Tag: Next Food Network Star blog (Page 2 of 3)

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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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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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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The Next Food Network Star: The camera does not lie

It’s getting down to crunch time on “The Next Food Network Star,” as last night they went from six contestants down to five, and one of the five is going to have their very own show on the network soon. So judge and network exec Bob Tuschman called last night the “midterm” and for good reason….it’s the midpoint of the season, and the challenges centered around actual camera face time with Food Network star Rachael Ray.

The “mini-challenge” was to take “grown-up” food and make it child friendly. They would be judged by Rachael as well as a panel of three kids. Note to the show’s producers…whoever cast these kids did an excellent job, because they were hilarious, smart and very entertaining.
Anyway, Jeffrey and Jamika had tofu to work with; Michael and Melissa had brussels sprouts; and Katie and Debbie had squid.

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The Next Food Network Star: they should have kicked off two

Last night on episode 3 of “The Next Food Network Star” Season 5, the theme was entertaining on a budget, and in my humble opinion, one contestant was lucky that the judges didn’t issue a double elimination when they had every reason to. But more on that shortly. The show began with all 8 remaining chefs meeting up with Food Network star Tyler Florence at Stew Leonard’s grocery store, which looked sort of like a Whole Foods. The first part of their challenge was to pick out ingredients to serve a dinner party of 12, but with only $60 to spend. In addition, they each had to offer a budget-conscious tip on camera for Florence, who would judge them and declare a winner, with that person to have an advantage in the main challenge.

Jeffrey won the challenge with a brief but very effective tip on how to use Nutella to make crepes for both dessert and breakfast with his family. Melissa and Debbie also did a nice job with their tips. Teddy (who Florence referred to as a cartoon character of himself), Jamika (who advised to re-use marinade) and Michael (just a complete mess) all bombed in the budget tip portion of the challenge.

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