Star-a-Day: Arnold Myint

Get to know Arnold, a finalist on Food Network Star, Season 11.

Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

There are traditional job interviews, which are surely daunting, then there's Food Network Star: an intense 11-week journey that requires nothing short of flawless technique in the kitchen and a downright sparkly personality on camera. Beginning June 7 at 9|8c, 12 all-new rivals will put their dreams on the line as they endure mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis' lofty challenges, all in the hopes of scoring the most-sought-after culinary career: Food Network host. Star Talk is bringing you the first look at each of the finalists in exclusive, candid interviews, and today we're introducing Tennessee's Arnold Myint.

Arnold, 38 (Nashville), grew up in his parents’ restaurant, one of the first Asian restaurants and food markets in Nashville, where he used to roller-skate through the aisles. After a career in professional figure skating, he attended culinary school and returned to restaurant life with three restaurants of his own. An accomplished mixologist, restaurant consultant and event caterer, Arnold makes food that is bold, unexpected and fun — just like him. Arnold also has a drag alter ego, Suzy Wong, who is known to host charity events and mix a fierce cocktail.

Describe your culinary POV in one sentence — if you can.

Arnold Myint: My culinary point of view is easy entertaining at home that won't break your bank.

If you could ask Bobby and Giada to teach you one thing in the kitchen, what would it be?

AM: I'd have to ask them how they relax for the camera. I think that's one thing I really want to nail, and so I'd probably ask them both to get feedback in both ways, because they approach their shows differently, and I just want to see what goes through their minds to get them ready for that.

What one thing do you really want to convey to the mentors about you, your food or your would-be Food Network show?

AM: I really want them to know that there's so many layers that I have to offer and that I'm a professional to work with and that I'm ready to sign on to the network for a longtime job. And I would like their help to help get me there and to succeed and to make our working relationship an ongoing pleasure.

How did you prepare for this competition?

AM: I prepared for this competition all my life. I was raised in the restaurant industry, and I've competed in national levels as a drag queen and as a professional figure skater. And I've done some television before. But immediately before coming to the competition, I locked myself in my house and only allowed myself to cook in my home kitchen and not my restaurant kitchen by going to grocery stores and buying things off shelves that most domestic chefs purchase. So I have a better grasp of quantities and portions and availability of product.

Win or lose, what's something you want to take away from this contest?

AM: Win or win. Losing's not really in my mindset. Really, I want to take away a new job. No matter the result, I think I'm going to prove myself in a really great way, and I think I'm going to make an impression that will get people to want to work with me in the future.

What's your greatest strength in the kitchen?

AM: I'm a leader, and I'm focused and I have a vision. And I'm able to lead a team and teach a team to get to my goal — and in turn, nurture their growth and kind of support their successes as well.

What is the strangest thing we'd find in your refrigerator right now?
AM: A six-pack of PBR
What was the first dish you perfected?

AM: The first dish I truly perfected would have to be when I was about 10 years old, and it would be ramen noodles. Because my first attempt, I was 9 or 8, it was Valentine's Day, I decided to make it romantic for my parents, and I put red food coloring in it. They ate it all, but after seeing the aftermath of it, I decided to scale that down, so I definitely perfected ramen noodles. And now I make them from scratch.

What dish or ingredient will we never catch you eating?

AM: There's an ingredient that I really loathe, and it would have to be the durian, from Thailand. It's not allowed in hotels, and it's not allowed in my mouth. I won't take it.

What's your favorite late-night snack?

AM: I find myself eating peas a lot, 'cause that's my favorite food, and so a favorite late-night snack for me is just basically some 'nuked peas with a little bit of truffle and butter, honestly. And it satieties me until the morning.

What is one must-have dish at your last supper?
AM: Beef jerky
What do you want to say about yourself to fans watching at home?

AM: Thanks for watching. Follow me. Let's grow together. I'm in this the for the long haul, and I'm ready to share with you what my life's work's been, and I think you'll like it. I hope you'll like it. And let's just grow together.

Rapid fire: Think fast!
Ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise? Mayonnaise
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
Bagels or doughnuts? Bagels
Cream cheese or butter? Cream cheese
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Burgers or hot dogs? Hot dogs
French fries or onion rings? Onion rings
White meat or dark? Dark
Cake or pie? Cake
Beer or wine? Both
French toast or pancakes? Neither

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