Tag: Next Food Network Star 2009 (Page 1 of 2)

The Next Food Network Star: survival is the key word

Last night’s finale of “The Next Food Network Star” featured two contestants in Melissa D’Arabian and Jeffrey Saad who were, frankly, both worthy of winning. So the challenge that they both faced in taping their own pilot would pretty much be the determining factor.

Being that this final episode was taped before a live audience, there was a lot of time to fill. So they began with shots of both contestants with their families back home–Jeffrey in Los Angeles selling real estate and hanging and cooking at home with his wife and two kids, who I believe they said were 13 and 9 years old. Melissa, meanwhile, is from Keller, Texas, and they showed her with her husband and four kids, all girls, between the ages of 1.5 and 4….are you kidding me? No wonder Melissa is so frantic all the time…they showed a shot of her driving a minivan with the four car seats. Yikes.

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5 questions with Jamika Pessoa of Next Food Network Star

Jamika Pessoa was the latest contestant to be eliminated on Food Network’s hit reality series, “The Next Food Network Star,” as her exit last night leaves three standing–Melissa, Jeffrey and Debbie. Jamika had a difficult time adapting to the curveballs that the producers and judges were throwing at her in last night’s episode, but there is no doubt she has talent as an entertainer and cook. We had the chance to ask Jamika a few questions about her elimination and her future career:

Premium Hollywood: Do you regret how you reacted in the Red Lobster challenge and would you react differently if you could turn back time?

Jamika Pessoa: No, I don’t regret it because I live life with no regrets. I am the type of person who tells you exactly how I feel and think and think I am very real all day every day. You never have to guess about me or how I am feeling. I would rather be sent home for being too real than being considered a phony. I felt like I handled myself well throughout the competition in a very honorable and respectful way.

PH: Have you cooked with celery root again since that challenge?

JP: I have not cooked with celery root since then, but I am thinking of refining that dish and making it one of my signature dishes.

PH: What are your career plans at this time and do you feel there may be a Food Network opportunity for you even if you didn’t win this?

JP: I certainly would like to continue in television and entertainment. I think I could offer Food Network viewers (and beyond) a unique perspective and style people would love to watch. I would love to have a traveling food show like diners, drive-ins, and dives with a more upscale twist to it. Traveling and eating cross country, now that’s a dream job!

PH: Aside from yourself, who was your favorite contestant this season, the one that you would watch as a fan?

JP: Besides myself, I would watch a show with Debbie or Michael. Debbie is very creative and shines on camera. Michael is hilarious and cooks some great food.

PH: What advice would you give someone auditioning for Food Network Star?

JP: I would tell anyone auditioning to be themselves at all costs. Once you lose your credibility as a personality on TV, it is hard to get it back. Although I did not win, I have gotten much respect from fans and viewers honoring me for being the real deal. And say lots of prayers; you are going to need them!

The Next Food Network Star: and then there were three…

Is it just me or is this season of “The Next Food Network Star” flying? We are now down to the final three contestants, which means that in a couple of weeks we will have our new champion. I also have that same feeling I had last year…that is, that there is no clear-cut, Guy Fieri-like favorite. In fact, I think the network struck gold with Fieri and may never find anyone like him in this venue again. But that’s okay, because the producers and execs have to know that anyway.

So last night’s episode continued in Miami where the final four of Melissa, Jeffrey, Debbie and Jamika were greeted by Iron Chef Michael Symon at their hotel, the Eden Roc. Symon assigned them their first challenge of the day, a live cooking demo on a Miami network TV morning show. But what Symon didn’t tell them was that each of the chefs would be sabotaged in one way or another during their demo.

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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.

The Next Food Network Star: TMI

Sunday’s episode of “The Next Food Network Star” featured two instances of “Too Much Information (TMI),” and one of them was the reason for a contestant to be eliminated. The final five chefs gathered at the Jet Blue terminal at JFK Airport, feeling good and excited about their trip to Miami, where they would participate in a larger Food Network celebration of sun and decadence. But of course, there was a challenge attached to their airport experience, and along with network star Ted Allen, chef Michael Coury from OTG, the company that runs the restaurants in the terminal, was on hand to help assist and judge. There are a few different cuisines available in the terminal, and each contestant was assigned a cuisine to re-create their own dish. Jeffrey had Italian, Melissa had tapas, Michael French, Jamika sushi and Debbie steakhouse.

Jamika went first and she made a seared tuna salad with a miso vinaigrette. It looked like a decent salad but the judges were a bit underwhelmed and not impressed with a lack of creativity. She also made a comment in her presentation about airline food and “the toilet not being your friend” on flights. Are you kidding me? Ted Allen called it TMI and he was correct.

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