While the Food Network Star competition is 11 weeks long, finalists have but one single opportunity to make a positive first impression on Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis. Recently both mentors told us the importance of these initial meetings, as Giada explained: "That first day, that first impression, we keep going back to. And sometimes it saves you and pushes you through." Bobby said, "I don’t think you ever forget the first impression of somebody," though he was quick to note that there's room to grow later if need be. "I’m very open in terms of making people evolve," he added.
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Let's be honest. The stress of Comeback Kitchen is real and likely all-consuming for the competitors. After all, finalists have just three weeks to prove themselves worthy of a second shot at Stardom — and one of those weeks is already behind them. The remaining six rivals have just two weeks left to demonstrate their growth, prove their culinary prowess on the plate, and convince mentors Tyler Florence and Valerie Bertinelli to choose them for the ranks of Food Network Star, Season 12. So when they finish a challenge — no matter the outcome — there's indeed reason to celebrate.
Let's call this the calm before the storm. Comeback Kitchen premieres Sunday (at 8|7c), and for the seven returning hopefuls, that means there's just days left until they begin the winding road to redemption. Challenges, critiques and constant pressure — it's all waiting for them as they prepare to fight for the sole spot in the cast of Food Network Star, Season 12.
Remember all of the trying challenges, the unexpected ingredient swaps, the timed camera tapings and the all-too-honest feedback from the mentors? The lessons the Food Network Star finalists learned from those tests and the judges paid off in the most-monumental way for the top-three hopefuls — Dom Tesoriero, Eddie Jackson and Jay Ducote — as they landed on the brink of Stardom and went on to film pilots for their would-be shows on Food Network.
On Sunday night, those three rivals, along with their previously eliminated fellow finalists and the Selection Committee, will come together to look back on the season and ultimately welcome the winning Star to the Food Network family. Take a sneak peek at the finale photo above. Dom, Eddie and Jay have assembled with the other competitors, ready with anticipation to find out who among them is Food Network's newest Star.
It was just 10 weeks ago when 12 hopeful finalists took their first steps into the culinary spotlight in Food Star Kitchen, full of dreams and anticipation — and anxiety over what the future held. Now, just one week before the finale, there are only three rivals remaining, and on Sunday, a fourth will join their ranks, as the champion of Star Salvation will return for a second chance to claim the coveted title. It will be up to these four finalists to pitch themselves to the Selection Committee before the panel must select the competitor most worthy of filming a pilot.
Take a peek at the first-look photo above from Sunday's brand-new episode. Rachael Ray will be on hand to guide the hopefuls through the pilot process, and surely no one could better serve as the lead director than her, a Food Network legend and the maker of numerous successful series. What kind of advice do you imagine Rachael is dishing out, and what key points do you think she's stressing to the finalists?
Outdoor cooking, ingredient swaps, audience demos and even improv cooking. The finalists have faced nearly all aspects of Food Network Stardom in the past nine weeks, but on Sunday they're going to contend with perhaps the most-demanding one of all: live television. For the first time, this weekend the guys will come together to work on a live ensemble show, which means that not only will they be unable to enjoy the luxury of cuts and second tapes, but they'll also be sharing the spotlight with their fellow finalists.
Check out a sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's show. Jay, Eddie and Arnold come together over a particular dish, each surveying it intently before digging in. How do you think they're feeling as they endure a live production, and what could be going through their minds?
To some, burgers may be just that family-friendly, crowd-pleasing cookout classic, but to Bobby Flay, burgers are a beast unto their own. As the owner of more than a dozen successful Bobby's Burger Palace restaurants and a past Burger Bash champ, he knows just what to look for in a successful burger — and what to avoid.
Check out the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's brand-new episode of Food Network Star. Before he and Giada De Laurentiis take a bite of the burger before them, Bobby studies a half of it, taking into account the apparent ingredient layers, color and texture inside. Given his serious-looking stare and all-business demeanor here, what do you imagine he's thinking about this burger? Do you predict that he and Giada will be impressed by it?
The timed challenges, the unexpected twists, the life-changing prize that will be awarded in just a few weeks — these factors and surely others contribute to the high-pressure, higher-stakes atmosphere of Food Network Star, for both the finalists competing and the judges mentoring the hopefuls. But that doesn't mean the group doesn't know how to let loose and laugh every once in a while.
Take a look at the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's new episode. It appears that Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are all about the LOL, as is guest judge Richard Blais, who'll be on hand for the food truck challenge this week. What do you think they're cracking up about, and who's responsible for causing this kind of belly-chuckling hilarity?
From towering elegant designs ideal for picturesque weddings to colorful creations in the shape of famed figures and objects, Duff Goldman's cakes are known for delivering wow factor, both in terms of presentation and flavor. That next-level excellence is precisely what he'll demand of the remaining Food Network Star finalists when he stops by to judge the Mentor Challenge on Sunday night, a brand-new pizza test that he and the mentors, as well as the CEO of CiCi's Pizza, will oversee.
Check out the sneak-peek photo above for the first look at this week's show. Duff's chatting with Giada in Food Star Kitchen, seemingly using his hands to count off something. What do you think he's dishing about here? Are he and Giada plotting the details of the pizza challenge, or are they discussing the finalists' performances?
Come Sunday night, it's all about culinary pairs, both in terms of mashed-up ingredients on the plate and in terms of finalists working together as duos in the kitchen. After a classic ingredient swap in the Mentor Challenge, finalists head out of Food Star Kitchen and to downtown Los Angeles, where they'll meet up with the mentors, plus Anne Burrell, for a collaborative challenge at Patina Restaurant. While Anne's used to searching for the best of the worst on her show Worst Cooks in America, on this weekend's all-new episode of Food Network Star she'll work with Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis to seek out potential glimmers of stardom among the best-of-the-best finalists.
Check out the sneak-peek photo above for the first look at what's to come on Sunday. Jay's getting up close and personal with a fish, which is staring him down as herbs fluff out the side of its gills. What do you think Jay's looking for on the fish, and how do you anticipate him using the seafood?