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.

Team Alton’s Rebel Takes the Lead: Your Week 6 Fan Vote Picks Revealed

by in Food Network Star, June 25, 2012

For the first time all season, Team Giada has been bumped from the first-place spot in our weekly Fan Vote. Team Alton's "rebel with a culinary cause," Justin Warner, leads the remaining finalists with 23% of the vote. Martita Jara is on his tail at 21%, followed closely by Ippy Aiona at 20%.

Justin gave another solid performance this week, opening up to a media panel about the rebellious roots he inherited from his late dad. Bob Tuschman called Justin's bizarre-sounding dish of stuffed dates with peanut butter, duck and bonito flakes a "perfect bite."

Will Justin keep his momentum rolling as the finalists head to South Beach?

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. In just three weeks, fans like you will pick the next Food Network Star in our Finale Vote.

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

Fan Vote Week 6

 

Team Giada: Down to Three

by in Food Network Star, June 19, 2012

Team Giada thought they had last Sunday's food-court challenge in the bag. A Mexican-themed kiosk, with Martita on their side? No problem. But for South African dessert queen Linkie Marais, Mexican food was uncharted territory: "I don't even know what they serve for dessert in Mexico!" Stumped, she ran with Martita's suggestion of churros and hoped for the best, despite the fact that she'd never made them before.

Sure enough, the texture of the churros was off and Linkie tried to re-brand them as "biscotti." But her confidence was shaken, and it showed. She ended up in the Producers' Challenge, where she gave Bob and Susie a solid chicken dish, proving that she shouldn't be pigeonholed into pastry. Still, in the end, it was pitch room veteran Nikki who prevailed, sending Linkie home.

Throughout her Star run, Linkie struggled with confidence issues that caused her to stumble over presentations. "In the end, I realized that it's mostly because of the language barrier," Linkie explains in her exclusive exit interview. "That was where a lot of my confidence problem came from." Giada tried to coax her through this, sharing her own experience of moving to America as a child.

"I am so honored and humbled that I had the opportunity to work with Giada," Linkie says. "I don't think she realizes how much she's influenced my life. She made me realize that I don't have to change who I am."

Hear more from Giada, Bob, Susie and Linkie in her exit interview. Do you think she deserved to go home over Nikki?

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

 

Midterms: Mentors Weigh In

by in Food Network Star, June 19, 2012

The competition has reached its halfway point. Just five weeks from now, one of the nine remaining finalists will have his or her own Food Network show. In this exclusive video, we checked in with Giada, Bobby and Alton to see how they're feeling about their respective top three finalists. Are they surprised at who's made it this far, or were these their top contenders from day one?

They also size up the competition. Who's the team to beat at this juncture? And who's the most competitive mentor? Bob and Susie reveal which Food Network icon "does not want to lose, ever."

Do you agree with the mentors? Midway through the season, which team do you see as the front-runner?

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Justin Moves Up: Your Week 5 Fan Vote Picks Revealed

by in Food Network Star, June 18, 2012

Martita and  Ippy are still your #1 and #2 picks this week, Star fans. But Team Alton's "rebel with a culinary cause," Justin Warner, is making strides. He claims the #3 spot this week with 16% of the vote — up from 13% last week and 9% the week before.

This week, Justin impressed Bob and Susie once again with his unconventional Fritto Misto at the food court, contributing to Team Alton's victory in the challenge. Even when his entire team ended up on the bottom in Episode 5, Justin bounced back with his Spaghetti Midwestern and was immediately declared safe in the pitch room. Will his streak continue? Can he overtake Team Giada's Fan Vote stronghold?

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 Five Fan Vote results:

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Guy’s Words of Wisdom

by in Food Network Star, June 13, 2012

Last Sunday, Season 2 winner Guy Fieri stopped by the Star set and challenged the finalists to put on live specials before an audience. Many of them were less intimidated by the spectators than by Guy himself. Despite his warmth and friendliness, it's hard to stand beside that kind of mega star power and measure up.

In this exclusive video, Guy talks about how the show has changed since he competed back in its early days: "With Giada, Bobby and Alton giving them constant mentoring through the entire season? I would have loved to do this. I would love to be a mentor!" He reflects on his own Star mentor and shares words of advice for the finalists, who would be wise to listen up. This Guy knows what he's talking about.

 

Team Alton: Three Remain

by in Food Network Star, June 12, 2012

When Bob and Susie declared that Team Bobby and Team Giada were both winners of the Guy Fieri live show challenge, it was bad news for Team Alton. All four members faced the Producers' Challenge and the pitch room, where no matter what happened, one teammate would be going home. Alton went to bat for all of his finalists: "Every one of these people is going to make your brain tie up in knots. You're not going to be able to let one of them go," he told Bob and Susie.

But they had to pick someone, and in the end, Judson Allen bid farewell to the team. Judson had recently turned a corner with his new POV, focusing on healthy food and his personal weight-loss journey, but he continued to struggle with his authenticity on camera.

Before heading home, Judson reflected on the experience of working with Alton: "I don't think words can sum up how much I have valued his mentorship."

Bob and Susie also share their take on Alton as team leader: "He's getting so attached to his team. When they suffer, he suffers. I don't think people see that side of Alton," says Bob.

Hear more from Alton, Bob, Susie and Judson in his exclusive exit interview. Do you think it was his time to go home?

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Martita vs. Ippy: Your Week 4 Fan Vote Picks Revealed

by in Food Network Star, June 11, 2012

With Judson's departure this week, Team Alton and Team Bobby are both down to three members. Team Giada is holding the lead with four finalists still standing — two of whom continue to dominate our weekly Fan Vote. This week, Martita Jara and Ippy Aiona are tied for the lead, each claiming 19% of your votes. That means nearly 40% of you are rooting for either Martita or Ippy.

Emily Ellyn, Linkie Marais and Justin Warner are not far behind with 15%, 14% and 13% of the vote, respectively.

Let us know in the comments: What makes Martita or Ippy your fan favorite? Or if you disagree, which finalist do you think deserves more Fan Vote love?

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 Four Fan Vote results:

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Poll: Most Fashionable Finalist

by in Food Network Star, June 7, 2012

Food Network Star isn't usually much of a fashion show — in fact, finalists often sport chef's jackets or aprons over their own attire. But this season, we've got three stylish mentors, two sharp-dressed judges and many finalists with unique fashion POVs. During the Fashion Week episode, the styles of Star were even more evident.

Of the remaining 11 finalists, who's the most fashionable?

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

Fashions of Star: Susie’s Shoes

by in Food Network Star, June 6, 2012

Every year, we get to know the signature styles of Star finalists – think Guy’s bowling shirts, Aarti’s flower in her hair and Jeff Mauro’s lucky red headband. But season after season, one fashion detail never fails to catch our eye: Susie Fogelson’s shoes.

Last Sunday's Fashion Week episode was a perfect excuse to ask Susie for a glimpse into her dressing room on the Star set, where we captured some photos of her fabulous footwear and sat down to talk fashion.

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Team Bobby Falls to Three

by in Food Network Star, June 5, 2012

When it came down to Eric Lee and Ippy Aiona in the Producers' Challenge, Bob and Susie said it was one of the toughest decisions they'd ever faced in eight seasons of Star. Both talented chefs consistently impressed everyone with their food, but struggled to find a sweet spot on camera. In the end, Team Bobby's Eric was the one to say goodbye.

Eric left the pitch room with the same humble, gracious attitude he maintained throughout the competition. "I just want to thank you for the opportunity to work with Bobby," he told the judges. "It is just incredible how great of a mentor he is." Bobby, in turn, had high praise for his mentee: "Eric may be the best cook in the entire competition."

Hear more from Bobby, Susie and Eric in his exclusive exit interview. Do you think Eric deserved to go home?

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