One-on-One with the Latest Food Network Star Finalist to Go Home

Hear from Cory Bahr, who was sent home in Episode 8 of Food Network Star.

Contestants Amy Pottinger and Cory Bahr react to Cory's Elimination from the Star Challenge Cooking Goes Live, as seen on Food Network Star, Season 13.

Photo by: Eddy Chen

Eddy Chen

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.

Contestant Cory Bahr collects ingredients to prepare his dish, Duck Fat Roasted Rib Eye with Caramelized Brussel Sprouts, Shitake Mushrooms and Shishito Peppers, for the Star Challenge Cooking Goes Live, as seen on Food Network Star, Season 13.

Photo by: Eddy Chen

Eddy Chen

What three words describe how you're feeling right now?

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.

Tell me more. What was going through your mind when the mentors announced your elimination?

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.

Contestant Cory Bahr live streaming a demo of his dish, Duck Fat Roasted Rib Eye with Caramelized Brussel Sprouts, Shitake Mushrooms and Shishito Peppers, for the Star Challenge Cooking Goes Live, as seen on Food Network Star, Season 13.

Photo by: Eddy Chen

Eddy Chen

What do you think of your final challenge, the livestream presentation? Do you think you were able to accomplish everything you wanted to?

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.

So you stand by your last dish and presentation?
CB: Absolutely. I have no regrets whatsoever.

Hosts Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay check in on Contestant Cory Barh preparing his dish, Sweet Potato Hash with Tasso Ham and Green Apple Vinaigrette, for the Mentor Challenge The Humble Potato, as seen on Food Network Star, Season 13.

Photo by: Eddy Chen

Eddy Chen

How would you explain what this whole process is really like?

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.

What was one of the most-valuable things the mentors or guests taught you?

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.

Host Bobby Flay up against Contestant Cory Bahr in round two of the Star Challenge Beat Bobby Flay, On The Go, as seen on Food Network Star, Season 13.

Photo by: Eddy Chen

Eddy Chen

What were your most- and least-favorite challenges?

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.

What was the most-rewarding part of this experience for you?

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.

Contestant Cory Bahr prepares his dish, Pan Roasted Duck with Wilted Greens and “Red Eye” Gravy, for round two of the Star Challenge Beat Bobby Flay, On The Go, as seen on Food Network Star, Season 13.

Photo by: Eddy Chen

Eddy Chen

Did you have any trouble handing the nerves going through this?

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.

Fill in the blanks with your fellow finalists' names.
_____ is the class clown? Rusty.
_____ is the quietest? Jason.
_____ is the most daring? Myself.
_____ has the best recipes? Obviously me.
_____ is going to win this whole thing? Jason.

Guest Judge Anne Burrell checking in on Contestants Jason Smith, Matthew Grunwald, Rusty Hamlin, David Rose, Amy Pottinger and Cory Bahr preparing their team dishes for the Star Challenge Beat Bobby Flay, On The Go, as seen on Food Network Star, Season 13.

Photo by: Eddy Chen

Eddy Chen

What goes on behind the scenes? How did you and the other finalists spend your downtime?

CB: Laughing. Listening to music. Telling jokes. Just having fun, being normal people. That was an amazing part of this experience.

What do you want fans to remember most about who you are and what you did here?

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.

What’s next for you? What’re you going home to?

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.

Who are you rooting for?

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.

Tune in to Food Network Star on Sundays at 9|8c.
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