Exclusive: Bobby on the Importance of Focus, the Meaning of Star Power and the Advice He Follows

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, Judges, April 25, 2016

Exclusive: Bobby on the Importance of Focus, the Meaning of Star Power and the Advice He FollowsFood Network Star, Season 12 kicks off in less than a month (tune in to the premiere on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c), and just as the 12 finalists are anxiously awaiting the job interview of a lifetime, mentor-judges Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are preparing for their roles as the deciding factors in whose culinary dreams will be made true or ultimately ended. Their expert takes on both this contest and the job of a Food Network Star make them uniquely prepared for the 11-week journey they're undertaking with the finalists and for the challenges they're set to dole out.

Recently Star Talk caught up with Bobby to chat about how he balances his dual role of mentor-judge and the value he places on first impressions. Read on below to hear about his mentoring strategy and find out if his own participation in competitions like Beat Bobby Flay affects the way he judges. Plus, see what he thinks about the elusive Star power, and get his take on the job of a Food Network Star.

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Look Who’s Back: Meet the 7 Returning Rivals Competing on Comeback Kitchen

by in Food Network Star, April 15, 2016

Food Network Star: Comeback KitchenThey. Are. Back. Seven previously ousted finalists from past seasons of Food Network Star have returned to the hallowed Food Star Kitchen for their second chance at stardom, and this time, with an entire season of competition behind them, they're more primed for success than ever.

Just as they were expected to combine stellar culinary chops with a knack for on-camera charm when they battled on Food Network Star the first time, so too will they have to demonstrate a mastery of these Star basics when they face off on Comeback Kitchen. Mentor-judges Tyler Florence and Valerie Bertinelli will have only the highest expectations for this crop of hopefuls, as they have just three short weeks to find a worthy contender among the cast — someone who can join the ranks of Food Network Star, Season 12 finalists and ultimately the race for the prize of Star.

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Part Food, Part TV, All Success: Tyler and Valerie on Mentoring Together on Comeback Kitchen

by in Interviews, Judges, April 15, 2016

Food Network Star: Comeback KitchenThere are fierce competitions, sure. And then there's Food Network Star, the ultimate in culinary showdowns, a battle so great that it has the potential to redefine a person's life forever. There's perhaps no contest with greater stakes than Food Network Star — except, perhaps, Comeback Kitchen, as this prequel series gives just one person the chance to be among those lucky finalists in the running for glory on Food Network Star. Television veterans Tyler Florence and Valerie Bertinelli will be on hand this May to judge the hopefuls on the first-ever installment of Comeback Kitchen. It's up to them not just to pick a winner of the three-week series, but to find the one person among the cast of seven returning Star alumnae that has the culinary chops and on-camera charisma to be a formidable Star candidate once again. High stakes — not just for the contestants, right?

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Star-a-Day: Yaku Moton-Spruill

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, April 15, 2016

Food Network Star, Season 12It was only recently that Star Talk broke the news that an unprecedented 12th season of Food Network Star is set to unfold this summer. For the first time ever, a prequel competition — Comeback Kitchen — will bring together seven past Star contestants for a no-holds-barred battle. The winner of this three-week tournament will join the dozen first-time Food Network Star finalists in the premiere episode on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c. But before the new season kicks off, we're introducing all 12 of the hopeful rivals in exclusive, one-on-one interviews. Keep checking back every day to meet a new member of the cast. Today we'd like you to meet Yaku Moton-Spruill.

Standing at 6 feet 9 inches, Yaku, 33 (San Francisco), was pretty much guaranteed to have the basketball world’s attention from an early age. But even while playing professionally in Europe, he couldn’t shake the fact that nothing made him as happy as cooking did. Born in Inkster, Mich., Yaku learned the art of the hustle, selling chicken dinners out of his dorm room in college to make money. Yaku draws his food philosophy from his Southern and Caribbean heritage, and he specializes in Latin American, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that's shareable.

Describe your culinary POV in one sentence.
Yaku Moton-Spruill: Food is love. Love is food.

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Star-a-Day: Tregaye Fraser

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, April 14, 2016

Food Network Star, Season 12It was only recently that Star Talk broke the news that an unprecedented 12th season of Food Network Star is set to unfold this summer. For the first time ever, a prequel competition — Comeback Kitchen — will bring together seven past Star contestants for a no-holds-barred battle. The winner of this three-week tournament will join the dozen first-time Food Network Star finalists in the premiere episode on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c. But before the new season kicks off, we're introducing all 12 of the hopeful rivals in exclusive, one-on-one interviews. Keep checking back every day to meet a new member of the cast. Today we'd like you to meet Tregaye Fraser.

A seasoned chef who likes to twist old-fashioned recipes with her own unique flair, Tregaye, 31 (Atlanta), has a passion for the untraditional. She learned the basics at Le Cordon Bleu, but she soon realized that her love for cooking came from her youthful soul and love for fusion cuisine. A successful self-employed mother who relates best to a younger generation, Tregaye dreams of having a culinary talk show.

Describe your culinary POV in one sentence.
Tregaye Fraser: Whimsical soul food

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Star-a-Day: Rob Burmeister

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, April 13, 2016

Food Network Star, Season 12It was only recently that Star Talk broke the news that an unprecedented 12th season of Food Network Star is set to unfold this summer. For the first time ever, a prequel competition — Comeback Kitchen — will bring together seven past Star contestants for a no-holds-barred battle. The winner of this three-week tournament will join the dozen first-time Food Network Star finalists in the premiere episode on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c. But before the new season kicks off, we're introducing all 12 of the hopeful rivals in exclusive, one-on-one interviews. Keep checking back every day to meet a new member of the cast. Today we'd like you to meet Rob Burmeister.

Rob, 45 (Staten Island, N.Y.), started out washing dishes 25 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. His culinary resume is quite extensive, and it includes his role as executive chef and owner of his own catering and private chef company in New York City. Rob would like to teach viewers how to use and combine meal leftovers to make delicious dishes.

Describe your culinary POV in one sentence.
Rob Burmeister: My culinary POV is like taking a walk on the wild side of American comfort food.

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QUIZ: Can You Guess the Food Network Stars by Their Dishes?

by in Food Network Star, April 12, 2016

Star-a-Day: Monterey Salka

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, April 12, 2016

Monterey SalkaIt was only recently that Star Talk broke the news that an unprecedented 12th season of Food Network Star is set to unfold this summer. For the first time ever, a prequel competition — Comeback Kitchen — will bring together seven past Star contestants for a no-holds-barred battle. The winner of this three-week tournament will join the dozen first-time Food Network Star finalists in the premiere episode on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c. But before the new season kicks off, we're introducing all 12 of the hopeful rivals in exclusive, one-on-one interviews. Keep checking back every day to meet a new member of the cast. Today we'd like you to meet Monterey Salka.

Having deprived herself of culinary indulgences for so many years as a model, Monterey, 26 (Nashville), decided enough was enough and finally gave in to her one true love: food. Holding onto skills and confidence gained through trial and error as a chef and caterer, Monterey knows that food isn’t something to be scared of — it’s meant to be celebrated. Inspired by her unrelenting culinary wanderlust and her jet-setting past, Monterey has discovered that her best dishes are made from the adventures and flavors she’s experienced during her travels.

Describe your culinary POV in one sentence.
Monterey Salka: I like to bring extraordinary flavors into my ordinary kitchen.

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Star-a-Day: Melissa Pfeister

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, April 11, 2016

Food Network Star, Season 12It was only recently that Star Talk broke the news that an unprecedented 12th season of Food Network Star is set to unfold this summer. For the first time ever, a prequel competition — Comeback Kitchen — will bring together seven past Star contestants for a no-holds-barred battle. The winner of this three-week tournament will join the dozen first-time Food Network Star finalists in the premiere episode on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c. But before the new season kicks off, we're introducing all 12 of the hopeful rivals in exclusive, one-on-one interviews. Keep checking back every day to meet a new member of the cast. Today we'd like you to meet Melissa Pfeister.

Melissa, 34 (Los Angeles), trained for her whole life to play basketball, but when an injury ended her career, she turned to cooking for inspiration. Melissa now takes the everyday foods we love and re-creates them in healthy and delicious ways. Melissa moved from Ohio to Los Angeles to pursue her culinary dream, and she would love to combine her passion for food and sports on her own Food Network show.

Describe your culinary POV in one sentence.
Melissa Pfeister: I take foods that maybe aren’t the best for you and re-create them in a healthy way.

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Star-a-Day: Joy Thompson

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, April 10, 2016

Food Network Star, Season 12It was only recently that Star Talk broke the news that an unprecedented 12th season of Food Network Star is set to unfold this summer. For the first time ever, a prequel competition — Comeback Kitchen — will bring together seven past Star contestants for a no-holds-barred battle. The winner of this three-week tournament will join the dozen first-time Food Network Star finalists in the premiere episode on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c. But before the new season kicks off, we're introducing all 12 of the hopeful rivals in exclusive, one-on-one interviews. Keep checking back every day to meet a new member of the cast. Today we'd like you to meet Joy Thompson.

Amid owning a restaurant and bakery, and wrangling her five children, Joy, 40 (Thomasville, N.C.), has a lot going on. She draws inspiration from her childhood and manages to maintain a self-deprecating wit through all the chaos, creating upscale Southern food that looks good but also satisfies, such as fried green tomatoes and chicken and waffles. Joy is ready to teach accessible Southern cooking without any of the stuffiness.

Describe your culinary POV in one sentence.
Joy Thompson: My POV is modern Southern, so traditional Southern flavors with a little modern flair.

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