by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, July 21, 2016
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Judges, Videos, June 23, 2016
It was just a few years ago that Aarti Sequeira secured her future as a Food Network Star, besting her fellow finalists to earn the Season 6 crown. Now, with incomparable been-there-done-that wisdom and an acute realization of what the remaining Season 12 finalists are feeling at this point, she's set to return to Food Star Kitchen on Sunday to watch Damiano, Jernard, Tregaye and the returning Star Salvation victor compete for three pilot opportunities.
We caught up with her on set to hear what it's like to be back on Food Network Star and walk down competition-memory lane. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Aarti to get her take on what's ahead for the finalists this week.
What's it like to be on the other side of the competition, as a judge and not a finalist?
Aarti Sequeira: It feels way better to be on this side of it. ... It's so hard to actually put yourself back in that position, only because it feels like so long ago, and it kind of was so long ago. I remember that it was bittersweet at this point. Maybe it's my nature or maybe it's the nature of the competition, but you get so close to these people, you know what I mean? And you know what it would mean for them to win, you know obviously what it would mean for you to win. But you want only the best for them ... and it's hard because you know that it's a mutually exclusive deal. If you win, they don't. If they win, you don't. There's no gray area there, and so it's tough. It's a tough psychological place to be.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, June 9, 2016
It might be time for this year's Food Network Star finalists to pack it up and head home, because we're pretty sure we just found the next faces of Food Network stardom: Nacho Flay and Bella De Laurentiis, cats to Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, respectively.
OK, so maybe these furry felines aren't quite ready to host their own shows, but they're indeed primed for the spotlight. Recently we caught up with them — and their parents — on the set of Food Network Star, and both cats were natural stars on camera. Check out the exclusive video interview above to learn all about Nacho's Instagram fame (he has almost 50,000 followers @NachoFlay), find out what Bella likes to eat for breakfast (hint: you might be having it for dinner tonight) and watch as Nacho takes his place on Bobby's back-turned-perch.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, June 8, 2016
It was just one year ago that Eddie Jackson was in Food Star Kitchen, battling 11 other hopeful rivals with the goal of earning the coveted title of Food Network Star. Now, with that victory secured, he's returning to this hallowed arena, this time not as a finalist but as a judge of Star Salvation. Yesterday we chatted with his fellow judge, Alex Guarnaschelli, in an exclusive interview. Now we're bringing you a one-on-one chat with Eddie. Find out what it's like for him to return to where it all started and get his thoughts on the pressure competitors face at this stage of their journey.
What's it like to be back in Food Star Kitchen, where your own Star journey began just one year ago?
Eddie Jackson: I got to be honest, it’s weird. When I walked into the kitchen I almost ... had a mental breakdown because I thought about all the stress and stuff that I had to go to just to win, and it’s only been a year, so, you know, it’s still fresh in my mind. So I got to admit: It’s a little awkward coming back in because I’m freshly removed from the competition. But at the same time I’m just privileged and very honored to be giving these eliminated finalists any advice that I can.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, May 26, 2016
You hear from Alex Guarnaschelli in her weekly Star Reports, where she breaks down the Food Network Star competition like only a veteran judge can. Now, starting this Sunday night after the all-new episode, she and Eddie Jackson, last year's winner of Star, will join forces to judge Star Salvation. Together they'll challenge this season's ousted finalists to both camera and cooking tests over six weeks in the hopes of finding one hopeful worthy of re-entering the Food Network Star competition.
We caught up with Alex to find out what skills she'll be looking for in the eventual winner and learn her approach to mentoring the competition. Read on for an exclusive one-on-one interview with her, then hear from Eddie.
What do you need to see in them in terms of camera skills and cooking chops in order to find your winner?
Alex Guarnaschelli: I’ll tell you the No. 1 thing is that I have to believe them. I think that it’s really, really hard to let your nerves go and to say, "Wow, maybe what I’m saying isn’t exciting enough, or I should be doing this or that and just putting it out there." Sometimes when you just honestly and transparently admit what’s going on around you and relate it to how you live your life, that’s actually the stuff that separates you from the pack because people aren’t able to do that.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, May 23, 2016
As the host of Cooking Channel's The Real Girl's Kitchen, Haylie Duff is familiar with heading out of her kitchen and going on location to chat with local chefs. On Sunday's new episode of Food Network Star, finalists will do something similar as they create their own travelogues; Haylie, who's set to guest-judge that challenge, knows just what it takes to pull off a successful report. Recently we caught up with her to find out about her appearance on the show, and she dished on the nerves she feels as a judge. Read on below to hear what she had to say.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, May 18, 2016
The Comeback Kitchen competition came full circle for mentors Tyler Florence and Valerie Bertinelli on Sunday night, when they guest-judged the premiere of Food Network Star, Season 12. Martita, the winner of the three-week journey to redemption, took her place among the other 12 hopefuls. And Tyler and Valerie were on hand to see the fruits of their training and their hard work pay off when she delivered a strong first bite of food and a solid presentation.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, May 9, 2016
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.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, May 4, 2016
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.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, May 3, 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.