Aarti’s After Party: Take It From Paula

by in Food Network Star, July 1, 2012

Paula and Bobby Deen
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, for one, adore Paula Deen. I remember when she appeared on my season of Food Network Star — the first things I saw were her crystal blue eyes and that trademark silver shock of hair. I lost it.

Much like Martie did this episode.

“Paula DEEEEEEEEEN!” I yelled and collapsed in a fit of excited giggles.

And I see her have the same effect on the contestants every season. She manages to dismantle even Alton’s poker face with her signature warmth, drawl and feistiness. So what is it about Paula that future Food Network stars can learn from?

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Bob and Susie Are Listening!

by in Food Network Star, June 29, 2012

With just three weeks to go until a Star winner is crowned, Bob and Susie have some big decisions ahead — but they also want to know what YOU think. After all, they want the new Star to be someone who you're eager to watch every week, someone whose stories draw you in and whose recipes you can't wait to give a try. That's why you, the fans, will be determining this year's Star winner in our Finale Vote.

In the comments, let Bob and Susie know what you think about who went home and who's still in. They're all ears.

 

Caption It: Shopping Woes

by in Food Network Star, June 29, 2012

On Sunday night the eight remaining finalists leave their home-away-from-home in the Big Apple and head south for the sunny skies of Miami. This trip, however, won’t exactly be a tropical vacation — they’re challenged to cook for and present in front of Food Network superstar Paula Deen and her son Bobby Deen.

Team Bobby’s Nikki was among the bottom three last week, having failed to impress the press with her uncharacteristic “delicate and sophisticated” POV and dish of grilled scallops, which Bob Tuschman called “sour and bitter.” She did manage to redeem herself, though, in the Producers’ Challenge with a solid camera presentation and tasty classic burger. Will the “Grill Next Door” have what it takes to withstand the heat of South Beach, or will she melt under the pressure of paradise?

In this sneak-peek shot, Nikki’s patience seems to be tested as she indulges in a little retail therapy at Target. Is she ready to scream into a pillow or will she be able to keep her composure in the housewares aisle?

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 meltdown moment in the comments below.

 

Poll: Which Burger Would You Order?

by in Food Network Star, June 28, 2012

Last Sunday's Producers' Challenge was a battle of burgers. Emily, Nikki and Martita each presented a version of this all-American classic that embodied their POV: Emily went '50s diner-style, Nikki headed straight for the grill and Martita made a Mexican-inspired torta.

See all three burgers up close, along with top burger recipes from mentors Bobby, Giada and Alton and past Star winners Guy, Jeff, Aarti and Melissa in our hunger-inducing burger gallery. The humble hamburger is a great vehicle for any POV: Each of these all-star recipes has one, from Giada's prosciutto-wrapped patties topped with tomato and basil to Aarti's Indian-spiced condiments.

Although someone had to go home last Sunday, all three ladies served up tasty burgers with a solid helping of POV. If you could order up a burger from the Producers' Challenge, whose would you pick?

 

Alton’s Post-It Tweets — Star Commentary

by in Food Network Star, June 27, 2012


We know he’s not exactly your average Star fan, but we just had to give the Fan Post of the Week to none other than Alton Brown himself. This weekend, the leader and namesake of Team Alton took to Twitter — with Post-it notes — to show his support and not-so-subtle competitive spirit for his top three contestants, Martie, Emily and Justin, as they prepared to meet the press. Pictured above is one of Alton’s many Star-related Twitter pictures. “One of these things is not like the others. #winner,” he scrawled on a Post-it which he stuck to his computer screen over an image of himself, Giada and Bobby.

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Farewell to Retro-Rad

by in Food Network Star, June 26, 2012

Emily Ellyn and Alton

Team Alton will bring only two finalists to Miami after saying goodbye to Emily Ellyn in last Sunday's episode. Emily embodied her "retro-rad" POV to a T, but after seven weeks she was still unable to open up and get comfortable on camera. After her presentation to the media panel, "awkward" was the word Jess Cagle from Entertainment Weekly used to describe her. "That's a word you never want to hear about someone in front of a camera," said Bob Tuschman.

Alton saw great potential in Emily: "She was a ready-made package. You could look at her and know what she was about. Retro-rad was great. She lives it. When she wasn't on camera, she was on the side crocheting. She was the real thing!"

Through "happy tears," Emily reflects on the Star experience and working with Alton: "There's no way to even prepare for something like this. The whole thing was awesome. I gave it my best, and I made great food. I was more upset when I was voted off that I let Alton down. He was there for us 5,000 percent."

Hear more from Alton, Bob and Emily in her exclusive exit interview. Did you want to see more retro-rad, or do you think it was Emily's time to go home?

Flip through Emily’s Star Scrapbook and more behind-the-scenes photos from Episode Seven.

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Team Alton’s Rebel Takes the Lead: Your Week 6 Fan Vote Picks Revealed

by in Food Network Star, June 25, 2012

For the first time all season, Team Giada has been bumped from the first-place spot in our weekly Fan Vote. Team Alton's "rebel with a culinary cause," Justin Warner, leads the remaining finalists with 23% of the vote. Martita Jara is on his tail at 21%, followed closely by Ippy Aiona at 20%.

Justin gave another solid performance this week, opening up to a media panel about the rebellious roots he inherited from his late dad. Bob Tuschman called Justin's bizarre-sounding dish of stuffed dates with peanut butter, duck and bonito flakes a "perfect bite."

Will Justin keep his momentum rolling as the finalists head to South Beach?

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. In just three weeks, fans like you will pick the next Food Network Star in our Finale Vote.

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

Fan Vote Week 6

 

Aarti’s After Party: Star As Therapy

by in Food Network Star, June 24, 2012

Emily Ellyn

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.

Someone give me my clairvoyance badge! (Isn’t that something you earn in the Girl Scouts?) Last week I asked why Emily was so fascinated by the '50s, and why Justin felt the need to pursue this "rebel without a culinary cause" POV because, in my estimation, what you cook isn’t the whole story — it’s why you cook that turns an everyday burger into something special.

And guess what? That was exactly what this week was about.

I’ll be honest. I’m still a bit surprised that Emily was sent home. She was an early favorite of mine, although always with a bit of reservation. I wanted to see beyond the awesome wardrobe and masterful cooking technique to the beating heart beneath the halter-neck apron. I had really hoped we’d get there this week.

During my season of Star, we often likened this competition to therapy. The last thing you’d expect in a TV competition about cooking is to have to deal with your demons. But you do, because being under this kind of scrutiny, under this kind of pressure, draws all of those suckers to the surface. And, rather than enduring hours of self-analysis on a couch in a therapist’s office, you’re doing it in your heels, under interrogator’s lights and before a national TV audience. It’s scary, no doubt. But one of the things I learned through Star is that if something scares you, you can’t back off — you’ve got to run full-speed at it, roaring with all your might.

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Caption It: Call Me Maybe

by in Food Network Star, June 22, 2012

Just when they are thinking that Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson are their toughest critics, the remaining finalists meet a new team of evaluators this week: the press. This group of media professionals can potentially make or break a Star’s public image, so it is especially important for the contestants to wow them with their unique culinary points of view, engaging personas and stellar stage presences. Last week, Martita struggled to tout herself as “Mama Mexico” when Team Giada was gifted a Mexican-themed challenge, one in which she should have starred. Going forward, will Martita be able to embrace that individuality in front of the press? Is she hoping to phone a friend to save her from the challenge?

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 call-worthy moment in the comments below.

Relive last week's highlights and catch a preview of this Sunday's episode:

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Poll: Which Food-Court Kiosk Would You Line Up For?

by in Food Network Star, June 21, 2012


Food courts: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, we’ve all been there. Some stands are more inviting than others, offering fresh, cooked-on-site dishes served by friendly clerks, while many leave something — OK, plenty — to be desired.

On last Sunday’s episode, Star finalists on Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada opened their own versions of food-court kiosks at Lower Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. Challenging them to cook for and serve hundreds of passersby, the remaining contestants were forced to bring their culinary and social A games.

Team Giada’s Martita, Yvan, Ippy and Linkie opened Besa Me (pictured above), a Mexican-inspired pop-up serving tortilla soup, carne asada tacos, chipotle chili and churros. Yvan incorporated the secret-ingredient chicken livers into his dish and they won rave reviews from the judges. Bob Tuschman exclaimed, “I could never imagine myself saying ‘I can’t wait for my next chicken-liver taco,’ but I can’t wait for my next chicken-liver taco!”


Seafood was on the menu at Team Bobby’s kiosk, American Sandbar (pictured above). Michele prepared bowls of traditional New England clam chowder, topped with a chicken-liver crouton, and Malcolm and Nikki offered Maryland-style crab cakes and fish tacos, respectively. Susie Fogelson wished that Nikki’s tacos had more of a spicy kick, while Bob Tuschman appreciated that Malcolm’s crab cake featured more crab than cake.

Team Alton’s trio of finalists opened Littler Italy (pictured above), serving Justin’s fritto misto with fried chicken livers, Martie’s Southern-style arancini and Emily’s sweet, fruity panini. Their Italian-style spread wowed the judges and earned each of them immunity from this week’s elimination.

Tell us: If you were at South Street Seaport, which of the Star food-court kiosks would you line up for?

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

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