'Food Network Star' gets a makeover in Season 8

Alton Brown takes the first blow in the new team format of Food Network Star, a la The Voice.

The Food Network’s hiring vehicle, Food Network Star, has undergone more than a condensing of the unwieldy The Next Food Network Star title. For Season 8, a change in the show’s format has it looking a lot like NBCs The Voice.

A format tweaking is no surprise for a show going into it’s eighth season. It should not be a surprise to viewers—and, if it is, it’s likely a welcome one—that Food Network executives would pick up on the popularity of a show like The Voice and decide to give its format a go for its own competitive reality show. And, with three big-time names like Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis and Alton Brown available for mentoring, why not?

Food Network celebrity chef and host of Restaurant Impossible Robert Irvine announced the first Star Challenge for this year’s finalists: Create their own restaurant, a la Restaurant Impossible. Of course, as is always a challenge, the three teams were much more pinched for time and money than Irvine’s challenges, and the contestants did not even know each other at that point, making working together and playing on each other’s strengths almost impossible. But, Team Alton decides on the restaurant name Do South and Southern cuisine; Team Giada goes with Blu and California cuisine; and Team Bobby comes up with Tasting Space and an eclectic menu designed to highlight the unique flavor each team member can bring to the table.

First Chef Eliminated from Team Alton

As always, some soared and some crashed—memorably, Linkie’s key lime pie was referred to as “cafeteria” by Brown, a charge her mentor, De Laurentiis, was unable to refute. But, it was Josh from Team Giada who finds his way into the bottom two with a “fatty” dumpling soup and Team Alton’s Cristie, who was deemed “angry” by the judges when she presented her not-well-accepted black-eyed pea puree soup. The two then faced a one-on-one cook-off: Cook a brunch dish in honor of Mother’s Day in 30 minutes, which would be presented to the judges with a colorful story as to why the dish was a meaningful Mother’s Day dish for the chef.

Although both came through with strong dishes, with each having a bit of a stumble in their one-minute pitch to the camera about their respective recipes, Cristie, whose passion for healthy food still seemed to be striking the judges as anger, was selected as the first cut from Food Network Star Season 8.

Will Team Alton bounce back next week? And will Bobby Flay keep his team on the track to victory as the weeks progress?

Stay tuned.

Also on Huliq: 'The Next Food Network Star' premiere highlights Season 8 finalists

Image: Wikimedia Commons