Team Giada Remains on Top: Your Week One Picks Revealed

by in Food Network Star, May 21, 2012

philip ippy aiona
The first week vote tally is in, and Team Giada has once again swept the top three spots of the Star Fan Vote. Laid-back Ippy Aiona took Martita Jara's first place spot this week with 21% of the vote. Still in the top three — but down 2% from last week was Martita — followed by Linkie Marais at 13%.

Team Giada had something to brag about this week as they took home their first win. Alton must be feeling the pressure, having been in the bottom two the first two weeks in a row. After coming off a win in the first episode, Team Bobby needs to regroup for week three as the finalists face one of their toughest challenges yet: a Chopped basket.

Why haven't we seen any members from Team Bobby or Team Alton in the top spots yet?

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.

 

Aarti’s After Party: 3 Secrets to Good Presenting

by in Food Network Star, May 20, 2012

Bobby and Kara

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.

Oh man, how I loved this challenge! Wasn’t it good? I think this might have been my favorite challenge in Food Network Star history.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a journalist by training — I worked at CNN, and I produced a documentary about the genocide in Darfur that aired on HBO. So the prospect of being thrown into an unfamiliar field to harvest stories and secrets from the locals, and then recount them to an audience? Hooray and huzzah! And while at first blush this week’s challenge seemed to favor one team in particular (I’m looking at you, Team Giada), this is something that every Food Network hopeful needs to master.

Food television is changing — not only must you be able to cook, be able to talk about what you’re cooking and relate to your viewers, but you must also be able to take viewers on a journey, pull them along with you as you experience food cooked by other hands, and make people feel like they’re sitting at the table with you. Look at the success of shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, United Tastes of America and Heat Seekers, and you’ll see what I mean.

So, future Food Network Stars, here are a few of tips on presenting like the star that you are.

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Caption It: Stay Out of Trouble

by in Food Network Star, May 18, 2012

Oh, Josh. In Episode One, this rock star/sushi chef was Team Giada's problem child. First, he somersaulted onto the stage to get Bob and Susie's attention — and it worked, but not in a good way. Then he ended up in the bottom two. With the help of "guardian angel" Giada, he made it safely out of the pitch room. But what's going on in this sneak peek from Episode Two? Will Josh cause more drama for Giada?

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 teaching moment in the comments below.

 

Poll: Who Should Go Home on Sunday?

by in Food Network Star, May 17, 2012

Fourteen finalists remain in contention to become the next Food Network Star. This Sunday night, when the three teams board buses to lead New York food tours, which two will end up on the bottom? Who will get a second chance after the Producers' Challenge, and who will pack their bags to head home?

Play our Who's Your Star? game to make all of these predictions and earn trophies (and bragging rights with your friends) for correct ones.

Over on the Fan Vote, you're picking your favorite finalist each week — and hopefully voting for him or her 10 times per day. But Star fans always have their least favorites, too. Who, in your opinion, doesn't have the chops to be a Food Network star? Which finalist do you want to see go home next?

Cast your vote here (and please keep the comments considerate).

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New Format and Chefs’ Takes — Star Commentary

by in Food Network Star, May 16, 2012

The eighth season of Food Network Star may have only just begun, but it is already off to an intense start. We know that you all had a lot to say about the jam-packed premiere episode, particularly in regards to the new style of Star and this season’s opponents. Fans Tweeted @FoodNetwork, left messages on our Facebook page and commented on our Star Talk blog to share initial reactions to and thoughts on the premiere.

During our premiere Twitter party, many fans told us they're pleased with the new mentoring aspect of the show and are excited to see how it impacts the competition, while others simply voiced their excitement about an extra Mother's Day present: two hours of Star! Read more

Team Alton: Down to Four

by in Food Network Star, May 15, 2012

Team Alton was the first to lose a member with the departure of Cristie Schoen in Sunday's premiere. Cristie, a movie-set caterer, came off as angry when she delivered her pitch for healthy eating (and a bland black-eyed pea and cabbage soup) in the Restaurant: Impossible challenge. She tried to redeem herself in the Producers' Challenge, but Bob and Susie ultimately felt that Josh had more staying power.

"I got confused and you lost me at the end. I don’t see the joy and the excitement that will excite an entire nation to eat healthy," Bob Tuschman told Cristie. She handled her early exit gracefully, but with regrets about her performance: "I’m really disappointed that I did not make it close to the top because I do have such an important message to share. I wasn’t able to communicate that message out."

Hear more from Alton, Bob and Cristie in her exclusive exit interview. Do you think she deserved to be the first to go? Read more

Your Pre-Season Picks, Revealed

by in Food Network Star, May 14, 2012

Martita Jara

The Pre-Season Fan Vote tally is in! Before viewing last night’s premiere, 20% of you cast your votes for Team Giada’s Martita Jara, a spunky interior designer who grew up in the restaurant business and loves to cook with her family's Mexican flavors.

Team Giada’s finalists seemed to give the best first impressions, as they swept the top three. Laid-back chef Ippy Aiona from Hawaii was right behind Martita with 19% of the vote, followed by South African cake artist Linkie Marais at 15%.

Did Team Giada live up to expectations in the premiere episode? Do you think the challenge-winning members of Team Bobby or the quirky underdogs from Team Alton deserve some recognition? 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 Pre-Premiere Fan Vote results: Read more

Aarti’s After Party: Episode 1 Recap

by in Food Network Star, May 14, 2012
Aarti Sequeira
An ecstatic Aarti hugs Bob Tuschman after learning that she won her season of Star.

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 hoping to tell you which of the contestants stood out to me in this episode, and I will, but with this caveat: I really shouldn’t.

The first episode is always the hardest to judge, not only because there are just so many gosh-darned finalists to acquaint yourself with, but also because the contestants themselves are still trying to get their sea legs.

At least, that’s how my first day went. It was surreal. First, meeting all the contestants, trying to figure out how I measured up alongside them and getting used to the idea that I’d be bunking with these complete strangers for the next several weeks.

Then, there was getting used to the crew: camera operators who followed me into the bathroom when I brushed my teeth; producers equipped with Secret Service-type walkie-talkies and earpieces who maintained an all business-attitude so that we didn’t get any inside information; having to ask said producers whether I could run to the restroom ; lining up in what seemed like a random order in the darkness behind set; whispering “good luck” to each other; waiting for what seemed like an eternity as my stomach dropped; and then suddenly being thrust into the too-bright lights with a battery of cameras in the corner aimed right at us, seemingly catching every tick, smile and frown.

All that before I even got to meet the Food Network personalities I’d spent years watching, learning from, analyzing. You’re star-struck. Your brain waves fizzle out as you take them in. Their faces look a little different, they look shorter, taller, smaller, bigger and — oh, wait — their lips are moving. Oh crap, what did they just say? I have to do what?! In how much time? For how many people? Wait...now?!

See what I mean? So go easy on the finalists, y’all. This is hard, and hard in a way that you can’t even begin to prepare yourself for. Read more

Eight Ways to Socialize With Star

by in Food Network Star, May 10, 2012

Food Network Star gameJust a few days remain until Saturday's Food Network Star casting special and Sunday’s season premiere, and you devoted fans already know that Season 8 is bigger and better than ever. Don’t get us wrong — we love each one of our talented past winners. But we’re willing to bet that Guy, Melissa, Aarti, Jeff and company are pretty envious of this year’s crop of finalists.

Three groups of five have been hand-picked by Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis and will be coached by their respective team leader all season long. Win or lose, working closely with one of these Food Network icons is the opportunity of a lifetime for any Star hopeful.

We want you fans at home to be a part of this exciting new season, too. Here’s a rundown of all the ways you can be part of the Star community throughout the season. Read more

Star-a-Day: Eric Lee

by in Food Network Star, May 10, 2012

Eric Lee

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.

Last but not least, our final Star of the Day is Eric Lee from Team Bobby. Eric, 44, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and now lives in Petaluma, California. He worked for 11 years as the executive chef of a winery before leaving to shoot Food Network Star.

Fun facts about Eric from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: He has cooked for Al Roker on the Today show, demonstrating wine-friendly dishes he developed for Simi Winery in Sonoma, Calif., like bucatini with crab.
  • Dream-show concept: A travel and cooking show called "Fork in the Road." It's like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with ethnic restaurants.
  • Secret ingredient: Mushrooms. His favorite variety is the trumpet royale, which he wraps in prosciutto and grills.

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

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