Star-a-Day: Donna Sonkin Shaw

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, May 8, 2014
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Donna Sonkin ShawDonna Sonkin Shaw, 42, is dedicated to making health and nutrition taste delicious. She believes eating properly leads to overall health inside and out. She is a certified holistic health coach who works privately with clients, and her twist on healthy comfort food delivers the flavor and satisfaction to keep anyone on track. Read on below to hear from Donna, and learn about her style of cooking and thoughts on the competition.

Describe your cooking style or culinary point of view — in one sentence, if you can.
Donna: My culinary point of view is healthy comfort food. ... I like to say I put the good in the bad and the bad in the good because I feel that people always want real flavor: butter and bacon and chocolate and things like that. There are two of us that come to the table when we come to eat. There's the part that wants pure pleasure, then the part that knows that what we eat becomes our body. So we're also eating for our vibrancy and health, so I try to satiate both sides.

What are you most looking forward to about in this experience?
Donna: All of the feedback from the mentors. I know that there's always room for improvement. I'm excited about making new friends. I'm a very social person. And I love the opportunity to spread my message and help people.

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Star-a-Day: Christopher Lynch

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, May 7, 2014
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Christopher LynchChristopher Lynch, 39, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, spent time working with some of the country’s finest restaurateurs and has become a rock star chef in his own right. Christopher carved his own food path with a modern take on the Cajun and Creole cuisine of his adopted hometown of New Orleans. Read on below to hear from Christopher, and learn about his style of cooking and thoughts on the competition.

Describe your cooking style or culinary point of view — in one sentence, if you can.
Christopher: My culinary point of view is through my 20-plus years of cooking professionally; I'm taking all my experiences and everything I've done and putting it through a New Orleans lens, where I'm cooking currently.

Which mentor are you most excited to learn from?
Christopher: Alton Brown seems the most critical yet constructive. ... It seems like he is really the one, more than the other two, dissecting what's working for you and what's not working for you. I mean, they are all great.

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Star-a-Day: Chris Kyler

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, May 6, 2014

Chris KylerChris Kyler, 32, received culinary training while in the Navy, where he was known for his charisma and slick sense of humor. After working in other's restaurants, he opened his own catering company, which specializes in fresh and healthy foods. Read on below to hear from Chris, and learn about his style of cooking and his thoughts on the competition.

What are you most looking forward to in this experience?
Chris: I am looking to see how far I can go. … I believe my whole life is not an accident. This is not an accident. This is not a coincidence where I am today. I have a really compelling story of where I come from. … I've been rock bottom, and, like, [with] this opportunity I'm, like, almost back at the top from rock bottom. This, right here, I know if it's for me, I'm going to win. This is my destiny, so I kind of have that head on my shoulders. I'm just going to give it my all. Everything I have within me — my body, mind and soul— I'm just going to leave it on the stage. And when it's over, if I don't win, I know this wasn't for me but something else is. And if I do win, I know this is where I'm supposed to be.

Describe your cooking style or culinary point of view — in one sentence, if you can.
Chris: Taking classic dishes and humble ingredients and transforming them into restaurant-quality, modern dishes.

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Star-a-Day: Aryen Moore-Alston

by in Food Network Star, Interviews, May 5, 2014

Aryen Moore-AlstonAryen Moore-Alston, 31, is a self-taught cook who was raised abroad in Italy. She has dabbled in many careers, but food has always been her passion, and some of her fondest childhood memories involve making family meals in the kitchen with her father, who passed away when she was young. After living in Atlanta, Japan and Los Angeles, Aryen settled in Memphis to raise her daughter. Read on below to hear from Aryen, and learn about her style of cooking and her thoughts on the competition.

Describe your cooking style or culinary point of view — in one sentence, if you can.
Aryen: The experience. I feel like if you don't enjoy the journey, it will all go so fast. … I'm really excited. I'm blessed and humbled to be here. And I know that all of this is going into making me shine. I enjoy the process.

Describe your cooking style or culinary point of view in one sentence.
Aryen: My culinary point of view is international cuisine in the comfort of your own home.

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Food Network Star, Season 10: A Decade of Dreams

by in Food Network Star, April 24, 2014

Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby FlayWhat do you get when you put a dozen rivals in a pressure-packed environment, surround them with famed faces from the food world and ask them to compete in three months of challenges — all in the name of scoring their ultimate job? A summer of heated culinary competition that takes contenders coast to coast.

You heard it here first: Food Network Star is returning this June for an unprecedented season of contest, and superstar chefs Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be at the helm as mentor-judges. As this year marks the 10th anniversary of the series, the stakes will be higher, the challenges more demanding and the dreams greater than ever as 12 eager hopefuls will put their reputations on the line in the job interview of a lifetime. Beginning in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 1 at 9|8c and continuing for 11 weeks to Las Vegas and ultimately New York City, the competition will force the finalists to go head-to-head with their rivals in Mentor and Star Challenges that test not only their cooking chops under pressure, but their on-camera know-how and innate ability to attract an audience as well.

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Damaris’ Look-Back at Season 9 and Insider Advice for Future Finalists

by in Interviews, April 14, 2014

Damaris PhillipsJust one year ago, Damaris Phillips was preparing to begin the job interview of her life, an 11-week journey alongside just as many rivals that would end either in disappointment or sweet victory and the title of Food Network Star. After a summer of heated competition that included tears, trying challenges and no shortage of constructive critiques from mentors Alton, Bobby and Giada, Damaris ultimately earned the win last August and secured her spot in stardom. Now as an all-new crop of competitors gets ready to experience the journey for themselves, Damaris looks back on her winning moment, dishes on what the contest is really like and offers insider advice for Season 10 hopefuls.

Take us back to the moment you saw your picture on the monitor and you realized you had won. What was going through your mind?
I was surprised and kind of not surprised because I had been hoping for it. But then also, like, there's this absolute moment of total blank, like I didn't have anything to say. No thoughts. And I just had no idea of what it was going to look like after that, so I couldn't even be like, "Oh, now it starts." Like, it was literally one of the only times in my life when my mind went completely blank.

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Now Casting: Food Network Star, Season 10

by in Community, September 26, 2013

Food Network Star, Season 10 CastingGuy Fieri, Justin Warner and Damaris Phillips. These three Food Network chefs weren't born into stardom; it took a journey from fandom to fierce competition on Food Network Star to turn their passion for food and people into a career and to ultimately help them break into the world of television. If you've ever found yourself at home wondering how you, too, could end up on Food Network, the time has come for you to prove your star power.

Food Network is currently casting Season 10 of Food Network Star, but before you can show off your cooking chops to the mentors and dazzle the network with your camera-ready personality, you have to begin the application process. Check the official casting website to download an application and to complete instructions on how to apply, and consider visiting one of the open casting calls (listed after the jump) in a city near you.

Find out where to attend an open casting call

It’s Pie Style, Jack — An Interview with Rodney Henry

by in Interviews, August 15, 2013

Rodney Henry's Pie Style Finale PantsThere's no doubt about it: Rodney Henry is the Pie Man. What pie style is might still be out for debate, but this runner-up has proved to Food Network fans that whatever it is, it seems like a pretty good time. Through all the "suckers," "cool cats" and "it's pie style, jack," he's taken this season of Star and turned it upside down. Committed to staying true to himself, Rodney survived 10 weeks of competition to earn a spot among the final three competitors. While he ultimately came up short behind winner Damaris Phillips, there's no doubt that Rodney has star power.

Star Talk caught up with Rodney to chat about his time on Star, what he thought of the mentors and what fans can expect in the future.

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Photos: Alton’s Best Food Network Star Caption Tweets

by in Judges, August 14, 2013

Alton's Best Food Network Star Caption TweetsWhile each episode of Star may have been only one hour long, the experience of each week's challenges and eliminations lived on online in photo galleries and videos. While fans likely have checked out a few slideshows of the series' top moments, browsed behind-the-scenes snapshots from the set and seen the mentors' wildest facial expressions captured in photos, they weren't the only ones reliving what had gone down this season — Alton did the same.

All summer long Alton was clicking around the Food Network Star online headquarters to find some of his favorite moments from the competition and caption them in his very own way: with Post-it notes. His longtime Twitter followers know that Post-its are Alton's signature style of tweeting, so it was no surprise when he started sharing his best captions with fans.

Photos: Alton's Best Caption Tweets

A Letter to Damaris, from the Rebel

by in Food Network Star, August 13, 2013

Food Network Star Season 9 WinnerHey, Damaris,

As I'm sure Bob, Susie, Alton, Giada and Bobby have already done so, I'd like to be the sixth person to welcome you to the Food Network family. I'm sure you'll fit in quite nicely, as we are all really just a bunch of food-obsessed kooks who like to entertain and have a good time.

Having been through the process, I know exactly what it takes to get where you are, and you've got it. Your poise during the Chopped challenge led me to believe you were a contender. Your pilot really sealed the deal. Your sense of humor is a perfect fit for our audience, and your optimism and good vibes just leap from the screen. Your POV is as solid as it gets. It is who you are: a teacher, a romantic and someone who isn't afraid to sing Bonnie Tyler karaoke after just one drink. Congratulations on finding the sweet spot between all of those Damarises. Also, as a dude who was chastised for winning the home ec award in middle school, I appreciate you championing the idea that everyone should love to cook for each other.

Congratulations on also having the largest gain in Twitter followers since the start of the competition. Interacting with fans is the name of the game. I look forward to seeing your "blue check" soon.

So what else is in store for you? Lemme tell you this: everything.

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