The All-Star Academy Mentors Reveal Their Own Mentors

Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone and Michael Symon talk about the chefs who have influenced their professional lives.

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

The Mentors' Mentors

Now they're mentors themselves, but the four team leaders of All-Star Academy were once on the other side of the relationship when they were coming up as chefs. Curtis, Michael, Alex and Bobby reveal the important people who have made a lasting impression on their culinary careers.

It's All About Your Frame of Mind

Alex names Guy Savoy as her mentor, and also includes Daniel Boulud and Bobby Flay in her list. "I think I will never stop having mentors," she says. "Guy Savoy really told me to ... don't overthink stuff, just practice," she says. Daniel taught her to always strive to be better. From Bobby, she says she learned "how your attitude toward yourself and your own abilities can affect what happens to you."

Learning Along the Way and Every Day

Bobby names Jonathan Waxman and Wolfgang Puck as his mentors. But he also says "I actually learned from all the people I cook with — people I cook with every day in my restaurants. We also learn from each other, so it's really a collaboration of hundreds of people."

From Mum's Kitchen to the Devil's Kitchen

"I worked for Marco Pierre White for eight years," says Curtis about the notorious chef, his mentor, whom he left Australia to work for. Curtis also names his mum and granny as big influences for him. What he learned from all of them was "the value of hard work." Curtis adds, "You can’t just suddenly win it; you've actually got to earn it."

Cooking by One of Life's Maxims

Michael now counts his mentor Jonathan Waxman as his dearest friend, attributing his restaurant Lola's success to words of advice the chef gave him before opening. Michael explains that after trying out the menu "he said, 'If you take one ingredient out of every dish, the menu will be perfect.' And it really reinforced for me that less is always more." 

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