The Early Days of Stardom — Alton Brown on Good Eats

by in Food Network Star, May 21, 2013

Alton BrownThree of Food Network's longest-standing chefs, Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, are no strangers to the demands of stardom, now having years of experience multitasking in front of the camera and cooking. But before they were industry professionals, Alton, Bobby and Giada, too, once had to learn the ins and outs of what this job entails, much like Star finalists will in the early weeks on set. As Star Talk gets ready to kick off an all-new ninth season of Food Network Star, we'll be taking a look back at each judge-mentor's earliest days on the network, revisiting their earliest shows and exploring how they turned their passion for food into a full-time job.

Alton BrownBefore you saw him as the watchful eye over Iron Chef America and Next Iron Chef competitors or as the motorcycle-riding culinary adventurer on Feasting on Asphalt, you were likely watching Alton in the kitchen as he hosted Good Eats. In this epic 13-year series, Alton set out not just to teach recipes or everyday kitchen skills, but rather to tackle the science of dishes or ingredients and to explain the hows, whys and whats behind them.

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Star-a-Day: Chris Hodgson

by in Food Network Star, May 21, 2013

Chris HodgsonYou heard it here first: Food Network Star is kicking off an all-new ninth season on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, and returning judge-mentors Alton BrownBobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there at the helm. This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly Mentor and Star Challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job: their own show on Food Network. While the contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds — including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging — they have but one dream, which is to become the next Food Network Star. From now until next month's premiere, Star Talk will introduce one finalist a day until you, Star fans, meet them on camera during the show.

A Season 3 runner-up on The Great Food Truck Race, Chris Hodgson, 27, lives in Cleveland and is largely responsible for the city's fascination with food trucks. He's a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu who opened his first brick-and-mortar restaurant, Hodge's, after founding two food trucks, Dim and Den Sum, and Hodge Podge.

Watch Chris' casting video

Star-a-Day: Chad Rosenthal

by in Food Network Star, May 20, 2013

Chad RosenthalYou heard it here first: Food Network Star is kicking off an all-new ninth season on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, and returning judge-mentors Alton BrownBobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there at the helm. This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly Mentor and Star Challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job: their own show on Food Network. While the contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds — including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging — they have but one dream, which is to become the next Food Network Star. From now until next month's premiere, Star Talk will introduce one finalist a day until you, Star fans, meet them on camera during the show.

A father of two, Chad Rosenthal, 37, lives in Ambler, Pa., and is passionate about all things barbecue and has won several barbecue competitions in the past. Now opening a comfort food eatery near Philadelphia, this self-taught cook grew up hosting a pretend cooking show for his family. He's now eager to turn that childhood hobby into a career.

Watch Chad's casting video

Star-a-Day: Andres Guillama

by in Food Network Star, May 19, 2013

Andres GuillamaYou heard it here first: Food Network Star is kicking off an all-new ninth season on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, and returning judge-mentors Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there at the helm. This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly Mentor and Star Challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job: their own show on Food Network. While the contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds — including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging — they have but one dream, which is to become the next Food Network Star. From now until next month's premiere, Star Talk will introduce one finalist a day until you, Star fans, meet them on camera during the show.

Andres Guillama, 26, was born into a traditional Cuban family and grew up working at his father's restaurant. After struggling with his weight, Andres changed his daily habits and lost 150 pounds. Now living in Waynesville, N.C., he's a childhood obesity prevention coach working with children on the basics of nutrition. He's eager to show viewers that healthy food is indeed deliciously satisfying, and he looks forward to showing them how to prepare it at home.

Watch Andres' casting video

Chatting With Food Network Star’s Susie Fogelson

by in Interviews, Judges, May 9, 2013

Susie FogelsonFor years on Food Network Star you've seen Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson guide, grow and, ultimately, judge and eliminate dozens of Star hopefuls, but how much do you know about these face of Food Network executives? Just in time for next month's all-new Star premiere, on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, FN Dish chatted with both Bob and Susie to learn a bit more about their roles at Food Network, their experiences in the kitchen, plus their thoughts on past seasons of competition and what makes an ideal Star candidate. Read on below to get the inside television scoop from Susie, senior vice president, marketing, creative services & brand strategy, then read an exclusive interview with Bob.

Tell us a bit about what you do. What does a typical day look like for you?
Susie: Busy! I have the best team in the business, but it takes a lot of meetings, brainstorming and work sessions to keep this ship sailing. We’re all pretty much nonstop from the minute we get into the office, but we also all manage to have a good work/life balance, which is the most important thing.

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Chatting With Food Network Star’s Bob Tuschman

by in Food Network Star, May 8, 2013

Bob TuschmanFor years on Food Network Star you've seen Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson guide, grow and, ultimately, judge and eliminate dozens of Star hopefuls, but how much do you know about these face of Food Network executives? Just in time for next month's all-new Star premiere, on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, FN Dish chatted with both Bob and Susie to learn a bit more about their roles at Food Network, their experiences in the kitchen, plus their thoughts on past seasons of competition and what makes an ideal Star candidate. Read on below to get the inside television scoop from Bob, senior vice president/general manager of Food Network, then read an exclusive interview with Susie.

Tell us a bit about what you do. What does a typical day look like for you?
Bob: My limousine picks me up at noon. I try to get a good half-hour of work in before heading off to lunch with one of our stars. Depending on how many martinis, I usually go straight home to prepare for another stressful day!

Oh, for real? My day is usually back-to-back meetings. My (extraordinary) programmers and I review show pitches, brainstorm new ideas, and watch rough cuts of new episodes and series. I also meet with agents, producers and our stars to talk about new projects. It’s fun! And they pay me.

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QUIZ: Are You a Food Network Star Superfan?

by in Food Network Star, May 7, 2013

Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby FlayNot an ordinary competition, Food Network Star gives everyday home cooks and professional restaurant chefs alike the chance to put their culinary chops on the line and their most camera-ready faces forward in a multi-month job interview for the chance to score their own Food Network show. This summer marks the tenth season of contest, and during the past decade, the challenges have evolved to become more grueling, the expectations more demanding and the eliminations more dramatic. From Guy to Melissa to Damaris and all of the finalists and competition in between, have you, Star fans, been keeping up with the best moments and most-shocking turns of events?

As you gear up for an unprecedented season with finalists' hopes on the line, test your knowledge of Star history, past competitors and guest-judge appearances, plus top recipes, seasons' highlights and winners' crowning moments. Take the quiz below to find out if you're the ultimate Star superfan, then browse Food Network's Star headquarters for insider interviews, exclusive videos, behind-the-scenes photos and more from the show.

Are You a Food Network Star Superfan?

Think you're up to speed on what's gone down on Star? Answer these questions to learn how well you know the show and relive some of the most-unforgettable moments from the first eight seasons.
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Coming This Summer: Food Network Star Season 9

by in Food Network Star, April 18, 2013

Bobby, Giada and AltonWhile most will be enjoying a summer full of weekend road trips, lazy afternoons by the pool and casual evening cookouts, 12 hopeful finalists on Food Network Star will be facing off in the ultimate multi-month job interview for a chance to earn the most-coveted career in the culinary industry: hosting their own Food Network show.

The ninth season of this life-changing competition is set to start on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, when contenders will travel to Los Angeles to begin an 11-week journey, complete with all-new Mentor and Star Challenges, surprise chef guests and on-location demands. For the finalists, simply showing off advanced cooking chops or shining camera-ready smiles won't be enough. If they want to survive weekly eliminations, they'll have to work their way to the coveted Star sweet spot, demonstrating both a mastery of the kitchen and an effortless television charm.

Meet the finalists

Aarti’s Finale After Party: Winner-to-Winner Advice

by in Food Network Star, July 26, 2012

Justin Warner's Winning MomentAarti Sequeira won Food Network Star season 6 and expanded her popular blog into a cooking show, Aarti Party (catch it on Food Network, Sundays at 7:30am/6:30c). As a Star veteran watching from her couch at home, Aarti shared her insider’s take on what went down each week during season 8.

I’d like to talk to the three people who didn’t win this past Sunday. Michele, Yvan and Martie: You guys battled your hearts out and I know this must be a hard time for you. It might get even harder; after something as momentous as this competition, there’s an inevitable adrenaline crash. It might even creep up on you long after all the Star talk dies down. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find yourself struggling with a serious case of the mopes for a little bit. Months of emotions, self-reflection and physical/psychological exertion take their toll.

And know that this isn’t the end of the road by any means. Just look at the careers of Kelsey Nixon, Jeffrey Saad and Tom Pizzica, to name a few. This is the springboard, the beginning of something. One of my idols, Christiane Amanpour, talks about how strongly she believes in the power of mistakes, the power of “failure” to propel you, to teach you, to refine you. She said that our generation is afraid of making mistakes, and perhaps it’s because we are so obsessed with perfection. But no one learns from perfection, certainly not me. So take a break, be kind to yourself, and then go grab your horse, saddle her up and get back on. Your journey isn’t over yet, loves.

To Justin, CONGRATULATIONS! And welcome to the family! The network of Food Network Star winners is small but tight, so I think I can safely speak for all of us in saying that we’ve got your back should you need anything. You better get used to us hugging you like we’ve known you forever.

Actually, that brings me to the first of three (unsolicited) pieces of advice:

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Star Scrapbooks: A Look Back

by in Food Network Star, July 25, 2012

Nikki Martin and Star Journals Season 8This game-changing season of Food Network Star kicked off with 15 finalists in New York City. Alton, Bobby and Giada each started with a team of five, and as challenges progressed week by week, we saw each team fall to four, to three, to two, to one — with the exception of Mr. Brown's team, which sent two contenders to the finale in an unexpected twist.

As finalists were sent home from the pitch room, they left behind their Star journals. Each of these notebooks offers a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into a finalist's Star experience. Who made meticulous prep lists for every dish? Who wrote diary-like reflections about the competition? Who drew quirky, hilarious sketches to illustrate his anxiousness when larger-than-life Star alum Guy Fieri appeared on set? OK, that last one (pictured below) could only be the work of our newly crowned winner, Justin Warner.

Relive this memorable season with a look back at all 15 Star Scrapbooks.

Justin's journal

Justin Warner (Winner!) Read more

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