All Posts In Judges

It Was Two Votes to One — Alton’s Post-Star Rundown

by in Judges, June 29, 2014

Alton's Post-Star Rundown, Episode 5Every week, Alton Brown is joining the Star Talk roster to talk about the most-recent elimination and the thoughts behind each difficult decision from the judges' perspective.

As far as I'm concerned, this challenge got down to the nitty-gritty — the real skills required to do the actual job of being a Food Network Star. The finalists had an hour to concoct a crowd-pleasing dish based on a classic summer pairing. Then they had to demo that dish to a crowd of roughly 400 food fans. The food was as up and down as the rides at Knott's Berry Farm. When it came to the demo, two finalists were clearly on the bottom: Reuben and Christopher.

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It Came Down to a Tiebreaking Decision — Alton’s Post-Star Rundown

by in Judges, June 22, 2014

Alton's Post-Star Rundown, Episode 4Every week, Alton Brown is joining the Star Talk roster to talk about the most-recent elimination and the thoughts behind each difficult decision from the judges' perspective.

When it comes to eliminations,I'd say that eight times of 10, Bobby, Giada and I talk it out and come to a unanimous decision, but not this time. Granted, the challenge was tough on everyone, forcing them to put themselves out there as conceptualists and performers. This also made it very tough for those of us on the Selection Committee.

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“He Missed Major Opportunities.” — Alton’s Post-Star Rundown

by in Judges, June 15, 2014

Alton's Post-Star Rundown, Episode 3Every week, Alton Brown is joining the Star Talk roster to talk about the most-recent elimination and the thoughts behind each difficult decision from the judges' perspective.

It's no surprise that this is my favorite episode this season — it's Food Network Star, Cutthroat style! The evilicious game play conjured new weaknesses and strengths from the finalists, and when the smoke cleared from both heats, Emma and Christopher were clearly at the top of the heap while Chris, Loreal and Kenny were sucking wind and hoping for survival. Each had serious issues on the plate and in their presentations, but it was clear to Bobby and I that the time for Kenny to go had come.

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“This Was Especially Disappointing” — Alton’s Post-Star Rundown

by in Judges, June 8, 2014

Alton's Post-Star Rundown - Episode 2
Every week, Alton Brown is joining the Star Talk roster to talk about the most-recent elimination and the thoughts that went behind each difficult decision from the judges' perspective.

Moving into the second episode, Bobby, Giada and I decided to switch the emphasis to communication and teaching skills. For the Mentor Challenge, I revisited a scenario I used to select my team for Season 8 in which the finalists had to walk me through the preparation of a couple of dishes. You'd be surprised how tough it is to get a dish on a plate when all you can use is words. That said, most of the finalists managed to get through it, but when faced with the Star Challenge, three finalists quickly sank to the bottom of the pack.

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The First Is Always the Hardest — Alton’s Post-Star Rundown

by in Judges, June 1, 2014

Alton's Post-Star Rundown, Episode 1Every week, Alton Brown is joining the Star Talk roster to talk about the most-recent elimination and the thoughts that went behind each difficult decision from the judges' perspective.

In the end, someone had to be eliminated first and we felt it should be Donna. She's got a lot of passion, but her presentation came across as conflicted, suggesting that she has some significant issues to work out. A Food Network Star has to be confident about who they are and where they're going to take an audience, but personally, I got the sense that Donna isn't very comfortable with where she is at this point in her culinary life. She told us that she put a lot of love into her food, but we have to take the crowd's opinion into account and they just didn't taste the love. It's a shame, too, because we all felt Donna's passion. But without focus, passion can be a loose cannon, and in Donna's case it was something of a disconnect for the audience. If she can work out her point of view she might be a contender, but only if she can put it all on a plate that works. Compared to the other finalists, she's just not there yet.

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Alton Explains What Not to Do, the Deal with POVs and the Hardest Part of Being a Judge

by in Interviews, Judges, May 27, 2014

Alton Explains What Not to Do, the Deal with POVs and MoreAs Food Network's resident food historian and overall respected voice of reason, Alton Brown has a lot to say when it comes to finalists vying for the ultimate job — the job that will allow one person to join the roster that he shares with fellow judges Giada and Bobby.

Star Talk: What are you excited about this season?
Alton Brown: I haven't participated in as many seasons of Food Network Star as the other judge-mentors. I've only really done three. But based on the seasons that I've done in the past, I'm excited to see if I can find that nugget — that diamond. You're walking down a riverbank, you reach down and you pull up a 10-carat diamond and go, "Hey, look what I found." So you're looking at each one of these finalists and you're hoping that one of them is going to be spectacular — amazing. And it could happen. That's the entire mission.

Star Talk: What is the biggest mistake that finalists constantly make?
AB: I'm not sure what it is in American culture that gives everyone the idea that if they simply convince you they want something badly, you'll give it to them. And every year, the first thing they'll start talking about passion. I don't care about your passion. I care about you making me feel passion. Everybody's got passion, everybody loves food, everybody loves people. OK? I don't care. Yet they do it every year. People tell you, "I want this so badly." Yes, good. Now do something to deserve it.

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Bobby Talks Pet Peeves, the Biggest Mistake Finalists Always Make and Cooking vs. On-Camera Skills

by in Interviews, Judges, May 23, 2014

Bobby Flay Talks Pet Peeves and the Biggest Mistake Finalists Always MakeEarlier this week Giada dished on her fellow judges and behind-the-scenes moments (read the interview here.) Now we're asking Bobby Flay about his time on Star, what it's like to be a judge, what mistakes he's tired of seeing and if he could have survived the show as a contestant.

Star Talk: What are you excited for this season on Star?
Bobby Flay: This is the 10th season of Food Network Star, and every season the most-exciting thing to me is meeting the new finalists — people who have a chance to be the next Star on Food Network. So as excited as they are, I'm excited to see who they are just as much.

Star Talk: From the first season until now, what has changed?
BF: I feel like every season the finalists get better and savvier than the last. A lot of it has to do with the fact that they get to watch the seasons prior and they become students of the sort. It's definitely a game. It's a game until you actually get the job. That's the way it works. I take my role of a judge very seriously. In a way, we're mentoring people, as well, we're not just saying yes or no. We're trying to give advice, but I want to add somebody to the roster of Food Network who is going to strengthen the network as a whole. I think of it as adding a new player to our team to make it better.

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Giada Talks Star Season 10, Her Fellow Judges and Behind-the-Scenes Moments

by in Interviews, Judges, May 19, 2014

Giada Talks Star Season 10Before Season 10 kicks off, the editors of Star Talk wanted to sit down with show's ultimate trio of stars, Giada, Bobby and Alton, to talk about what fans can expect, their favorite elements of the show, as well as what they think of each other. First up, Giada De Laurentiis.

Star Talk: How has the show evolved?
Giada De Laurentiis: I think that the finalists have become more savvy. Each time the viewers are able to watch the show, they start to understand what we're looking for. Although, having said that, each time Bobby, Alton and I meet a new group of finalists, they tend to have the same issues. I think they're getting savvier, but they're still missing the point as to what we're looking for. I think they think they're polished, but they're not quite as polished as they need to be. I think people think this job is very, very simple, when actually it's a bit more complicated than they anticipated once they get into it.

Star Talk: What are the most-common mistakes you see in finalists?
GDL: I think there are several. One is too polished and media trained. Second, I think that they all come in thinking that they're going to pitch their point of view. They're passionate, so of course they think they should be the next Food Network Star — as if that's enough to get you this job, which we all know it goes way deeper than that. We're looking for charisma. I think the finalists need to feel empowered, show they can be a leader, be an authority and also be a little spontaneous so we never get bored.

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Photos: Alton’s Best Food Network Star Caption Tweets

by in Judges, August 14, 2013

Alton's Best Food Network Star Caption TweetsWhile each episode of Star may have been only one hour long, the experience of each week's challenges and eliminations lived on online in photo galleries and videos. While fans likely have checked out a few slideshows of the series' top moments, browsed behind-the-scenes snapshots from the set and seen the mentors' wildest facial expressions captured in photos, they weren't the only ones reliving what had gone down this season — Alton did the same.

All summer long Alton was clicking around the Food Network Star online headquarters to find some of his favorite moments from the competition and caption them in his very own way: with Post-it notes. His longtime Twitter followers know that Post-its are Alton's signature style of tweeting, so it was no surprise when he started sharing his best captions with fans.

Photos: Alton's Best Caption Tweets

Photos: Mentors’ Most Memorable Facial Expressions

by in Judges, July 18, 2013

Alton Brown and Giada De LaurentiisNow seven weeks into the competition, the remaining finalists are just now finding their footings in the Food Star Kitchen, and many are able to hold the attention of an audience on camera. They can turn out winning meals and garner high praises from focus groups, but their performances weren't always so star-worthy, and no one knows that better than the three people who've been face-to-face with the competitors' offerings from the very beginning: the judges, Alton, Bobby and Giada.

This Selection Committee has watched the contestants develop from day one, and in the last two months, the judges have experienced firsthand the exciting, disappointing, and simply odd plates and presentations shared with them. Given the surprises and sheer meltdowns they've seen from this year's competitors, then, it's no shock that the judges' faces through it all have been as wild and unpredictable as the antics they've witnessed. From Alton's furrowed brow and Bobby's cheeky grin to Giada's glaring side-eye, the judges don't hide what they're feeling well.

Browse this photo gallery to see the mentors' most memorable facial expressions, then tell Star Talk in the comments: What is your favorite moment from the season so far?