All Posts By Sara Levine

Sara Levine is a Senior Online Editor at FoodNetwork.com and a culinary-school-trained home cook. Several years ago she quit her magazine job to go to Le Cordon Bleu, which led to a stint in Food Network Kitchen. Although cooking professionally wasn’t her thing, she loves frequenting restaurants and putting her own amateur culinary skills to work in her tiny kitchen.

Star Scrapbooks: A Look Back

by in Food Network Star, July 25, 2012

Nikki Martin and Star Journals Season 8This game-changing season of Food Network Star kicked off with 15 finalists in New York City. Alton, Bobby and Giada each started with a team of five, and as challenges progressed week by week, we saw each team fall to four, to three, to two, to one — with the exception of Mr. Brown's team, which sent two contenders to the finale in an unexpected twist.

As finalists were sent home from the pitch room, they left behind their Star journals. Each of these notebooks offers a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into a finalist's Star experience. Who made meticulous prep lists for every dish? Who wrote diary-like reflections about the competition? Who drew quirky, hilarious sketches to illustrate his anxiousness when larger-than-life Star alum Guy Fieri appeared on set? OK, that last one (pictured below) could only be the work of our newly crowned winner, Justin Warner.

Relive this memorable season with a look back at all 15 Star Scrapbooks.

Justin's journal

Justin Warner (Winner!) Read more

Star Snacks: Viewing Party Treats From the Final Four

by in Food Network Star, July 17, 2012

Star Snack RecipesThe vote is now closed and it's just a waiting game until the newest Star winner — chosen by you! — is crowned in Sunday night's finale. In preparation for viewing parties across the country, Martie, Yvan, Michele and Justin each created an original snack recipe especially for their fans.

The final four learned a thing or two from Alton, Bobby and Giada during their successful Star runs — devoted fans could likely guess which POV-perfect snack belongs to each finalist just by looking at them. Martie goes with her twist on a party staple, chips and dip. Yvan parties family-style with a batch of empanadas. Michele serves up a New England spin on deviled eggs. And Justin creates a rebellious take on a favorite nacho cheese-flavored chip.

Check out our gallery of Star-worthy snacks and serve them at your viewing party to cheer on your favorite Food Network hopeful. And of course, don't miss the finale this Sunday at 9pm/8c!

 

The Sandwich King Hits South Beach

by in Food Network Star, July 12, 2012


In between parties, cooking demos and guest-judging the Star episode airing this Sunday, last year's winner, Jeff Mauro, found some time during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival to show FN Dish where to find the best sandwiches in Miami. Over French salami and Camembert at La Sandwicherie, the Sandwich King catches us up on the whirlwind year he's had since winning Star.

Just one year ago, Jeff stood in the finalists' shoes. "I've learned so much that I've applied to every aspect of this business so far," he says. "You learn a lot through taping your season. You know, small things like smiling all the time. I'm always learning. Most of all, I've learned that it's a fun business!"

Watch the exclusive video and don't miss this Sunday's episode, where Jeff joins an all-star panel of guest judges including Sunny Andersen, Anne Burrell, Aaron Sanchez, Robert Irvine and Melissa d'Arabian.

Martita’s Exit Interview: Farewell to Team Giada

by in Food Network Star, July 8, 2012

Evaluation Team GiadaOn the latest episode of Star, Team Giada said a tearful goodbye to Martita Jara. The judges felt that after nine weeks, they’d seen glimmers of a star, but Martita just wasn’t quite ready for prime-time. The pitch room was emotional on all sides: “It has been such a pleasure knowing you, and your food is amazing,” Bob Tuschman told Martita.

Before leaving Miami, Martita sat down to share some parting words. Here’s a sneak peek at what she had to say:

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Team Bobby Falls to Two

by in Food Network Star, July 3, 2012

This was a tough week for Team Bobby, with two finalists going head-to-head in a Producers' Challenge battle of cocktails. No matter how it shook out, Bobby would lose a member of his team.  He was hesitant to say anything at all in the pitch room (or pitch beach, as it was this week): "I didn't want to sway the judges one way or the other based on my comments."

In the end, Bob and Susie decided to send Malcolm Mitchell home. Despite food that consistently impressed them, Malcolm was never fully able to hone his "soulful" POV. "Malcolm's POV was confusing," Susie says. "After eight weeks, we need to know who he is through his food."

Malcolm left the competition in good spirits: "I leave happy. I wanted to win it, but at the end of the day, I did everything that I could do. I was real."

Hear more from Susie and Malcolm in his exclusive exit interview. Did you think Malcolm should have gone home over Michele?

Flip through Malcolm’s Star Scrapbook and more behind-the-scenes photos from Episode Eight. Read more

Justin Keeps the Lead

by in Community, Food Network Star, July 2, 2012

Justin Warner

Justin Warner is holding strong in the weekly Fan Vote with 31% of your votes. Longtime leader Martita Jara is still a close second at 29%, and her teammate Ippy Aiona has fallen to 17% but still hangs on to third place. With just two weeks to go until our Finale Vote — where you, the fans, will decide on our next Food Network Star — will Justin continue to impress the judges with his outside-the-box food and rebel-rousing ways?

The in-season Fan Vote resets each week, so make sure to cast your vote for your favorite finalist up to 10 times per day.

Check out the complete list of Week Seven Fan Vote results:

Fan Vote results

 

Bob and Susie Are Listening!

by in Food Network Star, June 29, 2012

With just three weeks to go until a Star winner is crowned, Bob and Susie have some big decisions ahead — but they also want to know what YOU think. After all, they want the new Star to be someone who you're eager to watch every week, someone whose stories draw you in and whose recipes you can't wait to give a try. That's why you, the fans, will be determining this year's Star winner in our Finale Vote.

In the comments, let Bob and Susie know what you think about who went home and who's still in. They're all ears.

 

Poll: Which Burger Would You Order?

by in Food Network Star, June 28, 2012

Last Sunday's Producers' Challenge was a battle of burgers. Emily, Nikki and Martita each presented a version of this all-American classic that embodied their POV: Emily went '50s diner-style, Nikki headed straight for the grill and Martita made a Mexican-inspired torta.

See all three burgers up close, along with top burger recipes from mentors Bobby, Giada and Alton and past Star winners Guy, Jeff, Aarti and Melissa in our hunger-inducing burger gallery. The humble hamburger is a great vehicle for any POV: Each of these all-star recipes has one, from Giada's prosciutto-wrapped patties topped with tomato and basil to Aarti's Indian-spiced condiments.

Although someone had to go home last Sunday, all three ladies served up tasty burgers with a solid helping of POV. If you could order up a burger from the Producers' Challenge, whose would you pick?

 

Farewell to Retro-Rad

by in Food Network Star, June 26, 2012

Emily Ellyn and Alton

Team Alton will bring only two finalists to Miami after saying goodbye to Emily Ellyn in last Sunday's episode. Emily embodied her "retro-rad" POV to a T, but after seven weeks she was still unable to open up and get comfortable on camera. After her presentation to the media panel, "awkward" was the word Jess Cagle from Entertainment Weekly used to describe her. "That's a word you never want to hear about someone in front of a camera," said Bob Tuschman.

Alton saw great potential in Emily: "She was a ready-made package. You could look at her and know what she was about. Retro-rad was great. She lives it. When she wasn't on camera, she was on the side crocheting. She was the real thing!"

Through "happy tears," Emily reflects on the Star experience and working with Alton: "There's no way to even prepare for something like this. The whole thing was awesome. I gave it my best, and I made great food. I was more upset when I was voted off that I let Alton down. He was there for us 5,000 percent."

Hear more from Alton, Bob and Emily in her exclusive exit interview. Did you want to see more retro-rad, or do you think it was Emily's time to go home?

Flip through Emily’s Star Scrapbook and more behind-the-scenes photos from Episode Seven.

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