'Food Network Star' Interview: Justin Balmes Admires Michael Symon, Pitches Cool Concept
'Food Network Star' Interview: Justin Balmes Admires Michael Symon, Pitches Cool Concept
Matt Click
Matt Click
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Over the course of this season's Food Network Star, Justin Balmes always struck me as a very cool-headed, technique-driven chef -- somebody who clearly had an enormous amount of talent and drive, but who faltered in front of the camera almost every time. Although his elimination was inevitable, I was also somewhat sad to see him go, as I felt we hadn't yet seen everything he had to offer. I got to ask Justin Balmes a few questions yesterday about his time on Food Network Star, and he happily obliged. He talked about his admiration for Iron Chef Michael Symon, his dislike of drama and his really neat concept for a Food Network show. Read on!

Would you do anything different, if given the chance?
Nothing. Everything unfolded in perfect order as it was meant to.

Is being super competitive a viable strategy on Food Network Star? What about being cutthroat?
Being competitive, absolutely. However, people that are of the mentality that being "cutthroat" or playing games in a competition are of weak character and skill set. A person should advance based solely on their individual performance and not by creating a soap opera. Period.

Which Food Network chef do you admire most, and why?
Michael Symon. Had A LOT of respect for him even before his appearance on the Food Network. 'Soul of a Chef' by Michael Ruhlman detailing his work history at LOLA and his James Beard Award, etc. Amazingly talented man and seems to be a very genuine and ultimately kind person.

Of the remaining contestants, who do you think has what it takes to be the next Food Network Star?
Jeff Mauro! By far the most entertaining person I have ever known. Hands Down. Killer POV too!

What is your least favorite ingredient to cook with?
Processed anything.

What is one ingredient you could never do without?

What does Justin Balmes' Food Network show look like?
A get-to-know-your-food show revolving around farm to table. Picture this: Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs (me working on a farm or ranch for the day with the farmer/rancher) meets Follow That Food (me traveling to the market where said item(s) are sold). Really showing community involvement! Meets old school Molto Mario/Alton Brown (me educating and cooking for a small studio audience about why said ingredient(s) are special and then having my guests thoroughly enjoy the finished dish). Whew! Great concept. Great Concept...

(Image courtesy of Food Network)