Picture this: Multiple cameras are mere inches from your face. You're learning your way around an unfamiliar kitchen. Your dreams are riding on the success of your next move. Oh, and two of the biggest names of the food world are watching your every move. Nervous yet? So are many Food Network Star finalists as they endure these everyday competition pressures. But it turns out even Bobby Flay, an Iron Chef and one of the two mentors overseeing the finalists this year, feels those anxieties when he's working.
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In just a few short weeks, the spotlight will shine on Food Star Kitchen, and this year's cast of Food Network Star hopefuls will have to wow mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis not just on camera but also on the plate. From day one the finalists will be expected to demonstrate their culinary points of view and no-doubts-about-it cooking chops with inspired dishes. But before the contest begins, Star Talk is catching up with them to see what goes on in their own kitchens, away from the competition and when challenges aren't at play. Read on below to find out what they're making for dinner on an average night at home.
When Food Network Star kicks off on May 22 (at 9|8c), mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will have one job before them: Find Food Network's next famous face. It's up to them to guide the rivals through 11 weeks of competition, challenge them to grow and improve, and ultimately decide who among them has the bright light of Star power — just like the mentors have. Recently Star Talk chatted with Bobby and Giada, who looked ahead to what's in store for the finalists this season and reflected on their own roads to stardom — and how they've claimed the spotlight as their own.
The countdown is on to the premiere of Food Network Star, when this year's eager hopefuls will begin the job interview of their lives. They've been working toward this moment their entire careers — their entire lives, really — and what happens after Sunday, May 22 is up to them. When their Star journey begins, they'll have Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis to guide them through the challenges and offer constructive criticism and been-there-done-that feedback that could ultimately shape their success in the competition, should they heed Bobby's and Giada's critiques. But until then, they have only their training and instincts to rely on, and much of that stems from the mentors they've followed along the way.
Recently Star Talk checked in with all of the finalists, and they told us all about the professional or personal mentors they've enjoyed working with and growing alongside. Read on below to hear whom each credits with instilling in them a foundation for learning in the kitchen.
Comeback Kitchen According to Mentor Valerie: “This Is Like the Roughest Boot Camp You Could Ever Imagine”by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, May 4, 2016
Recently Star Talk brought you a one-on-one interview with Tyler Florence, and today the focus shifts to the other half of the Comeback Kitchen mentor duo, Valerie Bertinelli. Together these Food Network chefs will not only guide the returning rivals through three weeks of no-nonsense challenges, but they'll also decide who is most prepared to secure the sole spot in the cast of Food Network Star, Season 12.
The countdown. Is. On. There are just days left until the premiere of Comeback Kitchen (on Sunday at 8|7c), when seven Food Network Star alumni return to the starting line for the redo of a lifetime. Recently Star Talk caught up with Tyler Florence, one of the two judge-mentors who will ultimately decide which hopeful rival will earn that coveted second chance at Stardom. Tyler has nearly two decades of experience on Food Network, so he knows just what it takes to succeed in the job these hopefuls are fighting for. Read on below to find out what he thinks the finalists ought to do to grow in this contest, and hear his been-there-done-that advice to the returning rivals. Plus, hear from Valerie in an exclusive interview to get her take as well.
Comeback Kitchen has never been done before, and there’s so much at stake. What are you most excited about in being part of this new series?
Tyler Florence: I always pull for the underdog — somebody who has all the heart and soul and potential in the world, and occasionally they miss it by a point or two when they [don't] win. It's really nice to see a whole very enthusiastic group of people that have already been through it once, and Valerie and I have a ball, hanging out together. She’s got a very unique perspective on television, with a career as long as she’s been doing [this]. … It is just amazing to get a chance to actually coach a very talented group of people and really polish them up so they are prepared for this next competition.
Just yesterday we brought you the first exclusive interview with Bobby Flay, one half of the mentoring duo that will make up the judges' panel on Food Network Star, Season 12. Today it's all about Giada De Laurentiis, who will join Bobby in both guiding the finalists through the competition and ultimately sending them home week by week.
Read on below to hear from Giada about what she sees as similarities among the past winners of the show and how she's come to master the craft of Stardom. Plus, find out how the first impressions finalists leave on her and Bobby have lasting consequences for the hopefuls.
Food Network Star, Season 12 kicks off in less than a month (tune in to the premiere on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c), and just as the 12 finalists are anxiously awaiting the job interview of a lifetime, mentor-judges Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are preparing for their roles as the deciding factors in whose culinary dreams will be made true or ultimately ended. Their expert takes on both this contest and the job of a Food Network Star make them uniquely prepared for the 11-week journey they're undertaking with the finalists and for the challenges they're set to dole out.
Recently Star Talk caught up with Bobby to chat about how he balances his dual role of mentor-judge and the value he places on first impressions. Read on below to hear about his mentoring strategy and find out if his own participation in competitions like Beat Bobby Flay affects the way he judges. Plus, see what he thinks about the elusive Star power, and get his take on the job of a Food Network Star.
There are fierce competitions, sure. And then there's Food Network Star, the ultimate in culinary showdowns, a battle so great that it has the potential to redefine a person's life forever. There's perhaps no contest with greater stakes than Food Network Star — except, perhaps, Comeback Kitchen, as this prequel series gives just one person the chance to be among those lucky finalists in the running for glory on Food Network Star. Television veterans Tyler Florence and Valerie Bertinelli will be on hand this May to judge the hopefuls on the first-ever installment of Comeback Kitchen. It's up to them not just to pick a winner of the three-week series, but to find the one person among the cast of seven returning Star alumnae that has the culinary chops and on-camera charisma to be a formidable Star candidate once again. High stakes — not just for the contestants, right?
It was only recently that Star Talk broke the news that an unprecedented 12th season of Food Network Star is set to unfold this summer. For the first time ever, a prequel competition — Comeback Kitchen — will bring together seven past Star contestants for a no-holds-barred battle. The winner of this three-week tournament will join the dozen first-time Food Network Star finalists in the premiere episode on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c. But before the new season kicks off, we're introducing all 12 of the hopeful rivals in exclusive, one-on-one interviews. Keep checking back every day to meet a new member of the cast. Today we'd like you to meet Yaku Moton-Spruill.
Standing at 6 feet 9 inches, Yaku, 33 (San Francisco), was pretty much guaranteed to have the basketball world’s attention from an early age. But even while playing professionally in Europe, he couldn’t shake the fact that nothing made him as happy as cooking did. Born in Inkster, Mich., Yaku learned the art of the hustle, selling chicken dinners out of his dorm room in college to make money. Yaku draws his food philosophy from his Southern and Caribbean heritage, and he specializes in Latin American, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that's shareable.
Describe your culinary POV in one sentence.
Yaku Moton-Spruill: Food is love. Love is food.