Star-a-Day: Malcolm Mitchell

by in Food Network Star, May 4, 2012

Malcolm Mitchell

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Team Bobby's Malcolm Mitchell, 41, changed gears after four years in the Navy and decided to go to culinary school. He now works as a personal chef in Washington, D.C., often for big-name clients.

Fun facts about Malcolm from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: He has cooked for NBA players, singer Mary J. Blige, actor Chris Tucker and the Democratic National Convention. His celeb clients have schooled him in every diet imaginable, from a 5,000-calorie-a-day regimen for a Washington Wizards player to a raw diet for Blige.
  • Dream-show concept: "Simple and soulful," featuring American comfort food like cobblers and mac and cheese.
  • Secret ingredient: Garlic. "I couldn't live without it," he says. His favorite trick is frying thin slices and using them as garnish.

Get to know Malcolm in his Star bio video: Read more

Star-a-Day: Martita Jara

by in Food Network Star, May 3, 2012

Martita Jara

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Today we meet Team Giada's Martita Jara, 35, an interior designer and passionate home cook who grew up in her family's Mexican restaurants in Southern California.

Fun facts about Martita from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: She grew up in a restaurant family, but she has a magic touch with interiors. Every time she designed a home for a bachelor, he has ended up married or engaged within a year.
  • Dream-show concept: "Mi Tortilla," named after her family's chain of Mexican restaurants; it would feature her specialties, like chiles rellenos and sautéed nopales.
  • Secret Ingredient: Chorizo. She sneaks it into everything, even lasagna.

Get to know Martita in her Star bio video: Read more

Star-a-Day: Judson Allen

by in Food Network Star, May 2, 2012

Judson Allen

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Judson Allen, 30, runs his own catering company in Chicago. Having recently lost 100 pounds, he focuses on healthy food, but also loves to cook with the Creole flavors he learned from his grandfather. Like his team leader, Alton Brown, Judson has a penchant for bow ties.

Fun facts about Judson from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: He hosts local cooking demonstrations that are broadcast on the Internet, and he also catered for former Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb's child's baptism.
  • Dream-show concept: "The architect of flavor": It would emphasize New Orleans Creole cuisine, like crab-stuffed shrimp and grits.
  • Secret ingredient: Creole spice blend. He makes his own with cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, fennel and more.

Get to know Judson in his Star bio video: Read more

Star-a-Day: Michele Ragussis

by in Food Network Star, May 1, 2012

Michele Ragussis

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Team Bobby gets today's spotlight with Michele Ragussis, a 42-year-old executive chef. Michele lives and works in Brooklyn, but her roots are in New England.

Fun facts about Michele from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: The New England seafood-obsessed chef appeared on Chopped and won an episode of 24 Hour Restaurant Battle.
  • Dream-show concept: A food talk show. She'd interview all kinds of people: celebrity chefs, grandmas, movie stars and more.
  • Secret ingredient: Portuguese chorizo. She adds it to soups and stuffed clams.

Get to know Michele in her Star bio video: Read more

Star-a-Day: Philip “Ippy” Aiona

by in Food Network Star, April 30, 2012

Philip "Ippy" Aiona

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Today we highlight Team Giada's laid-back Hawaiian native, Philip "Ippy" Aiona. At 23 years old, this executive chef is the baby of the Season 8 finalists.

Fun facts about Ippy from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: On his days off, the chef is a fearless cliff diver. His highest jump was about 80 feet at Boiling Pots falls in Hilo, Hawaii.
  • Dream-show concept: "Ippy's Pacific Voyage," about traditional Hawaiian cooking made accessible. (He grew up working in his family's Hawaiian restaurant.) He'd demonstrate how to make dishes like chicken adobo.
  • Secret ingredient: Anchovies. He uses them as a base for sauces. "It's the natural sea salt," he says.

Get to know Ippy in his Star bio video: Read more

Star-a-Day: Justin Warner

by in Food Network Star, April 29, 2012

Justin Warner

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Today, meet Team Alton's 27-year-old culinary daredevil, Justin Warner. A self-taught cook, he's the chef-owner of a Brooklyn restaurant.

Fun facts about Justin from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: He writes elaborate rap songs about wine and has performed them at Food Network's New York City Wine & Food Festival and the Taste Festival in Los Angeles.
  • Dream-show concept: Think Conan with midnight snacks — a late-night show that's fun and topical and a little less family-friendly than the typical cooking show.
  • Secret ingredient: Fish sauce. Justin uses it in his tomato sauce and everything else: "It produces umami," he says.

Get to know Justin in his Star bio video: Read more

Star-a-Day: Nikki Martin

by in Food Network Star, April 28, 2012

Nikki Martin

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Today it's Team Bobby's turn in the spotlight as we meet Nikki Martin, a spunky 31-year-old food and beverage consultant from West Hollywood, California.

Fun facts about Nikki from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: She played a Tri Pi sorority girl in the 2002 movie Sorority Boys.
  • Dream-show concept: Comfort food with a twist. She'd make traditional American favorites like chili and fried chicken, with unusual global accents.
  • Secret ingredient: Beer. She poaches eggs in Guinness, cooks cheese sauce with Belgian ale and makes Chimay ice cream.

Get to know Nikki in her Star bio video: Read more

Star-a-Day: Yvan Lemoine

by in Food Network Star, April 27, 2012

Yvan Lemoine

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we're introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don't miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Today we're heading over to Team Giada to meet Yvan Lemoine, a 30-year-old New York chef who's originally from Venezuela.

Fun facts about Yvan from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: He has worked at old-guard New York French restaurants La Caravelle and Le Cirque 2000. For his current job at the French Consulate, the Venezuela native once had to sculpt a castle out of food.
  • Dream-show concept: "American tapas," like chili-cheese pigs in blankets. "With small dishes, you're more likely to try new things," he says.
  • Secret ingredient: Liquid smoke. "Living in New York, I cook indoors most of the year. This adds that grill flavor without a grill."

Get to know Yvan in his Star bio video:

Read more

Star-a-Day: Martie Duncan

by in Food Network Star, April 26, 2012

Martie Duncan

In just a few weeks, you'll get to know the 15 new finalists on Season 8 of Food Network Star. Catch the casting special on Saturday, May 12 at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist's road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leader.

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we're introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Star premiere on Sunday, May 13 at 9pm/8c.

Today, we kick things off with Alton's fellow Southerner, Martie Duncan, a "slightly over 40"-year-old entertaining enthusiast from Birmingham, Alabama.

Fun facts about Martie from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: Martie has been shot at, beaten up and run over in her previous job as a Birmingham police officer. More recently, she traveled the world to play polo.
  • Dream-show concept: Stress-free entertaining. "Honestly, you can take a frozen lasagna, bake that sucker and sprinkle really good Parmesan over it. A party doesn't have to be perfect."
  • Secret ingredient: Cayenne. She spikes a lot of dishes with it, including dessert.

Get to know Martie in her Star bio video:

Read more

Poll: Whose Team Will Prevail on Food Network Star?

by in Food Network Star, April 2, 2012

Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay

Star fans, buckle up. This season is a game-changer. In addition to 15 passionate hopefuls vying for their shot at a Food Network show, three all-star producers are also facing off as team leaders. You may have heard of them: None other than Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will each coach five finalists through the intense competition, each striving for one of their own to make it into the network's lineup.

While we wait patiently for the premiere on Sunday, May 13, we're asking for your predictions. Whose team do you see as the force to be reckoned with? Which of these three Food Network icons will make the best teacher and produce our next Star?

Meet all the finalists and find out more about the new season at FoodNetwork.com/star.

Join your fellow Star fans for pre-premiere chatter on Facebook and Twitter (#Star). Are you pulling for #TeamAlton, #TeamBobby or #TeamGiada? Vote now!

 

 

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