Each week Food Network Star finalists are tasked with putting their personalities on a plate in inspiring, creative and, perhaps most importantly, delicious ways. Most competitors manage to get the job done, but in any particular challenge there's often just a small handful of rivals who succeed in creating a dish so impressive that it's worthy of the win. This week Jernard, Monterey and Yaku teamed up and wowed the panel with their ability to reinvent commonly tossed kitchen scraps, such as carrot tops and broccoli stems, into wow-worthy dishes, and together they earned victory in the Mentor Challenge. Check out their winning recipes below, then click here to browse all the mentors' top picks of plates from Season 12 and Star Salvation so far.
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Good news, fans. If you've ever watched mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis swoon over an especially impressive dish from a finalist on Food Network Star and wished you, too, could experience what they're tasting, you're in luck. We're collecting all of the winning recipes from each challenge in every episode and sharing them with you so you can try them at home.
No matter if you're craving Rob's succulent crab cake or Ana's Cuban-inspired burger from the premiere, or Damiano's seafood taco or Jernard's Greek-inspired mac and cheese from Week 2, we've got the how-tos for you to make these dishes and others. Check them out below, and keep coming back here to find the latest recipes available.
When Food Network Star premieres on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c, this year's cast of hopefuls will quickly learn that when it comes to succeeding at Stardom, there's no such thing as "good enough." Both on the camera and on the plate, they'll be expected to demonstrate mastery and confidence — just as their mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis do on-air and in their dishes. This all-star duo knows just what it takes to not only wow an audience on TV but also to combine flavors, highlight the simplicity of fresh ingredients and teach others how to do the same with their go-to recipes.
By Leah Brickley
Surprise, Dom’s back! Our unsuspecting final three contestants, Eddie, Jay and Arnold, were all shocked to see the scrappy Star Salvation winner return for one last battle. Dom impressed the judges with his homemade agnolotti pasta and best on-camera appearance yet, and he edged Arnold out and joined Eddie and Jay for a final spot to make a pilot.
We were excited to see that New York City’s amazing restaurant and food diversity was inspiration for all of three of the guys' pilots. We share the same enthusiasm and are super-lucky that Food Network Kitchen lives inside Chelsea Market, an indoor food hall with more than 35 food vendors! Needless to say, it’s food paradise. So, inspired by Dom’s delicate little agnolotti, we wandered down to Giovanni Rana — makers of beautiful, high-quality fresh pasta — to find some other stuffed versions. We also visited Russo's Mozzarella and Pasta in the East Village to pick up some of their agnolotti and tortellini.
Here’s what we learned about each (clockwise from top left):
We’re down to our final three! Well, for now, that is, until we find out who's coming back from Star Salvation and rejoining Eddie, Jay and Arnold next week. This week’s competition was all about television presence, and some did better than others on camera. Eddie and Jay were clear standouts during the ensemble cooking-show challenge, and Jay knocked the judges’ socks off when he wrapped up the show with a Strawberry, Bourbon-Basil Smash. We applaud him too! This historic cocktail has such versatility — since there’s no strict way to make one, the combinations are endless. A smash just needs a seasonal fruit, an herb (mint is traditional), sugar, booze and ice, plus a muddler with which to smash the fruit and herbs, drawing out all of their flavor. We like to add a squeeze of citrus for balance.
Follow our pictogram recipe above and experiment with your own smashes. We were in the mood for a Blackberry, Basil and Vodka version (with lemon juice), which is pictured below. Have fun and share your favorite combinations in the comments section.
By Leah Brickley
This week, the five remaining Food Network Star contestants needed to nail their food POVs during the Mentor Challenge. Some struggled with the concept of their food brand (we’re talking to you, Dom), while others knew exactly who they were (Hi, Arnold!). Did anyone else notice how diverse the food was? Our final five took us on a journey around the globe with Middle Eastern (Alex), Italian (Dom), Caribbean (Eddie), Cajun (Jay) and Thai (Arnold) inspired dishes. So taking a cue from the finalists, here are some fun facts about ingredients common to each cuisine, but perhaps unfamiliar to some fans:
By Leah Brickley
We 100 percent loved Arnold’s ramen sliders from this week’s food truck challenge. We’ve been seeing those around New York City for a bit lately, thanks to Keizo Shimamoto — a second-generation Japanese-American blogger turned ramen chef — who premiered his ramen burger at the outdoor Brooklyn-based food market Smorgasburg. It’s been almost two years since the first ramen burger was served, and the love affair is still not over — but you no longer have to go to Brooklyn to get one.
Make them at home; just follow our pictogram recipe below. We used two regular muffin trays as molds, so you don’t have to buy any special equipment. Sandwich your favorite slider combo between two ramen "bun" halves. We made a Vietnamese-inspired slider with a ground pork patty, vegetables and nuoc cham — a common fish-sauce-and-lime-juice sauce.
By Leah Brickley
During the Food Network Star Mentor Challenge this week, the finalists had barely any time to get their pizzas topped and baked — and sadly, many of the pizzas were underdone (except Dom’s, as he wisely used the stovetop to crisp up his crusts). We were reminded of an amazing timesaving pizza dough recipe we recently tested in Food Network Kitchen. It calls for only two ingredients — self-rising flour and Greek yogurt — and no special equipment or proofing time needed. You can mix, knead, roll and top within minutes.
Put 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour and 1 cup full-fat or 2% Greek yogurt in a large bowl. Use your hands to work into a shaggy dough. Then knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Roll out into 1 large round or 2 smaller ones. There’s no need to let it rest! Top and bake how you would normally — we like to use a 500 degree F oven with a preheated baking stone on the bottom rack. You can also refrigerate the dough up to two days and let it come to room temperature before rolling out.
And then there were six! Tune in Sunday at 9|8c to see which Food Network Star finalist goes home next.
Photo courtesy of Heather Ramsdell
By Leah Brickley
The competition moved outdoors this week for a 4th of July cookout. And after the teams unexpectedly had their groceries swapped, we saw which contestants could really think on their feet. We loved that Michelle quickly decided to marinate her chicken, for kebabs, in yogurt — a culinary trick seen in both Mediterranean and Indian cooking. The yogurt imparts flavor and also keeps meat juicy by tenderizing it. Even though Michelle had some grilling issues, her marinating choice was super clever.
Go beyond just yogurt — look at the condiment shelf in your fridge and get inspired for other one-ingredient marinades. Pair any of these condiments with a generous dose of salt and pepper:
Mayonnaise: Because it’s so thick, mayonnaise provides a consistent and generous coating — unlike thinner regular marinades, which tend to separate.
Pesto: Best used on pieces of meat (or fish) that grill up quickly — the oil in pesto can get smoky quickly. Read more
By Leah Brickley
Who else couldn’t believe what happened during the elimination in last week’s episode of Food Network Star? (Whoa!) But drama aside, we thought many of the savory-inspired desserts for the baking challenge looked great. We especially loved Eddie’s chili corn muffins with avocado frosting. So, inspired by Eddie’s savory frosting, we put on our aprons and headed into the Food Network Kitchen to develop a recipe for you to try at home:
3 ripe avocados
1/4 white onion, chopped
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
Juice of 2 limes
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Puree all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Decorate your favorite corn muffins with the frosting — and eat quickly.