One-on-One with the Latest Food Network Star Finalist to Go Home
It's the nature of the Food Network Star beast that even though no matter how badly finalists want to achieve their dreams of stardom, ultimately only one can win the coveted title, and with that, 11 finalists will be going home. Every week Star Talk will bring you the first exclusive interview with the most-recently eliminated finalist. From thoughts on mentors' critiques to reflections on past challenges and hopes for the future, be sure to check back every Sunday night for the latest one-on-one chat. We're about to break down the ins and outs of tonight's new episode and reveal who went home, so if you've yet to watch the show, read no further until then.
While there's surely no good time to be eliminated from Food Network Star, the first week of the competition and the week before the finale may just be the most trying. After a hard-fought and well-earned 10-week run in the contest, Arnold Myint said goodbye to his chance at Stardom tonight. It was up to him — and his chosen sous chef, past rival Rue Rusike — to prepare the dish of his life, as Bobby called it, and to deliver one final presentation to the Selection Committee, proving he was worthy of filming a pilot. Ultimately, however, the three finale spots went to Arnold’s fellow hopefuls, as Bob Tuschman said of Arnold’s video that he "missed that joy" Arnold had been known for up until now.
Read on below to hear from Arnold as he looks back on the past 10 weeks, reflects on his high and low moments, and talks about his final performance of the season.
AM: My proudest moment would have to be when ... my four buddies [and I] were in the top five and we deserved it. This is the only thing that I'll get emotional about is this, because we really are the best in the competition, and it was nice that they judged us based on that.
AM: I think I got in my own way today. The way I described it is we're all A students, but today I got an A- and everybody else got A+s. So I had a bad day at the office. I've had a great momentum and everybody's really strong. And me going away to the three boys that are up there right now, that's the best way to go, giving a good fight. I'm just a little disappointed that I didn't give them the fight that I know that I could give. I didn't give my best product for them to — I kind of opened the door for them. But I don't regret the decisions that I made, and I don't regret the advice that I listened to from the mentors. I just was a little out of my skin today. I tried something different. I wasn't comfortable with my approach. In hindsight, I don't know if it would have been different if I just continued to do what I did before — if the mentors would have been like, "You're not listening to us." But at least they know that I listened to them and I tried to make improvements.
AM: I've been consistently energetic and enthusiastic, and my constant critiques have been just to slow my pace down and to take a moment to breathe during my presentation. And today was my first day to try that. Had it been a couple of weeks ago, I may have mastered it by this telling decision day. But it didn't click until this time around. But at least it clicked. And part of this process is growing, and I'm not going to not breathe anymore. I'm going to continue to breathe and move forward. Unfortunately, it was on a doomsday for me. But I don't regret that I did that.
AM: I think my dish had a good response. I think my presentation is what sent me home. My dish was solid; they seemed to really enjoy it. There was one little hiccup in it. But based on the time factor and what I did on that dish, it screamed me. And it resonated with them as well. I have no questions or insecurities about what I've produced this entire time.
AM: This competition is the world's longest job application, and you have to be qualified for it. There's no sugar-coating it, and there's no fabricating what we bring to the table. There's no way to fake it. You have to be someone to fill a job position where you're an expert in your field. And it's no joke. It's just the first step to a long career path. It's not just a game show. It's a job application. And I knew that going in. I wouldn't have done this show if I didn't think that I didn't have four seasons already written in my back pocket of shows for Food Network. And I still have them back there, so I'm waiting for that moment. ... For anybody who wants to compete on this show or thinks they have what it takes to compete on this show or just enjoys watching this show, it is a real-deal commitment. It's a life choice. And once you're in it, you better be prepared to run with it for the next five, 10 years. It's not just a flash in the pan.
AM: There are two things that I got. And one is from Bobby Flay. And he told me, don't just be the idea, but be the solution. And it makes a lot of sense, because you can inspire, but part of being a TV food celebrity — especially with Food Network — is to each. And when he told me that, I realized. I was a "showboy" growing up, and I loved being the center of attention. But getting this job isn't about me. This job is about sharing and inspiring what I love. And I don't know if I have to prove myself. I just have to share myself. And that really hit home. And then another one is from everyone, which is to breathe and enjoy it. And I tend to think fast and speak faster; I move even faster. But just that one word, "breathe," is what I'm taking from this competition.
AM: I really did not enjoy the food truck challenge, but I loved it because I won it with Jay. I really did not enjoy the pizza challenge, because I didn't feel that it matched my point of view and my goals and who I am. The goal is to win as many things as you can, but I didn't feel connected to what the prize would be. I loved all the times we got to present and all the times we got to be in front of the camera. For me, I felt like I got 10 good weeks of a cooking workout. It was a nice time to sweat.
AM: I think the one thing that I was least expecting was that I had to cook so much and that the real-time cooking [sessions] were only 60 minutes. ... I chose to do this competition because I felt it was a food personality competition. And that's what I had practiced: coming here to be a personality. And I didn't realize I had to pull out so many cooking chops to get through.
AM: I really loved seeing Chef Alex, mainly because she was my culinary school teacher, so that was kind of cool. I loved working with Damaris as well.
AM: Once again, I was told to breathe and to channel my energy into being in the moment.
AM: Get your hand on Mason jars, every single size. They are great to carry soups, cold things, salads, desserts. They're so versatile. And they're reusable. You can put a parfait in it. You can toss a salad in it. You can put flowers in it. You can make a cocktail and it won't spill. So that's one hint. And it also makes really cute gifts for people.
AM: I'm going to start training for Season 12 of Food Network Star. No! I launched a wine last year and I have a cookbook deal as well. And I'm just going to pound the pavement, and I'm pitching pilots again, which I did before this. And [I'll] think about moving on with my restaurants and potentially just working more as a brand for myself. ... [I'll] just keep opening more doors for myself and pounding the pavement for opportunity. What I know from this show is this is exactly what I want to be doing with my life, and I'm prepared for it.
Keep coming back to Star Talk for the latest on the Food Network Star competition.