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

by in Interviews, July 27, 2014

Food Network Star, Season 10With only one episode until the final-four rivals will pitch their would-be Food Network show to executives, the pressure was on this week as the top-five hopefuls arrived in New York City for the last leg of their Food Network Star journey. If you haven't yet watched the episode, read no further because Star Talk is about to dish on what went down and reveal who was sent home.

The name of the game in the Mentor and Star Challenges was live television, and after taping their first-ever live field pieces in Manhattan's Chelsea Market, contestants headed to The Rachael Ray Show for a firsthand lesson in cooking with a purpose. It was up to each competitor to create a dish to solve the culinary conundrums on a particular family — everything from kids' picky palates to grownups' limited hectic schedules. And while Luca shined with a clever take on vegetable risotto, Loreal, Sarah and Nicole stumbled, each missing a key piece of the Star puzzle: education, engagement and targeted cooking.

Ultimately, though, it was Loreal who was butchered in the contest this week after she failed to prove her culinary expertise at a meat market of all places and offered a too-complex dish to a family looking for the basics. Read on below to hear from Loreal in her first exclusive interview since the competition.

What three words best describe how you’re feeling right now?
Loreal Gavin: Weird, relieved, satisfied.

How would you explain what this competition is really like?
LG: It’s like a Kentucky Derby. We’re all racehorses, and if you start out really strong, do you have the endurance to make it through? Like we’re all pretty, and there’s different people betting on us, but someone’s got to win the race.

What element of the competition were you least expecting, be it something positive or something negative?
LG: Surprisingly enough, I was really surprised at how much people fell in love with my food.

Is there one piece of mentor feedback from the whole nine weeks in the competition that is going to stick with you?
LG: Just focusing. With my artistic disposition, focusing has always been an issue.

Loreal GavinWhat do you want your fans to remember about you?
LG: Always have good hair, the right red lipstick — because every skin tone needs to wear one — and if you’re going to do it, go big and follow your heart.

You were open about the fact that it's been difficult for you to teach on camera and convey all that it is you know. Why do you think you struggle with that?
LG: I was born into this world like an artist, like we all have different personality types, OK? Well, being an artist is definitely one of them; it’s undisputable. I’ve always struggled with putting my feelings into words, and I’ve used lots of mediums throughout my life to release the feelings that I have. … So it’s always been something that I’ve struggled with. That’s why when they started to harp on me about it, it really hit home.

There are two ladies left in the competition. Are you rooting for one of the girls to take home the win?
LG: I’m rooting for both of those little badasses! Nicole just needs to get out of her shell because there is such a quirky, beautiful woman in there. She is smart, and I know she’s got it. She knows she’s got it. And Sarah, like we’re both Southern belles, you know? And she just has something so quirky and charming about her, and I feel like she’s very relatable.

What's next for you?
LG: I’m probably going to move back down to Louisville. … I might write an album. I’m going to start making a lot more artwork, and I’m going to polish that part of the diamond that I am, that cannot articulate the things that I know to be true, and I’m going to teach, because this is not the last time you all are going to see me.

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Comments (303)

  1. Jelaza says:

    Sarah had issues with her presentation, but I would have cut Loreal if it were my choice. Sarah at least made her target family happy. Loreal's family was looking for something fast and easy for after-work dinners, and she gave them something complicated with 50 zillions steps.

    As I mentioned elsewhere, I think Luca would have been more successful if the kids didn't see at least the first part of the demo where the cauliflower was introduced. The comment about people not knowing what Bolognese sauce was threw me. I've seen (and purchased) Spaghetti Bolognese TV dinners (and not any kind of fancy-shmancy brand, either - I think it was Lean Cuisine).

    Is the Taco Soup that Sarah made the 5-star recipe that someone mentioned in another entry?

    • shannon says:

      Jelaza,its a shame they edited these videos so much for tonight's show, isn't it? I agree it would have been better if the kids had not seen the cauliflower and they definitely did, they even repeated cauliflower. Also, in the full video Luca explained he was using Bolognese but you could use tomato, mushrooms whatever...the sauce was not the recipe he made that clear. I do not know why the judges jumped on that.

      • Jelaza says:

        Yes, it is a shame, but I'm presume that the judges got to see the whole video for each person, so they don't have an excuse.

    • Buffy says:

      Check the manufacture's website or the back of the taco packet for the recipe.

      • MoHub says:

        Sarah didn't use the prepackaged taco seasoning; she merely suggested it as a quicker alternative if the mom didn't have time to mix her spices from scratch—which Sarah herself did.

        • Just Sayin says:

          Wow! You are really on the money with your comments!

          I'm just sayin

          • Buffy says:

            Thank you MoHub and Just Sayin'. The presentation was a bit muffled when she was speaking.

            I apologize to Sarah for my mistake.

  2. Melissa says:

    This is so obnoxious. I am a HUGE fan of food network (and their magazine) but the fact that they have no problem getting rid of contestants who actually have shows we would be interested in (butcher babe, Nicki's Meat on the side) and keep pageantry, yes pageantry, girls like Sarah is astounding. She annoys me more and more each show. I cannot believe that "stars", who I like, like Bobby, Giada and Alton can believe in these last contestants. I understand that viewers get to vote at the end, but you need to believe that people will not be watching when you give us a pool of contestants like Sarah. If food network wants to continue as the number one go to in recipes and food experts they need to bring us better show options than this. Maybe they are just holding on to Sarah for controversy. If so, this isn't the bachelor, we want real food stars. I do like some of the contestants left, but they let many good ones go. I am so ready to do be done with food network after this season.

    • Michele says:

      i think you hit the nail on the head. If you notice with Top Chef, and other contestant reality shows, part of the formula is having someone who is overwhelmingly controversial, or despised, or irritating. If Sarah were sent home, part of the drama of rooting for someone else to win would be gone.

    • Laurie says:

      Food Network needs more male viewers. They will watch Sarah. She's pretty and guys like steak and tex-mex.

      • chef anne watcher says:

        However, how many of Sarah's shows would the male viewers be willing to watch with her making steak and tex-mex, over and over again? She has no cooking chops, her "range" is quite limited, at best, and she's had more missed dishes than hits in the competition . She 'can't put it all together', her words, and they are true! Being "pretty" won't attract viewers when the chef (Sarah) has a myopic POV and lacks talent along with creativity in the kitchen. Her show would bomb, just like Aarti Sequeira's show.

  3. Eugene says:

    Face it America, your votes do not count. Nor will they count next week, the network already has its mind made up and there is nothing you can do about it. Sarah should have been gone weeks ago, but she keeps sticking around which tells me the Food Network has big plans for her even though her food is marginal at best, and she has no clue as to what she is talking about. At this point the Network has lost me as a viewer, as I dont give a rat's a** who wins now. Think I will start watching Lifetime or Hallmark or something else.

    • Michele says:

      If Sarah wins, then, I will think she auditioned on a casting couch, not, deserved to win for any charisma, talent, or in a legit competition. I am astounded she has made it this far. She is the most obnoxious contestant I have ever seen, and i've watched every season. I think the FN has already lost credibility by having her still on and in the final four. Something is wrong there, you're right.. The entire viewing audience cannot be wrong. There are literally no viewers who can even tolerate her past her first few syllables and that phony smile.

      • Monte says:

        Well, unless she was sleeping with one of the two male, married judges (cheating on her husband in the process), I think the "casting couch" thing is out.

        Bob Tuschman is gay (I believe), and Suzy Fogelson is married...

        So that kinda shoots that theory out of the water...

      • Buffy says:

        I am not in agreement with use of the casting couch. This is something that the posters do not know about on this board. There is no reason to suggest such an act. I will not say that she does not deserve to win either. People must smile for TV.

        Let's talk about the taco seasoning packet soup using ground beef, not strips of beef.

        • Sue says:

          Lets talk about the THIRTY-plus 5-star reviews for her Taco Soup.

          • hatersweargreen says:

            it's easy to make and tasty. that doesnt mean she should win the competition. there are 5 restaurants within half-a-mile of my home that make food tasty enough that i've asked for a recipe- FNS is about not only being able to produce food, but also being able to captivate an audience. I'm sure i am not alone among FN fans who would watch AB or Ted Allen or Aarti in a TV show even if it had nothing to do with food (in the case of Ted, i have watched one). Sarah does NOT have that in the least. she literally makes my skin crawl.

      • guest says:

        1. Editing happens. You can bet that others make comments, not just Sarah. Food Network decides who's to show.
        2. What if Food Network had shown anyone else at all talking back to the judges instead of or even along with Sarah? What if Sarah had not made burgers twice?
        3. Given 1 and 2, above, how much different would things look to all of us right now? Food Network usually keeps it down to ONE "villian" (that they decide to show us). Blame THEM.

  4. Food Network Fail says:

    I found myself repeatedly fast-forwarding tonight's show because the only person allowed to give commentary tonight was Sarah. She is so annoying and whiny. I'll watch paint dry before I will watch a show featuring Sarah.

    But more importantly, I am disappointed that Loreal won't have a show to showcase her POV. "The Butcher Babe" is such an interesting concept for a show and would introduce more women to butchery in a comfortable yet sassy way. She was the only one introducing a new theme to the channel. Seafood, Italian, and Texas-Southern is already well executed on the network. This season is yet ANOTHER missed opportunity.

    • Buffy says:

      Women must see another woman on TV before they decide that butchery is their calling in life?
      I guess want-ads for butchers is not effective.

    • hatersweargreen says:

      the concept of the butcher babe is great, but maybe Loreal wasnt the right person to execute it. Maybe we/they will find on next season!

  5. Robert says:

    Folks, just for the record, the FN judges determined that LOREAL failed in terms of TEACHING her POV to a FAMILY focus group. It's not that her POV isn't unique - of COURSE it is but she admitted to having failed miserably in terms of the right APPROACH to it. She has scored in the bottom with Sarah before, yet Sarah finally excelled on her FOOD this time = THAT'S why she was given the number 4 rank over Loreal. But I already have decided to vote for Luca AND Nicole as the new FNS. I would rather see a tie score this season. Luca and Nicole - BRING IT ON!!

    • Molly says:

      True, but a FNS contestant should not be making Taco Soup for an elimination challenge. That is just ridiculous. What kind of high-level cooking is involved in browning ground beef and dumping in canned beef broth, canned beans, prepackaged taco seasoning, etc.? Is Sarah the second coming of Sandra Lee or what?

      • Ace Cannon says:

        Not so fast. I will say they should do more than make Mac-n-Cheese. However, admit it, had anyone made something more involved, then afterwards someone somewhere (probably several people) would say it's "too involved". So....you could say "ya can't win" either way.

        • chef anne watcher says:

          Robert is correct. Loreal's dish was too complicated for a "cheap, fast, and easy" solution for the busy, working couple to want to prepare.

    • CommonSense says:

      I think Bobby favors Nicole. Giada likes Luca. Not sure about Alton.
      He just seems to be disappointed in ALL of the remainders.

      Susie would like Luca. Bob...whomever Susie likes, he will like also.

      • sickofsarah says:

        alton favors lenny. i think alton watched lenny's video and is amused/amazed with lenny's jekyll and hyde personality.

    • Mike says:

      your capital letters are silly.

    • redleviathan2000 says:

      She excelled? Then she would be number 1 winner of the night, right? Best of the worst is not excelling.

  6. Jean says:

    I have to say that Loreal was nothing but annoying to me. She knew meat, but she couldnt explain things without sounding like a bimbo on speed. Sarah doesnt seem to be as polished or viewer friendly but she will go next round unless something horrible happens with the others. I think it may come down to the two guys.

  7. CommonSense says:

    The set ups that the network uses to remove the ones they want to remove is becoming increasingly obvious.

    If I hear Giada or anyone else call Luca charming one more time, I will follow the Sarah haters who want to vomit..to the bathroom...to vomit after they are finished.

    So glad Bobby is back. Alton hates his job there way more than I hated mine. I think he just doesnt like any of the remaining ones.

    How did mentors choose Luca to win over Nicole when his kids didnt even want to taste his food so they didnt want it either. They chose him because they're grooming him for the win. He could burn the kitchen down and they'd still say he was charming and growing.

    At least Nicoles (family) kids tasted it, but she shoulda known NOT to put anything spicy in a dish with little kids. Some kids like it but I wouldnt have taken the chance. She is most consistent in staying true to herself.

    • Monte says:

      CommonSense:

      I'm not generally a Luca defender, but here I think I need to. Using Cauliflower as the rice in a "risotto" dish was a brilliant idea, in my opinion. The reason I think the kids didn't eat it is because they SAW that it was cauliflower.

      The mother admitted that the kids didn't want to eat vegetables. So as soon as the kids saw the cauliflower, I think their minds were made up.

      • CommonSense says:

        Yeah I think the kid repeated the word cauliflower to his mom so he knew what was in it ...I dont think Luca did much interaction with the kids. Lenny did better than all of them in keeping the families engaged instead of just seeing them as bumps on a log while explaining the recipe to the audience.

        Kids are fickle and anytime they are brought in the picture, you can predict one thing that will happen with them..the unpredictable. Luca whispered the word loudly to the audience but I think the kid heard him in addition to seeing it.

    • Marsha says:

      But, Luca IS charming.

      • CommonSense says:

        There's that word again....'scuse me... I gotta go to the bathroom.

        • FNSWatcher says:

          Duh... They just want a winner with a pretty face. Even if Luca doesn't get enough votes to win, they will probably make him win. Personally I don't really love Luca, GO NICOLE!!!!!

          • CommonSense says:

            Yeah but some that favor him dont want to just admit they want him for his pretty face and accent and such...cos he certainly dont get a lot of raves about his food any more than the others....its just said to be good or really good. They raved more about Christophers food and hes been long gone. They didnt try to groom him...why?...he didnt have Luca,s looks..

            So yes. I know they want a winner with a pretty face. And I guess they figure his face is prettier than Coleys.

            In the package he's in, they like to say...he's charming.

          • dorothy says:

            My fav has been Chris. He was on CUTTHROAT KITCHEN and won. My daughter is a young cook. I think Chris fits that market. He is a great cook. And enough of vanilla!!!

  8. J . J. says:

    Don't think Loreal should be leaving. Do the mentors pay attention????

    • Buffy says:

      Loreal can't tie a chicken cutlet. I learned a nice tip the other day.

      • MoHub says:

        She also handled other food after handling raw chicken without washing her hands. This didn't show in the edited version we saw last night, but it was obvious in the real-time version as it aired on Rachael Ray.

  9. jrf says:

    I have no words...why is smarmy, annoying, less talented Sarah still here! I would NEVER watch a Food Network show with her as host. Ever.

    • Buffy says:

      Are you sure you don't want her to demonstrate how to prepare beef using different seasoning packets each week?

    • Just Sayin says:

      I'm beginning to want her to go just so I can see who the sarah-bashers will viciously attack next. Never knew so many beauty pageant rejects hated her so much.

      I'm just sayin

  10. Linda says:

    GO HOME SARAH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1