by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, June 24, 2016
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Judges, Videos, June 23, 2016
Food Network Star mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis expect the best from the finalists in terms of on-camera charm and culinary expertise. And the mentors know just how to deliver no-nonsense challenges that test both skills, as they are keenly aware of the traits needed to be successful onscreen and at the stove. Six weeks into the contest, the remaining competitors are halfway to the finish line, so the judges' expectations are getting only higher and more demanding. But that doesn't mean the judges don't know how to have a little fun on set too.
Check out the above photo from Sunday's all-new episode. Along with guest judge Duff Goldman, who's on hand for the Mentor Challenge, the mentors are simply cracking up at the scene unfolding before them. While Bobby leans over in grinning laughter, Giada covers her face and Duff looks on with a smile — all three enjoying themselves and letting loose at the judges' table. What do you think has them in stitches? Who could be making them laugh like that?
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Videos, June 22, 2016
It might be time for this year's Food Network Star finalists to pack it up and head home, because we're pretty sure we just found the next faces of Food Network stardom: Nacho Flay and Bella De Laurentiis, cats to Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, respectively.
OK, so maybe these furry felines aren't quite ready to host their own shows, but they're indeed primed for the spotlight. Recently we caught up with them — and their parents — on the set of Food Network Star, and both cats were natural stars on camera. Check out the exclusive video interview above to learn all about Nacho's Instagram fame (he has almost 50,000 followers @NachoFlay), find out what Bella likes to eat for breakfast (hint: you might be having it for dinner tonight) and watch as Nacho takes his place on Bobby's back-turned-perch.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Videos, June 21, 2016
If you've ever taken a road trip, you know that many fast-food dining destinations can leave a lot to be desired. This week, it was up to the Star Salvation finalists to reinvent the everyday road-trip tastes you know and (probably don't) love, transforming them into satisfying fare worthy of a pit stop. The trick? These dishes had to be ideal for the whole family — Mom and Dad in the front seat and the little ones in the back.
Click the play button on the video above to watch the second episode unfold and see how returning hopefuls Aaron and Yaku, plus newcomer Monterey, handled the speed bumps in the battle this week.
by Alex Guarnaschelli in Food Network Star, Recap, June 20, 2016
Following Jernard's blah performance during his tableside service presentation last week, the Food Network Star finalist was determined to bring his A-game this week. In the Mentor Challenge, he wowed the panel with a clever hack for a martini shaker and managed to drop what judge Bobby Flay called a little signature "Jernard swagger" in the process. "You have to be on tilt from here on out," Bobby told him. "Get uncivilized." Sure enough, come the Star Challenge, Jernard did just that, delivering a presentation at the tailgate in which he not only talked about taking shots with his wife, but also about how he rubs her feet. His strong showing — a de-civilization of the best kind, perhaps — indeed left a mark on the mentors. "You feel happiness pouring out of him, and it draws you in. And that's a gift," Giada De Laurentiis noted.
Relive Jernard's performances in both challenges by clicking the play button on the video above.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Interviews, June 19, 2016
To kick off this episode of Food Network Star, we dive into the world of food hacks. A food "hack" is when you use a utensil for a purpose other than for what it is intended. I feel like we all have our own food hacks at home, such as using an iron as a panini sandwich press or repurposing a wine bottle as a rolling pin. This challenge revolves around one of the most-important skills for a food star: how to think quickly on your feet and be resourceful. My hack? Use a stovetop burner as a makeshift broiler and char whole bell peppers (on all sides). Peel the skin and toss the pepper with a little red wine vinegar, oregano and olive oil. Delicious. Sometimes you can make great food by "burning" it and making it your own, and sometimes, well, you just get burned. (Check out more of my ideas for kitchen hacks above: rubber-banded pickle jars, floating eggs and others.)
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, June 17, 2016
With only 11 short weeks to ready finalists before a winner will be chosen, the Food Network Star beast is such that week after week, hopeful competitors will fall, faced with the crushing disappointment of elimination. Here on Star Talk, we'll be bringing you the first exclusive exit interviews with the ousted finalists as they're sent home. Check back here every Sunday night for new one-on-one chats to hear from the just-eliminated competitors, learn their thoughts on the competition, and find out how they feel about the mentors' critiques of their final dishes and presentations. We're about to break down the ins and outs of tonight's new episodes and reveal who went home, so if you've yet to watch the show, read no further until then.
by Maria Russo in Community, Food Network Star, June 16, 2016
Sure, the challenges on Food Network Star are a lot for any finalist to endure — they are downright difficult, actually — from the no-time-to-waste cooking blocks to the all-eyes-on-you presentations. But what's perhaps even more nerve-racking for the competitors is the time when the judges deliberate. During those few minutes, the finalists' fate hangs in the balance: Will they be spared one more week and advance to compete again, or will their journey end in a crushing elimination? Only time will tell, and it's that period of the unknown that we bet causes more anxiety than any one-minute video ever could.
by Maria Russo in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Star, June 16, 2016
By now you've seen the Food Network Star fan vote, right? You know that by supporting your favorite finalists you can help them top the polls? Good, because right now it seems like you all have strong — strongly positive — feelings for one hopeful in particular. Joy Thompson, a restaurateur and mom of five from North Carolina, is currently enjoying a nearly triple lead over the next-closest finalist. To date, Joy's garnered a whopping 44 percent of your votes, while baker Erin Campbell is coming in second place with 15 percent of the votes and Martita Jara, the winner of Comeback Kitchen, is trailing Erin closely with 13 percent.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Star, Videos, June 15, 2016
We recently released a brand-new photo tour of Food Star Kitchen, complete with an exclusive look inside the massive arena in which finalists cook, mentors deliberate and journeys end week after week. Now, with the help of the Season 12 culinary producers, we're taking it one step further, revealing little-known details about what it takes to stock the space for competition and the multitude of ingredients the finalists can use. Read on below to get all the details.
9: Crew members on the culinary team
688: Approximate pounds of produce that arrived on set at the start of the season
In the first several episodes of Food Network Star, hopefuls Havird, Aaron and Yaku came to the end of their journeys and were ultimately sent home — but not for long. This week they returned to Food Star Kitchen for a second shot at Stardom in the first installment of Star Salvation, hosted by Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and Eddie Jackson, last year's winner of Food Network Star. Over the course of six weeks, ousted finalists from each episode will join Alex and Eddie, plus whichever rivals remain from past battles, to compete to rejoin the Season 12 competition. And if the first showdown, featuring Havird, Aaron and Yaku, is any indication, these mentors have no-nonsense challenges up their sleeves in an effort to find the worthiest competitor.