A Culinary Upbringing: The Mentors Talk Mentors

by in Food Network Star, May 27, 2015

Bobby Flay and Giada De LaurentiisTo the 12 hopefuls beginning their Star journeys on June 7, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are the ultimate mentors, boasting decades' worth of both culinary and television experience that only a Food Network star can offer. But before Bobby and Giada claimed their places in the Star spotlight, they, too, relied on mentors to teach them, both in the kitchen and on Food Network. It's these personal and professional figures who helped them build the careers they now have and who ultimately gave them the tools to mentor the incoming class of Food Network Star finalists.

Click here to launch the gallery and hear from Bobby, Giada and more chefs, like Alex Guarnaschelli and Michael Symon, as they reflect on their most-meaningful mentors and reveal what they learned from them along the way.

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The First Taste of Food Star Kitchen: Finalists’ Signature Dishes, Revealed

by in Food Network Star, May 26, 2015

The First Taste of Food Star Kitchen: Finalists' Signature Dishes, RevealedThe finalists are just days away from making their premiere entrances in Food Star Kitchen, and while the dishes they make in this hallowed arena will depend largely on the challenges that mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis dish out, each rival is walking into the competition with a wealth of culinary experience behind them, including time spent perfecting a signature dish. Though many contestants admit to having more than one plate for which they're known, for some a signature dish is all about comfort food and the memories tied to it.

Read on below to hear from all 12 hopefuls as they reveals their signature dishes, then check out their one-on-one interviews to learn even more about them.

Alex McCoy: I would hope that I don't have one signature dish because I like using a lot of different ingredients. I think that if you were to ask the people who come in the restaurant, I'd say that my Thai curries are probably the signature dish. I spent a lot of time in Thailand. I take a lot of care in making sure that all of my Thai curries are homemade.

Arnold Myint: Wow. I have a lot of signature dishes, mainly because I have tons of restaurants that do well. But my favorite dish to cook, I'll say, is a simple roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and peas. There's just something nostalgic about that. It brings that memory back, and everybody has a story. If I cook it for somebody or somebody cooks it for me, I know it's coming from the heart.

Christina Fitzgerald: It depends on which day you catch me on. I have dishes that I like and ones that I've used in competitions. I don't know if there's a specific dish per se.

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Food Network Stars Reveal Their Lessons Learned After Years on TV

by in Food Network Star, May 25, 2015

Food Network Stars Reveal Their Lessons Learned After Years on TVThe job of Food Network Star is a highly specialized one, which is why there are only a select few chefs who are worthy of the title — and why 12 hopeful finalists are willing to battle to claim that title in this summer's fiercest culinary competition. Before those rivals take the stage on June 7 to begin their journey to potential stardom, established pros like mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, as well as Rachael Ray and Alex Guarnaschelli, are coming together to offer the contestants industry advice in the form of top lessons learned.

Giada admits that for her, one of the most-important takeaways after years on TV has been "not being fearful to create my own path" and simply concerning herself with her own future, though for Bobby it comes down to the practicality of being on-air. "I know that I'm better on television when I'm even just a little bit prepared," he explains.

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Cook Like a Star with Bobby’s and Giada’s Best-Ever Recipes

by in Food Network Star, Recipes, May 24, 2015

Cook Like a Star with Bobby's and Giada's Best-Ever RecipesBobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis may be two of Food Network's most-iconic stars — after all, who better than established pros to lead the 12 hopeful finalists vying for a shot at stardom? — but their skills go beyond being shining TV personalities. With years of experience in the kitchen turning out both sweet and savory favorites, they've perfected their recipes and added to each their signature styles and bold flavors.

Just in time for next month's Food Network Star premiere (Sunday, June 7 at 9|8c), show off your culinary chops by trying your hand at some of the mentors' most-tried-and-true dishes, from Bobby's glazed grilled seafood and guacamole with a kick to Giada's cheesy pasta and next-level chocolate cookies. Click here to launch the gallery to see 20 of their must-try classics.

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Finalists Reveal Their Culinary Mentors (Who Aren’t Bobby and Giada)

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, May 23, 2015

Food Network Star, Season 11 FinalistsIn just a few short weeks, the Food Network Star finalists will begin the job interview of their lives. And while Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will decide who among the finalists boasts glimmers of Star power and who ultimately does not make the grade, the judges will also be there as mentors to guide the hopefuls through the competition, teaching and inspiring them along the way. But to reach this place in their careers, and at the precipice of stardom, the hopefuls are bringing with them the wisdom and motivation of other mentors — professional and, often, personal too — who've helped ready them for this very competition.

Read on below as the 12 finalists reflect on their culinary mentors and what they've learned from these influences in years past.

Alex McCoy: Marco Pierre White has been my biggest influence. I had an opportunity to spend a little bit of time with him, and he's just such an amazing person. He's a pure chef, and I think the one thing that I really learned from him that I've taken through my entire career is his respect for ingredients.

Arnold Myint: My parents — both of them. My mother's a chef, and I was raised cooking with her. But my father's the one that cooked for me, so not only do I have the technique and the palate, but I also see the passion and the love behind creating a dish. Something as simple as an egg is memorable to me because of who made it.

Christina Fitzgerald: I have a lot of them. I would not want to say one, because I feel like I would hurt others' feelings because they've all done so much for me. And I'm so close to them, and I'm so grateful for all of the time that they offer up to help me.

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Chefs Speak Out on What Not to Do: Food Network Star Edition

by in Food Network Star, May 22, 2015

Chefs Speak Out on What Not to Do: Food Network Star EditionOften in the Food Network Star competition finalists are told what they need to do to succeed — hone their culinary points of view, master time management, bring bold flavors to their dishes — but it's not often that they learn what pitfalls to avoid on the road to stardom. No one knows these lessons quite like established Food Network stars, and recently Star Talk caught up with mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, and more of your favorite chefs, for their takes on what each contestant ought to avoid and how to shine as a Star hopeful.

Click here to launch the gallery and to hear from Bobby, Giada, Alex Guarnaschelli, Rachael Ray and other experts for their top tips.

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The Road to Stardom: Watch the Finalists’ Casting Videos

by in Food Network Star, Videos, May 21, 2015

Food Network Star, Season 11 FinalistsOut of countless applicants who vied for a chance at stardom, only 12 worthy contenders were selected to begin the journey of their lives on June 7 (at 9|8c), when they'll report for the ultimate job interview on Food Network Star. Each hopeful comes to the competition with a specialized background; from catering and private chefdom to restaurant experience, they spoke of their culinary backgrounds, their passions both in and out of the kitchen, and their readiness for the prime-time spotlight in all-new casing videos.

Click here to watch these just-released videos to get a glimpse of the contestants and learn all about their personal and professional backgrounds, then check out exclusive interviews with each person for even more fun facts and insider trivia.

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Giada Dishes on Finalists’ Biggest Mistakes and Their Must-Have Traits on Day 1

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, May 20, 2015

Giada De LaurentiisBeginning this summer, on June 7 at 9|8c, 12 eager Star hopefuls will strut their stuff on food's most-inspiring stage, but of course only one worthy rival will be crowed the victor and Food Network's newest Star at the end of the journey. Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are back to mentor the finalists through telling challenges, and together they'll work to discern who has the chops both in the kitchen and on camera, and who simply can't cut it. Star Talk recently caught up with Giada, and she dished on what the Star experience is really like for the finalists and what fans should know about the competition. Read on below for her exclusive interview, then check out this insider chat with Bobby.

After mentoring for so many seasons, are you still amazed at the transition that needs to take place in order to find that glimmer of Star power within someone?
Giada De Laurentiis: I'm surprised that somebody actually makes the transition that fast. For Bobby and myself, it took a while to get comfortable. It takes a while to sort of understand yourself on camera and who you are and figure it all out. So I'm always surprised that in this short amount of time, someone can actually make that transition. It's pretty cool. I mean, of course Bobby and I didn't have mentors like what we're doing with them, but I think it's shocking.

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Bobby Reveals the Secret to Star Success and Shares Advice on How Finalists Can Prepare

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

Bobby FlayYou heard it here first: Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay are back to mentor 12 finalists through the ultimate job interview in the hopes of finding a glimmer of stardom within one worthy hopeful. The competition kicks off on June 7 at 9|8c, and in true Star fashion, the mentors have all-new challenges up their sleeves, each designed to showcase competitors' culinary chops and comfort in front of the all-important camera. Star Talk caught up with Bobby to get the dish on what fans can expect this season and to learn his take on what finalists ought to do to succeed in this grueling contest. Read on below for an exclusive interview.

What's the secret to success for a Food Network Star finalist?
Bobby Flay: They need to be who they are and not try to be somebody who is already on the network. A lot of times people try to copy something that we already have. And so I think it's important for them to just be that person, so hopefully they'll become — like, if their name is Tina, for example, now we have Tina, as opposed to the next Rachael Ray.

What do you find most surprising about this competition and what it asks of the finalists?
BF: It always surprises me when they make the same mistakes that they've been watching [other finalists make] for the last 11 years. Because obviously these people get savvier and savvier every year 'cause their homework is to watch Season 1 through 10. And so when they make the same blatant mistakes that other contestants have made, and have been eliminated as a result of those mistakes, that always surprises me. Read more

QUIZ: What’s Your Culinary Point of View?

by in Food Network Star, May 18, 2015

QUIZ: What's Your Culinary Point of View?The key to being a Food Network Star isn't simply being able to show off sharp knife skills. Star power requires a sparkly personality to hook an audience on TV, and with that comes the ability to convey a strong, simply message — aka the all-important culinary POV. Click the "start" button on the quiz below to see if we can guess what stories your food would tell in the kitchen.

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