by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Judges, Videos, June 23, 2016
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Videos, June 22, 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, Videos, June 21, 2016
If you've ever taken a road trip, you know that many fast-food dining destinations can leave a lot to be desired. This week, it was up to the Star Salvation finalists to reinvent the everyday road-trip tastes you know and (probably don't) love, transforming them into satisfying fare worthy of a pit stop. The trick? These dishes had to be ideal for the whole family — Mom and Dad in the front seat and the little ones in the back.
Click the play button on the video above to watch the second episode unfold and see how returning hopefuls Aaron and Yaku, plus newcomer Monterey, handled the speed bumps in the battle this week.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Videos, June 15, 2016
Following Jernard's blah performance during his tableside service presentation last week, the Food Network Star finalist was determined to bring his A-game this week. In the Mentor Challenge, he wowed the panel with a clever hack for a martini shaker and managed to drop what judge Bobby Flay called a little signature "Jernard swagger" in the process. "You have to be on tilt from here on out," Bobby told him. "Get uncivilized." Sure enough, come the Star Challenge, Jernard did just that, delivering a presentation at the tailgate in which he not only talked about taking shots with his wife, but also about how he rubs her feet. His strong showing — a de-civilization of the best kind, perhaps — indeed left a mark on the mentors. "You feel happiness pouring out of him, and it draws you in. And that's a gift," Giada De Laurentiis noted.
Relive Jernard's performances in both challenges by clicking the play button on the video above.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Videos, June 14, 2016
In the first several episodes of Food Network Star, hopefuls Havird, Aaron and Yaku came to the end of their journeys and were ultimately sent home — but not for long. This week they returned to Food Star Kitchen for a second shot at Stardom in the first installment of Star Salvation, hosted by Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and Eddie Jackson, last year's winner of Food Network Star. Over the course of six weeks, ousted finalists from each episode will join Alex and Eddie, plus whichever rivals remain from past battles, to compete to rejoin the Season 12 competition. And if the first showdown, featuring Havird, Aaron and Yaku, is any indication, these mentors have no-nonsense challenges up their sleeves in an effort to find the worthiest competitor.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Videos, May 31, 2016
You know those moments on TV that make you wince and curl up into a ball as you watch the action unfold through your fingers over your eyes? That happened not once but twice during this week's episode of Food Network Star. The stakes were high as finalists cooked for VIP hotel guests Jesse Tyler Ferguson, of Modern Family fame, and YouTube's Hannah Hart, and not everyone handled their nerves well.
As Monterey put the finishing touches on her sea bass dish during her tableside presentation, Bobby asked for details of the plate, to which Monterey simply replied, "Be patient." That's the retort to end all retorts, right? It was as uncomfortable as it sounds.
And not long after, Monterey was back in the spotlight, this time helping Ana with her dishes — and gaining an unfortunate nickname in the process. "Nut girl! Are you burning my nuts?" Ana questioned Monterey. Even the mentors couldn't help but laugh. And with Ana's obvious nervous energy added to the mix, the situation turned awkward — quickly.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Videos, May 25, 2016
No finalist enjoys being sent home from the Food Network Star competition. After all, this contest has the potential to change hopefuls' lives and ultimately set them on a much-coveted career path, so when the mentors deliver the news of elimination, it's simply crushing to the ousted rival. But on Sunday night's new episode of Food Network Star, when a double elimination shocked the cast, Aaron was particularly upset to be among the bottom-four rivals.
During evaluation, Aaron attempted to defend his Star Challenge dish to the panel, telling Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, "I threw in some bacon, just to give it a little depth of flavor — all the love that I put into that." But in the end Giada told him his plate just didn't best Rob's, and Aaron wasn't satisfied with the feedback. "It's complete BS," Aaron said in the stew room. "My dish was great, you know? I tasted everything, over and over and over." And when he learned that he'd be going home, Aaron became only more displeased. Before leaving the competition, he offered the judges one final parting line: "Suck it."
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Videos, May 19, 2016
After three weeks of hard-fought competition on Comeback Kitchen, Martita, a Season 8 finalist, earned the right to join the cast of Food Network Star, Season 12 and kick off yet another journey to Stardom. Just when her would-be rivals were least expecting it, mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis shocked them with the news that she'd be joining them in the contest. And the reactions were ... interesting. While seemingly everyone was shocked by Martita's surprise appearance, a few were downright upset at the prospect of yet another competitor, though Jernard was quick to admit, "I'm not sweating at all."
Click the play button on the video above to watch what went down.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Videos, May 17, 2016
What started as a pool of countless applicants is now just a crop of 12: those lucky dozen hopefuls who are set to compete on Food Network Star, Season 12. But before the finalists became just that — the competitors who are officially part of the cast — they had to prove themselves, their culinary histories and their on-camera charisma in introductory casting videos. We got our hands on those first-person accounts, and now it's your turn, fans, to watch these exclusive clips and see what you think of the rivals as they present themselves. Read on below to view them all.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Videos, April 28, 2016
Penny had but one goal this week: "I want to see Matthew crash and burn today," she said simply. And thanks to the Star Challenge advantage she earned after winning the Mentor Challenge, she was well on her way to realizing that goal. She had the privilege of assigning each of her competitors their allotted cooking times, and it came as no surprise to Matthew that she saddled him with the least amount of time to make his diner dish, just 30 quick minutes, while she enjoyed a full 45 minutes.
As Matthew was watching from the sidelines waiting for his time to start, he was quick to notice that the very person who sabotaged him was well on her way to making severe missteps in her own dish of liver and onions. "I look over at Penny's liver, and it is already a train wreck," he explained of Penny's prep work with a sly grin. "Liver has a very metallic flavor to it, and to get that iron flavor out, the first thing you have to do is soak it," he said, explaining a crucial process that she did not follow. "It's going to be so gross." And it turned out, Penny's finished liver did include that dreaded metallic taste, just as Matthew predicted — and the judges were indeed able to discern it.
In just a few short weeks, eager Comeback Kitchen finalists will enter the hallowed arena that is Food Star Kitchen — again. These seven hopefuls have competed on Food Network Star before but were eliminated before they reached full Star power. Now, though, with one season behind them and plenty of been-there-done-that learnings in their back pockets, these returning rivals are ready to demonstrate their growth and show off their readiness for a second chance at Stardom.