The Next Food Network Star: do you believe in karma?

For those of us pissed off that the judges of “The Next Food Network Star” kept giving Debbie Lee pass after pass this season, despite the fact that she was dishonest and deceitful while acting all jolly and Korean, karma reared its head in our favor. More on that in a minute, but last night’s showdown between the final three of Lee, Melissa D’Arabian and Jeffrey Saad was actually very exciting to watch.

They began the episode by having the three finalists meet Emeril Lagasse at his restaurant, and Emeril announced their challenge for the week–in honor of the upcoming film, “Julie & Julia,” the contestants would have to create their own ultimate 3-course meal for some very distinguished judges. Each would have $1000 to shop as well as the help of a sous chef. After shopping (and Jeffrey being way under budget), they arrived back to find out who their sous chefs would be….naturally, former contestants….Jamika, Michael and Katie, who would be paired with Melissa, Debbie and Katie, respectively.

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4 questions with Michael Proietti of The Next Food Network Star

Michael Proietti was the latest contestant to get kicked off of Season 5 of “The Next Food Network Star” this past Sunday, and while Michael showed flashes of brilliance with his outgoing personality and mad cooking skills, his basic fear of the camera seemed to be his undoing. We had the chance to ask Michael about just that, as well as his future plans after his brief stint as a reality TV star:

Premium Hollywood: Did you feel like your comment of being intimidated by the camera was your undoing?

Michael Proietti: It was meant to be humorous but I do think the judges take everything seriously. My performance on camera was a critique I had gotten a lot so I am sure it was a factor in my elimination.

PH: Did you feel Debbie should have been eliminated this week because she wasn’t exactly honest with the judges and you guys?

MP: I am a big fan of Debbie and I actually think it was just my time to go.

PH: Do you see yourself having your own show even if you didn’t win this particular competition?

MP: Yes, I think being in entertainment is definitely in the cards for me. Making great food and making people smile is what I love to do!

PH: What’s next for your career?

MP: I am working on a cookbook, and I continue to work on my web site www.mvpchef.com to provide great videos and recipes. I would like to open a restaurant in the next year.

  

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The Next Food Network Star: Into the fire to start Season 5

Nothing like being thrown into the fire, huh? Last night, Season 5 of “The Next Food Network Star” kicked off with the ten finalists meeting in their cramped living quarters, and then being basically being thrown into a cage with wild animals…..well, you know what I mean. They had to cater a party for the network’s “sweet 16” party, where celebrities and Food Network stars would be eating their creations and critiquing them. Yikes.

The ten (Brett August (Washington Heights, N.Y.), Katie Cavuto (Philadelphia, Pa.), Melissa d’Arabian (Keller, Texas), Teddy Folkman (Alexandria, Va.), Eddie Gilbert (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Jen Isham (Orlando, Fla.), Debbie Lee (West Hollywood, Calif.), Jamika Pessoa (Atlanta, Ga.), Michael Proietti (New York, N.Y.) and Jeffrey Saad (Los Angeles, Calif.). were broken up into two teams of five, with Bobby Flay picking those teams. Bretty, Teddy, Jamika, Melissa, and Jen made up one team and Michael, Debbie, Katie, Jeffrey and Eddie the other. Each team had $1200 to shop for their ingredients and five hours to prepare their dishes. The event would be held at Alex Guarnaschelli’s Butter restaurant.

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