by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, August 7, 2015
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Judges, August 4, 2015
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?
by Jeff Mauro in Food Network Star, Recap, August 3, 2015
The name of the game was live TV on Sunday night's episode of Food Network Star, from a quick demo with Catherine McCord to an ensemble live television special — Summer Live — a la The Kitchen. Katie Lee and Jeff Mauro, both veterans of The Kitchen and no strangers to live productions, stopped by to judge the final four competitors as they tackled their Summer Live segments, offering them advice and been-there knowledge on how to deliver a succinct, engaging presentation. Star Talk caught up with Katie on set to find out more about how she approaches the shared segments on The Kitchen, plus her tips for multitasking in the kitchen, both at the stove with the camera and with her co-hosts. Read on below to hear from Katie, and learn what one live-TV snafu she'll "never forget."
What’s it like to share the spotlight?
Katie Lee: I don’t ever think of it as one person being in the spotlight. We really are a collaborative group, and I think that when one of us looks good, we all look good. So it’s about lifting each other up and having a good time. There are definitely moments where you have to take control, like if you’re doing the demo; then it becomes yours because it’s your recipe, but it’s still about interacting with each other, and with our audience and viewers.
Did it take the five of you long to find your groove when you first started filming The Kitchen?
KL: One of our biggest challenges when we first started was talking over each other, because it’s a natural way to speak. You know, if you’re at a dinner party, everybody’s talking over each other, and it’s just the way that people naturally talk. So, we really had to learn how to let the other person speak and naturally interject without talking over.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, July 31, 2015
It’s a Dom-free week here on Food Network Star, and his personality and great narration will be missed. His witty every-man narrations were a large part of the previous eight episodes, and I’m curious to see how the episode flows without them.
We are left with the final four, and they are faced with a challenge involving live TV. In walks television’s own Catherine McCord to help guide the guys through the unpredictable wilderness of live television. Per usual, Eddie gets very excited at the site of a real-life woman. Because of this, I am confident Eddie will nail this first challenge.
They get assigned various themes: Eddie gets burgers, Jay gets after-school-snacks, Alex gets a hot date, and Arnold gets to make yet another yummy breakfast.
The 30-minute cooking session begins and the vibe is tense. Everybody is going for the gold here, except Jay, who is keeping it simple and concise, just like an after-school snack should be.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Judges, July 30, 2015
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?
by Sarah De Heer in Interviews, July 29, 2014
As all of the previously eliminated Food Network Star finalists would likely attest, camera challenges are difficult — so much so that multiple takes may be needed in order to execute just one presentation. But on Sunday's brand-new episode of Food Network Star, the remaining rivals will learn that their past challenges were mere practice for the main event in television: live productions, where there's no such thing as a redo. Unpredictable in time and format, live TV requires personalities to think on their feet, especially when there are multiple hosts of a show on at the same time.
On Sunday the final four hopefuls will come together for their first ensemble-based live challenge, something the five castmates of The Kitchen know well. Two of those co-hosts, Jeff Mauro and Katie Lee, will be on hand Sunday as the cast attempts their first live demos, and we caught up with Jeff recently to find out what he's learned about live TV after six seasons of The Kitchen. "The No. 1 rule," he told us, is "the process of giving and taking, waiting for your moment and giving a moment." He says that finalists ought to do well if they have one key component: confidence. "Make sure whatever you’re cooking is practiced," he recommends, "because then it just becomes, you know, muscle memory." Read on below to hear more from Jeff as he shares "been there, done that" advice with the hopefuls.
What's it like balancing the efforts of an ensemble while claiming a bit of spotlight for yourself?
Jeff Mauro: It like it. I like being able to feed off other people and give and take, [like] the world of … improv and sketch comedy. That's, like, the No. 1 rule: the process of giving and taking, waiting for your moment and giving a moment. So that’s what I love about it. But then again, it’s also nice just to be in the spotlight too.
by Justin Warner in Recap, July 28, 2014
Rachael Ray hosted the final five, as well as Alton, Bobby and Giada, on her talk show during last week's episode, and tasked the finalists with helping to solve a common problem: dinnertime struggles. After several successes (and also several failures), Star Talk wanted to catch up with the host herself to find out her thoughts on the show.
Star Talk: Rachael, what are your final thoughts on how the final five performed in this episode?
Rachael Ray: I think overall they did really well. I think some of them were a little more comfortable than others, but you know, it's a really tough thing to try to master working in front of a camera and a live studio audience and having the family that you're cooking for literally at the counter. So it was sort of a triple threat. I thought once they each got into it, even those that weren't as comfortable found their rhythm eventually.
by Maria Russo in Interviews, July 27, 2014
Time flies when you are watching hoping-to-become celebrity chefs duke it out on camera. Two months ago, we were introduced to 12 hopefuls, and one by one, the mentors have crushed the dreams of all but five of them. Now in New York City, the competitors are given a heaping helping of "It’s Getting Real," which is one of my favorite buffet-style dishes.
They stop by Food Network HQ, which Sarah says feels "like Christmas morning." I still get that feeling when I stop in. This reminds me, I have a mood ring that belongs to one of Susie Fogelson's kids', and I need to give it back.
If the competitors had mood rings, the rings would turn black the second it’s revealed that the gang will be doing a live field story in Chelsea Market. It sounds simple. The gang will head to a vendor downstairs. There they will find a summer staple (think ribs, lobsters, ice cream, yogurt-based dips and corn) and report to the Mentors back upstairs.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, July 25, 2014
With only one episode until the final-four rivals will pitch their would-be Food Network show to executives, the pressure was on this week as the top-five hopefuls arrived in New York City for the last leg of their Food Network Star journey. If you haven't yet watched the episode, read no further because Star Talk is about to dish on what went down and reveal who was sent home.
by Justin Warner in Recap, July 29, 2013
It was only a few weeks ago that Food Network Star finalists got their first taste of live demonstrations; from the energy of an in-person crowd to the unfamiliar surroundings onstage, nearly everything about the first unscripted setup was uncommon for the hopefuls. Come this Sunday night, contestants will again experience the demands of live performances, but this time they will have to do so on television — alongside superstar Rachael Ray.
The queen of 30-minute meals and a longtime Food Network icon, Rachael is a pro at talking and cooking live, as she hosts her own daytime show, The Rachael Ray Show. She knows well that when it comes to live TV, anything can — and often does — happen, since there's no way to prepare for the unexpected, so she's just the special guest to teach this lesson to the hopefuls. Check out the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's all-new episode. What do you think has led Rachael to make such an expression and to throw her hands in the air? Was one finalist's presentation entirely unanticipated, or could she be reacting to the day's events as a whole?
A week ago, we watched as our six hopefuls scraped through a foodie field piece. This week, with five left, the tension is higher than Anne Burrell's hair. I think we've all been waiting to see this year's Donner Party moment, and it's finally upon us: the epic battle of Nikki vs. Stacey.
This is a challenge I can get behind because I love playing MacGyver in my pantry, and I feel that home cooks don't do enough improv cooking.
- Nikki: From minute one, Nikki's been able to climb out of any culinary ditch with her golden stepladder of camera presence, and today was no different. You should go back and watch the look on Stacey's face.
- Rodney: Rodney uses the sweet 'n' salty chips to make — wait for it — a pie crust. On camera, Rodney was as controlled and un-shticky as we've ever seen him. There wasn't a guitar in sight.