The new season of the Food Network Star debuted Sunday night, featuring two DC contestants — Alex McCoy and Emilia Cirka.
Our little DC blog is unabashedly in support of Alex, who performed rather well in the first episode! At the beginning of the show, he and the other 11 contestants gave a bit of a personal introduction in 30 seconds to Food Network hosts Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis.
The hosts liked what Alex had to say, but they wanted more charisma from him. Like a few other contestants, he didn’t smile enough during his introduction. Thankfully, the contestants got a chance to re-do their introductions in 30-second video presentations. The next day, the contestants presented their 30-second videos to 100 Food Network fans who gathered for a food festival catered by the contestants.
Alex and the other contestants were given an hour to cater food for the 100 guests, and Alex chose to make Choripan sandwiches with pork belly. This fit with Alex’s focus, as he introduced himself as a sandwich expert who travels the globe for inspiration. The concept is very much similar to what Alex did at Duke’s Grocery, where he cooked tasty sandwiches and other fare until leaving in January.
Everyone was wowed by Alex’s video, in which he was succinct and charming. Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis cheered Alex for taking their feedback to heart (mostly by using his winning smile during his introduction). Appearing on the show as a guest judge, J.D. Heyman, deputy entertainment editor of People magazine, called Alex “a budding celebrity.”
The reaction to his sandwiches, however, was a bit mixed. Guests seemed to like them but they found them a bit overdone perhaps. Alex didn’t get a lot of screen time compared to some of the others, particularly the “problem children” of the competition. But he was smooth and built up to a fine performance. We expect him to surprise folks more as the season progress with both his personality and his food.
In the end, Alex made the cut and avoided first-round elimination quite handily. Catch up with him (and Emilia) along with the other remaining contestants in the second episode of this edition of Food Network Star on Sunday, June 14, at 9pm ET.
Watch the full episode on YouTube: