Bobby Reveals the Secret to Star Success and Shares Advice on How Finalists Can Prepare

Bobby dishes on the all-new season of Food Network Star in this exclusive insider interview.
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Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

You heard it here first: Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay are back to mentor 12 finalists through the ultimate job interview in the hopes of finding a glimmer of stardom within one worthy hopeful. The competition kicks off on June 7 at 9|8c, and in true Star fashion, the mentors have all-new challenges up their sleeves, each designed to showcase competitors' culinary chops and comfort in front of the all-important camera. Star Talk caught up with Bobby to get the dish on what fans can expect this season and to learn his take on what finalists ought to do to succeed in this grueling contest. Read on below for an exclusive interview.

What's the secret to success for a Food Network Star finalist?

Bobby Flay: They need to be who they are and not try to be somebody who is already on the network. A lot of times people try to copy something that we already have. And so I think it's important for them to just be that person, so hopefully they'll become — like, if their name is Tina, for example, now we have Tina, as opposed to the next Rachael Ray.

What do you find most surprising about this competition and what it asks of the finalists?

BF: It always surprises me when they make the same mistakes that they've been watching [other finalists make] for the last 11 years. Because obviously these people get savvier and savvier every year 'cause their homework is to watch Season 1 through 10. And so when they make the same blatant mistakes that other contestants have made, and have been eliminated as a result of those mistakes, that always surprises me.

You've been mentoring on Food Network Star for years now. What's the biggest mistake you see hopefuls make time and time again?

BF: People not having a very focused point of view. I don't know how you can come in here as one of the top 12 people that got picked out of thousands of people and not have an incredibly well-practiced and focused point of view. But it happens every year.

Fill in the blanks: Every time I work with Giada, I know there's going to be _____ and _____.

BF: When I work with Giada, I know that there's going to be drama. And also she's going to peel the layers off of people. That's her party trick here.

Is there any way for the finalists to prepare for what they're about to go through in this competition?

BF: Yeah, I think they can watch the first 10 seasons because there's going to be that; while they may not be exactly the same, there's going to be versions of what we've been doing over the last 10 years. So I think they should do their homework.

For fans watching at home, how would you describe what this competition is really like for finalists?

BF: I think the competition is real and genuine, and it always pertains to what it takes to be a star on the network.

What's your single greatest piece of advice for the finalists?

BF: To be prepared. I know that I'm better on television when I'm even just a little bit prepared as opposed to not being prepared at all.

Of course one person will be crowned Food Network's newest Star in just a few months, but 11 will ultimately face defeat. What do you want to say to them?

BF: I think what's going to happen is it's going to make them all better at trying to do this. Whether they make it to the finale and get their own show on Food Network or not, they'll have all this practical experience because we're giving them the opportunity to do it in front of real cameras, real crew, real mentors and a real audience.

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