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

Cheers to the Rebel: New Star Justin Chats With Fans

by in Food Network Star, July 24, 2012

Justin Warner's Winning Moment Season 8Just one day after being crowned the next Food Network Star, Justin Warner was already on the job.

He stopped by Food Network’s offices on Monday to join a Facebook chat with some of his biggest fans. Offering a rarely seen glimpse of what makes him tick, Justin answered fans’ questions about everything — his hopes for his new show, the craziest meal he’s ever made, his favorite movies, hair product of choice and more. Read on for some of the best moments from our Q&A session with Justin and get to know this Rebel With a Culinary Cause.

Debbie Smith: Congratulations, Justin! Has the shock worn off yet? My question is: In five years, what other projects would you like to do for FN? I ask this because many of the stars branch out after their first show settles in. For example, Guy with his Big Bites, DDD and hosting cook-offs.

Justin Warner (JW): No, the shock has not worn off. I'm still stupefied. I think there is an array of applications for someone like myself.

Regina Petrucci: What's your favorite moment from being on the show?

JW: My favorite moment was when Martie got to make a pilot too.

Maria Eivers Medley: What was the one experience on the show that you wish you could have done differently or do over again?

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Star Exclusive: The Winner’s First Interview

by in Food Network Star, July 22, 2012

Justin Warner and Alton BrownJustin Warner, Team Alton's rebel with a culinary cause, is our new Food Network Star! Just moments after the curtain fell to reveal his face beside Alton's, Bobby's and Giada's on the wall of esteemed Food Network talent, we caught up with Justin to hear his reaction to this life-changing win.

Justin, if you had to describe in one word the feeling you had right before they announced the winner, what would it be?

JW: Nuts.

What's something you took away from this experience?

JW: I realized I have a strong desire to teach people. I never knew that until I saw the reaction of fans in the audience and on Twitter. I say to myself, "Wow! They trust me with that?" Because a year and a half ago, I didn't even know how to cook. To now be an authority on these things, at least in some people's eyes, it's amazing and I'll never forget that.

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Caption It: A Look Back at the Season’s Best Moments

by in Food Network Star, July 20, 2012

Think back to this season’s Food Network Star premiere. For the first time, we were introduced to Team Alton’s quirky cast of characters, Team’s Giada’s little family unit and Team Bobby’s batch of no-nonsense cooks. Robert Irvine stopped by to present the first challenge, a Restaurant: Impossible-style mission that tasked the teams with opening their own restaurants on a limited budget. There were even on-stage acrobatics in that episode, thanks to Team Giada’s Josh, who began his presentation with an over-the-top somersault. It wasn't even long ago, but a whole lot has happened to those initial 15 finalists since then.

As you get ready to watch this Sunday’s finale episode and find out who you, the fans, picked to be our next Food Network Star, take a look back at where it all started. Find out more about Team Alton, Team Giada and Team Bobby and re-watch past full episodes or catch up on any that you missed. Hear from eliminated finalists, get exclusive interviews with guest judges, the mentors and more and flip through our photo gallery of the season’s most memorable moments.

Don't forget to check out the final four contenders’ pilot videos — on Sunday one of them will become Food Network’s newest show.

Before you tune in to the finale this Sunday at 9pm/8c, we’re challenging you, Star fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this retrospective moment in the comments below.

 

Poll: Who Was the Best Mentor?

by in Food Network Star, July 19, 2012

Alton, Giada and Bobby - Food Network StarWhen it comes to mentoring, Bobby’s, Alton’s and Giada’s styles couldn’t be more different. In the season premiere, we learned what each was looking for when they hand-picked their teams of five Food Network Star hopefuls: Bobby sought out no-nonsense cooks, Alton culinary teachers and Giada outgoing personalities. As the season continued, it turned out that the mentors’ selection criteria mirrored their own leadership styles.

Bobby found it most effective to maintain a professional relationship with his team and to tailor his instruction to each individual's needs. He spoke of his approach to the other mentors in an exclusive video. “I really try to bounce off the people that I’m mentoring, because I feel like they sort of drive me to the way I’m going to mentor and what I’m going to actually utilize to help them,” he said in Miami.

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The Most Intense Episode. Ever. — Star Commentary

by in Food Network Star, July 18, 2012



Well, you can’t say that Food Network doesn’t know how to shake things up, right? This year, the network is leaving the decision of this year’s winner in your hands, fans. And while the opportunity to vote for your next Star ended last night at 5pm, you can relive the emotional and surprising episode that sent four hopefuls instead of three to the finale.

In an unprecedented moment during last Sunday’s elimination, both of Team Alton’s final two contenders, Justin and Martie, were given green lights to create show pilots and advanced to the finale to compete against Team Bobby’s Michele and Team Giada’s Yvan. Understandably, tension filled the air in Miami’s outdoor pitch room, as Alton, Justin and Martie waited to find out who would be sent home. And of course, that same angst found its way into many fans’ living rooms on Sunday, as they endured a doozy of a cliffhanger.

Sunny Anderson was among those watching the drama unfold from home. Though she sat on the guest panel that judged the six contestants’ promo videos, she and the other judges didn’t see the elimination, so this week’s shocking turn of events was just as stunning to her as it was to fans. Sunny Tweeted a spot-on reaction to the commercial break before the announcement. “IF YOU JUST YELLED AT YOUR TV RT!!!! I hate a cliffhanger!!! #star,” she wrote, earning our Fan Post of the Week. Many fellow Star fans echoed her feelings. Read more

Star Snacks: Viewing Party Treats From the Final Four

by in Food Network Star, July 17, 2012

Star Snack RecipesThe vote is now closed and it's just a waiting game until the newest Star winner — chosen by you! — is crowned in Sunday night's finale. In preparation for viewing parties across the country, Martie, Yvan, Michele and Justin each created an original snack recipe especially for their fans.

The final four learned a thing or two from Alton, Bobby and Giada during their successful Star runs — devoted fans could likely guess which POV-perfect snack belongs to each finalist just by looking at them. Martie goes with her twist on a party staple, chips and dip. Yvan parties family-style with a batch of empanadas. Michele serves up a New England spin on deviled eggs. And Justin creates a rebellious take on a favorite nacho cheese-flavored chip.

Check out our gallery of Star-worthy snacks and serve them at your viewing party to cheer on your favorite Food Network hopeful. And of course, don't miss the finale this Sunday at 9pm/8c!

 

Aarti’s After Party: It All Comes Down to You

by in Food Network Star, July 16, 2012

Final Four - Season 8 Food Network StarAarti 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 shares her insider’s take on what went down each week.

Deep breath.

I imagine there are a lot of deep breaths happening in the homes of four particular people this week. As I type, four separate hearts are probably beating wildly. Four minds may be letting their imaginations run wild. Four souls might be praying for four particular outcomes.

An outcome that depends on a click of your index finger.

Oh, the drama of it all!

Sure, we’ve all seen our fair share of reality competition shows, so perhaps the novelty has worn off, perhaps we’ve grown jaded. But having had my own future held in the hands of others, I’d just like to remind you of what you have the power to do right now. Read more

Caption It: Do They Like What They See?

by in Food Network Star, July 13, 2012

Susie, Anne, Jeff and SunnyAfter nine weeks of Star Challenges, Producers’ Challenge face-offs, last-minute secret ingredients, celebrity chef appearances and Miami beach parties, the competition comes down to this Sunday’s penultimate episode. The top six Food Network Star finalists, Ippy, Justin, Martie, Michele, Nikki and Yvan, have just one chance to strut their stuff and prove themselves worthy of a chance at stardom in a promo for their own Food Network show.

Who better to judge the finalists’ performances than a group of food-television pros, including Anne Burrell, last season’s Star winner Jeff Mauro and Sunny Anderson. Take a look at the sneak-peek shot above and notice Jeff’s slight smile and Anne’s and Sunny’s questioning eyes — do you think they like what they see? For which finalists will the Star dream end on Sunday, and who will be able to film their very own pilot programs?

Check out a video preview of Sunday night’s episode to get more behind-the-scenes footage.

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c, we’re challenging you, Star fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this telling moment in the comments below.

Then after Sunday's episode, the winner comes down to you, fans! Be sure to visit FoodNetwork.com/Star before Tuesday, July 17 at 5pm to cast your vote for our next Food Network Star. You can vote online up to 10 times per day.

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