It's the nature of the Food Network Star beast that even though no matter how badly finalists want to achieve their dreams of stardom, ultimately only one can win the coveted title, and with that, 11 finalists will be going home. Every week Star Talk will bring you the first exclusive interview with the most-recently eliminated finalist. From thoughts on mentors' critiques to reflections on past challenges and hopes for the future, be sure to check back every Sunday night for the latest one-on-one chat. We're about to break down the ins and outs of tonight's new episode and reveal who went home, so if you've yet to watch the show, read no further until then.
Tag: Food Network Star
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 first-impression spotlights and sunny days at an alfresco food festival to a not-so-sweet baking challenge, a 4th of July switcheroo cookout and a think-on-your-toes improv challenge, the remaining rivals have survived six weeks of camera and culinary challenges, and now only half of them remain as they reach the midpoint of the competition. As they gear up for the second half of the contest and you, the fans at home, get close to meeting your newest Food Network Star, we want to know who you think is the frontrunner thus far. Are you banking on one of the final six being crowned the winner, or do you think one of the Salvation hopefuls is going to come back and claim the title?
Vote for your favorite rival here to support him or her in the fan poll. Right now Christina, who was ousted in Week 1, is claiming a whopping 17 percent of the votes, while Emilia's in second place with 12 percent of the votes, and Jay and Matthew are tied with 11 percent apiece.
Need a refresher on who's made the most — and fewest — strides so far? Click through the photos below to relive each week's challenges.
By Leah Brickley
During the Food Network Star Mentor Challenge this week, the finalists had barely any time to get their pizzas topped and baked — and sadly, many of the pizzas were underdone (except Dom’s, as he wisely used the stovetop to crisp up his crusts). We were reminded of an amazing timesaving pizza dough recipe we recently tested in Food Network Kitchen. It calls for only two ingredients — self-rising flour and Greek yogurt — and no special equipment or proofing time needed. You can mix, knead, roll and top within minutes.
Put 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour and 1 cup full-fat or 2% Greek yogurt in a large bowl. Use your hands to work into a shaggy dough. Then knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Roll out into 1 large round or 2 smaller ones. There’s no need to let it rest! Top and bake how you would normally — we like to use a 500 degree F oven with a preheated baking stone on the bottom rack. You can also refrigerate the dough up to two days and let it come to room temperature before rolling out.
And then there were six! Tune in Sunday at 9|8c to see which Food Network Star finalist goes home next.
Photo courtesy of Heather Ramsdell
Just as this week marked the halfway point of the Food Network Star competition, so too did it on Star Salvation. This is Week 3 of the six-week journey to redemption, and for the four hopefuls remaining, time is running out until Alex Guarnaschelli and Jeff Mauro must select a winner to return to the on-air contest. The latest round of Star Salvation focused on the finalists' abilities to embrace the unexpected, as Alex told them, "A Food Network Star must have an educated palate and the ability to adapt in unpredictable situations." In their first-ever two-part challenge, the competitors not only had to sample a mystery sauce to discern its ingredients, but they also had to use those ingredients to concoct a dish all their own.
It was Emilia's plan all along on Sunday night to take a grand risk in front of the judges, as she explained of her plans for her comedy club performance in front of mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, plus Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, "I know going into this presentation I have to do something risky, something that's going to show who the real Emilia is." While she indeed delivered on her risk, it surely didn't pay off; by roasting her fellow finalists during her demo, mocking them, and calling to attention their perceived flaws and quirks, she came off as "mean-spirited," according to Bob. Bobby, too, noted the awkwardness of her performance, as he said, "It got a little uncomfortable there at the end." And Susie admitted, "I felt slightly abused by her."
But Emilia told her side of the story in her exclusive exit interview with Star Talk and explained, "I stand by the fact that I took a risk; I wish I would have thought about doing it in a different manner." Though she added later, "I knew the guys would laugh. ... You know, they're like my brothers, so I'm allowed to make fun of them."
We want to know what you, the fans, think of Emilia's presentation. Did she go too far in mocking and insulting her fellow finalists, or was it simply all in the name of good fun and a laugh? Cast your vote in the poll below to share your thoughts.
The finalists start this week with a fresh new attitude. So long, bickering and negativity; hello, pizza and Duff Goldman.
Challenge numero uno is a pizza extravaganza judged by Duff and the CEO of CiCi’s Pizza, Darin Harris. The winner of this Mentor Challenge will not only receive glory, but also have his or her original pizza creation featured on the menu at CiCi’s Pizza. They have only 30 minutes to bake the pies, so I am predicting a lot of soggy, undercooked, white-crusted pizzas. And they begin ...
Dominooch is ecstatic to sling some stovetop sweet sausage pizza; Alex believes a pizza is just an open-faced sandwich; Arnold’s going the clever samosa pizza; Michelle is sticking to her Mediterranean guns; Eddie is making a fruity Caribbean pie; and Emilia is also doing a samosa pizza.
Time’s up. Hands up. Jay begins with another fluid delivery. The guy might as well be hocking Satsuma ShamWows at 3:00 a.m. on QVC. Unfortunately, his pizza is piqued. Arnold’s presentation begins with some promise, but again he fizzled out midway. Wisely, he remembers to take a bite of his pizza and FOCUS ON THE FOOD, which totally saved his dying presentation. Alex read a recipe out loud again and delivered a lackluster pie.
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?
By Leah Brickley
The Food Network Star competition got spicy during the first round when the contestants were forced to give up their most-prized ingredients. Eddie had to trade his habaneros to Michelle in exchange for her grape leaves. Michelle was a little intimidated by the heat that habaneros pack — and we totally sympathize! They’re loaded with capsaicin, the active compound in chile peppers that gives them their spice and tingle (that’s why Michelle slipped on plastic gloves before she cut them). A little can go a long way, which is why she was so cautious — although the mentors ended up thinking her dish could have used more.
There’s even a way to measure how spicy chiles are; it’s called the Scoville Scale, based on Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Habaneros are some of the hottest peppers around (100,000 to 350,000 SHU) — although Michelle is lucky she didn’t have to contend with the infamous ghost pepper, which can top the charts at a whopping 1 million SHU!
Here’s how other chile peppers compare to habanero and ghost:
Ghost: (800,000 to 1 million) Known as bhut jolokia in its native northeastern India. Notoriously the world’s hottest pepper — to be used with caution!
Habanero: (100,000 to 350,000) Commonly used in Jamaican cooking, these potent little guys range in color from orange to brown.
Serrano: (15,000 to 25,000) A skinny green Mexican pepper that’s great in salsas or even pickled.
This past Sunday's episode of Food Network Star was all about love — from finalists' most-beloved ingredients to a paired challenge that tasked twosomes with creating harmonious fusion on the plate — and when it came time for Star Salvation after the show, hosts Alex and Jeff took that theme one step further. In Round 2 with only 30 minutes to cook, the remaining four redemption rivals had to create a dish that spoke to the moment they first fell in love with cooking, testing their cooking chops under pressure and also their story-telling abilities.
All four finalists wasted no time in prepping their plates, but ultimately Alex and Jeff said goodbye to one competitor after an unimpressive dessert left them craving more. Think you know who met his or her fate once and for all? Click the play button on the video above to see which rival was eliminated.