by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, August 1, 2014
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, July 25, 2014
This Sunday marks the 10th week of competition on Food Network Star, and after nearly three months of tests involving timed cooking, camera engagement, live presentations and brand building, the final four rivals have one last opportunity to learn from their mentors. Alton, Bobby and Giada will be on hand as Lenny, Luca, Nicole and Sarah film promos for their would-be shows on Food Network, and it's in these last snippets of the contest that the mentors can impart sage industry advice and good-to-know tips for the future.
Check out the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's brand-new penultimate episode. Bobby looks as if he's in deep thought midconversation, relaying feedback to a rival during his or her promo taping. What do you think he could be conveying, this late in the competition, and do you think there's still time for the contestants to heed his guidance?
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, July 18, 2014
It was only a few weeks ago that Food Network Star finalists got their first taste of live demonstrations; from the energy of an in-person crowd to the unfamiliar surroundings onstage, nearly everything about the first unscripted setup was uncommon for the hopefuls. Come this Sunday night, contestants will again experience the demands of live performances, but this time they will have to do so on television — alongside superstar Rachael Ray.
The queen of 30-minute meals and a longtime Food Network icon, Rachael is a pro at talking and cooking live, as she hosts her own daytime show, The Rachael Ray Show. She knows well that when it comes to live TV, anything can — and often does — happen, since there's no way to prepare for the unexpected, so she's just the special guest to teach this lesson to the hopefuls. Check out the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's all-new episode. What do you think has led Rachael to make such an expression and to throw her hands in the air? Was one finalist's presentation entirely unanticipated, or could she be reacting to the day's events as a whole?
by Sarah De Heer in Food Network Star, July 17, 2014
Last week Food Network Star finalists embraced one of the most-faced aspects of Las Vegas — an over-the-top party scene — as they hosted a poolside bash for hotel visitors, and this Sunday they'll indulge in the city's opulent food offerings when they experience one-of-a-kind meals. But to win big in Sin City's culinary scene, competitors will need more than just a bit of good fortune, as luck can change there as quickly as the spin of a roulette wheel.
Check out the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's all-new episode. Looking elated, Nicole seems to have landed the jackpot as she stands next to her fellow rivals. Do you think she's cashing in on an advantage, or has a top performance warranted her hearty smile? How will Nicole and the other contestants fare in the face of Las Vegas' fancy food?
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, July 10, 2014
This week the remaining finalists and fans of Food Network Star saw the return of a Season 9 regular: the Dial of Doom. At a pool party on the deck at Caesar's Palace, finalists were tasked with making their best bites and tempting guests to try them with an engaging presentation. To help gauge the crowd's interest in each presentation, Alton introduced the Dial of Doom.
Star Talk caught up with Mr. Brown on set and asked him about this gadget. "I would like to have the Dial of Doom in personal life every day. It would make everything so much easier to dial up or dial down, and we’d all be done," he joked. "Honestly, I think that it’s good because it means that a bunch of people that really don’t know the finalists get to immediately react — immediately respond in a way that a TV audience would respond if they were just happening upon their show. So I think that it gives us a piece of information that we don’t ordinarily get, which is an immediate, raw, visceral response to somebody’s presence."
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, July 4, 2014
In just a few short weeks, Lenny's proven himself one to make a splash on camera for the good of the competition. Given the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's all-new episode of Food Network Star, it seems as though he's continuing to live up to that reputation as he's shown mid-fall during a belly flop at the Caesars Palace pool.
What do you think could have prompted Lenny's wave-making demonstration? Is this flop somehow related to Sunday's challenge, and will other finalists join in showing off their pool tricks, with fearless cannonballs, handstands and somersaults on display?
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, June 27, 2014
Given their pressure-packed challenges that involve live demonstrations and on-camera pitches, plus plate after plate of POV-focused food, it's no surprise that Food Network Star finalists may find it difficult to impress their mentors. Bobby, Giada and Alton are notorious for holding the hopefuls to exceedingly high standards, and the trio expects not only to enjoy top-quality dishes, but to be entertained while doing so as well. W
While the judges may be not be shy about demonstrating that a competitor has room for improvement, they're quick to applaud finalists' growth and will readily celebrate a job well done with hearty congratulations.
In the sneak-peek photo from this Sunday's brand-new show, it seems like Bobby and Giada are wowed by the scene unfolding before them as they look on with smiles. Do you think they're reacting to one rival's particularly noteworthy performance, and if so, who might be worthy of the mentors' glee? Has something funny caught their attention behind the scenes? What might be going on that's causing such strong laughs?
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, June 20, 2014
For the first time on Sunday, Food Network Star finalists will trade the camera screen for the stage as they get set to perform in live culinary demonstrations. The hopefuls are now five weeks into the contest, and while some are finally finding their footing with an audience, many are still struggling to command a meaningful presence, as they're running out of time during presentations and stumbling over their words. Because there's no time to hesitate and no opportunities for second takes when it comes to live performances, their first attempts will have to be their best if they want to wow the mentors.
Check out the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's all-new episode. As Lenny works his way through his demonstration, he's seemingly caught up in something happening just over in the distance. What do you think could have grabbed his attention? Is this act somehow part of his performance, or has something gone wrong and he's forced to stop midexplanation?
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, June 13, 2014
Food Network Star is all about the finalists' abilities to put their best faces forward, both on camera and in the kitchen. But sometimes, perhaps on account of competition stress, contestant rivalries or simple daydreaming, hopefuls may let down their guards just long enough to show glimmers of their true personalities when off set and relaxed.
In the above sneak-peek photo from Sunday's all-new episode, Emma is seen giving serious side-eye with a nervous-looking smile, while nearby finalists watch what's going down in front of them. Has something offstage caught Emma's eye, or is she trying to enliven the group with a silly expression? What could her face be telling, and do you think other contestants will join her in amusement?
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, June 6, 2014
Food Network Star is a difficult enough competition without unexpected obstacles in the middle of cooking. But on this Sunday's all-new episode, that's precisely what the finalists are in for when Alton unveils the first-ever Cutthroat Kitchen-themed challenge.
On Alton's evilicious series, the host auctions off notoriously ruthless tests that subject the rivals to hilariously devious ingredient swaps, inferior cooking utensils and just-for-fun time sucks; he has an arsenal of sabotages at the ready, and all it takes is a few high-stakes bids to turn an everyday culinary competition into a diabolical face-off wherein anything can happen.
Take a look at the above sneak-peek photo from Sunday's show. Alton looks on with his signature stare as Christopher appears surprised — for better or worse — about the state of his prep work in front of him. Has Christopher been doomed with an insurmountable sabotage, or is he pleasantly shocked at the finished version of his plate? What kind of challenges do you anticipate Alton unleashing on the contestants?
From their fellow rivals' histories to the details of a challenge, much of the Food Network Star competition is a surprise to finalists, although often all it takes is an initial introduction or the how-tos of a specific test to reveal the ins and outs. But what if competitors aren't given all of the information? Then they're in for additional challenges, which is likely just what the mentors had in mind.
On Sunday's all-new episode, the finalists will receive one such hefty surprise when they learn they're instructing their video demos to not just at-home viewers, but also to Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, who wows them with an unexpected visit. Given the sneak-peek photo above, however, it appears that the competitors aren't the only ones being surprised. Alex also appears shocked by the contest with a jaw-dropped gaze and frozen-in-place stance. What might have caused her reaction, and which contestants might be capable of eliciting it? What kinds of surprises would you like to see Food Network Star finalists tasked with overcoming?