Fan-Favorite Finalists: Who’s Your Pick?

by in Community, Food Network Star, June 11, 2015
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Fan-Favorite Finalists: Who's Your Pick?Not only was Sunday's episode all about each finalist's first chance to impress the Selection Committee, but it was also their first opportunity to wow, you, the fans, who are watching the journey unfold. From their initial struts into Food Star Kitchen to their final moments at evaluation, the premiere allowed you to see the competitors as they are under pressure — both at the stove and away from it — and learn a bit more about their all-important culinary POVs.

Each week it's up to you fans to decide which of the rivals is your favorite and who you think is worthy of topping the fan vote. As it stands right now post-premiere, Christina, the finalist who faced week 1 elimination, is holding the lead with 20 percent of the votes, while Matthew and Emilia, both of whom had only OK showings on Sunday, are following closely behind with 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

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From the Competition to Your Kitchen: Olive Oil-Poached Shrimp

by in Food Network Star, Recipes, June 10, 2015
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Olive Oil Poached ShrimpAnd they’re off! This week we met the 12 contestants from the 11th season of Food Network Star, and the competition is sure to be fierce. Along with presenting their food, the contestants also had to present 30-second promo videos to hook the judges and 100 cocktail party guests. There were definitely some food fails and wins — as well as shaky nerves! We loved the concept of the olive oil-poached shrimp appetizer made by Staten Island native and food truck owner Dom Tesoriero, and the judges thought it was delicious, so we headed to the Food Network Kitchen to develop a recipe for you to try at home. They’re super-simple, luscious and tender.

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WATCH: What Were the Judges Thinking? The Network Speaks Out

by in Food Network Star, Videos, June 10, 2015
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The first days in a new setting are all about making (hopefully positive) first impressions, and the Food Network Star competition is no exception. This week the 12 hopeful finalists arrived in Los Angeles for the job opportunity of a lifetime; not only did they have to get to know each other — their rivals vying for the same title — but they were also introduced to mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, as well as the entertainment industry as a whole, represented by People Magazine's JD Heyman.

Star Talk was on set at Triunfo Creek Vineyards as the competitors showed off their 30-second pitch videos to the Selection Committee and presented the panel with first-ever bites of their food. We caught up with Bob and Susie after these initial on-camera and on-the-plate introductions to get their first reactions to this year's crop of talent. Click the play button on the video above to hear what they had to say.

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PHOTOS: Behind the Scenes of the Food Network Star Premiere

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Star, June 9, 2015
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Food Network StarMentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are known for their go-big-or-go-home approaches to the Food Network Star competition, so it was no surprise when they not only tasked the finalists with an impromptu spotlight challenge in the premiere episode, but also a next-level cooking test. The cooking challenge sent rivals out of Food Star Kitchen and on location to a food festival, where they had to prepare signature eats for a crowd of 100 people. It takes quite a feat to pull off both the in-studio production and the taping at Triunfo Vineyards, located in the picturesque setting of the Malibu mountains, for an episode like this; below are never-before-seen photos from both sets. Keep scrolling for an insider's look at the making of the premiere and to see what the cast was up to between takes, then check out the full behind-the-scenes gallery for more snapshots.

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“Mama Raised Us All to Be Champions:” Of Likables, Shrimp and Long-Lost Italian Cousins — Jeff’s Star Report

by in Food Network Star, Recap, June 8, 2015

Food Network StarAhhh, early June is upon us. The flowers are in full bloom, the pollen count is off the charts, my tank-top tan is ripe and another cast of hopeful foodies — with often questionable culinary points of view — are presented before us in the grand parade known as Food Network Star. I could not be more excited for two reasons. First: I am, first and foremost, a longtime Food Network Star fan. And second: I am an alumni and winner of the show. Having been through this experience, I am the perfect person to guide us all through this season’s journey of ups and down, cuts and burns, unexpected challenges, and the ubiquitous quest for one’s culinary “personality.” Every Monday I'll be bringing you inside my mind for the latest dish on the previous night's contest.

It takes a lot of moxie to put yourself out there and audition for this show. An overnight process it is not. I tried out three times (getting very close once) before I was cast on Season 7. On that Sunday evening, when the premiere episode of Season 7 aired, my life instantly CHANGED. I know it’s a cliche statement, but from that point on my life has been a whirlwind wooden roller coaster of shoots, flights, appearances, the good and the bad, and tons and tons of fun. That being said, to whomever wins Season 11 of Food Network Star, I have a couple words of advice: Family is everything. Keep them close and be sure to have them remind you daily that, yes, indeed your poop does still stink. Be nice to everyone, especially the crew. Give back. My career has thankfully lasted, and I believe these are the reasons why.

OK, onto the premiere episode.

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One-on-One with the First Food Network Star Finalist to Go Home

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, June 7, 2015

Food Network Star, Season 11It's the nature of the Food Network Star beast that even though no matter how badly finalists want to achieve their dreams of stardom, ultimately only one can win the coveted title, and with that, 11 finalists will be going home. Every week Star Talk will bring you the first exclusive interview with the most-recently eliminated finalist. From thoughts on mentors' critiques to reflections on past challenges and hopes for the future, be sure to check back every Sunday night for the latest one-on-one chat.

Tonight's premiere episode showed the finalists getting their first tastes of potential stardom as they took those momentous steps into Food Star Kitchen, several with their eyes wide and mouths agape, and surely many had butterflies in their stomachs. We're about to break down the ins and outs of the episode and reveal who went home, so if you've yet to watch the premiere, read no further until then.

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Susie Fogelson Teams Up with BaubleBar for a Fashionable Season 11

by in Food Network Star, June 6, 2015
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Susie FogelsonIn honor of Food Network Star's most-groundbreaking season yet, Susie Fogelson — one half of the esteemed team of Food Network executives on the judges panel with judge-mentors Bobby Flay and  Giada De Laurentiis — partnered with BaubleBar to add to her signature style in the form of fashionable jewelry. When it comes to dressing for TV and the office, Susie explains, "Regardless of the setting, I want the look to complement my personality," and regardless of the clothes or accessories, I always want the focus to be on what message I am delivering."

Just in time for tomorrow's premiere, when Susie will debut the first of the BaubleBar pieces she'll be wearing this season, FN Dish caught up with her to learn more about her style and what she's most looking forward to in this year's competition.

How has your style evolved over time?
Susie Fogelson: As I mentioned earlier, my style has evolved as my life has changed. Depending on my schedule, what the mornings are like with the girls, what meetings are booked through the day as well as what after-office-hours plans may be, I would say my casual style has changed over time more than my business or eloquent looks, as my casual style needs to be comfortable, but also reflect both my roles as a working mother and an executive.

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Caption It: What Are You Going to Do About It?

by in Food Network Star, June 5, 2015
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Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis on Food Network StarIt's Season 11 of the Food Network Star competition, and Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are in charge, which can mean only one thing. This year's contest is set to be the most demanding yet, with trying challenges week after week, as well as a roster of special guests expecting excellence, plus emotional evaluations and difficult decisions that must be made.

The competition kicks off on Sunday night (at 9|8c), and even in the first episode, Bobby and Giada will be outfitted with their signature high expectations, ready to relay to the finalists just how monumental this job interview is. Take a look at the photo above to get a peek at Sunday's premiere. Judging by Bobby's and Giada's focused glares and Bobby's palms-up shrug, it seems as though someone just in front of them has left them wondering. What do you think could have caused this reaction from the mentors, and who do you think is responsible for it?

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Show Your Star Spirit: Vote for Your Favorite Finalist and Enter to Win Signature Swag

by in Community, Food Network Star, June 3, 2015
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Show Your Star Spirit: Vote for Your Favorite Finalist and Enter to Win Signature SwagYou've read all about this season's 12 hopeful finalists, watched their casting videos and gotten the first tastes of their signature dishes, and you've likely already picked one — or a few — to root for during this week's premiere (Sunday at 9|8c). Now it's time to help your favorite finalists top the fan vote.

Currently Christina Fitzgerald is in the lead with 21 percent of the votes, though Matthew Grunwald is close behind, currently earning 16 percent of the votes. To help them secure their places, and to bring up the rankings of the other finalists, all you have to do is vote for them online. You can vote as many times per day as you'd like; once per day after voting, you can enter the sweepstakes for your chance to win Star superfan swag.

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Giada Talks Mentoring Styles: “I Really Want to Get to the Core of a Person”

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, June 2, 2015
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Giada De LaurentiisOn Sunday, 12 hopeful rivals will kick off their journey to stardom. And although how they portray themselves on camera and what dishes they prepare in Food Star Kitchen is ultimately up to them, they're not alone in the contest: Mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there throughout the competition, not only as judges but also as mentors tasked with fostering the finalists' budding Star power.

Recently Star Talk caught up with Giada to find out what it's like for her to mentor these rivals and how her approach to the responsibility differs from Bobby's method. "We have very different mentoring styles," Giada told us in an exclusive interview. "I'm more of a mom in the sense that I really want to get to the core of a person. And I really want to instill in them a sense of empowerment. I feel cooking is — for me, anyway — has always been part of an empowerment. I feel strong when I'm cooking. Everybody here who loves to cook feels strong when they're cooking."

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