just plain being LOUD just to get ATTENTION because he knows he has serious competition. That's him showing how DESPERATE he is. He is FAKE, FAKE and FAKE, Send him home QUICK because he's making an ass out of himself !!!!

    • Vito says:

      Lenny became too much of a good and doesn't know when to quit. Too desperate.
      God save us from another Guy Fieri.