by Maria Russo in Interviews, April 14, 2014
by Maria Russo in Community, September 26, 2013
Just one year ago, Damaris Phillips was preparing to begin the job interview of her life, an 11-week journey alongside just as many rivals that would end either in disappointment or sweet victory and the title of Food Network Star. After a summer of heated competition that included tears, trying challenges and no shortage of constructive critiques from mentors Alton, Bobby and Giada, Damaris ultimately earned the win last August and secured her spot in stardom. Now as an all-new crop of competitors gets ready to experience the journey for themselves, Damaris looks back on her winning moment, dishes on what the contest is really like and offers insider advice for Season 10 hopefuls.
Take us back to the moment you saw your picture on the monitor and you realized you had won. What was going through your mind?
I was surprised and kind of not surprised because I had been hoping for it. But then also, like, there's this absolute moment of total blank, like I didn't have anything to say. No thoughts. And I just had no idea of what it was going to look like after that, so I couldn't even be like, "Oh, now it starts." Like, it was literally one of the only times in my life when my mind went completely blank.
by Maria Russo in Judges, August 14, 2013
Guy Fieri, Justin Warner and Damaris Phillips. These three Food Network chefs weren't born into stardom; it took a journey from fandom to fierce competition on Food Network Star to turn their passion for food and people into a career and to ultimately help them break into the world of television. If you've ever found yourself at home wondering how you, too, could end up on Food Network, the time has come for you to prove your star power.
Food Network is currently casting Season 10 of Food Network Star, but before you can show off your cooking chops to the mentors and dazzle the network with your camera-ready personality, you have to begin the application process. Check the official casting website to download an application and to complete instructions on how to apply, and consider visiting one of the open casting calls (listed after the jump) in a city near you.
Find out where to attend an open casting call
by Maria Russo in Community, August 9, 2013
While each episode of Star may have been only one hour long, the experience of each week's challenges and eliminations lived on online in photo galleries and videos. While fans likely have checked out a few slideshows of the series' top moments, browsed behind-the-scenes snapshots from the set and seen the mentors' wildest facial expressions captured in photos, they weren't the only ones reliving what had gone down this season — Alton did the same.
All summer long Alton was clicking around the Food Network Star online headquarters to find some of his favorite moments from the competition and caption them in his very own way: with Post-it notes. His longtime Twitter followers know that Post-its are Alton's signature style of tweeting, so it was no surprise when he started sharing his best captions with fans.
Photos: Alton's Best Caption Tweets
by Maria Russo in Recipes, August 7, 2013
For Damaris, Rodney and Russell, this Sunday night will surely prove to be one of the most defining moments of their lives so far. One will ultimately accept the job of Food Network personality, while two others will leave empty-handed, their dreams of stardom only a memory. What can you expect from Sunday's Star finale? A committee of network stars ready to welcome the winner to the family to be sure, plus a few surprise appearances from past finalists.
Take a look at the sneak-peek photo above from the episode. Daniela, Danushka and Andres, the first three rivals eliminated from the competition, are caught up in a giggle fit during taping. What do you think has these three in the throes of laughter? Are they reliving particularly funny moments from their time on the show, or are they snickering at the situation unfolding around them?
Write your best captions
by Maria Russo in Community, August 2, 2013
After watching 10 weeks of competition and making your voices heard in this season's finale vote, you, Star fans, are just days away from meeting the newest Food Network Star. No matter if you're rooting for Damaris and her Southern-inspired Eat, Date, Love idea, for Rodney's pie-focused pilot Pie Style or for Russell's deliciously sinful Guilty Pleasures concept, anxiety will be at an all-time high on Sunday night, when one hopeful will earn the job of a lifetime.
by Maria Russo in Recipes, July 31, 2013
Come Sunday night, the final four competitors will face their last and most critical challenge of the competition: Convince Bob and Susie that their pilots should be green-lighted. In all-or-nothing pitches, Damaris, Rodney, Russell and Stacey will convey their show concepts to the network, but ultimately only three will be given the go-ahead. For the fallen rival, it will be the end of a 10-week journey, but for the hopefuls advancing, the most exciting experience will be yet to come. They'll film exclusive, never-before-seen tapes illustrating their would-be series on Food Network, and it's these pilots that you, fans, will watch when deciding who to vote for on Sunday night.
Check out the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's episode: Guy Fieri is making a guest appearance, coaching the rivals through the filming process. Perhaps the ultimate pilot mentor, Guy won Star Season 2, so he's well-aware of the anxiety, stresses and obstacles that surely accompany this stage of the competition. Do you think he'll share sage wisdom with the contestants or stories from his own days filming a pilot?
Write your best captions
by Maria Russo in Community, July 26, 2013
Even if you're a frequent restaurant diner, there are surely times when you want to dig in to dinner in the comfort of your home, and on these nights, you shouldn't have to settle for average, predictable dishes. You can indeed turn out restaurant-style meals — like the ones the finalists reinvented during last week's Star Challenge — with quick, simple recipes. This week, Food Network Star mentors are sharing their can-do versions of a few of the meals the competitors made over at Phil Trani's restaurant. Try Giada's, Bobby's and Alton's top-rated recipes for chicken cacciatore, salmon and steak to enjoy professional chef-quality plates in your own kitchen.
Rodney transformed the chicken cacciatore at Phil's into a pie, but Giada's Chicken Cacciatore (pictured above) is a tried-and-true classic that's full of traditional flavor and texture. After quickly browning chicken breasts and thighs, Giada simmers them in a bold white wine-tomato sauce with sweet bell peppers, onions and briny capers until the meat is cooked and tender.
by Maria Russo in Recipes, July 24, 2013
During last Sunday's episode, Lovely made a surprise return to the on-air contest after besting six previously fallen competitors on Star Salvation. Maintaining her "party on a plate" point of view during the exclusive Web series, she proved to host Robert Irvine her culinary chops and commitment to the competition. But now, looking back on her performance and her rivals', do you think Lovely was the correct finalist to earn a second chance at stardom?
Do you think Daniela or Andres — the first two ousted contestants — warranted more time to show off their skills, or should Danushka have stayed, on account of her one-of-a-kind attitude? Would you have liked to have seen more from restaurant chefs Viet, Chris or Chad, or was Lovely indeed worthy of redemption? Tell Star Talk by voting below for the competitor you think most deserved salvation.
Cast your vote
by Maria Russo in Community, July 19, 2013
When it comes to cooking in the Food Star Kitchen, mediocrity will never suffice. Week after week, Star finalists must turn out camera-worthy meals that are both deliciously inspired and intelligently presented. But just because mentors demand excellence on the plate doesn’t mean the rivals have to concoct complicated dishes that take hours to prepare; easy-to-make, quick-cooking offerings are also acceptable, and the finalists proved that with their preparations of classic pasta dishes during last week's episode.
Damaris', Stacey's and Nikki's pastas were among the simplest prepared during the Mentor Challenge, so much so that you can make them easily in your home kitchen. Nikki's Fire Island Burst Tomato Pasta with Lemon Herbed Goat Cheese Balls is a family-friendly plate that puts seasonal cherry tomatoes to work. Nikki starts by sauteing the tomatoes with garlic until they're soft and sweet, then she tosses the sauce with linguini and tops it with a sprinkle of fragrant basil and mint. For an indulgent finish, she studs each plate with a few goat cheese balls, which she's rolled with bright lemon zest and fragrant basil, mint, rosemary and thyme.
From private chefs and culinary instructors to restaurant owners, underground chefs and James Beard Award semifinalists, this year's cast of Star finalists boasts a long and impressive kitchen resume. They're keenly aware of what it takes to turn out balanced and full-flavored dishes, but thanks to the pressure of cooking on camera and against the clock — for a panel of esteemed food stars, no less — some of the rivals' offerings have proven disappointing, some even inedible. While the Selection Committee has demanded culinary excellence from day one of the competition, now nearly two months into the contest, the judges are finally starting to see consistently stellar plates.
In the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's all-new episode, it looks as if Alton's come across a dish he especially likes. No need for utensils or a tasting table here: He's gone hands first into a pot of one finalist's offering, picking at it while looking over his shoulder with a serious side-eye. What kind of food do you think is waiting for Alton in that pan, and who do you think made this sample-worthy meal?
Write your best captions