Slap Fights, Homesickness and a Decision to Leave — Jeff’s Star Report

by in Food Network Star, Recap, July 20, 2015

Food Network StarWe begin this episode with a quick (yet tasty) amuse-bouche of heavy foreshadowing, served by the only remaining female finalist, Michelle. According to my brain muscle, she might be going home today.

That being said, we begin the day with a round of brunch confessions. Guess what? Dom likes meatballs and girls for brunch, Eddie likes steak and grits for brunch, and International Man of Mystery, Alex, is addicted to that classic brunch dish of chipped beef on toast. Brunch, brunch, brunch, crunch. Who doesn’t love a good ol’ brunch? It’s the most relaxing of all weekend breakfast-lunch hybrid meals. It’s the only time of the week when it is A-OK to drink unlimited Cold Duck mimosas with your friends and loved ones. It truly is the only meal of the week where you can eat pancakes and lamb shanks — SIMULTANEOUSLY. Most of all, it’s the only time you can legally get drunk during breakfast. Brunch is the best! Right? Wrong, at least for the finalists, because now they have only 20 minutes to piece together a quality brunch dish — to go!

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One-on-One with the Latest Food Network Star Finalist to Go Home

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, July 19, 2015

Food Network StarIt's the nature of the Food Network Star beast that even though no matter how badly finalists want to achieve their dreams of stardom, ultimately only one can win the coveted title, and with that, 11 finalists will be going home. Every week Star Talk will bring you the first exclusive interview with the most-recently eliminated finalist. From thoughts on mentors' critiques to reflections on past challenges and hopes for the future, be sure to check back every Sunday night for the latest one-on-one chat. We're about to break down the ins and outs of tonight's new episode and reveal who went home, so if you've yet to watch the show, read no further until then.

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Caption It: Where’s the LOL Emoji When You Need It?

by in Food Network Star, July 17, 2015

Food Network StarThe timed challenges, the unexpected twists, the life-changing prize that will be awarded in just a few weeks — these factors and surely others contribute to the high-pressure, higher-stakes atmosphere of Food Network Star, for both the finalists competing and the judges mentoring the hopefuls. But that doesn't mean the group doesn't know how to let loose and laugh every once in a while.

Take a look at the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's new episode. It appears that Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are all about the LOL, as is guest judge Richard Blais, who'll be on hand for the food truck challenge this week. What do you think they're cracking up about, and who's responsible for causing this kind of belly-chuckling hilarity?

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Midterm Elections: Who’s the Frontrunner and Your Current Favorite?

by in Community, Food Network Star, July 16, 2015
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Food Network StarFrom first-impression spotlights and sunny days at an alfresco food festival to a not-so-sweet baking challenge, a 4th of July switcheroo cookout and a think-on-your-toes improv challenge, the remaining rivals have survived six weeks of camera and culinary challenges, and now only half of them remain as they reach the midpoint of the competition. As they gear up for the second half of the contest and you, the fans at home, get close to meeting your newest Food Network Star, we want to know who you think is the frontrunner thus far. Are you banking on one of the final six being crowned the winner, or do you think one of the Salvation hopefuls is going to come back and claim the title?

Vote for your favorite rival here to support him or her in the fan poll. Right now Christina, who was ousted in Week 1, is claiming a whopping 17 percent of the votes, while Emilia's in second place with 12 percent of the votes, and Jay and Matthew are tied with 11 percent apiece.

Need a refresher on who's made the most — and fewest — strides so far? Click through the photos below to relive each week's challenges.

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When You Cook Brunch for Bobby, It Better Be Perfect

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, July 16, 2015

Food Network StarJust as the Food Network Star finalists ought to put their best dishes forward in an Italian-food challenge for Giada De Laurentiis, on Sunday they surely better bring the best of their brunch game in the Mentor Challenge, as Bobby Flay knows just what to look for in this beloved morning meal. From savory selects like scrambled eggs with ham and herbs to rich, sweet plates like cinnamon-laced pancakes with cherries, Bobby — the host of Brunch @ Bobby's and a longtime lover of brunch — is no stranger to creating craveworthy brunch dishes. So he'll expect to see finalists' most-impressive offerings come Sunday, especially since time is running out before a new Star will be crowned.

Ahead of Sunday's brand-new episode and the upcoming brunch challenge, Star Talk caught up with Bobby to find out what it takes to turn out a quality brunch plate. "Brunch takes a lot of attention to detail," he told us. "And that’s the key to brunch. It’s a casual eating event, but it takes a lot of attention to detail." He also noted that part of the essence of brunch is "all in the details," as the meal often depends on multiple components. "Cooking the eggs perfectly, making sure you have a lot of muffins and scones and things like that."

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From the Competition to Your Kitchen: 2-Ingredient Pizza Dough

by in Food Network Star, Recipes, July 15, 2015

Two-Ingredient Pizza DoughDuring the Food Network Star Mentor Challenge this week, the finalists had barely any time to get their pizzas topped and baked — and sadly, many of the pizzas were underdone (except Dom’s, as he wisely used the stovetop to crisp up his crusts). We were reminded of an amazing timesaving pizza dough recipe we recently tested in Food Network Kitchen. It calls for only two ingredients — self-rising flour and Greek yogurt — and no special equipment or proofing time needed. You can mix, knead, roll and top within minutes.

Put 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour and 1 cup full-fat or 2% Greek yogurt in a large bowl. Use your hands to work into a shaggy dough. Then knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Roll out into 1 large round or 2 smaller ones. There’s no need to let it rest! Top and bake how you would normally — we like to use a 500 degree F oven with a preheated baking stone on the bottom rack. You can also refrigerate the dough up to two days and let it come to room temperature before rolling out.

And then there were six! Tune in Sunday at 9|8c to see which Food Network Star finalist goes home next.

Star Salvation: Double the Challenges, Double the Risk

by in Food Network Star, Videos, July 15, 2015

Just as this week marked the halfway point of the Food Network Star competition, so too did it on Star Salvation. This is Week 3 of the six-week journey to redemption, and for the four hopefuls remaining, time is running out until Alex Guarnaschelli and Jeff Mauro must select a winner to return to the on-air contest. The latest round of Star Salvation focused on the finalists' abilities to embrace the unexpected, as Alex told them, "A Food Network Star must have an educated palate and the ability to adapt in unpredictable situations." In their first-ever two-part challenge, the competitors not only had to sample a mystery sauce to discern its ingredients, but they also had to use those ingredients to concoct a dish all their own.

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Emilia Roasts Her Rivals: Too Far or Too Funny? Vote Now

by in Community, Food Network Star, July 14, 2015

Food Network StarIt was Emilia's plan all along on Sunday night to take a grand risk in front of the judges, as she explained of her plans for her comedy club performance in front of mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, plus Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, "I know going into this presentation I have to do something risky, something that's going to show who the real Emilia is." While she indeed delivered on her risk, it surely didn't pay off; by roasting her fellow finalists during her demo, mocking them, and calling to attention their perceived flaws and quirks, she came off as "mean-spirited," according to Bob. Bobby, too, noted the awkwardness of her performance, as he said, "It got a little uncomfortable there at the end." And Susie admitted, "I felt slightly abused by her."

But Emilia told her side of the story in her exclusive exit interview with Star Talk and explained, "I stand by the fact that I took a risk; I wish I would have thought about doing it in a different manner." Though she added later, "I knew the guys would laugh. ... You know, they're like my brothers, so I'm allowed to make fun of them."

We want to know what you, the fans, think of Emilia's presentation. Did she go too far in mocking and insulting her fellow finalists, or was it simply all in the name of good fun and a laugh? Cast your vote in the poll below to share your thoughts.

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A Risky Roast and a Brick Wall Made of “Duck on the Regular” — Jeff’s Star Report

by in Food Network Star, Recap, July 13, 2015

Food Network StarThe finalists start this week with a fresh new attitude. So long, bickering and negativity; hello, pizza and Duff Goldman.

Challenge numero uno is a pizza extravaganza judged by Duff and the CEO of CiCi’s Pizza, Darin Harris. The winner of this Mentor Challenge will not only receive glory, but also have his or her original pizza creation featured on the menu at CiCi’s Pizza. They have only 30 minutes to bake the pies, so I am predicting a lot of soggy, undercooked, white-crusted pizzas. And they begin ...

Photos: Inside the Pizza Challenge

Dominooch is ecstatic to sling some stovetop sweet sausage pizza; Alex believes a pizza is just an open-faced sandwich; Arnold’s going the clever samosa pizza; Michelle is sticking to her Mediterranean guns; Eddie is making a fruity Caribbean pie; and Emilia is also doing a samosa pizza.

Time’s up. Hands up. Jay begins with another fluid delivery. The guy might as well be hocking Satsuma ShamWows at 3:00 a.m. on QVC. Unfortunately, his pizza is piqued. Arnold’s presentation begins with some promise, but again he fizzled out midway. Wisely, he remembers to take a bite of his pizza and FOCUS ON THE FOOD, which totally saved his dying presentation. Alex read a recipe out loud again and delivered a lackluster pie.

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One-on-One with the Latest Food Network Star Finalist to Go Home

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, July 12, 2015

Food Network StarIt's the nature of the Food Network Star beast that even though no matter how badly finalists want to achieve their dreams of stardom, ultimately only one can win the coveted title, and with that, 11 finalists will be going home. Every week Star Talk will bring you the first exclusive interview with the most-recently eliminated finalist. From thoughts on mentors' critiques to reflections on past challenges and hopes for the future, be sure to check back every Sunday night for the latest one-on-one chat. We're about to break down the ins and outs of tonight's new episode and reveal who went home, so if you've yet to watch the show, read no further until then.

Read more