All Posts In Behind the Scenes

Caption It: And Then There Were 6

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Star, July 22, 2011
Your Caption Here

How do you top last week’s shocking double elimination on Star? With a trip to New York City, a visit from Ina Garten and an on-air spot on the Rachael Ray show, of course. This Sunday, the top six hit the Big Apple and face their next round of Camera and Star Challenges, which include a cooking demonstration in front of a live studio audience.

In this behind-the-scenes sneak peek, some finalists look pretty fired up. Who or what is in front of them? Tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out. In the meantime, we’re challenging you, Star fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

Who’s your favorite finalist so far? Cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.

Star Spotlight: Focus on Fieri

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Star, July 6, 2011

Guy Fieri can identify with this season’s Star finalists better than most. As the winner of season 2, he is no stranger to Camera and Star Challenges and remembers the pressure and anxiety that go along with them. Well, that stress has done Guy well, as he has proven that super-stardom is super possible for the next Food Network Star.

Check out this behind-the-scenes video from Guy's visit to the Star set and learn how the show has changed since he was a finalist. Guy also shares his personal tricks for always being camera-ready and his idea for the ultimate Star challenge. Then, tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to watch the competition heat up and see who goes home next.

Who’s your favorite finalist so far? Cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.

Star Spotlight: It’s Paula, Y’all!

by in Behind the Scenes, June 28, 2011

Paula Deen

Behind the scenes of this week's Cougar Town challenge, we caught up with our favorite Southern cook. Paula's tips for being camera-ready? "Being rested...and of course, having the greatest makeup and hair people helps!"

The Star finalists were star-struck when they learned that this Food Network icon would be tasting their food, but who would Paula herself most like to cook for? Check out the video to find out — plus, the queen of comfort food tells us what she craves most after a long day.

What's your go-to comfort food? A Paula recipe, perhaps?

Caption It: Goofing Around

by in Behind the Scenes, June 24, 2011
Your Caption Here

On the next episode of Star, headband-clad Jeff and usually stoic Justin B. share a lighthearted moment on the set of Cougar Town — where their next Star Challenge goes down. What's going on here? Are the guys trying to impress Paula or Courteney Cox with an interesting form of martial arts?

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

Listen to Duff: Dudes Can Bake, Too!

by in Behind the Scenes, June 21, 2011

 Duff and Robert

"Not only can dudes bake," says the Ace of Cakes himself, Duff Goldman, "it's cool to bake!"

Jyll's strategy for the dessert duel was to avoid the guys, and ultimately it backfired when her all-girl team — "Duff's Angels" — was bested by the boys (and Penny) of Team Robert. Check out this video for Duff's behind-the-scenes commentary.

What did you think about Jyll's "strategic" picking of teams?

Judge Spotlight: Giada’s Take

by in Behind the Scenes, June 14, 2011

Giada De Laurentiis

This season is Giada De Laurentiis’ first as a full-time judge on Food Network Star. The Giada at Home star and cookbook author came on board last year as a mentor for the finalists and then moved into a seat on the selection committee with Bob, Bobby and Susie.

Giada was actually discovered by one of her fellow judges almost a decade ago: Back in 2002, Bob Tuschman saw a magazine article about her and her food-loving Italian family and was intrigued. He gave her a call and soon thereafter Giada had her first show, Everyday Italian.

As someone who once feared the camera herself, Giada has a unique perspective on what it takes to be a star. Even though she’s no longer their official mentor, she has some sage advice for the finalists. Check out our behind-the-scenes interview with Giada to hear her best tips for the finalists and which of the hopefuls reminds her most of herself! Do you see similarities, Star fans?

Been There, Done That: 10 Tips From Melissa

by in Behind the Scenes, Recap, June 9, 2011

Melissa d'Arabian

Melissa d'Arabian won Star season 5 and has been loving her Food Network adventure ever since. Her show, Ten Dollar Dinners, premieres its fifth season on July 2. As a Star veteran watching from her couch at home, Melissa shares her insider's take on what went down each week.

I feel a bond to each of the finalists, so I’m offering a little BTDT (been-there-done-that) insight, hoping to give the very advice (wisdom?) that I would have loved my first day on set.

10. Expect to cook. Immediately.
Anytime after the flight attendant tells you to put away your electronic devices is probably fair game. Wear something comfortable (or at least safe) for racing around in a crowded kitchen. Yes, I’m looking at you, Penny. And be practical: With 10 episodes to shoot and three outfits per episode (count them), you’ve got a logistical challenge on your hands. You cannot afford to allocate space to anything that can’t be reasonably worn in the kitchen.

9. 45 is the new 20.
Forty-five minutes sounds like an eternity to cook one dish, right? And it is — at home. Forget what you think you know about time. Forty-five minutes is nothing.

Read more

Guest Star Spotlight: Impress the Press

by in Behind the Scenes, June 6, 2011
Mario Lopez
The first Star Challenge brought members of the press to the table, including Mario Lopez from Extra.

"One of the most important aspects of a star's life is the press," said tough-guy Vic Vegas, sounding not-so-tough after learning who would be judging the first elimination challenge. "They make you or they break you."

Alton Brown, Hal Rubenstein and Jess Cagle
Alton discusses the promos with media honchos Hal Rubenstein from InStyle (center) and Jess Cagle from Entertainment Weekly (right).

When our finalists entered the dining room of STK to present for their Star Challenge, they faced an intimidating group of diners. Along with the heavy-hitters of the regular judges' panel (Bob, Bobby, Susie and Giada), they stood before Good Eats superstar Alton Brown and three influential members of the press: Mario Lopez from Extra (some finalists might have gotten a little weak in the knees at the thought of presenting to AC Slater), Jess Cagle from Entertainment Weekly and Hal Rubenstein from InStyle.

Check out this exclusive behind-the-scenes video to hear our guest judges' advice for the finalists, plus their favorite comfort foods. It's too bad the Star contenders didn't have this inside scoop before the challenge — they could've won over Jess Cagle with carbs and Mario Lopez with Mexican food.

Check out Bobby's Instant Re-Flay, Giada's Take and more behind-the-scenes videos from the Food Network Star season premiere.



About Last Night

by in Behind the Scenes, June 6, 2011
Food Network Star Judges My fellow judges agreeing with everything I say.

What did you think? Pretty good premiere, right? Let’s dive right in to the deep end and talk about my impressions of the finalists. Then, I want to hear yours. Let me warn you – I reveal last night’s eliminated finalist in this post. If you don’t want to know who went home, then you shouldn’t read.

Vic. His tattoos make him look tough, but there’s a sweetness to him that jumps off the screen. He’s likable and when Bobby commented that he makes you, “want to know more about him” – well, I couldn’t have said it any better.

Alicia. When we questioned her on her accent, we had no idea that she would take it the way she did. She sounded like a Valley Girl -- I didn’t think saying so was insulting. Were we wrong? And by the way, I was taken completely by surprise by the immense disdain between her and Penny – more to come there, later.

Orchid. Warm, engaging and the camera loves her. Her food was to die for. It may sound cliché, but I can’t wait to see how this orchid blossoms. I know – that was a bit cringe-worthy.

Whitney. I like her confidence. Camera loves her. She has a slight edge to her which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We’ll see how it shakes out.

Jeff. Funny guy. Can be a bit over the top. Warm. Love the sandwich POV – accessible, everybody loves him (if he can bring something new to the game). Sandwich King? We’ll see.

Mary Beth. Food Writer + Former Attorney = Smart. Love that. But can she bring warmth and humor to the screen? Can the food writer be a food star? Jury is way out.

Chris. Loud and a bit “frat boyish.” He has a lot of work to do. Right now, I’m having trouble coming up with something more to say about him. That’s not good.

Susie. She’s a spitfire. Love her personality (and what a story). But I’m confused about by her POV. I need to see more of HER in it.

Katy. Boy am I confused. She wants to be a thousand things. This may work in her life, but not on TV. All those props illustrated the problem. I need a simpler, clearer, stronger POV and persona.

Justin D. Seems nice and smart, but so far hasn’t left a big impression.

The Other Justin. Memorable – for good and bad reasons. Anybody else thinking Avatar? Confident cook. There’s an expert, passionate guy there – but NOT on camera. Flat.

Juba. Such a likeable guy with an interesting POV – until he gets on camera. Like ‘The Other Justin,’ persona is not translating on camera. Lots of work needed here.

Penny. She’s a tough personality, but she cooks great food. I wouldn’t want to get caught in her cross-hairs (Alicia), but I could eat her food all day. Just stop with all that “sexy” talk.

Jyll. Something I really like here. Funny, down to earth, warm. But her promo? Ouch. Teleprompters are evil. I’m withholding judgment because overall I see promise.

Howie. I always feel bad for the first to go. I really thought his success in radio would have translated into an advantage to get him further. Oh well.

Where’s “The” and “Next?”

by in Behind the Scenes, June 2, 2011
Star Judge Bob Tuschman Bob Tuschman, General Manager, Food Network

It seems like only yesterday that we were launching this show called The Next Food Network Star. We premiered the show in the summer of 2005 and immediately you made it a success (you also made a few people big stars). Is it as hard for you to recall that Guy was once a competitor on this show as it is for me? It feels like he has always been a Food Network talent. But look at us today. Here we are on the cusp of season 7. We’ve dropped “The” and “Next” from our show title (Food Network Star is cleaner) and we’ve added more finalists (15 this year) along with new twists and turns to the show. (You’ll have to watch to find out what those are.)

What can you expect this season? Look for great food, tears, not-so-great-food, more tears and truly outrageous moments. Did I mention tears? This show is dramatic, but the most exciting season to date. Here’s a small glimpse of what’s to come. Also, starting Monday I’ll be blogging here weekly to give you my firsthand account of the previous night’s episode. I’ll share my honest opinions and I expect you to do the same. If you disagree with Susie, Bobby or myself (I expect you to disagree with them more than me), lay it on me.

Sunday night’s premiere (9pm/8c) is two hours and doesn’t disappoint. Check out our finalists then vote in our pre-season poll.

I’m excited to start another journey with you. Buckle up.