June 28, 2011 10:38 AM by Megan Thompson
Justin Balmes was the chef that was sent home this week on Food Network Star. So what does Justin have to say for himself about being so camera shy? Keep reading to find out the answer and learn even more about his experience at the Food Network.
What would you do differently if you had the chance to do this over again?
I don’t know, that’s a hard one! Even in last night’s episode I stand by my food 100%! Everybody reacts to the stress of the competition differently, for me I went into a bit of a personality coma. Camera skills, especially that in front of a static camera, that’s just not my thing anyway. Coupled with the stress, lack of sleep and craziness going on – it was a lot to keep things together.
What out of the whole experience was the most surprising thing for you?
Probably just the awesome people that I got to meet, staying in touch with and have befriended. Watching previous seasons, in my research, I saw the exit interviews that people would say, “still talk with so-and-so.” I’m like whatever! That’s a joke or those are superficial relationships! As it turns out – Jeff, Justin D. Orchid – love them. I hope to know them for the rest of my life. There are also a few others that I never care to see or hear from again!
What’s next for you?
I’m very open at this point. I definitely want to be involved in some form of social media – whether that’s television, radio or print And honestly having some camera work, in less stressful working conditions, would be a great shot at redemption. In real life – I’m borderline obnoxious – I have personality to spare! I’m really into fundraising and charity. I really want to connect people with food and do some good in this world.
Earlier this month you told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, you want the home cook to really get to know their food. Can you explain what you mean by this?
Of course! With my original show concept on Food Network Star – I wanted to have episodes based solely around single ingredients. One episode would be just about beef – different cuts of beef, different cooking techniques, different pairings. Do another show on different kinds of fish or vegetables or fruits that are in season. I wanted the home viewer to connect with their food and not just recite recipes – not cook by numbers!
Is there a cook book in your future?
Absolutely! I certainly have some ideas now. I got a plethora of recipes that I could work with. That’s definitely something I’m very interested in doing. Cooking is paramount to me. I also enjoy writing, so I think that would be a natural combination and ultimately a win!
You looked shocked last night when you were eliminated. What were you feeling in that moment?
(Laughing) Yes! Aside from the obvious, with the facial expression, and that face was made around the room with other contestants and producers. As far as the other people to go, I mean – send me home for my personality or my static camera work – fine. But as far as the food being critiqued that day and be my ultimate final straw, I personally found to be ridiculous. Somebody who is turning out burned mac-and-cheese or bubble gum lamb- it’s borderline insulting! I stand firmly and confidently behind my dish.
You have a tough guy persona – with the piercings and tattoos, but you came off very timid? Would we have seen more of your true personality if you could have stayed longer?
You know, everybody reacted to the stress of the competition differently. For me, it was a personality coma. The static camera work admittedly was bad. I feel it would have gotten a lot better. I have never been associated with the word timid before. I don’t claim to be any sort of tough guy, but I definitely possess a certain amount of self-confidence without be cocky.
In your opinion, who is the best cook remaining?
Technically speaking, Whitney. I think as far as passion and staying true – absolutely Jeff – no question about it. He was actually my bunk-mate, so we bonded.
It was great to speak with Justin! Justin has a great personality and is obviously a talented chef. Tune into Food Network Star on Sunday and find out which chef will be eliminated next!
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Photo Credit: Food Network