Fox’s ‘Food Stars’ Winner Reveals How ‘Trivial Drama’ Could Have Gotten in the Way of Landing Gordon Ramsay’s $250,000 Investment
17th August 2023

SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains spoilers from the Season 1 finale of “Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars” on Fox.

A (food) star was born on Fox Wednesday, when Gordon Ramsay picked the winner of his new food business-focused competition series.

Out of the trio of remaining food-and-beverage-industry-entrepreneur competitors — Caroline D’Amore (founder of Pizza Girl), Chris Kanik (founder of Smart Cups) and Lan Ho (founder of Fat Milk) — the celebrity chef revealed he’d selected Kanik as the Season 1 winner of “Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars.”

Kanik’s prize? A $250,000 personal investment from Ramsay in Kanik’s sustainable-beverage-packaging business, Smart Cups, and Ramsay’s partnership in the endeavor moving forward.

Ramsay told Kanik that his design, which eliminates the need for traditional liquid-filled products by printing the ingredients inside the plant-based container and only requiring water be added to turn it into a variety of beverages, “could quite honestly change the world.”

While Kanik says he thinks his proprietary technology put him well ahead of the other 14 competitors from the start of the competition, he does have advice on how best to play the “Food Stars” game — which involved weeks of food industry-related challenges — if you want to get that quarter of $1 million bid.

“My advice would be, it’s a business show — don’t engage in trivial drama,” Kanik told Variety. “Because in business, emotions don’t play into your decision making. If you watch the show, if you watch every episode, I don’t engage in any of that stuff. All the cast members, they bicker, they fight. If I’m an investor standing back and I’m looking at you, I’m going, ‘This guy is a train wreck. I can’t trust him with my investment.’ Furthermore, somebody of the caliber of Gordon Ramsay, anybody that he partners with becomes an extension of his brand. And so he needs to trust you the same way he trusts himself. And so if he can’t trust you, he’s not going to partner up with you, is my assumption.”

With many group challenges throughout the first season of “Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars,” there were several notable occasions where the 15 competitors butted heads and lost their cool in the kitchen — or wherever that week’s business-minded project took them. But Kanik says he used “humor a lot” to keep himself out of those situations.

“But trust me, shooting those episodes tested every fiber of patience in my body because there are moments where I’m just like, shut up, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” the Smart Cups founder said. “But you got to keep it professional. It’s all business. So that would be my best advice for anybody going on the show.”

Actually, Kanik has one more conviction for any future “Food Stars” contestants: “Don’t be afraid of Gordon.”

That might be easier said than done for competitors who have seen Ramsay lay into contestants on his many other Fox series, including “Hell’s Kitchen,” “MasterChef,” “Next Level Chef” and “Kitchen Nightmares.” But Kanik insists if you want to win, you have to be brave.

“In business that doesn’t serve you well to be afraid of your business partners because your business is going to suffer if there’s that fear aspect, but you have to maintain a level of professionalism and respect,” Kanik said.

See the “Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars” finale clip featuring Kanik’s win below.

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