by Sarah De Heer in Interviews, June 10, 2014
by Justin Warner in Recap, June 9, 2014
Alex Guarnaschelli is no stranger to Food Network Star. We've seen her dish out her opinions on the judging panel of two Chopped-themed episodes during seasons 8 and 9. But this past Sunday, Alex took off her judge's hat and took to the kitchen. During the Star Challenge, the remaining finalists were tasked with taping a 15-minute demo explaining how to make a simple dish with pantry ingredients in a separate prep kitchen. So where's the twist? Iron Chef Guarnaschelli was in Star Kitchen watching their demos in real time, attempting to make the same dish, as Bobby, Giada and Alton looked on.
Star Talk caught up with the Iron Chef right after the show to talk about being in the kitchen versus being a judge, and what Bobby, Giada and Alton are really like.
This is your third time on Food Network Star, and this time they put you into the mix of cooking, and you even said that you feel like you’re a part of the cooking audition yourself!
Alex Guarnaschelli: It’s true. I’ve been through a number of shows and I’ve done a lot of this stuff before, so theoretically this is not my first or even my fifth rodeo, but it feels as nerve-racking and as fresh as the first time. And when you realize that, you catch a glimpse into what the stakes are like for these competitors. I mean, they’re standing in front of a trio of people that have enough producing and camera experience to catapult you all the way to the top. How much can you sort out? How much can you really hear them? How do you separate yourself from the pack? On top of being on camera, they have to cook for Bobby, Giada and Alton. I mean that — that’s some cherry and whipped cream on that sundae right there, right?
by Maria Russo in Community, Videos, June 13, 2013
Last week we saw the first elimination of Season 10. Donna was shown the door, while Emma and Sarah were dragged to the next round, like babies attached to the wedding dress of stardom.
Alton's Teacher Challenge
The gang is split into two: Team Green Bean Casserole and Team Chicken-Fried Steak. The kicker is each finalist must talk Alton through a few steps of the recipe. I anticipated a few hiccups, but what ensues is embarrassment and certifiably awkward moments:
- While Mr. Brown is Hulk-smashing green beans and throwing them into boiling water, Lenny, who sees through Mr. Brown's shenanigans, delivers a smart tip: "If you are going to chuck things in to boiling water, chuck them away from you, so as to scald your competition."
- I would like to adopt Christopher for the holidays and show that man what a can of French's French Fried Onions looks like. Diced and sauteed onions on a green bean casserole is like putting ketchup on a hot dog in New York.
- Seizing the opportunity, Sarah Zambonis Christopher's mistake and leaves a glistening, slick recipe for Luca.
- Reuben forgets to make a roux. Rouxben. I bet he rues this mistake.
- Aryen has to deal with Rouxben's folly. Lenny talks her through it and she overcomes, but Lenny is bummed she's getting credit for his clever solution.
- Nicole navigates the sometimes-tricky world of breading a country-fried steak. She advises that Alton keep one hand for eggs and another for flour. I kind of wish she didn't because it would be very funny to see Alton with battered clubs for hands.
After watching Damaris Phillips' premiere performance last week, judge-mentor Bobby Flay had but one piece of advice for her: "Don't try to seduce us." It appeared as though she took that instruction to heart, but, unfortunately she let history repeat itself this week during the Burger Bash challenge, and it almost forced her week-two elimination.
Not long into her live cooking demonstration in front of the Selection Committee and an audience of 100 guests, Damaris once again resorted to uncomfortably suggestive body language as she described a key ingredient in her dish. She revealed duck fat to be the must-have addition to her pimento cheese burger, and she accompanied the announcement with a shoulder shake and shimmy that left the audience both grimacing and laughing — "at her," no less, according to Alton Brown.
Damaris realized almost immediately the mistake she'd made, explaining, "When I get nervous, I default to being awkwardly sexy sometimes." Come evaluation, she knew she'd be in for harsh feedback: "My presentation was crap. I went up there and did exactly what the Selection Committee told me not to do." Bobby indeed doled out hard-to-hear criticisms, among them that her demonstration was "a little off-putting," and Damaris was simply unable to hold back tears in front of her peers and the mentors.