Star-a-Day: Kara Sigle

by in Food Network Star, May 7, 2012

Kara Sigle

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.

Team Bobby's Kara Sigle is a 31-year-old caterer and fitness guru from Chicago. She learned to cook from her mom and likes to put a healthy spin on favorite tried-and-true dishes.

Fun facts about Kara from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: She is a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader.
  • Dream-show concept: Retro cooking. She'll dress up classic dishes like iceberg-lettuce wedge salad with homemade Thousand Island dressing.
  • Secret ingredient: Butter-flavored shortening. Kara uses it in her pie crusts. "It's a texture thing. It's flaky and has nice butter flavor, like old-fashioned Southern pie."

Get to know Kara in her Star bio video: Read more

Star-a-Day: Linkie Marais

by in Food Network Star, May 6, 2012

Linkie Marais

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.

Twenty-eight-year-old Linkie Marais is Team Giada's resident baking queen. Linkie grew up in South Africa and moved with her family to Mississippi at age 16. This trained pastry chef and wedding cake expert now lives in Massachusetts.

Fun facts about Linkie from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: She has decorated cakes for celebrity clients like Patrick Kennedy and Frankie Valli. The most challenging cake she ever made looked like a life-sized golf bag.
  • Dream-show concept: Do-it-yourself cake decorating. "People have a hard time affording elaborate cakes," she says. She'd demonstrate all the essentials: how to ice, create borders and work with fondant.
  • Secret ingredient: Butter. "I think I love butter more than Paula Deen does."

Get to know Linkie in her Star bio video: Read more

Star-a-Day: Emily Ellyn

by in Food Network Star, May 5, 2012

Emily Ellyn

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.

Today we meet Team Alton's quirky retro gal, 29-year-old Emily Ellyn. Emily grew up on a farm, trained at the Culinary Institute of America and Academie Internationale de Management in Paris and is now pursuing her Ph.D. in hospitality management.

Fun facts about Emily from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: She's expanding Georgia-based Sublime Doughnuts into a worldwide franchise. She's working on opening shops in Bangkok and South Korea.
  • Dream-show concept: "What's Cookin', Good Lookin'?", a show about cooking for loved ones. She grew up on a Christmas-tree farm and is very family-oriented.
  • Secret ingredient: Bacon. She finds a way to put it in everything, including the crust for her pecan pie.

Get to know Emily in her Star bio video: Read more

Star-a-Day: Malcolm Mitchell

by in Food Network Star, May 4, 2012

Malcolm Mitchell

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.

Team Bobby's Malcolm Mitchell, 41, changed gears after four years in the Navy and decided to go to culinary school. He now works as a personal chef in Washington, D.C., often for big-name clients.

Fun facts about Malcolm from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: He has cooked for NBA players, singer Mary J. Blige, actor Chris Tucker and the Democratic National Convention. His celeb clients have schooled him in every diet imaginable, from a 5,000-calorie-a-day regimen for a Washington Wizards player to a raw diet for Blige.
  • Dream-show concept: "Simple and soulful," featuring American comfort food like cobblers and mac and cheese.
  • Secret ingredient: Garlic. "I couldn't live without it," he says. His favorite trick is frying thin slices and using them as garnish.

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

Star-a-Day: Martita Jara

by in Food Network Star, May 3, 2012

Martita Jara

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.

Today we meet Team Giada's Martita Jara, 35, an interior designer and passionate home cook who grew up in her family's Mexican restaurants in Southern California.

Fun facts about Martita from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: She grew up in a restaurant family, but she has a magic touch with interiors. Every time she designed a home for a bachelor, he has ended up married or engaged within a year.
  • Dream-show concept: "Mi Tortilla," named after her family's chain of Mexican restaurants; it would feature her specialties, like chiles rellenos and sautéed nopales.
  • Secret Ingredient: Chorizo. She sneaks it into everything, even lasagna.

Get to know Martita in her Star bio video: Read more

Star-a-Day: Judson Allen

by in Food Network Star, May 2, 2012

Judson Allen

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.

Judson Allen, 30, runs his own catering company in Chicago. Having recently lost 100 pounds, he focuses on healthy food, but also loves to cook with the Creole flavors he learned from his grandfather. Like his team leader, Alton Brown, Judson has a penchant for bow ties.

Fun facts about Judson from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: He hosts local cooking demonstrations that are broadcast on the Internet, and he also catered for former Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb's child's baptism.
  • Dream-show concept: "The architect of flavor": It would emphasize New Orleans Creole cuisine, like crab-stuffed shrimp and grits.
  • Secret ingredient: Creole spice blend. He makes his own with cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, fennel and more.

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

Star-a-Day: Michele Ragussis

by in Food Network Star, May 1, 2012

Michele Ragussis

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.

Team Bobby gets today's spotlight with Michele Ragussis, a 42-year-old executive chef. Michele lives and works in Brooklyn, but her roots are in New England.

Fun facts about Michele from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: The New England seafood-obsessed chef appeared on Chopped and won an episode of 24 Hour Restaurant Battle.
  • Dream-show concept: A food talk show. She'd interview all kinds of people: celebrity chefs, grandmas, movie stars and more.
  • Secret ingredient: Portuguese chorizo. She adds it to soups and stuffed clams.

Get to know Michele in her Star bio video: Read more

Star-a-Day: Philip “Ippy” Aiona

by in Food Network Star, April 30, 2012

Philip "Ippy" Aiona

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.

Today we highlight Team Giada's laid-back Hawaiian native, Philip "Ippy" Aiona. At 23 years old, this executive chef is the baby of the Season 8 finalists.

Fun facts about Ippy from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: On his days off, the chef is a fearless cliff diver. His highest jump was about 80 feet at Boiling Pots falls in Hilo, Hawaii.
  • Dream-show concept: "Ippy's Pacific Voyage," about traditional Hawaiian cooking made accessible. (He grew up working in his family's Hawaiian restaurant.) He'd demonstrate how to make dishes like chicken adobo.
  • Secret ingredient: Anchovies. He uses them as a base for sauces. "It's the natural sea salt," he says.

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

Star-a-Day: Justin Warner

by in Food Network Star, April 29, 2012

Justin Warner

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.

Today, meet Team Alton's 27-year-old culinary daredevil, Justin Warner. A self-taught cook, he's the chef-owner of a Brooklyn restaurant.

Fun facts about Justin from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: He writes elaborate rap songs about wine and has performed them at Food Network's New York City Wine & Food Festival and the Taste Festival in Los Angeles.
  • Dream-show concept: Think Conan with midnight snacks — a late-night show that's fun and topical and a little less family-friendly than the typical cooking show.
  • Secret ingredient: Fish sauce. Justin uses it in his tomato sauce and everything else: "It produces umami," he says.

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

Star-a-Day: Nikki Martin

by in Food Network Star, April 28, 2012

Nikki Martin

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.

Today it's Team Bobby's turn in the spotlight as we meet Nikki Martin, a spunky 31-year-old food and beverage consultant from West Hollywood, California.

Fun facts about Nikki from Food Network Magazine:

  • Claim to fame: She played a Tri Pi sorority girl in the 2002 movie Sorority Boys.
  • Dream-show concept: Comfort food with a twist. She'd make traditional American favorites like chili and fried chicken, with unusual global accents.
  • Secret ingredient: Beer. She poaches eggs in Guinness, cooks cheese sauce with Belgian ale and makes Chimay ice cream.

Get to know Nikki in her Star bio video: Read more

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