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 kicks off Season 6

Last night began the new season of “The Next Food Network Star” and they changed things up dramatically this time. Instead of taking place in New York City near the network’s offices and studio, they moved it out to Los Angeles, putting the focus on the “star” portion of the show’s name. Also this season, in addition to regular judges Bobby Flay, Susie Fogelson and Bob Tuschman, the show added Giada Di Laurentiis as a mentor to the twelve contestants. Oh, and the fact that there are twelve instead of ten is also a change.

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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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The Next Food Network Star: paying for past mistakes

On “The Next Food Network Star” Season 5, there have been some catty moments, and, well, moments of gameplay that border on vicious. So it wasn’t really a big surprise last night when the judges announced who they were eliminating. We’ll get to that in a bit, because this episode had a lot going on, including one of the finest (read: horrific) moments in the show’s history.

The show began with Bobby Flay playing network executive, and telling the remaining seven contestants that they would start off this week’s episode by creating a burger from a specific region of the country (not necessarily where they were from). The winner would have a burger on the menu at Bobby Flay’s new burger joint in Connecticut (book my flight, I want to go there right now). They would then have 30 minutes of camera time to describe their creation.

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The Next Food Network Star: easy to spot duds

Even after sifting through hundreds and thousands of applicants, the ten finalists who make it to the TV portion of “The Next Food Network Star” are there for a reason–they impressed several judges along the way with their combination of cooking ability and the way they present themselves on camera. But something funny happens when they get to this pressure cooker known as national TV….and the first few weeks of each season usually expose the pretenders. Last night was no different, and the same will likely go for the next few weeks.

The show began last night with an initial challenge, and the theme for this week was magazines. Bobby Flay was ready to greet the nine finalists along with Ryan, an editor from men’s mag Esquire, and they had a rapid fire challenge in which they had to uncover a serving tray and create a meal from what was on said tray. Since this would be geared toward Esquire’s male audience, the ingredients were some kind of meat, and another weird ingredient.

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