All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an 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.

WATCH: Aaron’s Tough Parting Words for the Mentors

by in Food Network Star, Videos, May 31, 2016

No finalist enjoys being sent home from the Food Network Star competition. After all, this contest has the potential to change hopefuls' lives and ultimately set them on a much-coveted career path, so when the mentors deliver the news of elimination, it's simply crushing to the ousted rival. But on Sunday night's new episode of Food Network Star, when a double elimination shocked the cast, Aaron was particularly upset to be among the bottom-four rivals.

During evaluation, Aaron attempted to defend his Star Challenge dish to the panel, telling Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, "I threw in some bacon, just to give it a little depth of flavor — all the love that I put into that." But in the end Giada told him his plate just didn't best Rob's, and Aaron wasn't satisfied with the feedback. "It's complete BS," Aaron said in the stew room. "My dish was great, you know? I tasted everything, over and over and over." And when he learned that he'd be going home, Aaron became only more displeased. Before leaving the competition, he offered the judges one final parting line: "Suck it."

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

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, May 29, 2016

Food Network StarWith only 11 short weeks to ready finalists before a winner will be chosen, the Food Network Star beast is such that week after week, hopeful competitors will fall, faced with the crushing disappointment of elimination. Here on Star Talk, we'll be bringing you the first exclusive exit interviews with the ousted finalists as they're sent home. Check back here every Sunday night for new one-on-one chats to hear from the just-eliminated competitors, learn their thoughts on the competition, and find out how they feel about the mentors' critiques of their final dishes and presentations. We're about to break down the ins and outs of tonight's new episodes and reveal who went home, so if you've yet to watch the show, read no further until then.

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

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, May 29, 2016

Food Network StarWith only 11 short weeks to ready finalists before a winner will be chosen, the Food Network Star beast is such that week after week, hopeful competitors will fall, faced with the crushing disappointment of elimination. Here on Star Talk, we'll be bringing you the first exclusive exit interviews with the ousted finalists as they're sent home. Check back here every Sunday night for new one-on-one chats to hear from the just-eliminated competitors, learn their thoughts on the competition, and find out how they feel about the mentors' critiques of their final dishes and presentations. We're about to break down the ins and outs of tonight's new episodes and reveal who went home, so if you've yet to watch the show, read no further until then.

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Caption It: Controlled Chaos

by in Community, Food Network Star, May 27, 2016

Food Network StarIt was only last week that the Food Network Star finalists, in the competition for all of a few minutes, received the first of many surprises when Martita, a former finalist and the winner of Comeback Kitchen, joined the cast. And this week they're about to receive yet another unexpected shock: a double elimination. But before two hopefuls will say goodbye, the contestants will endure their first team challenge and enjoy a mash-up rap battle at the hands of the mash-up master himself, Rev Run.

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Exclusive: Haylie Duff Previews Her Star Appearance and Talks Teamwork

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, May 26, 2016

Food Network StarAs the host of Cooking Channel's The Real Girl's Kitchen, Haylie Duff is familiar with heading out of her kitchen and going on location to chat with local chefs. On Sunday's new episode of Food Network Star, finalists will do something similar as they create their own travelogues; Haylie, who's set to guest-judge that challenge, knows just what it takes to pull off a successful report. Recently we caught up with her to find out about her appearance on the show, and she dished on the nerves she feels as a judge. Read on below to hear what she had to say.

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WATCH: Martita Makes an Entrance

by in Food Network Star, Videos, May 25, 2016

After three weeks of hard-fought competition on Comeback Kitchen, Martita, a Season 8 finalist, earned the right to join the cast of Food Network Star, Season 12 and kick off yet another journey to Stardom. Just when her would-be rivals were least expecting it, mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis shocked them with the news that she'd be joining them in the contest. And the reactions were ... interesting. While seemingly everyone was shocked by Martita's surprise appearance, a few were downright upset at the prospect of yet another competitor, though Jernard was quick to admit, "I'm not sweating at all."

Click the play button on the video above to watch what went down.

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Behind the Scenes of the Food Network Star, Season 12 Premiere

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Star, May 24, 2016

Food Network StarA no-nonsense first challenge, a surprise 13th finalist and a pan set ablaze in the kitchen — Sunday's Food Network Star premiere was full of flare-ups and near meltdowns that kept the competitors guessing at every turn. But while the action was unfolding on-screen, there was no shortage of antics taking place behind the scenes either. Check out these insider photos from the set to see what the cast, mentors and crew were up to between takes, and find out what it takes to make this show possible.

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Exclusive: Tyler and Valerie Reflect on the Finalists’ Week 1 Performances

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, May 23, 2016

The Comeback Kitchen competition came full circle for mentors Tyler Florence and Valerie Bertinelli on Sunday night, when they guest-judged the premiere of Food Network Star, Season 12. Martita, the winner of the three-week journey to redemption, took her place among the other 12 hopefuls. And Tyler and Valerie were on hand to see the fruits of their training and their hard work pay off when she delivered a strong first bite of food and a solid presentation.

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Star-a-Day: Martita Jara

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, May 23, 2016

Food Network StarMartita, 39 (San Diego), showcased her talent on Season 8 of Food Network Star. She began working in her family’s restaurant business at a young age, with her mom’s authentic Mexican home cooking inspiring her culinary passion. Martita's parents moved to the United States two years before she was born, and she credits them with her work ethic and perseverance. Martita attended a few semesters of culinary school, but most of her skills are self-taught. She loves to entertain and cooks with loads of Mexican flavor!

Describe your culinary POV in one sentence.
Martita Jara: I cook with the flavors of Mexico with a California twist.

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One-on-One with the First Food Network Star Finalist to Go Home

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, May 22, 2016

Food Network StarWith only 11 short weeks to ready finalists before a winner will be chosen, the Food Network Star beast is such that week after week, hopeful competitors will fall, faced with the crushing disappointment of elimination. Here on Star Talk, we'll be bringing you the first exclusive exit interviews with the ousted finalists as they're sent home. Check back here every Sunday night for new one-on-one chats to hear from the just-eliminated competitors, learn their thoughts on the competition, and find out how they feel about the mentors' critiques of their final dishes and presentations. We're about to break down the ins and outs of tonight's new episodes and reveal who went home, so if you've yet to watch the show, read no further until then.

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