One-on-One with the Latest Food Network Star Finalist to Go Home
The nature of the Food Network Star beast is such that no matter how much mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis have to teach the finalists, their time is limited, which means they're forced to make quick decisions about who has the greatest potential for success. Week after week finalists will fall in a series of eliminations, and following each gut-wrenching exit, we here at Star Talk will bring you insider interviews with the fallen hopefuls. If you haven't watched the latest episode, don't read any further until you do, because we're about to break down the show and talk to the person sent home.
Few chefs in the country can claim that they've beaten Bobby Flay in the kitchen, but Cory Bahr is among the successful few. His shining moment in last week's Star Challenge, when he out-cooked the Iron Chef with a signature dish of duck. But unfortunately for Cory, the wins ended there. This week, though, he found himself subdued on camera, so much so that guest Alex Guarnaschelli was forced to make jokes with him order to force his smile. The mentors have explained to him before the importance of an engaging personality, but ultimately he failed to deliver, and tonight, his journey to Stardom ended. Read on below to get his take on what went wrong and his plans for the future.
Cory Bahr: It is what it is. That’s really it. My journey ends here in this competition but not the rest of my life. Everything goes on.
CB: I thought, "Good for Amy." Honestly, it’s out of my hands. I don’t have some poetic answer about it. It’s not something I feel like I did completely wrong; it just wasn’t right at this time.
CB: I made a dish that was easy to follow, that was completed and tasted by the judges. I answered all the questions along the way, and, to me, it might not have been perfect, but it completed the challenge.
CB: It’s extremely difficult. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. It’s a lot of ups and downs. It seems very subjective, in the moment. What matters right now might not matter five minutes from now. It’s kind of a sliding scale with judging. It is what it is. That’s just as simple as it is. I came here. I competed. I went a pretty long way. I had a good run, and it’s over. I can’t change that, and I don’t know if I’d want to.
CB: It didn’t come from the mentors or the guest judges; it came from the fellow competitors. I found that I gained a lot of respect and a lot of motivation through my fellow competitors. They’re all individually great people, but as a group they’re amazing. For me, the biggest takeaway from this is meeting great people and getting to work side-by-side with them.
CB: Each challenge brought its own highs and lows. I guess my most favorite was kicking Bobby Flay's butt, and then the least-favorite part of this is probably going home. I enjoyed each challenge for what it was. It all took unique and different skill sets, and I embraced each challenge, because I cooked wildly different food from one challenge to the next to prove my depth, which not a lot of people did. They cooked nachos about 12 different ways, and arugula salad about eight times. But it is what it is. I’m happy. I’m happy I came to this competition. I’m happy that I’m leaving this competition, because I came into this competition as me, and I’m leaving just the same.
CB: Making new friends was the most-rewarding part of the experience. I’m happy for my fellow competitors who are continuing on to fight to win, and those friendships I take away from it are definitely going to be the most-valuable thing.
CB: As a chef, and as a well-regarded chef throughout the country, I want things to be perfect. I tend to overthink things quite a bit, because I want everybody to be happy. Certainly, nerves can be an issue from time to time.
CB: Laughing. Listening to music. Telling jokes. Just having fun, being normal people. That was an amazing part of this experience.
CB: That I didn’t hold back. That I cooked the beat damn food in this whole competition. And that that’s what I’m going to keep on doing.
CB: Opening restaurants that were already in the plans before I came here. I have tone of events that are already on the books that I’m going to be looking forward to, and seeing my one-eyed Boston Terrier and my girlfriend, and then going to visit my grandfather who’s going to be cooking gumbo for 50 people in the rehab hospital soon.
CB: I’m rooting for Rusty. Rusty’s an honest, upstanding, wonderful guy, and he’s a true person. He’s made out of good stuff. He’s the best.