Not only was Sunday's episode all about each finalist's first chance to impress the Selection Committee, but it was also their first opportunity to wow, you, the fans, who are watching the journey unfold. From their initial struts into Food Star Kitchen to their final moments at evaluation, the premiere allowed you to see the competitors as they are under pressure — both at the stove and away from it — and learn a bit more about their all-important culinary POVs.
Each week it's up to you fans to decide which of the rivals is your favorite and who you think is worthy of topping the fan vote. As it stands right now post-premiere, Christina, the finalist who faced week 1 elimination, is holding the lead with 20 percent of the votes, while Matthew and Emilia, both of whom had only OK showings on Sunday, are following closely behind with 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
You've read all about this season's 12 hopeful finalists, watched their casting videos and gotten the first tastes of their signature dishes, and you've likely already picked one — or a few — to root for during this week's premiere (Sunday at 9|8c). Now it's time to help your favorite finalists top the fan vote.
Currently Christina Fitzgerald is in the lead with 21 percent of the votes, though Matthew Grunwald is close behind, currently earning 16 percent of the votes. To help them secure their places, and to bring up the rankings of the other finalists, all you have to do is vote for them online. You can vote as many times per day as you'd like; once per day after voting, you can enter the sweepstakes for your chance to win Star superfan swag.
Food Network Star fans will have a chance to ask Alton, Bobby, Giada and all 12 finalists questions during the final episode, which airs August 10 at 9|8c. Before the winner is revealed, everyone will gather at Food Network headquarters on August 6 to tell all and view never-before-seen footage from the season. Bobby, Alton and Giada will also share their favorite moments during an emotional look back at the remaining finalists' journey to the finale.
Is there something you've been dying to know from the season? Do you want to be on the Food Network Star finale?
Star Talk is soliciting Skype viewers and callers throughout the country who would like to be part of the show that tapes on Wednesday, August 6 starting at 10am|9c.
For the first time on Food Network, fans have the chance to voice their opinions in real time with Star Sound-Off.
How It Works
1. Every Sunday while you're watching the live show at 9|8c (Eastern time zone only), you'll see live trivia and polls appear on the screen.
2. To participate, go to FoodNetwork.com/StarVote the moment you see them and cast your vote. You'll see the results* live on TV moments later.
*The results of these specific votes will not affect the outcome of the episode. Fans of Food Network Star will, however, get to vote for their favorite finalist on Aug. 3, which will determine the winner on Aug. 10.
Reuben Ruiz, 27, grew up in a traditional Cuban family that owns restaurants, and he started working in kitchens when he was just 10 years old. After struggling with his weight for many years, he now specializes in healthy dishes with a Latin influence, and he's honest, outspoken and high energy with a strong work ethic. Read on below to hear from Reuben, and learn about his style of cooking and thoughts on the competition.
Describe your cooking style or culinary point of view — in one sentence, if you can. Reuben: The flavors of Miami — I want to bring those to the limelight. The tropical cuisine of the Caribbean, and Central America and the flavors that we have over there. But also with a healthier perspective on life as well. Most people don't know I've lost a hundred pounds, and I did so naturally. And I've been able to maintain it, more importantly, now for seven years.
What are you most looking forward to in this experience? Reuben: I think more so the critiques that I'm going to get from the judges. I think any critiques help you grow as a person, as an individual as well. And hopefully be able to take that and make my business better as well.
Guy Fieri, Justin Warner and Damaris Phillips. These three Food Network chefs weren't born into stardom; it took a journey from fandom to fierce competition on Food Network Star to turn their passion for food and people into a career and to ultimately help them break into the world of television. If you've ever found yourself at home wondering how you, too, could end up on Food Network, the time has come for you to prove your star power.
Food Network is currently casting Season 10 of Food Network Star, but before you can show off your cooking chops to the mentors and dazzle the network with your camera-ready personality, you have to begin the application process. Check the official casting website to download an application and to complete instructions on how to apply, and consider visiting one of the open casting calls (listed after the jump) in a city near you.
For Damaris, Rodney and Russell, this Sunday night will surely prove to be one of the most defining moments of their lives so far. One will ultimately accept the job of Food Network personality, while two others will leave empty-handed, their dreams of stardom only a memory. What can you expect from Sunday's Star finale? A committee of network stars ready to welcome the winner to the family to be sure, plus a few surprise appearances from past finalists.
Take a look at the sneak-peek photo above from the episode. Daniela, Danushka and Andres, the first three rivals eliminated from the competition, are caught up in a giggle fit during taping. What do you think has these three in the throes of laughter? Are they reliving particularly funny moments from their time on the show, or are they snickering at the situation unfolding around them?
Time is running out to vote (voting is now closed) for this year's newest Food Network Star. Will you join Damaris on her journey in helping guys woo their mates with Southern food on Eat, Date, Love? Will you get Pie Style with Rodney? Or will you channel your inner culinary sins and indulge with Russell on Guilty Pleasures?
It's down to the nitty-gritty: the final four finalists. Damaris, Rodney, Russell and Stacey have endured nine weeks of grueling tasks, surviving on-camera and cooking challenges, and now one is just eight days closer to stardom.
If you had to vote now, who would you pick as your next Food Network Star?
Come Sunday night, the final four competitors will face their last and most critical challenge of the competition: Convince Bob and Susie that their pilots should be green-lighted. In all-or-nothing pitches, Damaris, Rodney, Russell and Stacey will convey their show concepts to the network, but ultimately only three will be given the go-ahead. For the fallen rival, it will be the end of a 10-week journey, but for the hopefuls advancing, the most exciting experience will be yet to come. They'll film exclusive, never-before-seen tapes illustrating their would-be series on Food Network, and it's these pilots that you, fans, will watch when deciding who to vote for on Sunday night.
Check out the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's episode: Guy Fieri is making a guest appearance, coaching the rivals through the filming process. Perhaps the ultimate pilot mentor, Guy won Star Season 2, so he's well-aware of the anxiety, stresses and obstacles that surely accompany this stage of the competition. Do you think he'll share sage wisdom with the contestants or stories from his own days filming a pilot?