The Sandwich King Hits South Beach

by in Food Network Star, July 12, 2012


In between parties, cooking demos and guest-judging the Star episode airing this Sunday, last year's winner, Jeff Mauro, found some time during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival to show FN Dish where to find the best sandwiches in Miami. Over French salami and Camembert at La Sandwicherie, the Sandwich King catches us up on the whirlwind year he's had since winning Star.

Just one year ago, Jeff stood in the finalists' shoes. "I've learned so much that I've applied to every aspect of this business so far," he says. "You learn a lot through taping your season. You know, small things like smiling all the time. I'm always learning. Most of all, I've learned that it's a fun business!"

Watch the exclusive video and don't miss this Sunday's episode, where Jeff joins an all-star panel of guest judges including Sunny Andersen, Anne Burrell, Aaron Sanchez, Robert Irvine and Melissa d'Arabian.

Poll: Who’s the Most Improved Star Finalist?

by in Food Network Star, July 11, 2012

Who's the Most Improved Star Finalist?Think back to almost 10 weeks ago when we first met this season’s 15 Food Network Star hopefuls. As a group, they were a bit timid, unsure of the whole cooking-in-front-of-a-camera-for-famous-people thing, but extremely eager to prove themselves and their cooking chops to their mentors and the network. Thanks to the mentoring of Alton, Bobby and Giada, each contestant had the opportunity to grow as a cook and potential television personality, though some finalists’ stays at Star were too short-lived to benefit from their advice. The remaining six finalists, however, have enjoyed a month and a half of constructive criticism and countless chances to show their progress toward stardom, and this Sunday, Ippy, Justin, Martie, Michele, Nikki and Yvan will have a final few moments to demonstrate their improvement and promising Star potential in a promo for their would-be Food Network show.

Tell us: Which of the remaining Star finalists is the most improved contender?

 

Expect the Unexpected — Star Commentary

by in Food Network Star, July 10, 2012

Nikki Martin

Sabotage was the name of the game this week, as the final seven Food Network Star contenders attempted to dodge unexpected hurdles during their live cooking demos. These obstacles ranged from a messed-up microphone during Yvan’s performance and a broken blender in Nikki’s presentation to a persistent audience heckler during Justin’s demo and everything in between. The idea was to play to the finalists’ weaknesses in an attempt to gauge how they instinctively react to unforeseen challenges and minor issues. “They’ve gotta roll with the punches and come out the other end,” Alton Brown explained.

Though some viewers were frustrated that the contestants were purposely messed with, others couldn’t help but laugh as they watched the finalists maneuver — some gracefully, some not so much — through their presentations. One Star fan, Holly Burtchaell @RandomCravings, Tweeted her reaction to this week’s challenge. “I hate to admit it…I love the episode when they mess with them! @FoodNetwork #Star,” she wrote, earning our Fan Post of the Week.

Join the #Star conversation on Twitter and Facebook and your comments may be featured in our weekly roundup of Fan Chatter. 

Who’s your favorite finalist still in the running? Don’t forget to cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day and tune in to this Sunday’s episode at 9pm/8c to see who from #TeamAlton#TeamBobby or #TeamGiada goes home next.

Aarti’s After Party: Thinking on Your Feet

by in Food Network Star, July 8, 2012

team giada

Aarti 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.

I was all smiles after watching Martie, Yvan and Michele do their demos this week.

In fact, after watching Michele stretch for an extra minute by talking about how looking for holes in the sand is a marker for good clams, I wrote this down on my notepad: “Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy!”

Let’s face it: There’s enough stuff on TV that leaves you with a sour puss on your face, or wringing your hands over the fate of the world.

Watching a show about food is a warm, happy place — somewhere to escape at the end of a long day.

There’s a direct connection between how much fun you’re having and how much fun your audience has as a result. Ask any actor, comedian, dancer, public speaker or now, the future Food Network star.

Read more

Martita’s Exit Interview: Farewell to Team Giada

by in Food Network Star, July 8, 2012

Evaluation Team GiadaOn the latest episode of Star, Team Giada said a tearful goodbye to Martita Jara. The judges felt that after nine weeks, they’d seen glimmers of a star, but Martita just wasn’t quite ready for prime-time. The pitch room was emotional on all sides: “It has been such a pleasure knowing you, and your food is amazing,” Bob Tuschman told Martita.

Before leaving Miami, Martita sat down to share some parting words. Here’s a sneak peek at what she had to say:

Read more

Caption It: Cooking With Cameras

by in Food Network Star, July 6, 2012

Week after week, we see that for many Food Network Star finalists, the camera proves to be their toughest challenge. It forces them to look past the lens and make a connection with viewers, while, of course, remembering to speak clearly, explain their dishes, weave in personal stories, integrate their culinary points of view and more – all in a matter of seconds.

But one aspect of Star that’s rarely shown is what it takes to cook in the midst of cameras, to slice and dice ingredients, sauté on the stove, work kitchen appliances and more while multiple cameras are watching and recording every move. In this sneak-peek shot from Sunday night’s episode, we get a feel for the conditions in which Martie, Justin, Michele, Nikki and the others are working. Do these seemingly larger-than-life cameras distract the finalists, or are they just used to them by week nine? Heading into the final few weeks of the competition, will they be able to keep their cool on camera?

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 close-up moment in the comments below.

 

Poll: Which Eliminated Finalist Would You Bring Back?

by in Food Network Star, July 5, 2012


We’ve seen your Tweets, Facebook posts and blog comments, and we know that some viewers are frustrated, confused and downright angry about particular eliminations from the past eight episodes. One Food Network Star fan went so far as to write that the network “made the worst decision ever” in sending home Team Alton’s Emily.

It’s the nature of the Star beast that even in the very first week of the competition someone must be eliminated. Still, you can’t help but wonder if that first person and others sent home later could have improved, and proven themselves real contenders, if they stayed longer. After all, maybe they just needed a few extra days to adjust to the demands of shooting. Perhaps they would have benefitted from more time with their mentors.

If you could, which eliminated finalist would you bring back?

Who’s your favorite finalist still in the running? Don’t forget to cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.

Paula’s Biggest Fan — Star Commentary

by in Food Network Star, July 4, 2012


As if the Miami sun wasn’t enough to heat up last week’s episode of Food Network Star, Paula Deen stopped by to attend the beach party the finalists threw for VIP guests at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. She and her son Bobby joined the mentors and network to taste and judge the remaining contestants’ dishes, and offer words of encouragement and constructive criticism to those who needed it.

No one had a better reaction to Paula’s arrival than Team Alton’s Martie. In one of the most endearing moments of the season, she became overcome with emotion and “is-this-real-life” thoughts, crying in the middle of the challenge, “This is a huge deal. I’m Martie Duncan from Birmingham, Alabama, and I’m cooking for Paula Deen!” Paula, too, became emotional during judging, saying that she “loved Martie the person” and “could identify with everything she said.” These two Southern gals were truly “birds of a feather,” as Martie put it.

Star viewer Arian @afgbruins21 couldn’t help but notice Martie’s over-the-top reaction to seeing and meeting the queen of Southern cuisine. “Dying Martie is fangirling over Paula Deen so hard I love it so cute #star,” she Tweeted, expressing the thoughts of the judges, mentors and fellow finalists, and earning our Fan Post of the Week.

Join the #Star conversation on Twitter and Facebook and your comments may be featured in our weekly roundup of Fan Chatter. 

Who’s your favorite finalist still in the running? Don’t forget to cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day and tune in to this Sunday’s episode at 9pm/8c to see who from #TeamAlton#TeamBobby or #TeamGiada goes home next.

Team Bobby Falls to Two

by in Food Network Star, July 3, 2012

This was a tough week for Team Bobby, with two finalists going head-to-head in a Producers' Challenge battle of cocktails. No matter how it shook out, Bobby would lose a member of his team.  He was hesitant to say anything at all in the pitch room (or pitch beach, as it was this week): "I didn't want to sway the judges one way or the other based on my comments."

In the end, Bob and Susie decided to send Malcolm Mitchell home. Despite food that consistently impressed them, Malcolm was never fully able to hone his "soulful" POV. "Malcolm's POV was confusing," Susie says. "After eight weeks, we need to know who he is through his food."

Malcolm left the competition in good spirits: "I leave happy. I wanted to win it, but at the end of the day, I did everything that I could do. I was real."

Hear more from Susie and Malcolm in his exclusive exit interview. Did you think Malcolm should have gone home over Michele?

Flip through Malcolm’s Star Scrapbook and more behind-the-scenes photos from Episode Eight. Read more

Justin Keeps the Lead

by in Community, Food Network Star, July 2, 2012

Justin Warner

Justin Warner is holding strong in the weekly Fan Vote with 31% of your votes. Longtime leader Martita Jara is still a close second at 29%, and her teammate Ippy Aiona has fallen to 17% but still hangs on to third place. With just two weeks to go until our Finale Vote — where you, the fans, will decide on our next Food Network Star — will Justin continue to impress the judges with his outside-the-box food and rebel-rousing ways?

The in-season Fan Vote resets each week, so make sure to cast your vote for your favorite finalist up to 10 times per day.

Check out the complete list of Week Seven Fan Vote results:

Fan Vote results

 

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