by Maria Russo in Interviews, April 14, 2014
by Maria Russo in Judges, August 14, 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 Justin Warner in Food Network Star, August 13, 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 Community, August 9, 2013
As I'm sure Bob, Susie, Alton, Giada and Bobby have already done so, I'd like to be the sixth person to welcome you to the Food Network family. I'm sure you'll fit in quite nicely, as we are all really just a bunch of food-obsessed kooks who like to entertain and have a good time.
Having been through the process, I know exactly what it takes to get where you are, and you've got it. Your poise during the Chopped challenge led me to believe you were a contender. Your pilot really sealed the deal. Your sense of humor is a perfect fit for our audience, and your optimism and good vibes just leap from the screen. Your POV is as solid as it gets. It is who you are: a teacher, a romantic and someone who isn't afraid to sing Bonnie Tyler karaoke after just one drink. Congratulations on finding the sweet spot between all of those Damarises. Also, as a dude who was chastised for winning the home ec award in middle school, I appreciate you championing the idea that everyone should love to cook for each other.
Congratulations on also having the largest gain in Twitter followers since the start of the competition. Interacting with fans is the name of the game. I look forward to seeing your "blue check" soon.
So what else is in store for you? Lemme tell you this: everything.
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 Recipes, July 31, 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 Community, July 10, 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 Community, July 5, 2013
As Sunday afternoons turn into evenings and the hours until the next episode of Food Network Star tick away, how do you settle in to watch the latest premiere? No matter who you're with or where you're watching from, you surely have on hand a spread of eats and drinks to last you through the episode, right? Here at Star Talk, we want to see what you're munching on. Every Wednesday, check back for a themed menu to get you ready for the episode ahead, and on Sunday nights, snap photos of your spread and share them with @FoodNetwork via Twitter and Instagram using #FoodNetworkStar.
Signature dishes: They're the go-to meals you're known for preparing flawlessly every time and the dishes you immediately look to when asked to cook for a special occasion or to bring food to a party. On Sunday's all-new episode of Star, the remaining contestants must put their culinary points of view on a plate in the form of their own signature dishes and sell them at an auction in the Food Star Kitchen. You, too, can show off deliciously infamous plates at home with the help of these top-rated recipes for classic preparations of timeless meals below.
Anne Burrell's family-friendly Lasagna (pictured above) features layer upon cheesy layer of pancetta-studded marinara sauce, sauteed Italian sausage and earthy mushrooms, plus a creamy mixture of ricotta and Parmesan, and a topping of mozzarella. A big-batch recipe that's easy to make, Anne's basil-laced Lasagna slices better if it's baked a day before it's served.
by Maria Russo in Community, July 3, 2013
A finalist's journey on Food Network Star is a rollercoaster-like experience of high and low moments, often fluctuating between flashes of intense pride and painful disappointments — sometimes within the same week. It's up to them to revel in their personal progress and slices of victory, and recognize their flops, while, of course, avoiding becoming discouraged by the missteps. While some know how to take the difficult days in stride and learn from them, others find themselves hung up on thoughts of weakness or particularly critical feedback.
In the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's all-new episode, it appears as though this group of contestants has no trouble embracing a happier moment of the day. Here, they've come together for a quick second of celebration, high-fiving and laughing with each other on set. What do you think has these rivals in such a good mood? Does it look like they're once again working in teams, or are they simply supporting each other in the competition?
Write your best captions
by Maria Russo in Community, June 28, 2013
As Sunday afternoons turn to evenings and the hours until the next episode of Food Network Star tick away, how do you settle in to watch the latest premiere? No matter who you're with or where you're watching from, you surely have on hand a spread of eats and drinks to last you through the episode, right? Here at Star Talk, we want to see what you're munching on. Every Wednesday, check back for a themed menu to get you ready for the episode ahead, and on Sunday nights, snap photos of your spread and share them with @FoodNetwork via Twitter and Instagram using #FoodNetworkStar.
Just as you may host weekly viewing parties to take in the latest happenings in the Star Kitchen, so, too, do this season's contestants, throwing food-focused bashes with their families and friends to catch themselves on television. Last weekend, rivals and friends Rodney and Chad came together to watch the 4th of July Live challenge (see the photo below), and they told Star Talk that true to the styles of the Pie Man and Barbecue Guy, their menu was a hearty one. At each of his three Dangerously Delicious Pies shops, Rodney offers a selection of classic dessert-style pies, plus savory options with chicken, pulled pork and potatoes. He brought a few kinds of both varieties to the party, while Chad stayed true to his point of view, providing the ultimate barbecue feast: Memphis-inspired ribs, traditional barbecue sauce and spicy coleslaw.
Each episode of Food Network Star runs for about 42 minutes total — not including commercial time, of course — but to produce that short amount of television, finalists, mentors, camerapeople and behind-the-scenes crew devote three whole days to filming a single show. Shooting often starts early in the morning and doesn't wrap until late in the evening, and while the process is indeed efficient and organized, the cast is surely left with downtime, both on the set and behind the scenes. It's up to them to fill that time on their own: Should they try to anticipate future challenges, hash out go-to recipe ideas, reflect on the competition in their journals or chat with contestants?
Given the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday's all-new episode, it looks as if Russell and Nikki have taken the moments before filming begins to simply goof around with each other, donning silly faces, lighthearted expressions and bunny ears. Do you think they've become slaphappy by their long days on set, or are they using the play time to de-stress from the competition? Will they be able to regain focus and professionalism before the next challenge begins?
Write your best captions