Star Kitchen Preview: Finalists Reveal Their Signature Dishes
Earlier this month FN Dish introduced each of the Food Network Star finalists, and for the first time, fans learned more about the competitors' culinary points of view (POVs), plus insider details, like their hopes for the contest, thoughts on the mentors and go-to midnight snacks. Much like POVs, cooks' signature dishes often reveal their style in the kitchen — what cuisine type they gravitate toward, which ingredients they're most comfortable with and perhaps even their history in the industry — and for the Season 10 contestants, their most-famed recipe (or the lack thereof) reveals plenty about who they are. Read on below to hear all of the finalists explain their signature plates, then watch their casting videos to learn more about them.
Aryen: I would say miso salmon. A basic soup in Japan is miso soup, so basically miso salmon is a take on that.
Chris: My signature dish is what I love to cook. Since I'm all about presentation, modern cuisine and doing it easy, I have a signature lobster napoleon salad. It basically has some technique of using molecular gastronomy. It's very simple. It tastes delicious, has some flavors that pop. It has texture. It's beautiful to look at, and it's beautiful to eat.
Christopher: My signature dish — it varies to the guest. I don't think there's any one dish I've ever done that completely defines me as a cook. I think there's many chefs out there that would have a hard time with this too. You don't want to paint yourself into a corner. What my signature dish is in the fall or what's selling the most could be completely different by winter and springtime. I really don’t like to repeat. I like to do something, and I like to change it and move on. Maybe it's just because I'm still pushing the envelope and I'm not really resting on the oldies. Constantly doing new stuff. I don’t like to get stagnant.
Donna: My husband loves my meatloaf. It's really hearty. It's high-quality nutrition. … You feel so good when you eat it. It's like a hug for your digestive tract. … I love it with my smashed sweet potatoes with maple butter. I serve the meatloaf with an onion-and-peach ketchup. And then I do kale with golden raisins and toasted almonds. It's a full plate, but the thing that's important about the food that I make, it's very strategic. Everything that I make is for optimum nutrition.
Emma: Well, I have lots of signature dishes, but one of them I'd love to share is everything biscuits. So it's like an everything bagel, but it's a biscuit with everything seasoning. And I put my type of BLT inside, which I created in the winter, when great lettuces weren't available at the supermarket. So it has Napa cabbage that's been sauteed with bacon, and it has a sun-dried tomato sauce, because tomatoes in the winter are also a little bland. And if you want to add cheese, you can put some cheese and melt it all together, and make it a BLT with a fresh twist.
Kenny: I do a spicy porky curry-y wide, flat rice noodle tossed off in a lemongrass marinade that's just really fantastic that people really love.
Lenny: I would think my signature dish, the one that I cook the most the last four, five years, would be a coffee-crusted elk fillet with some nice Yukon gold truffle mashed potatoes, balsamic-grilled asparagus and a beautiful, beautiful demi-glace.
Loreal: Probably my grandmother's apple dumplings and her wax paper caramels.
Luca: Probably a dish that my grandma used to make every Sunday back at home that in Italian is called gnocchi with coniglio. That is gnocchi with a rabbit sauce.
Nicole: Probably my goat-cheese-and-chive-stuffed tomatoes. I'm a Jersey girl, and we love our tomatoes. We have the best tomatoes in the world; I am confident in that. Italy's got nothing on Jersey tomatoes. And they're just sort of like a perfect bite.
Reuben: I make a rendition of a chicken alla Kiev, which is a traditional dish in which you put a compound butter inside of it and some cheese — very basic. I turn this around, and I put chorizo inside of it, some cilantro and pepper Jack cheese, and that compound butter as well in which I make with honey, a little bit of butter — you mix that in with one another, and then the coating I do is Italian breadcrumbs, whole-wheat flour and panko just for that crispiness.
Sarah: I have an open-faced scallop ravioli. Seared scallops, and it has a red curry coconut sauce. I really hope to get to make that for you guys 'cause it's dazzling.