- Congrats, Aarti!
Cue the confetti: Aarti Sequeira is the Next Food Network Star. Challenge after challenge, she fought for the spot, rollercoastering past insecurities and weaving the Selection Committee's suggestions into her delicious dishes and effervescent demos. Big-flower purveyors rejoice! More important, home cooks can look forward to Aarti's sparkle and charm as she teaches them--starting next week!--how to experiment with exotic ingredients and use them in everyday cooking. Tons of you joined Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson for our live finale chat tonight, talking through the whys and wherefores of this wild season, commenting along as the judges and a focus group screened the demos and as the drumrolls rolled. Check out the archive to see who said what. Kudos to all this season's finalists, but only one person can be the Next Food Network Star. Congrats, Aarti.
What do you think?
Did you watch? This was the last episode before the finale. The four remaining finalists were inside the famed Kitchen Stadium being judged by their toughest critics to date (the Iron Chefs, themselves).
I'm not going to give anything away here (look around the website or read the chat replay below for answers), but it has now been announced who the final three are to head in to the finale. Exciting stuff, people!
For the finale next week, Star judges Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson will be chatting live. Be sure to join us.
We are only one episode away from knowing who will be The Next Food Network Star! Pretty amazing, right?
Tag, you're it. Start commenting!
Tonight! Wow, I can put the evening in to one word: "Exciting." Eva Longoria Parker jumped in as our celebrity guest judge (I'm still laughing at her question to Timberlake) and Giada De Laurentiis stepped in to the Star Lounge to answer some of your questions. In my humble opinion, Episode 8 and tonight's chat were the best (and most surprising) we've had this season.
What did you think of Timberlake's elimination (and the episode overall)? Review the chat log below and let me hear your thoughts.
Crunch time is here, and it has nothing to do with breakfast cereal for dinner. Poor Serena belted out the tunes but didn't strike a chord with the Selection Committee. Pasta la vista, bella. Aria had a little memory lapse, forgetting her manners and interrupting Aarti, right when the team leader was introducing their course-by-course Supper Club extravaganza. (Hmm, wasn't Aria upset when Dzintra interrupted her a few weeks back?) Mano a mano, up next. Aarti came out fighting with a killer Green Chicken Curry after last week's dip, topping the challenge along with Brad, who brought his A-game cooking chops--and lamb chops. Who's your favorite? Tom, for his part, brought the salt. Too much of it, that is, according to Bob, Susie, Bobby and the food-loving diners who weren't loving the Unemployed Chef's salt(y) cod. Happy Herb was cooking this week but apparently needs to be a savvier shopper. (Susie, you're right. He saved cash for his team but almost took one for the team as a result.) Maybe grocery goddess Melissa d'Arabian, last year's Star winner and host of Ten Dollar Dinners, could help him--dazzling on-air this episode and online live tonight, offering up commentary and dinner ideas alike. Tell us which finalists' recipes you're making at home this week, then check out the chat transcript below for the way, the truth, the light--all sorts of fan fare, so to speak. Next swank Supper Club, Melissa's invited, and so are you.
Maybe it was Frank Sinatra's swank piano-shaped pool or the breezy Palm Springs air. After teetering along in past weeks, as Bob Tuschman said, Brad the Tin Man got his joints oiled, showing off a newfound swagger. As he wrapped up his reinvention of chicken cordon bleu, he sprinted across Sinatra's lawn with a knife (don't try this at home!) to finish on time, but then was cool as a Rat Packer before the Selection Committee, Ted Allen of Chopped and Food Network Magazine's Maile Carpenter. Fans chatting with us liked what they saw--though the jury's still out on the Justin Timberlake lookalike's "Pro" moniker. Former finalist and funny guy Adam Gertler, host of the sweet new show Kid in a Candy Store, stopped by to chat again, this time not only, ahem, complimenting Serena's pout but also sharing his awe at Susie's perfect hair. Don't doubt it, Mr. G, it's coiffed daily in a way that dazzles. Less perfect were performances by Aarti, Herb and Brianna. Unfortunately, Brianna's distaste for tuna noodle casserole showed even after she amped up her own version with crab and Brie. Poor diva downer--if she had gotten a different dish or minded her toasty 'shrooms, would she still be around? Smart cooking tips and techniques, creativity, salesmanship and a positive point of view aren't too much to ask more than halfway through the competition. (Who's doing all of the above best? Vote for your favorite finalist daily.) Check out the chat archive below, then watch our vlogs to see what Bobby would have done differently this week and what Bob, Susie and Giada had to say about what and who got burned--and whose cooking simply sings.
Midterm exam time. Who sailed, who failed? And what made Paula Deen bring up her string bikini and the quality of her grandchild's cooking ability? Who came out on top--Team Serena or Team Brianna? Did Herb get back on track or crash and burn? Oh the suspense! There was too much drama to fit into an hour this week, so we got extra time and a bonus live chat with season four finalist and Food Network star and funnyman Adam Gertler. Like a Kid in a Candy Store--that's his sweet new show--Gertler zinged fans with running commentary and an admiration for all things Serena. Even Mr. Flay joined the fray with live tweets. The finalists faced two challenges: First, create "you in a jar" and present it to a big-ole live audience. Then they had to team up and run a food truck. That's when the twists and turns arrived. Some happy surprises--two chicks seemed to reach detente ("The empanada, y'all, is really good," Paula said), for now, which bizarrely disappointed chatting fans. Check out the chat below for details, then jump behind the scenes for Bobby's recipe makeover of finalists' dishes (would love his pointers!) and vlogs from Bob, Susie and Giada. Then vote for your favorite finalist, up to ten times per day. Meantime, I'll be wondering if Brad should let dark horse Tom borrow his lucky hat, and if Adam might borrow one of Bobby's ties. A+ episode, everyone.
Adam Gertler, our special guest in tonight's Star chat, will have (I’m sure) some enlightening takes on how this competition's playing out. Things are starting to get wilder, and he was, after all, in the finalists' shoes himself not too long ago. But … I also have some other, non-Star questions I think might be fun to run by him, too:
1) What are three foods you'd pick now if you ever did another "Freaky" special on cuisine?
2) Would you be willing to do a karaoke performance we could post here?
3) Besides a bra, have you ever attempted to make any other item of clothing with chocolate?
4) Do you need an assistant host for Kid in a Candy Store? (Please?)
Got Your Own Questions for Him? Join Us at 9p/8c
Phew--the ante is up. A trio of famous chefs asked finalists to re-create the best thing they ever ate. A pile of hot, hot, hot peppers challenged Star wannabes. Chefs told tales of dads and moms and grandmothers. Dry eyes were scarce. Oh, Herb! A very judgy-judgmental Selection Committee was in the house. Big shoes, being worn (oh, Brianna) and hoping to be filled. Melissa d'Arabian talked live with Star fans about her out-of-this-world world nearly a year later. "I still get stressed watching this!!" she said. "NFNS was an amazing experience, even beside the winning, but phew...it was a tough one. Really showed you what you are made of." Some finalists are made of rock starness--Justin Timberlake (ish) took to the deep fryer. And tons of chatters bid on one finalist or another, guessing at winners and losers. I tear up at the drama. Who're you betting on? Take comfort--as in fried chicken or mac and cheese--as you revisit the pre-July 4 fireworks. Then tell us what you really think.
It's been an all-star Sunday: Bob Tuschman dazzled millions (overstatement is only slight) of chatting fans from Chelsea Market, our wee Mission Control, crackers and cheese complimentary. On the double big screens in the Boardroom and on single big screens in living rooms everywhere, there was bigger-than-life Guy Fieri guest-judging on Star--he was off-the-hook tough. The spectacle included a very long multitalentedish Tilt-a-Whirl dance down a very long red carpet. And then there was a handful (footful?) of drama between Serena and Brianna. Yes, a trip to a hospital was involved. Oh, and by the way how do you feel about glass with your slaw?
Bob answered burning questions: What are the most important star qualities? Where do you most like to travel? Exactly how tall is Susie? But Bob also couldn't help but jump into the fray as duets were, um, challenging in the challenge and solos way went off-key, too. Happily, there were, well, sexy moments logging as highlights. Just catching up with your DVR? Follow along with the chat play-by-play below. Saw the action? Enjoy it again, with commentary. To call it entertaining would be an understatement.
Grab all of tonight's recipes and tell us what you cook and how it turns out. Then vote -- up to ten times every day -- for your favorite finalist.
Take two. Second episode, another hopeful's dreams, dashed (no spoilers until you check out the transcript). The top ten remain. Quite the dramatic evening here at Food Network. Duff was in the house--or on the pier in Santa Monica, as it happens--and had the Finalists cooking up savory dishes inspired by the sweetest of carnival foods. Sweet, or not so much. Cotton candy for dinner? A candy apple side dish? Waffle cones as a main? Not quite. The fair fare ranged from fantastic to brow-furrowing (Doreen, why are you so mad?) and the Finalists stepped up with confidence. (Aarti, that means you.) Bob, Susie and Bobby all had tough words, and so did fans. Plenty of you wanted to see Dzintra, Paul or Doreen go home--and even all three. Lots of you wanted Aria and Herb to stay. Wishes, granted. Call me Zoltar, just back from the carnival. In coming weeks, we'll have special guests joining the chat, so be sure to stop by. You never know if you'll catch a star, ready to share secrets. Meantime, vote for your favorite finalist and get every recipe (plus Instant Re-Flays, Bobby's makeovers of Finalists' dishes). Plus, check out the Episode 2 video gallery and check back here throughout the week to hear from Bob, Susie and Giada with their spin on all the action.