All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an associate editor at Food Network, now living in New York City after being born and raised in the great state of Michigan. She likes her eggs runny, her pasta cheesy and has been known to throw back dozens of oysters at a time.

Caption It: Shopping Woes

by in Food Network Star, June 29, 2012

On Sunday night the eight remaining finalists leave their home-away-from-home in the Big Apple and head south for the sunny skies of Miami. This trip, however, won’t exactly be a tropical vacation — they’re challenged to cook for and present in front of Food Network superstar Paula Deen and her son Bobby Deen.

Team Bobby’s Nikki was among the bottom three last week, having failed to impress the press with her uncharacteristic “delicate and sophisticated” POV and dish of grilled scallops, which Bob Tuschman called “sour and bitter.” She did manage to redeem herself, though, in the Producers’ Challenge with a solid camera presentation and tasty classic burger. Will the “Grill Next Door” have what it takes to withstand the heat of South Beach, or will she melt under the pressure of paradise?

In this sneak-peek shot, Nikki’s patience seems to be tested as she indulges in a little retail therapy at Target. Is she ready to scream into a pillow or will she be able to keep her composure in the housewares aisle?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c, we’re challenging you, Star fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this meltdown moment in the comments below.

 

Alton’s Post-It Tweets — Star Commentary

by in Food Network Star, June 27, 2012


We know he’s not exactly your average Star fan, but we just had to give the Fan Post of the Week to none other than Alton Brown himself. This weekend, the leader and namesake of Team Alton took to Twitter — with Post-it notes — to show his support and not-so-subtle competitive spirit for his top three contestants, Martie, Emily and Justin, as they prepared to meet the press. Pictured above is one of Alton’s many Star-related Twitter pictures. “One of these things is not like the others. #winner,” he scrawled on a Post-it which he stuck to his computer screen over an image of himself, Giada and Bobby.

Read more

Caption It: Call Me Maybe

by in Food Network Star, June 22, 2012

Just when they are thinking that Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson are their toughest critics, the remaining finalists meet a new team of evaluators this week: the press. This group of media professionals can potentially make or break a Star’s public image, so it is especially important for the contestants to wow them with their unique culinary points of view, engaging personas and stellar stage presences. Last week, Martita struggled to tout herself as “Mama Mexico” when Team Giada was gifted a Mexican-themed challenge, one in which she should have starred. Going forward, will Martita be able to embrace that individuality in front of the press? Is she hoping to phone a friend to save her from the challenge?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c, we’re challenging you, Star fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this call-worthy moment in the comments below.

Relive last week's highlights and catch a preview of this Sunday's episode:

Read more

Poll: Which Food-Court Kiosk Would You Line Up For?

by in Food Network Star, June 21, 2012


Food courts: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, we’ve all been there. Some stands are more inviting than others, offering fresh, cooked-on-site dishes served by friendly clerks, while many leave something — OK, plenty — to be desired.

On last Sunday’s episode, Star finalists on Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada opened their own versions of food-court kiosks at Lower Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. Challenging them to cook for and serve hundreds of passersby, the remaining contestants were forced to bring their culinary and social A games.

Team Giada’s Martita, Yvan, Ippy and Linkie opened Besa Me (pictured above), a Mexican-inspired pop-up serving tortilla soup, carne asada tacos, chipotle chili and churros. Yvan incorporated the secret-ingredient chicken livers into his dish and they won rave reviews from the judges. Bob Tuschman exclaimed, “I could never imagine myself saying ‘I can’t wait for my next chicken-liver taco,’ but I can’t wait for my next chicken-liver taco!”


Seafood was on the menu at Team Bobby’s kiosk, American Sandbar (pictured above). Michele prepared bowls of traditional New England clam chowder, topped with a chicken-liver crouton, and Malcolm and Nikki offered Maryland-style crab cakes and fish tacos, respectively. Susie Fogelson wished that Nikki’s tacos had more of a spicy kick, while Bob Tuschman appreciated that Malcolm’s crab cake featured more crab than cake.

Team Alton’s trio of finalists opened Littler Italy (pictured above), serving Justin’s fritto misto with fried chicken livers, Martie’s Southern-style arancini and Emily’s sweet, fruity panini. Their Italian-style spread wowed the judges and earned each of them immunity from this week’s elimination.

Tell us: If you were at South Street Seaport, which of the Star food-court kiosks would you line up for?


Who’s your favorite finalist still in the running? Don’t forget to cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.

Fan Post of the Week — Star Commentary

by in Food Network Star, June 20, 2012


In cooking for this week’s Star Challenge, Team Bobby’s Michele Ragussis was not exactly happy as a clam. She decided to create New England clam chowder as part of her team’s American-inspired seafood spread, and was banking on picking up a few bags of chopped clams — those that have already been cleaned, shucked and diced. However, as Star luck would have it, the market only had fresh clams in stock, forcing Michele to accept the trouble and time of prepping them herself.

Read more

Caption It: Put Up Your Dukes

by in Food Network Star, June 15, 2012

This week marks the midpoint of the competition and the remaining 10 finalists are under more pressure than ever as they look toward the second half of the season. On Sunday night’s episode, the newest Iron Chef, Geoffrey Zakarian, surprises the contestants with a doozy of a curveball, one that just might drive some to their breaking points. Is Team Alton’s retro and rad Star hopeful Emily Ellyn turning to physical blows to cope with the midterm stress? Is she preparing to fight – literally – to keep her place in the competition? Who is her Star rival in this culinary mashup?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c, we’re challenging you, Star fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this dueling moment in the comments below.

 

Poll: Who’s On Thin Ice?

by in Food Network Star, June 14, 2012

Week after week Star hopefuls are sent to the pitch room, and one by one they are eliminated while others remain. The pardoned finalists have survived to cook another day, but how long will they remain safe? Whether it’s because the clock has been on their side, their teammates have brought them success or they've enjoyed simple luck, some lasting finalists may be just barely hanging on as the competition reaches its halfway point.

Of the remaining 10 finalists, who's on thin ice?

Who’s your favorite finalist still in the running? Don’t forget to cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.

 

Fan Post of the Week — Star Commentary

by in Food Network Star, June 13, 2012

Perhaps cooking for a wake would have been easier after all.

On Sunday night's episode, Team Bobby drew what was arguably the short straw of the live television themes. Guy gave them the challenge of Cooking for Kids, while Team Alton and Team Giada enjoyed Halloween and Game Day themes, respectively.

Team Bobby's Michele was a little irked: “Seriously? It’s Halloween every day with Team Alton. Have you seen them?” She adds of her other competition, “This is like a gift to Team Giada. Game Day — who can’t win? Cooking for Kids — now that’s a challenge.”

Nikki, Malcolm and Michele decided to present their dishes under the umbrella of “mindful meals," even though Bobby warned, "For the kids, it’s gotta be fun and playful. They have to be totally into it.” And while the team's live demo and individual dishes proved to be hits with the judges — and earned them immunity from this week’s elimination — Nikki’s kale-banana smoothie was a miss with the children. "I love the green smoothie," said Bob Tuschman, "but I'm not four years old."

During the episode, the fan chatter on Food Network’s Facebook and Twitter pages turned to Nikki’s green drink. Food Network Star viewers wondered if young eaters would buy into the healthful smoothie, made with potentially bitter raw kale. One fan, Debbie Bookstaber @buzzmommy, summed up much of the online conversation, which earns her our Fan Post of the Week.

Join the #Star conversation on Twitter and Facebook and your comments may be featured in our weekly roundup of Fan Chatter. 

Who’s your favorite finalist still in the running? Don’t forget to cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day and tune in to this Sunday’s episode at 9pm/8c to see who from #TeamAlton#TeamBobby or #TeamGiada goes home next.

Caption It: Who Wore It Best?

by in Food Network Star, June 8, 2012

Don’t adjust your screen; you’re not seeing double. That’s Food Network Star alum Guy Fieri chatting with look-alike finalist Michele Ragussis, who is boasting her own collection of arm ink, sports a short ‘do of spiky blonde locks and is rocking a black collared shirt much like Guy’s. Are his and Michele’s matching looks part of a planned Star skit or are they a recipe for double trouble?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c, we’re challenging you, Star fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this doppelganger moment in the comments below.

 

Fan Post of the Week — Star Commentary

by in Food Network Star, June 6, 2012



Face-palms, inquisitive glances, grimaces and giddy laughs. Food Network’s favorite food-science guru, Alton Brown, is chock-full of facial expressions that seem to communicate exactly what he is feeling, whether it’s confusion, frustration or excitement.

Nowhere is Alton’s individuality more apparent than in his mentoring role on Food Network Star. Because of their position coaching five Star hopefuls, Alton, Bobby and Giada are bound to experience moments of awkwardness, dissatisfaction and pride as they sit on the sidelines and observe their finalists in action week after week. But Alton’s body language reached new levels of awesome last Sunday as he watched his remaining four team members strut their stuff on the culinary catwalk.

Noticing Alton’s changing demeanor between presentations, attentive ­Star viewer Matthew Love @luv-mat Tweeted what is perhaps the ultimate show pitch, earning himself the Fan Post of the Week (pictured above).

Join the #Star conversation on Twitter and Facebook and your comments may be featured in our weekly roundup of Fan Chatter. 

Don’t forget to cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day and tune in to this Sunday’s episode at 9pm/8c to see who from #TeamAlton#TeamBobby or #TeamGiada goes home next.

 

...91011...