The Next Food Network Star: tipped off?

During this week’s episode of “The Next Food Network Star,” we may have been tipped off about who would be eliminated this week before they were eliminated. But more on that later.

The Final Four made it to New York City, where they would be duking it out for real to see who would have their own show on Food Network. The finalists? Aarti, Aria, Tom and Herb. And this week they would be battling Iron Chef-style. Alton Brown was waiting for them, as well as Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, Michael Symon and Masaharu Morimoto. They would be competing in groups of two, making three dishes each based on the secret ingredient. When they weren’t competing they would be floor commentators ala Kevin Brasch.

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The Next Food Network Star: final four

This week during “The Next Food Network Star,” mentor Giada Di Laurentiis announced that the finalists who made it past this week were going to New York City to finish the competition. So much for having this season in a different city, huh? They must have realized they had way more resources in New York to draw from.

Anyway, this episode began with Giada asking the chefs to make their signature dishes and to present them on camera in a one-minute presentation. Sounds too easy for this point in the competition, doesn’t it? Well it was….Giada showed up 10 minutes in and threw them a curve…they would have to add in their least favorite ingredient, and to present them with that ingredient were their family members. Pretty emotional stuff! Aria’s was anchovies, Tom’s white pepper (really?), Aarti’s was okra, Brad’s was ranch dressing and Herb’s canned peas.

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The Next Food Network Star: over the top and out the door

Sunday night’s episode of “The Next Food Network Star” (seriously, is this season dragging on a bit) featured cereal and foodies. The first challenge, announced by “mentor” Giada Di Laurentiis, was one in which they had to make a dish using Kellogg’s cereals, and the chefs each drew knives to determine which cereal they would be using. They would have just 20 minutes to prepare a dish and 30 seconds to present it on camera. And oh yeah, last season’s winner, Melissa D’Arabian, was on hand to help judge.

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The Next Food Network Star: the tides are turning

With the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop to this season’s “The Next Food Network Star,” it’s safe to say that the proverbial tides are turning as we move deeper into the competition. Two contestants have emerged as front runners quicker than you can blink, and a few others are regressing.

Last night’s episode began with “mentor” Giada Di Laurentiis announcing the initial challenge, which was to create a party bite based on a specific holiday or event, and using the three ingredients that were set before each of them in a picnic basket.

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The Next Food Network Star: you either have it or you don’t

Last night’s episode of “The Next Food Network Star” featured two unique challenges. The first was a chili pepper challenge, in which the 9 remaining chefs had to stake their claim to a specific type of chili pepper on a table and then create at dish with it to present on camera for 30 seconds. The winner would have their dish featured at all three of Bobby Flay’s restaurants.

Paul made a scallop dish with habanero and coconut sauce; DAS made some sort of sushi with tuna; Aria made a pork tenderloin with chili marinade; Herb a yellow chili spring roll with crab salad; Brianna made chili and chicken kabobs; Serena had Anaheim peppers and made a salad with mango and avocado; Tom made poblano with chorizo; Aarti made a steak with serrano chutney; and Brad made chicken and shrimp with coconut peanut sauce using Thai chiles.

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