Despite Food Network Star finalists' highest hopes for success and their best attempts to at once craft top-quality dishes and present a winning personality on camera, week after week another rival will be sent home, unable to survive in the face of stardom. It's up to judge-mentors Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis to decide who should stay and whose journey has ended, and after every elimination, Star Talk will bring you the first interview with the ousted competitor.
If you haven't yet watched the episode, don't read any further. Star Talk is about to break down the ins and outs of the premiere and reveal the first finalist sent home.
We're just days away from the Food Network Star premiere, and while fans have already met the 12 hopefuls in a series of exclusive interviews and their casting videos, this Sunday will mark the first time they go head-to-head in battle. For the next 11 weeks, the rivals will be at the mercy of their mentors, superstars Alton Brown, Bobby Flayand Giada De Laurentiis, who must decide the latest tests for Star and Mentor Challenges, and determine which competitors aren't worthy of a shot at stardom and must be sent home.
In the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's brand-new episode, Bobby, Giada and Alton are taking in the Food Star Kitchen, surveying their surroundings and perhaps even dreaming up the next round of cook-offs for the finalists. As Giada smiles gleefully, Bobby looks on in wonderment and Alton strikes a classic questioning pose. What do you imagine they're saying to themselves, and what challenges could they be dreaming up for the premiere? Do you think their mentoring styles will match, or will one be notoriously more difficult to impress than the others?
You've already met this year's 12 Food Network Star hopefuls, and just this month Star Talk shared the first exclusive interviewswith each finalist to showcase their goals for the competition and their thoughts on the mentors. Now, just ahead of Sunday's all-new Season 10 premiere, it's time to reveal a look at the contestants before they were competitors, back when each of them was just beginning the road to stardom.
Each now-finalist created a casting video, and these brief clips reveal their cooking styles, histories in the kitchen and culinary passions — and just maybe you'll catch the first glimmers of a future star. Click here to watch all of their casting videos and learn about their pasts plus go-to cuisines.
Earlier this month FN Dish introduced each of the Food Network Star finalists, and for the first time, fans learned more about the competitors' culinary points of view (POVs), plus insider details, like their hopes for the contest, thoughts on the mentors and go-to midnight snacks. Much like POVs, cooks' signature dishes often reveal their style in the kitchen — what cuisine type they gravitate toward, which ingredients they're most comfortable with and perhaps even their history in the industry — and for the Season 10 contestants, their most-famed recipe (or the lack thereof) reveals plenty about who they are. Read on below to hear all of the finalists explain their signature plates, then watch their casting videos to learn more about them.
Aryen: I would say miso salmon. A basic soup in Japan is miso soup, so basically miso salmon is a take on that.
Chris: My signature dish is what I love to cook. Since I'm all about presentation, modern cuisine and doing it easy, I have a signature lobster napoleon salad. It basically has some technique of using molecular gastronomy. It's very simple. It tastes delicious, has some flavors that pop. It has texture. It's beautiful to look at, and it's beautiful to eat.
Christopher: My signature dish — it varies to the guest. I don't think there's any one dish I've ever done that completely defines me as a cook. I think there's many chefs out there that would have a hard time with this too. You don't want to paint yourself into a corner. What my signature dish is in the fall or what's selling the most could be completely different by winter and springtime. I really don’t like to repeat. I like to do something, and I like to change it and move on. Maybe it's just because I'm still pushing the envelope and I'm not really resting on the oldies. Constantly doing new stuff. I don’t like to get stagnant.
Donna: My husband loves my meatloaf. It's really hearty. It's high-quality nutrition. … You feel so good when you eat it. It's like a hug for your digestive tract. … I love it with my smashed sweet potatoes with maple butter. I serve the meatloaf with an onion-and-peach ketchup. And then I do kale with golden raisins and toasted almonds. It's a full plate, but the thing that's important about the food that I make, it's very strategic. Everything that I make is for optimum nutrition.
For 12 hopeful Food Network Star finalists, the journey to potential stardom is just beginning, and the world of food television is likely still endlessly exciting and overwhelmingly daunting at once. As they prepare for the ultimate hands-on interview and attempt to score the sought-after job of Food Network host, they'll need all the guidance and constructive critiques they can manage in order to land among Food Network royalty at the end of the summer.
Because no one is able to speak of the ways to succeed in the business quite like those who already are, superstars Guy Fieri, Damaris Phillips, Geoffrey Zakarian, Sunny Anderson and more A-list chefs came together to offer the Star contestants their key pieces of must-know advice. They spoke of expert tips, like the ability to "understand what your point of view is," according to Scott, and offered tales of insider experience that only industry veterans could share. Browse this photo gallery to hear from these icons and more, and learn their ultimate advice just in time for next month's Season 10 premiere.
No strangers to Food Network, Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are culinary superstars — and just the kind of icons that the Food Network Star finalists are hoping to become. To achieve such a level of fame both in the kitchen and on television, the contestants will have to prove to Alton, Bobby and Giada that they have the coveted combination of culinary chops and shining personality that the judge-mentors seem to naturally exude. As you prepare to watch what will unfold on the all-new 10th season (premiering Sunday, June 1 at 9|8c), FN Dish is testing you, Star fans, to find out how well you know this year's decision makers. Test your Star smarts with a quiz and answer questions on insider trivia about Alton, Bobby and Giada.
How Well Do You Know the Food Network Star Mentors?
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True or false: Alton knows how to play the guitar.
Which of the following is not the name of one of Bobby's shows on Food Network?
Beat Bobby Flay
Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction
Takedown with Bobby Flay
Boy Meets Grill
Before Giada became a Food Network chef, she earned her college degree in which subject?
__________ is not one of the secret ingredients Bobby has worked with on Iron Chef America.
Alton's Good Eats aired for how many seasons?
What's the name of the finalist Team Giada brought to the finale of Food Network Star, Season 8?
Bobby has said that __________ and __________ are among his favorite comfort foods.
Burgers, chocolate cake
Biscuits, pumpkin bread pudding
Before Alton started appearing in front of the camera, he once worked in which profession?
True or false: Bobby and Giada once competed on the same team in a special episode of Iron Chef America.
Alton has said that he has a collection of approximately how many bow ties?
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Sarah Penrod, 30, is a born-and-bred Texan who comes from a family of entertainers. She's been performing for her whole life and also has serious culinary chops, as she now owns her own business. This feisty chef has worked with celebrities and athletes, and she always keeps things entertaining in the kitchen. Read on below to hear from Sarah, 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. Sarah: The concept is that we're all so busy, and we're losing the source of love and joy and passion in our lives, and that's our relationship with our partner. And I want to bring that back to you by teaching you how to do these awesome date nights, and I'm the perfect person to 'cause I've been a private chef to celebrities and professional athletes. I have to do some really cool stuff visually, and I think that I'm the perfect person to do date night 'cause I'm madly in love with my husband.
How did you prepare for the competition? Sarah: I auditioned [for Season 8] and I didn't make it, and I was heartbroken 'cause I've been watching Bobby Flay since I was 10. And it felt like a personal rejection, but I knew it wasn't, and I knew I had major camera issues, so I went and trained with a communications trainer, and I self-produced my own show, called Let's Eat Houston, which is a Web series, and it's also on our Houston public access [which] is pretty huge, and it's pretty significant. ... So I did that, and that is how I prepared to do this. I literally prepared.
Reuben Ruiz, 27, grew up in a traditional Cuban family that owns restaurants, and he started working in kitchens when he was just 10 years old. After struggling with his weight for many years, he now specializes in healthy dishes with a Latin influence, and he's honest, outspoken and high energy with a strong work ethic. Read on below to hear from Reuben, 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. Reuben: The flavors of Miami — I want to bring those to the limelight. The tropical cuisine of the Caribbean, and Central America and the flavors that we have over there. But also with a healthier perspective on life as well. Most people don't know I've lost a hundred pounds, and I did so naturally. And I've been able to maintain it, more importantly, now for seven years.
What are you most looking forward to in this experience? Reuben: I think more so the critiques that I'm going to get from the judges. I think any critiques help you grow as a person, as an individual as well. And hopefully be able to take that and make my business better as well.
Nicole Gaffney, 29, isn’t just another personal chef — her magnetic personality and innate culinary talent set her apart from the crowd. She grew up cooking with her Sicilian grandparents and comes from a family of commercial fishermen, and her "coastal cuisine" take on food is heavily influenced by her family and growing up in a seaside town. Read on below to hear from Nicole, and learn about her style of cooking and thoughts on the competition.
What are you most looking forward to in this experience? Nicole: Learning. Yeah. I'm really looking forward to learning. Just with the other competitors alone, I think there's so much each of us can take away from the other person — not just in terms of cooking knowledge, because there's a ton of stuff to be learned there, but just about life in general and TV presence. This whole experience — the things that we can take away from the judges and the mentors ... I feel like what I'm going to know when this is all said and done versus what I knew going into it is going to be monumental.
How did you prepare for the competition? Nicole: I definitely tried to hone up on my recipes. I reference recipes all the time. I feel like if I was thrown into a kitchen and had to wing it, I would be alright, but I wanted to really memorize certain things, especially when it comes to baking. I don't know if there's going to be any baking challenges, and that kind of stuff has to be pretty precise. Whether it's a half a teaspoon of baking powder or a teaspoon of baking soda can totally make a difference in what you're baking, so I wanted to make sure that I had some really solid stuff in my head ready to go. I tried to watch some past seasons and listen to some of the critiques that the judges gave.