It looks like Justin Warner can take the heat of grueling tasks on "The Next Food Network Star" — because the Hagerstown native has yet to get out of the kitchen.
The show that helps to cultivate a chef's culinary skills and on camera persona has already seen five chefs get the ax.
Warner has been getting praise from not only from his celebrity mentor Alton Brown but the Food Network judges, Bob Tuschman and Susie Folgelson. All have been attracted to the 28-year-old's ability to think outside the pan and his own distinctly, quirky Warneresque style.
The Brooklyn-based chef recently was named to both Forbes' and Zagat's 30 Under 30 Lists. His restaurant, Do or Dine, has received praise and was even recognized last year in the Michelin Guide.
And in 2010, Warner walked away the winner of another Food Network show, "24-Hour Restaurant Battle."
Warner hopes to win the big prize with a chance for his own Food Network show that he described during an earlier interview as "Conan O'Brien with food; a little more late-night, more adult-oriented, more irreverent."
In the third episode, "Dessert Chopping Block," Warner was inspired by a school cook. He used Hershey's Kisses to make Delores' No Bake Moon Rock Cookie that wowed the panel, so much so that he walked away with a Discover card loaded with $10,000.
In week four's "Fashion Week Food Makeover," Warner again impressed judges by giving the beef stroganoff a makeover that was both fashionable and flavorful with his Stroganoff Damier.
In the June 10 episode called "Guy Live," the first "The Next Food Network Star" Guy Fieri returned to help the teams with a live on-camera competition. Each team received a theme — Team Alton Brown was Halloween; Team Giada De Laurentiis was Game Day and Team Bobby Flay was Food for Kids.
Warner's team performance was rocky with Team Giada and Team Bobby tying for a win. Although Warner received praise for his fried sardine fish bones, his on-camera performance lacked the energy the judges were looking for. On the show, Warner said after Brown told him that he sometimes came across as cocky, the young chef said he thought too much about his performance.
All four members of Team Alton had to go head-to-head in a challenge. Judson Allen was eliminated, leaving only three members left in Warner's team. Team Bobby also has three members remaining. Team Giada leads the pack with four members.
"The Next Food Network Star" airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on the Food Network.
Viewers can vote for Fan Favorite at www.foodnetwork.com/the-next-food-network-star/index.html, go to Fan Vote. Voters can vote up to 10 times a day. As of presstime Wednesday, Warner had 18 percent of the vote, coming in third place behind Philip "Ippy" Aiona with 20 percent, with Martita Jara leading with 22 percent of the fans' votes.