On today's "LIVE with Kelly and Michael," Jose Juarez from Ocala, Florida, was named the winner of "LIVE's Search for America's New Grill Star." Juarez receives the grand prize check for $10,000 and the chance to showcase his grilling skills in five webisodes airing on the "LIVE" website and AOL.com.
Hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan launched the summer-long cooking series in May, and "LIVE" viewers applied by submitting a 30-second video that emphasized their personality and passion for grilling, along with a recipe for their signature dish. From that applicant pool, nine talented grillers were chosen as semifinalists, and each traveled to New York City to demonstrate his or her culinary expertise on-air.
On Aug. 7, the hosts announced Juarez and runner-up Courtney Rushing, from Kennesaw, Georgia, would be the two contestants going head-to-head in the final round.
On Friday's "LIVE," Juarez and Rushing returned to the studio for the cook-off. During the show, they whipped up their signature recipes - Juarez's Cuban burger and Rushing's pineapple, avocado and shrimp salsa - and served them to an expert panel of judges: "Chopped" judge and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson, "Chopped" judge and chef Alex Guarnaschelli, longtime "LIVE" chef Francis Anthony, as well as a hand-picked group of "LIVE" audience members.
Scoring was based on originality, personality, taste, recipe and overall chef presentation. After all of the votes were counted, Juarez was dubbed "America's New Grill Star."
The runner-up didn't leave empty-handed. Rushing walked away with a $2,500 cash prize.