Today, I have chosen to share about the Food Network show, All-Star Academy. My main reason for watching the show is that it features home cooks competing for $50,000.00 while being mentored by three of my favorite TV chefs, Alex Guarnachelli, Bobby Flay, and Michael Symon.
Mentors Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Michael Symon, and Curtis Stone appeared to be genuinely surprised when Ted Allen told them they were cooking against each other to see who would select a home cook first, and decide the order in which the other mentors could select their home cook team.
Alex appeared to be shocked when Simon Majumdar, "the scariest judge on Food Network," selected her dish as the winner. Seriously, Alex's mouth dropped open and her eyebrows rose nearly to her hairline. The very newest Iron Chef beat Iron Chef Bobby Flay AND Iron Chef Michael Symon. What an accomplishment!
Two home cooks were sent home in the first episode:
Thomas Mann and Mike Castenada
Episodes Two and Three
In each episode, the home cooks reveal facts about themselves in short clips throughout the episode. Two of the cooks revealed facts that made it evident to me that they were not truly home cooks.
What Is A "Home Cook"?
Honestly, home cook means you cook at home. You are an amateur, or a novice. Amateurs do not make money for their cooking UNLESS you enter a cooking contest for other amateurs and win, BUT it is not your main source of income. Amateurs are not trying to make a living with their cooking.
A professional, in my opinion, is anyone who has made money with their cooking to earn a living. If you cook, or have cooked, for a living, you are NOT a home cook!
One home cook was sent home in each episode.
Episode Two – Firefighter Bill Joerger went home after being thanked for participating in the show and for his work as a firefighter by the mentors and Ted Allen.
Episode Three – August Dannehl went home after cooking a perfect 10 meal, but that is the downside of being on a team. His team went into the elimination round and the guest judge, Elizabeth Falkner decided that August had cooked the bottom dish. This left his competitive cook teammate, Sharri Williams in the competition.
Episode Four – Half Way to the Finale!
Episode 4 revealed that one of the remaining home cooks, Sandra Damante, owned a gastropub for a year and a half. In my opinion, that takes Sandra out of the home cook category and puts her into the professional cook category.
The other remaining home cooks are:
Angela George – a home cook
Joseph Harris – a home cook
Sharri Williams – a competitive cook who has won 60 cooking competitions. She quit working full time to cook competitively. Again in my opinion, Sharri is NOT a home cook.
Vanessa Craig – a home cook who wants to open a catering business when she wins $50,000.00
Mimi Chang – a home cook and mom. Unfortunately, Mimi has been sent home.
Who will go home next week?
The 50,000.00 prize can change a life and cause a ferocious case of nerves on national TV. Which cook will succumb to the pressure?
My favorites are Angela George and Vanessa Craig. Let's see if they have what it takes to make it to the Finale in four weeks.