Sunday’s Star Menu: Alex Guarnaschelli’s Sweet and Savory Pizzas

by in Community, June 12, 2013

Flatbread With Bacon and Scallion PestoAs Sunday afternoons turn to evenings and the hours until the next episode of Food Network Star tick away, how do you settle in to watch the latest premiere? No matter who you're with or where you're watching from, you surely have on hand a spread of eats and drinks to last you through the episode, right? Here at Star Talk, we want to see what you're munching on. Every Wednesday, check back for a themed menu to get you ready for the episode ahead, and on Sunday nights, snap photos of your spread and share them with @FoodNetwork via Twitter and Instagram using #FoodNetworkStar.

The remaining Star finalists are in for perhaps their most-difficult judgment to date on Sunday night when Next Iron Chef: Redemption winner and Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli joins the Selection Committee. She'll be on hand to lend constructive criticism and honest feedback as the competitors try their hands at something with which she's all too familiar: mystery ingredient baskets. What better way to watch the battle unfold than with a feast of some of Alex's best recipes? Pizza is a no-fail classic for low-key nights in front of the TV, and Alex has two top-rated versions to satisfy both your sweet and savory cravings.

A dressed-up version of everyday pizza, Alex's Flatbread With Bacon and Scallion Pesto can be made in less than 40 minutes and calls for just a handful of ingredients. Since there's no traditional tomato sauce on this pie, the secret ingredient is the creme fraiche spread, which acts like sauce; it's mixed with fresh lemon zest and seasoning, and it serves as the bed for the other toppings like soft caramelized onions, crispy bacon and a vibrant pesto featuring scallions, capers and parsley.

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You Asked: What Exactly Is an Underground Chef?

by in Community, June 11, 2013

Underground Chef Russell JacksonFans saw Russell make an incredible comeback this past Sunday night on Star with his bacon-bourbon marmalade burger. But when it comes to Russell's point of view, viewers are still stuck on this one question: What exactly is an underground chef?

Let's start here: Subculture dining is a version of an underground supper club. Simply put, it's an exclusive dining experience, almost like a dinner party where the guests have an intimate experience with the chef. It's a time for the chef to try new dishes, think outside the box and create something different from the usual dining experience. Just because you hear "underground chef" or "underground supper club," doesn't necessarily mean the meal takes place in the basement of a space or "underground."

Underground (n): a secret operation.

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On Location: Burger Bash and the Mansion at Culver Studios

by in Behind the Scenes, June 11, 2013

Culver Mansion - Food Network Star Season 9After arriving at The Culver Studios Mansion to find an array of ground meats, plus various cheeses, buns and condiments, the contestants weren't surprised when the mentors revealed this week's challenge to be burger-themed. They had one hour to prepare a signature burger, which they demoed in front of a 100-person audience. Browse these behind-the-scenes photos to see the mansion up close, the pantry outside of Star Kitchen and what it looks like when the cameras are turned.

Click here to browse the entire gallery of photos from Episode 2 now

Click here for behind-the-scenes photos

Russell As a Haiku and in Defense of Danushka — Justin’s Rebel Recap

by in Recap, June 10, 2013

Russell Jackson Star Season 9It’s the second week of a live-action job interview. Eleven contestants pile into their Buicks and head to the mansion where Gone with the Wind was filmed. I couldn’t help but see the irony, as one more of the contestants will be gone with the wind by day’s end.

Bash:
1. Informal: A heavy, crushing blow.
2. Slang: A celebration; a party.

Yes, someone got crushed last night, and to the rest, it was a party.

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One-on-One With the Latest Star Contestant to Go Home

by in Interviews, June 9, 2013

Food Network Star Episode 2 EliminationEvery Sunday, Bobby, Giada and Alton take on the difficult task of eliminating one finalist in the quest to help guide fans to vote for Food Network's next sensation. And this is no easy task. Check back here every week to read Star Talk's exclusive exit interview with the latest Star hopeful to leave Star Kitchen.

If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — Star Talk is about to chat with the latest finalist to go home.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home

Share Your Early Season Rivalry Predictions

by in Food Network Star, June 8, 2013

Share Your Early Season Rivalry PredictionsThe first episode of Star encompasses so much information: fans meet the finalists, they're introduced to the finalists' POVs, which may or may not change throughout the season, and, most-intriguing, fans get a good grip on individual personalities. Which Star contestant will have the most spirit? Which one will act as the mom of the group? And which will cause the most trouble?

With a lineup of finalists who have competed on Chopped, Iron Chef America and Extreme Chef, just to name a few, the competition is more cutthroat than ever, and with that brings natural rivalries. In the first episode, two pairs of rivalries were quickly established: Danushka vs. Lovely and Russell vs. Viet.

Viewers spoke their minds about the 12 new hopefuls on Twitter by using hashtag #FoodNetworkStar throughout the premiere, as well as the Fan Feed.

Now Star Talk wants to know: What are your early season rivalry predictions? Do you think they'll be game-changers? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. Come back to Star Talk later in the season to see if you were right.

Click here for a sneak peek at Episode 2

Caption It: Alton Means Business

by in Community, June 7, 2013

Alton Brown and Giada De LaurentiisWith only 11 weeks of competition between their premiere performances and the finale, Food Network Star hopefuls have the narrowest of windows to leave a lasting impression on the Selection Committee. It's up to them to find their culinary hooks quickly, sharpen their kitchen skills and ultimately convince the mentors of their staying power on the network. With Daniela's early departure last week, the contestants learned that most will not enjoy the time they need to prove their progress, and come Sunday, their star potential will be tested in a new way during live demonstrations at a Burger Bash-inspired event.

Check out the sneak-peek photo above from this weekend's episode: Alton's delivering what appears to be a not-so-gentle remark to the competitors during evaluation. Do you think he's speaking to the entire group, or is he singling out one finalist who's especially struggling? After just two weeks of competition, should the mentors demand progress, or should they understand the time it takes to learn and improve? How long is too long to wait for a finalist to demonstrate growth, on the plate, on camera and on stage?

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Vote: Who’s the Most-Fashionable Finalist?

by in Community, June 6, 2013

Food Network Star Season 9If this season's Food Network Star contestants want to take home the ultimate title in a few months, they'll need more than just fancy knife skills and a winning smile; hopefuls must dress the part of a star as well, showing off their individuality and signature style with clothes and accessories both on camera and off.

Last week, fans met the finalists for the first time, and even after just one episode, it's clear that each of the competitors lets his or her personality shine through their wardrobe in the form of bold prints, bright colors, soft fabrics and flirty footwear. Former rock 'n' roller Rodney sported a feathered top hat, while Viet donned dark-rimmed specs and a sleek sport coat and Russell embraced a casual, comfortable collection of T-shirts and sweaters. The ladies, too, modeled an array of pieces, including a red-and-black leopard-print blouse worn by Lovely, a fringed vest on Daniela and sky-high ankle boots on Stacey.

Vote for the most-fashionable finalist

PHOTOS: Behind the Scenes Moments From Episode One

by in Behind the Scenes, June 5, 2013

Behind the Scenes of Food Network StarEach episode of Star takes hours to tape, so it's no surprise that not every moment and reaction is captured in the 60 minutes fans get to see on air. Every week, Star Talk will give readers an insider's look at what goes down on the set of Food Network Star — from the judges to the contestants to the environments in which they cook and present.

Click here to browse the entire gallery of photos from Episode 1 now

Click here for behind the scenes photos

Sunday’s Star Menu: Juicy Burgers for the Bash

by in Community, June 5, 2013

The Burger BarAs Sunday afternoons turn to evenings and the hours until the next episode of Food Network Star tick away, how do you settle in to watch the latest premiere? No matter who you're with or where you're watching from, you surely have on hand a spread of eats and drinks to last you through the episode, right? Here at Star Talk, we want to see what you're munching on. Every Wednesday, check back for a themed menu to get you ready for the episode ahead, and on Sunday nights, snap photos of your spread and share them with @FoodNetwork via Twitter and Instagram using #FoodNetworkStar.

The finalists will be given their meatiest challenge to date on Sunday: host a Burger Bash for 100 hungry guests and present their best between-bun creation to a live audience. As they're tackling the heat of the grill and the demands of cooking for a crowd, host your own scaled-down version of the bash at home. Follow Tyler Florence's lead and set up a Burger Bar (pictured above), featuring a spread of juicy, tender patties, plus an array of toppings and condiments. After taking the burgers off the grill with the deliciously gooey melted cheese on top, arrange them on a platter alongside the fixings, and let everyone build their ultimate burger. Whether you're entertaining partygoers or simply trying to cater to a few picky eaters, inviting guests to assemble their meal to their liking ensures they will get the burger they're craving — no extraneous toppings to pick off or eat around.

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