When the finalists started their Star journeys, the expansive hallowed halls of Food Star Kitchen were surely overwhelming and downright intimidating. But by the time the remaining rivals entered the arena Sunday night, eight weeks into the competition, they were surely (hopefully) well-accustomed to the surroundings, familiar with the kitchen's offerings and prepared to execute two challenges within its walls.
Star Talk was on set during the filming of Food Network Star, Season 11, and we checked in with the show's crew to find out more about how this over-the-top culinary workhorse was created. This massive set — a whopping 95 feet by 100 feet — took the team a day and a half to build, and it's outfitted with two kitchen spaces, multiple ovens, cooktops and refrigerators, plus an expansive pantry. Inside this alcove is where the finalists shop for their dry goods as well as secure the tools they may need for a particular cooking challenge. From grains and flour to oils, pots, pans and spatulas, it's all arranged neatly on dozens of shelves.
Read on below to see more exclusive snapshots inside Food Star Kitchen, and hear from the show's culinary producer, Dave, about what it takes to make the cooking challenges possible.
According to Dave, there are eight varieties of vinegar available to the competitors: "balsamic, champagne, sherry, red wine, white wine, rice, white balsamic [and] white vinegar." And there are eight kinds of oils, he noted: "canola, olive, sesame, coconut, peanut, sunflower, black [truffle] and white truffle."
Along with fresh fruits and vegetables, and a "standard protein pantry," which Dave said includes "sweet and hot Italian sausage, pancetta, bacon, guanciale, Spanish chorizo [and] andouille," the refrigerator is stocked with both mild and pungent cheeses, Dave noted: "cheddar, pepper Jack, blue cheese, ricotta, Burrata, fontina, Swiss."
From wide saute pans to deep stockpots, there are a whopping 132 pots and pans available on set, according to Dave. "As for whisks, rubber spatulas, metal spoons, graters, wooden spoons, tongs, fish spatulas, metal spatulas, squeeze bottles, timers, thermometers, wine/bottle openers and scales, we have about 20 of each on set," he said.
To make the space feel a bit warmer and more inviting, the crew adorned the side shelves with fresh produce, as well as knickknacks and a lighted "EAT" sign.