Friday, May 31, 2013

Food Network Star Season 9 Preview and Thoughts - Plus Episode-By-Episode Descriptions

Food Network Star Season 9 PreviewThis Sunday is the start of Season 9 of Food Network StarIn the first preview, I gave you the details about some of the Food Network Star contestants and where you have seen them before (Chopped, Iron Chef, etc).  It also had the rule changes for the show this season.

Now I will just go through some random thoughts for this season based on the rule changes, and the debacle of last year's season.
  • Last year, the winner was supposed to win their own 'Food Network show produced by their mentor.'  We all know that Alton Brown didn't produce Justin Warner's Rebel Eats special.  So the winner got a 1-hour special rather than a series, and it was not produced by his mentor.  We know how Bob and Susie like to constantly criticize contestants to stick to their POV (point-of-view).  Maybe they need to look in the mirror and stick to what they are offering to the winner and viewers.
  • Justin mentioned nothing about wanting to do a traveling show last season, which he ended up doing, so another example of a POV not being important.
  • Food Network Star will get better ratings than any show put out by the winner, so the competition is more important than the result.  Most people will watch and root for people, but could care less about following that person after the show ends.  This is similar to competitions like American Idol, The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance, etc.  Most people watch and root for someone, then never buy their CD or anything.
  • Bobby Flay, Alton Brown, and Giada De Laurentiis will not have their own teams this year, and will be judges/mentors to everyone.  While some people liked the teams, I think it made eliminations very predictable during episodes, as they always tried to keep teams even.  Also, Giada will be less like a cheerleader without having her own team.

Now onto the descriptions of all of the episodes this season....  Things to note after reading these:
  • It looks like there will be a lot of product placement in this season with Buitoni and Kellogg's being used for challenges (similar to Top Chef).
  • It is not clear when the eliminated finalist will return for a chance at winning, but judging by the preview of the season (fast-forward to 1:45), Robert Irvine announces someone is coming back to join the other contestants.  Robert doesn't appear until the July 28th episode.  So either during or after that episode might be where they come back (although Robert Irvine's message is taped).
  • As everything is taped before the finale, it doesn't seem like viewers will have the opportunity to vote a person back on, and they will most likely be chosen by the mentors/judges.  Knowing that, I am going to guess there will be a 'shocking' elimination, which they will use to create drama knowing they could bring that person back (also similar to Top Chef).
  • Guy Fieri is producing all of the three finalist's pilots.

Let me know if you can determine anything else from the show description or have any other comments regarding this season, such as the rule changes, contestants, etc.  I also plan to have episode recaps after each episode airs, so remember to come back for those.

Premiering Sunday, June 2nd at 9pm -”Are You Ready for Prime Time?” – SEASON PREMIERE!

In the premiere episode of Food Network Star, twelve hopefuls arrive in Los Angeles to compete for the ultimate prize: their own show on Food Network. The finalists meet mentors Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay, who help prepare the finalists for the biggest audition of their lives. In the Mentor Challenge, each finalist films a pitch tape, hones in on their personal hook and explains why they are the best person for the job. Then, in the Star Challenge, each contestant must prepare and present one dish to Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson and a focus group of Food Network viewers who help decide who has a shot at becoming a Food Network Star. One contestant’s dream ends here, and the remaining eleven continue their Star journey.

Premiering Sunday, June 9th at 9pm – “Burger Bash”

A Food Network Star must be able to do entertaining demonstrations and cook for a crowd. This episode pays homage to the Food Network Wine and Food Festival with its very own “Burger Bash,” an over-the-top burger competition. The finalists create the best burger of their lives and present it to 100 burger enthusiasts and after which, the burger fans decide whose creation they want to try solely based on their presentation. After a vote on which burger has the best flavor, the least successful finalist is sent home.

Premiering Sunday, June 16th at 9pm -”A Star is Chopped”

A Food Network Star must have the knowledge and ability to use a wide range of ingredients and be able to take any combination to new culinary heights. Each of the ten remaining finalists is given an exotic ingredient and under Alton and Bobby’s guidance, must identify and use their ingredient successfully in a dish. The top two win a seat at the judge’s table in the next challenge, while their competitors battle it out in the kitchen, Chopped-style. The eight finalists compete and make a dish with four mystery basket ingredients, to be critiqued by Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli. The least successful competitor hits the road, and the remaining nine finalists continue their journey.

Premiering Sunday, June 23rd at 9pm -”Big Screen Bites”

From food to products to restaurants, Food Network Stars have to be informed on the latest culinary trends. The movie theater experience is being transformed with luxury cinemas popping up all over the country, and in the Mentor Challenge, the contestants are put into teams of three to create a menu and a movie trailer for a focus group of movie enthusiasts. They then compete at one of these extravagant cinemas, preparing the meal they proposed in their movie trailer. The focus group decides which meal they want to try based on the trailer, and then vote on which menu they liked the best. Whose concept will be a hit at the box office and who will go home?

Premiering Sunday, June 30th at 9pm -”Fourth of July Live”

Food Network Stars are required to think on their feet and react to any situation thrown at them, especially live television events. The finalists cook with special guest Terrence Jenkins, co-anchor of E! News, in a live cooking demo where each contestant faces a series of untimely curveballs. The winner of this challenge gets an advantage in the next one, as the finalists participate in a Fourth of July-themed show designed to help viewers with must-have recipes and tips for summer parties. Each finalist is assigned a different live post such as barbequing, crafting drinks, or reporting from the field, and they must tackle their task while fielding interactive elements such as video calls, web questions and tweets.  Bob Tuschman, accompanied by Bobby and Giada, watch the action remotely through a live feed and determine who will continue on.

Premiering Sunday, July 7th at 9pm ET/PT -  “Product Pitch”

A big part of being a Food Network Star is communicating big ideas quickly–recipes, brands, concepts, products. Each finalist has to come up with two product samples that represent their unique brand and culinary style. The judges offer feedback to each finalist on both products, and they must choose one to create, package and pitch to a tough panel of successful food executives.  One by one the finalists pitch their product and themselves to the panel-who then votes on whether this is a viable product based on presentation and taste.  The selection committee then decides who did best overall, and one finalist heads home.

Premiering Sunday, July 14th at 9pm ET/PT - “Star Charity Auction”

Stars must be adventurous, both on the screen and in the kitchen. Each finalist is challenged to use an off-the-wall ingredient to create a fantastic dish and auction the dish to a roomful of adventurous eaters. The better they sell their dish to the bidders and the more convincing they are, the higher the prices will rise, with all the money being raised for charity. The finalist whose dish is sold for the most money wins the presentation portion of the challenge and is safe from elimination. The selection committee will then decide who did the best overall and send one finalist home.

Premiering Sunday, July 21st at 9pm ET/PT - “Food Stories From The Road”

Whether it’s in the kitchen or in the field, a Food Network Star is always describing food in a way that brings it to life-helping viewers feel as if they are experiencing the dish first hand. The finalists create an Italian-themed dish using one of three Buitoni® products and present in groups of two with a twist: they must present their opponent’s dish instead of their own. The contestants are then divided into teams to film a three-minute ‘food-story show’ about two establishments–a pizza joint and a donut shop. The shows are then screened and critiqued by a team of Star-makers: The Hollywood Reporter Editorial Director Janice Min and Senior Writers Gary Baum and Leslie Bruce. The team voted least successful lands in the bottom three, with one finalist heading home.

Premiering Sunday, July 28th at 9pm ET/PT - “Menu Impossible”

A Food Network Star must be able to offer tips and solutions for any culinary situation and make information accessible to viewers. One of the most frequently asked questions is What can I cook with everyday items in my pantry?” so using Kellogg's® Special K® Cereals and Snacks, the finalists cook up a delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner dish. Then, special guest Robert Irvine leads the finalists in rehabilitating failing or outdated dishes on a restaurant’s menu. The least successful finalist is sent home.

Premiering Sunday, August 4th at 9pm ET/PT - “Network Pitch”

The four finalists finally have their chance to pitch a show to Food Network. They practice their pilot pitch to Bobby, Alton and Giada - who coach them through their presentation before their network pitch to executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, who are back to choose the final three. Based on the presentations, Bob and Susie green light three concepts, and the finalists create their pilots–to be directed by season two Food Network Star winner Guy Fieri.  After the episode airs, viewers will be able to vote online and via phone to determine who wins the ultimate prize at next week’s finale.

Premiering Sunday, August 11th at 9pm ET/PT - “America Picks A Star”

The results are in as America has voted to determine who will be the next Food Network Star. Before the winner is revealed, the finalists are back in the studio to tell all and view never-before-seen footage from the season. Bobby, Alton and Giada each share their favorite moments during an emotional look back at remaining finalists' journey to the finale. Then, suspense rises as the time comes to reveal who will walk away as the new Food Network Star.


  1. Interesting - I might take a peek at it but if it goes like prior seasons, I hate to say, I don't see me watching it. They need to either give their contestants a show - much like they did for Guy, Aarti, Melissa, etc. or not. I agree with your view on they need to think about what they are offering to their contestants (and viewers) and BE consistent.

  2. Won't watch it. Gave up after the (a) Penny Davidi debacle and (b) Jeff Mauro win. Got so turned off on the concept there is no way I would ever tune in again. I will watch a lot of dumb FN shows, but this is not one of them.

  3. We don't know what happened last season. I have to wonder how much was the network and how much was Justin himself. I won't judge unless/until I hear both sides.

  4. I totally agree. I tend to think that the problem was Justin himself especially after seeing how bad he was on the travel show he did and that FN gave him a few commercials to do in fulfillment of some contractual agreement. However, I freely admit that I couldn't stand him on FNS so my opinion is not without bias.

  5. I like Justin and would like to see more of him. America was waiting for his show because we vote for him, is sad that FN is not using his talent. If they are not consistent about what they are offering to the viewers is not worth watching.

  6. Go in expecting a total farce and be entertained by how hard they work to pretend it isn't.

    I have always found it curious (and by curious I mean lazy) that they always have all these challenges where they have to talk to the camera and but can't do it but then they inter-cut with these very polished interview/commentary clips about what happened were suddenly speaking in front of the camera is second nature.

  7. I think that Food Network was mad that Justin won. He doesn't fit their "image", and that's why there's no voting this year. I'm not a Justin fan myself, but I feel thats why he never got his own show.

  8. FYI, there actually is fan voting this year again.

  9. The whole fan voting thing instantly turns me cold. I didn't watch the finale last year because i did not want to sit though a best-of to find out who won, and knowing they are doing it again ensures I won't waste my time this year. No thanks.