by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, April 29, 2015
by Star Talk Editor in Interviews, August 12, 2014
There are traditional job interviews, which are surely daunting, and then there's Food Network Star: an 11-week journey that demands from its hopefuls not just a solid resume and a memorable first impression, but simply flawless culinary technique, a sparkly TV presence and the ability to hook an audience using little more than a camera lens. There's nothing quite like this at once grueling and transformative experience, which has been known to turn out best-of-the-business pros, including Guy Fieri, Jeff Mauro and Damaris Phillips. And beginning this June, two culinary legends, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, will once again scour the county in hope of discovering star power.
That's right, fans. Food Network Star, Season 11 is set to kick off in Los Angeles this summer (Sunday, June 7 at 9|8c). And in true Hollywood style, the lights of potential stardom will be shining bright as 12 eager finalists arrive for their chance at the most-sought-after career in the culinary industry: Food Network host. Led by judge-mentors Bobby and Giada, these rivals must put their dreams on the line as they take a chance on their futures during an intensive three-month process. Like last year's competitors, finalists will face weekly Mentor and Star Challenges. But with Bobby and Giada at the helm alongside a host of rotating special-guest judges, including Duff Goldman, Sunny Anderson, Richard Blais and David Alan Grier, you can be sure that unprecedented tests and downright shocking twists will force these contestants to learn quickly that the role of Star isn't as simple as the hosts make it look.
by Justin Warner in Food Network Star, August 11, 2014
Italian-born Luca Della Casa came into the competition with his heritage as a point of view, and while his culinary offerings were strong, he struggled with camera work so much so that he was first sent home in Episode 2. After winning Star Salvation, however, he remained long enough to earn a spot in the final three, and he was ultimately named the first runner-up of the contest.
Star Talk caught up with Luca the day of the finale to talk about his time on the show, what he would cook Giada if he got the chance and who he thought was the most-intimidating mentor. Read his interview below.
Star Talk: Luca, making it to the final two is an incredible achievement and you obviously fought to get here. Was this competition everything you thought it would be?
Luca Della Casa: Oh, absolutely and even more. It's been a fantastic journey. It started good in the first episode and then it went south, so I thought I lost it. And then I had the opportunity to come back through Star Salvation and find my way back. I'm so excited about being here right now.
by Sarah De Heer in Interviews, August 10, 2014
Out of all the seasons of Food Network Star, I can think of only one other winner who has a personality as big as yours. Congratulations and welcome to the Food Network family. You deserve this. From the moment you set foot on our screens, America couldn't take its eyes off you, and it wasn't because of the sequins.
You exude confidence. You nailed it in the finale when you told that kid you are happy in your own skin, so why not bare it? We're a little alike, in that regard. You aren't afraid to be you. I look forward to seeing what sort of walls you break down in your new position.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, August 8, 2014
Star Talk caught up with the winner just moments after the memorable announcement. Click play on the video above
to watch Star Talk's exclusive interview and read more below.
by Star Talk Editor in Interviews, August 6, 2014
There was no shortage of communication from both sides of the Food Network Star judges' table this season, but there were indeed moments when what was being said simply stopped the cast — and fans watching at home — in their tracks. From premiere impressions about each other's styles to oddball antics unfolding in the dining room, the last 10 weeks provided plenty of opportunities for hilarious quips, straightforward comebacks, and unfiltered reactions from the mentors and hopefuls alike. Read on below to relive the best one-liners from the cast, then tune in to the Food Network Star finale this Sunday at 9|8c.
Donna: "I don't usually do that type of thing."
Bobby about Lenny: "Whoa, he's got sequins on, yo."
Giada: "She's very much a pageant girl."
Lenny: "I'm glad this isn't The Next Top Model."
Bobby to Lenny: "You're wild enough to shoot at."
Alton: "It's a date with my mom."
by Star Talk Editor in Food Network Star, August 5, 2014
No one accomplishes a mission quite like Food Network's resident fixer-upper Robert Irvine, and that makes him an ideal mentor to guide Lenny, Luca and Nicole as they film their pilots. Star Talk caught up with Robert while he was mentoring the final three to ask him a simple question: What one piece of advice did you share with each of them?
Star Talk: What were your initial reactions watching and guiding Lenny, Luca and Nicole? And what advice did you share with each of them?
Robert Irvine: It's really interesting because I never had to go through this rigmarole of trying to prove that you can host a show, cook, deal with people and answer questions all at the same time. So to me when I mentor somebody, I tell them one simple thing: Be who you are and it will shine through. You can learn the tricks of the camera and you can learn timing, but what you cannot learn is how to be yourself. People see through cameras and televisions like it's not even funny. If you be yourself, then you'll always be successful.
You have to imagine your boyfriend, girlfriend, mom or whoever is special to you, and think you're having a conversation with them. And that's it. The rest — once you've done that a couple of times and settled down — it's just that easy. And I know when we first start in this business people will say: "Oh, there's a camera. Oh, there are four cameras." People watch you all the time. It's the same as a camera. Just don't worry about the cameras. And these folks — to be in the final three of the Food Network Star competition, it's huge. Not many people get to that point, and one of these folks is going to have a show of their own. Thankfully I'm not the one who is going to be voting on that. Because I gotta tell you, so far, it can go numerous ways. I think it's going to be a tough competition. It's anyone's game.
by Justin Warner in Recap, August 4, 2014
Time is running out to vote for this year's newest Food Network Star. Will you join Lenny on the range? Will you learn the secrets to Italian cooking with Luca? Or will you dive into the seas with Nicole?
Watch all three pilots now and vote for your favorite:
by Sarah De Heer in Judges, August 3, 2014
Congratulations, Star fans! You've waited 10 weeks for this moment. Indeed the power to transform the life of a formerly ordinary cook into a bona fide Food Network Star is in your hands — but not before one final hopeful's head rolls.
The final four are in front of us. Luca came back from the dead. Sarah has struggled with her POV, but now wants to be the Lone (Food Network) Star. Nicole has had some presentation issues, but has held on. Lenny has endured the duct-tape-induced removal of his chest hairs, ripped pants and intimacy issues. What a ride it's been.
by Maria Russo in Interviews, August 3, 2014
Every week, Alton Brown
is joining the Star Talk roster to talk about the most-recent elimination and the thoughts behind each difficult decision from the judges' perspective.
Click play on the video above to find out why Alton voted the way he did. (Spoiler alert: The latest finalist sent home is revealed in the video.)
After 10 weeks of competition, the final three have been chosen, and determining the next Food Network Star is in your hands. (Vote for who you want to win.) If you haven't watched the episode yet, read no further because Star Talk is about to dish on what went down and reveal who was sent home.