From Drill Sergeant to Doughnut: How the All-Star Academy Chefs Describe Their Mentoring Styles

Some mentors may be soft-spoken yet firm, while others don't hold back in telling it like it is — the spectrum really does go from one extreme to the other on All-Star Academy, Season 2.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

The Mentoring Spectrum

The art of mentoring is wide-ranging, and just watching Andrew Zimmern, Alex Guarnaschelli, Curtis Stone and Robert Irvine on All-Star Academy proves that each mentor has a different method. Find out how the chefs approach coaching their home cooks through the competition.

Watch a Highlight: Season 2 Highlights

Alex, the Matriarch of Mentoring

We've all heard the expression "a softy on the inside." But would you think that of Alex? She describes herself as a "Teflon-dipped, cream-filled doughnut," which explains a lot. Alex is much like a mom: She'll push when needed while nurturing along the way. Lest we think Alex is a pushover, she adds: "I'm definitely tough, and I definitely act a little bit like an alarm clock when I think people are nodding off on the job." With Alex, expect to see both sides of the coin.

Andrew's Systematic Approach

Andrew may look like a teddy bear, but he's actually more calculating than meets the eye. He takes a scientific approach to mentoring: "I only know one way to teach things to other people, and that's by creating a system," he says. He explains that by putting a system into place, each home cook creates a sensory memory to achieve ultimate efficiency "to think about their plate, to organize their mise en place, to move from the left side of their station to the right side of their station."

A Bit of Good and Evil from Curtis

"I worked for Marco Pierre White for eight years," says Curtis, calling him "the original psycho when it comes to chefs." Curtis experienced Chef White's infamy firsthand, but he knows it was all because of "tough love." Does Curtis throw around commands like Chef White? "I'm happy to give it out, but I can be super-compassionate, understanding and softly spoken," he says. "It just depends on what the goal is," Curtis explains, and how much of a push the home cook may need.

Robert, the Direct Drill Sergeant

What you see is what you get with Robert. "My style of mentoring is definitely the master gunnery sergeant, straight to it, get it done, stop crying," he says. His reasoning for being the way he is? "I find that people want to be told what to do. Once you've told them, and they make a mistake doing it, they figure it out really quickly," he says. Expect less collaboration from Robert; he'll tell it like it is and how he wants it done. But he adds, "I'm not barking, not screaming, just very direct."

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Go inside the competition with behind-the-scenes photo galleries, exclusive interviews with the mentors, battle highlights and more.

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