I can't believe they sent Emma home. Why do they always send home the nice calm people? Remember the Hawaiian guy a couple seasons ago ?? Emma is GREAT... she was a pleasure to watch. Obviously food network only likes loud, annoying, brash people on their channel. Alton, that white haired spikey Guy and the lady that looks just like him... don't remember her name.. that demaris from last season is just unwatchable! I'm done with this show!
I agree with the reviewer above me. Sarah is a bitch who has a semi-pretty face, Chris shouldn't have been eliminated.
Many people like to think that firing Paula Deen was the cause of the slight decline, but that is not the case at all. Her ratings have been going south (no pun intended) long before FN decided to give her the heave-ho. After her diabetes drama, and the n-word meltdown, it gave them the final reason to let her go. Now, the real reason of the sudden decline is simply the quality of the shows modern FN has concocted. Most of these new shows are game or competition shows. (Wait a minute, I thought food was about love, not war? Not variations of "Chopped", "Chopped Canada", "Chopped Russia", "Cupcake War", "Ice Cream War", and so forth. When people tune in to watch FN, they want to see programming about food. They don't want game shows, they don't want aggressive competitions, they don't want 'reality' shows that focuses on the daily struggles of restaurant owners. Yeah, people have enough problems of their own, already, they'd prefer not watch it unfold on a food channel of all places- ironically enough, it would make you avoid restaurants, if anything. However, there are a few (accidental) programs that incorporate food with competition: (Iron Chef, and Chopped). Although they don't teach you how to necessarily cook, you can still pick up on a few tricks, so that's something. Now with that out of the way, this my general opinion on this show.
While the concept is interesting enough, most of the contestants are unlikable, and try too hard to have a "Bright. Bold, Lively Personality" i . e Jeff, ( the latest food network star challenge winner. He is personable, and naturally goofy, but he's nearly jarring to watch, since the execs expect him to be wild and spontaneous), like Guy Fieri. You rarely see a contestant that is soft-spoken, calm, and composed. Emril is an exception to the rule. His personality is bright, and lively, not forced and script, and most importantly, HE TEACHES THE VIEWERS HOW TO ACTUALLY COOK. I remembered watching him at 11 at night and he would shout "BAM" and I would clap happily. He knows what he is doing, and he knows how to engage eager foodies to create a 5 star meal using ordinary ingredients.
Another problem witnessed in the search of a new FoodNetwork Star is sieving through all these "diverse" personalities that border on fake, forced, and obnoxious : the slutty Pinup girls, the bitchy fashionista, the sassy black chick, the boring guy who can cook like a pro, etc. I understand that they want melting pot of different personalities and people in the kitchen, but the most important factor is their ability to actually COOK, not who can stamp their names on the largest amount of cookware, or various utensils ( because buying eight hundred dollars of cookware with Rachel Ray's face stamped on the box will guarantee the buyer that they will become an Iron Chef in their homes- go figure).
And even the so-called "hosts" have transformed from humble folks into the most pretentious assholes I've seen in while.
Bobby and Alton are the Alpha and "Omega-3" of cooking. They own several restaurants, and host several shows on the Cooking Channel. They would be ideal mentors for a rising star, considering their notoriety in the food industry.
As for Giada...
Honestly, this bobble head- and her crocodile smile ( you can even see the back of her molars) is the last person anyone should be mentored by. She's arrogant, patronizing, and doesn't even act like a professional chef-jutting out her non-existent cleavage for the world to show. FN calls it "sexy", viewers call it "slutty". Sorry to break it to you Giada, or like she loves to pronounce: JA-DA. Ontop of that, she was already famous, because of her grandfather, who was a famous Film-maker, Dino De Laurentiis. Another annoying aspect of her is the fact that she insists on emphasizing Italian words obnoxiously like M-O-ZZER-RELLA and has the urge to zest a lemon on every dish, minimum one per ounce of pasta. (Her emphasis on pronouncing Italian words further perpetuated the stereotypes that being Italian means that you know the way Italian food should be prepared, because apparently, it is a born right).
It's unnerving how Alton and Bobby try their damnest to intimidate the contestants. I actually saw a preview for the next episode and Alton mentioned that "WE ARE THE TIRUMVIRATE, WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO GET TO DECIDE, AND THAT'S TRUTH" and no, he didn't "yell" that, but if you heard it, it was quite condescending. The statement implies that since he, JA-DA, and Flay helped build the the company, almost to the point of having a clique, and they look down on any newcomers. It doesn't matter if the person next to you forgot to cook a whole chicken, or whether or not the girl with the big red bow studded with polka-dots stuttered throughout her presentation, their words are final, and there's point in no arguing with them. ( Assuming that superiority is as equal as the ability to actually prepare food). Apparently , the premise of the competition seems that the contestants are supposed to already know how to cook like a five-star gourmet, chef, reality of is enduring whatever crap they throw at them ( which really is just marketing, and viewers picking favorites) . Ironically enough, most of the bread-winners (no pun intended) never went though a competition like this, and they have too much self-entitlement in their own personal successes to actually give a shit about improving them as an aspiring chef longing to host a show on Food Network-or rather, "A Network, and Then Some Food"
At one time I used to love watching Food Network. But the more I watch it, the more I notice subtle acts of racist behaviors. These judges are so phony and are judging without any expertise. The last show proves this by not eliminating Sarah. How can you all let this inexperienced contestant survive one more episode. You all had stated in previous competitions that the girl can not cook. Not only that, she does not deliver well on any of the challenges. Chris has cooked better food and has done better on a lot more of the challenges than Sarah has... This decision was straight up bull and you know it was not fair. It was just another attempt to keep the black man down and keep us from getting ahead. I know damn well Chris deserved another chance because that fake ass Sarah is just scathing by on each episode. I see Paula Deen is not the only one on the network with these inferior attitudes about African-Americans...
I have watched several seasons of this show, often being disappointed with the obvious lack of professionalism displayed by the judges, but this season is the most obvious worship of a low talented con man being sold to us by a want to be sex symbol, and want to be comedian who would be more suited to the 1940s. No wonder the network has lost viewers and become just another network to attract the simple minded, who accept stereotyping as actual fact, sex starved losers who would let even a chicken legged, spoiled little rich girl who used money to make her a TV show host even though her talents are obviously small.
Then the clown who thinks he is funny but only if it were the 1940s not 2014. His real talent which he showed early on the network of being informative, well versed on his subject was replaced by silly, often caveman like humor that is embarrassing instead of funny. It is the way of the Food Network sadly.
Why 2 judges who can't even define themselves think they know a star or know what the people want are given the power they have is totally from the world of stupid. They aren't focused on anything other than what they think and that is a sex starved, chicken legged little spoiled rich girl, and clown from the 40s. So when they meet a phony, over stereotyped Lenny who has the intellect of a 10 year old, the results is obvious. They will fall in love with the fraud. The promos before the show started to air focused on this pathetic creature, and when it did air we see him getting all the camera time they can give him in an attempt to brainwash us into thinking there is something there, but normal thinking people see it is just propaganda.
Bobby Flay is not without his faults (he was crazy over Penny and kept her around way too long), but in spite of his over saturation on the network, and the doubt of his being able to recognized talent beyond the cooking part, he even seems to be ready to get up and walk out over the worship of the other 2 judges of the rhinestone Lenny.
FN needs to remember who they will get to watch and what their real viewers want, then get rid of the little rich girl, take the clown and turn him back into the knowledgeable professor like person he used to be. Flay needs to focus on cooking and not the personality of the star. Who should decide the winner? I don't know if anyone at the FN is really qualified to decide that.
I've watched this show since it's inception and I hate the turn it has taken. I want to see them cook not the ridiculous things they are having them do. And the drama every other frame? Really? So I say bye bye FNS.
Idiot games that do not demonstrate an ability to make delicious food for real people. Give me a break, people! Not only have I given up on this season but am thinking about cancelling my tv satellite. I want interesting cooks who could teach me new techniques, not mean and sadistic behavior to "win" a show. How is this talent? Ho HUM! I give it a 1 out of 10. I still like Alton in spite of his idiot new show. Surely he will come up with something usefull one day.
I used to be an avid watcher of Food Network, but in the past 3 or 4 years things have taken such a downward slide that I seldom watch anything there anymore. In general, the quality of the shows and the "stars" has bottomed out--seriously, is there anyone else besides Guy F on their channel? I've watched the first few episodes of The Next Food Network Star and I fear they are truly hitting rock bottom. I hate Cutthroat Kitchen, so that episode was definitely not something I enjoyed. This past week they didn't even bother having the contestants cook. Alton, Bobby, and Giada (or should we call her Bubbles) have become such pretentious asses, it's hard to watch and not be embarrassed for them. Someone over at the network (speaking of pretentious asses) should take heed and get back to basics while there are still some people watching.
Do we really need to watch until the end? Sarah's face and fakeness is shoved at us constantly. She is still the pageant queen and very very annoying. PLUS her dishes are not good. Are the 2 guys falling for her constant flirting. Really too much! I have a feeling that she will be favored to the end, regardless of her lack of talent. Too bad, I love this show.
The judges on the show are supposed to be known for their Cooking Talent - Not how much flesh they can show. I mean really is Giada a chef or does she want to be a runway model. It is disturbing to try and watch the show with my family and constantly have the camera looking up her dress under the judging table or having her breast shown off in front of the camera! It is truly making us not want to watch the show anymore. Keep the show about the talent - not about Giada's flesh!! She is phony acting anyway. Get a real chef that we can look up to for their talent and quit trying to make it like Desperate Housewives or something!
I just have one question, how does a no-talent airhead like the Pioneer Woman snag her own cooking show without being vetted whatsoever, and these people have to jump through flaming effing hoops while simultaneously cooking something edible for the entire freaking network? I tried watching her show ONCE and I wanted to claw my eyes out. This network has lost all credibility.
IRON CHEF bobby flay owns multiple restaurants and has about a gazillion shows on the food network channel and he is all over the other food network channel. alton brown also has a bunch of shows he hosts (good eats, cutthroat kitchen and iron chef.... to name a few) plus he knows EVERYTHING about food. i mean he is on a genius level when it comes to knowing about every product, what it is, where it comes from, what will go with what etc. need i say more about these two being mentors in searching for the next food network star! but GIADA???? WHY DID THEY PICK HER!!! she has one, maybe two sometimes, shows on far as i know, she is a stay at home mom (there is nothing wrong with that) but she doesn't own any restaurants, she doesn't do any other show, she doesn't host or judge anything else besides NFNS. i mean there is no comparison between the 3 of them. food network should have picked someone else for this job. just to name a few IRON CHEF alex guarnaschelli, rachel ray, ina garten etc... they had so many choices and i don't think she is the right person for the job. she seems kind of stuck up, with no patience, she barely ever has something good/nice to say it seems. im almost ready to stop watching because of her. plus, she always stays in her comfort zone by almost always making italian food. how about one of the wonderful, full of knowledge and can cook anything they are handed, women i mentioned. i think she should be replaced either by rachel ray or alex g. im just not on the giada bandwagon but i love bobby and alton, one last thing, idk what happened the year that justin won and why his show wasn't produced but i do know that i liked that format of mentoring better than last year. the mentors really connected with their contestants. i mean when we saw alton break down when justin and the other girl were both picked as finalists in his group (unfortunately i can't remember her was it Marnie???). it was heart warming. it showed that they really connected and they wanted them to become the best chef (win or lose) that they could be. last year left me feeling that they didn't care as much. idk how to explain it but it just seemed they didn't have as much time with their mentors. the year justin won was the best format of the show, you could see the mentors really believed in the person who was up for elimination, if they continue with how they did the show last year, i know that they just lost one viewer, and food network executives replace giada with someone who has a wider range of knowledge and is more caring and sensitive and that has more than one show she is on. I MEAN IS SHE REALLY THE MOST QUALIFIED WOMAN FOR THE JOB?????? I DON'T THINK SO!!!!
out of all the talented cooks out there, why does the food network keep recycling past competitors. for the most part these are past losers. it's almost as if the FN seems determined to create a spot for someone who just hasn't cut it previously--typically someone who is ridiculously extroverted or ridiculously controversial (taking a stupid page from Hell's Kitchen). it seems a channel called Food Network would make their primary focus culinary skill, not controversy. the most recent example I've noticed was that stupid, selfish bitch Davidi on Cutthroat Kitchen. I know I've seen her at two or three times already. Food Network could take a page or two from Top Chef--most of whose contestants could cook circles around almost anything the FN has to offer (including most of the Iron Chefs!) Everything about Top Chef is very professional from the contestants to the judges. I used to have a good half dozen FN shows I watched religiously; now I'm down to just two or three, especially Chopped which thankfully still has its real focus on food and cooking. come on, Food Network, let's get back to real cooking!
Giada said Stacy was guarded and not genuine. Really Giada? Love your show but I do not consider you to be genuine and real on tv at all!! Also, people I know who have seen your show feel the same. Yet, we love your recipes and that is why we watch you. Stacy is someone
Everyone could relate to. She is the real deal. Great concept for her show too. You voted her out unfairly from the beginning. Sad.
I would like to be on this show. I have one tape on you tube, but I don't have a camera crew so my progress hasn't been as great as I would like. But here is the link.....0UJ4NzHSyso. Or search Fancy Your Feast.
I don't get why viewers don't vote throughout the whole season. Do the judges even know who watches their shows? Honestly there is no room for another Italian, Mexican, Southern or Indian food show. I don't want to watch a meal being cooked in 30 minutes, under 10 dollars or under some other premise that may or may not be possible. Ten dollars gets you a lot more in some places and heck, I can make a meal for 4 for under $5 and throw together a deli tray in 10 minutes. The only three I would watch from this years contestants are retro girl, the kid who's totally out of the box (he might even be in another box altogether) or Ippy- I don't know a whole lot about Hawaiian cuisine. I haven't watched a whole show from the last 2 winners but I'm hoping they get it right this year.
This has to be probably the most assanine decision you guys have ever made .. or at least since the JAG fiasco. You take the one guy ... the one true chef in the competition ... and you can him. Actually, you had two of the better ones on the chopping block while keeping the "butch" cook, who no one will watch (and you know that without any prejudice at all), and the "babbling blonde, who can't put together a whole line of thought. Both of those should already be gone, but they are still there and the real chefs are being cut. Talking about cutting your nose off to spite your face!!!! This is as bad as the time you canned JAG and then, a few weeks later, decided to keep Robert Irvine after finding out he lied (double standard). None of that worked out well. And to make the whole Irvine thing worse, you now have him entertaining Michelle Obama. What next??? Have you really stooped so far that you will sacrifice actual food artistry for political correctness??? Unbelievable!!! Why do politics have to pollute this area of our lives too????
I like cooking shows, and I didn't watch reality shows until the cooking ones came along. I think Food Network is a great channel, but the finale this season was ridiculous.
I liked Lisa because she was polished and focused, plus, she's a Texas girl, so I had to root for the home team. I'm not a big fan of pearls and high heels in the kitchen- but to each ones own. She definitely had a point of view, and the knowledge to back it up.
Aaron. Hmmm. What I found strange was that he was so personable when he was "off camera," but every time the challengers had to demonstrate on set-he froze, or flubbed, or just didn't seem comfortable.
Adam was a charmer, and even though I feel like a traitor to Lisa, I was really rooting for Adam. He had a built in gimmick for his show. He made the audience laugh, and he was pretty consistent in looking good on camera. I did wince a little when he sang to Martha Stewart, but I appreciated the fact that he just went for it. Because he didn't hold anything back, what could have been a train wreck actually turned in to a rather cute moment.
I would have been happy if either Lisa or Adam had won, and once I realized that-I knew that they would pick Aaron, so I can't say that I was very shocked when they announced. Just terribly disappointed.
What I think is very telling is the fact that they made it a point to say that the new show would air in one week. They've obviously learned from their past mistakes. The girl from last season-the one who wanted to bring French cuisine into the home? (remember? I barely do) I watched and watched for her, and somewhere around 6 months after she won, they put her show on at, I think, 8:30 in the morning. Some unholy hour, like that. I taped the first episode (yawn) and as far as I can recall, they only aired about 4 or 5 more, and then she was gone, gone, gone.
I like this show because natural cooks are as welcome as trained cooks, and I'll keep watching the show. But sometimes the network executives are not as in touch with their viewers as they could be.
I hope Bob reads the boards. Maybe next year we'll actually get a winner who deserves it.
I've gotten the impression that The Next Food Network Chef results are a foregone conclusion before the competition even begins. Like most of the food competition shows on Food Network these days, the judges seem to consider themselves so superior to the viewers that they make their choices without considering what the rest of us think or what we want to watch. It's symptomatic of the "new" Food Network. I'm beginning to appreciate all the reruns on The Cooking Channel. Give me The Barefoot Contessa anytime over the dingy, giggly new Food Network personalities, and I'd much rather watch Behind the Bash or even the good old Door Knock Dinners rather than seeing chefs trying to create dishes with the awful ingredients that they're offered on Chopped. I agree with the previous poster who commented on Food Network's new direction; that direction is definitely down.
Lousy contestants. The last two people:
The woman did not qualify to be a contestant.
The man was a disaster with the risotti. He knew it would be and he did it anyway; and he spent $317! I was not impressed with 99% of these challengers.
Lousy contestants. The last two people:
The woman did not qualify to be a contestant.
The man was a disaster with the risotti. He knew it would be and he did it anyway; and he spent $317! I was not impressed with 99% of these challengers.
The looks on the faces of the judges throughout the week told it all; not necessarily the words that came out of their mouths; just their facial expressions.
I guess out of the last two, I would go for the man because he meets the criteria of the challenger.
I could never see any of them becoming Flay.
I admit I have a softer spot in my heart for Top Chef because it was one of my first guides, but I don't believe that view radically skews my opinions of this show, although the gentle reader may grow weary of the comparison. These comments relate to the recently completed season four.
While discussing the show with a friend, I said it was like watching Top Chef on Valium, but it's more accurately Top Chef on Valium and Prozac with a little Digoxin thrown in for good measure.
The Show Overall: These episodes move so slowly, but you still feel unsatisfied at the end of the hour. The editing is choppy, leaving no coherent story arc (or whatever it's called in the reality genre). There's so much detritus footage that makes no difference to the episode resolution, but it's there every week. I want to see more of the selection committee, I want to see more cooking, I want to understand the decisions better. I want, I want, I want. I shouldn't end each week with this feeling.
The Challenges: They devise ridiculous challenges that neither test the finalists' skills nor relate to any kind of studio work they'll film (The Digoxin part -- you know, psych drug, psych drug, cardiac drug. Which of these doesn't belong?). This season alone they had to cook on a moving train, a carrier at sea, perform different skills set demonstrations with no prep time, etc. None of that remotely represents what they'll find if they win the show, when culinary producers and crews create scripts, test recipes, basically eliminate the need for the cooking skills at all. Now I'll admit that Top Chef has had some stupid challenges, the gas station and vending machine ones come to mind, but they were at the QuickFire level (Mini-Challenge on NFNS), not the Elimination (Main Challenge on NFNS). What should have been a logical progression of introductory to proficient camera skills and basic to chef-level cooking technique demonstrations ended up a hodge-podge with no clear organization or rhythm.
The Editing: All due respect to my sister: I know that editors are sometimes limited by the whim of the producers and/or clients. The thing is, someone should have stood back and realized that the product was milquetoast. Crisper editing with a view to the story for the episode would have made a world of difference. Getting rid of a quarter of the inane comments by the finalists -- some of which were obviously scripted -- would have breathed life into the franchise. There's only so much illumination that can be cast on a scene by an off-set remark. Only Adam actually fulfilled the typical role these usually take: a funny or sarcastic reflection on what happened. Skillful editing includes the expression on faces as things happen, so the subtext isn't needed to understand what's going on.
The Finalists: A more boring batch of contestants I've yet to meet, with the exception of Kelsey who was the most annoying, plastic replicant ever to dull a show (Marcel from Top Chef is still no. 1, but Kelsey may edge out Richard Hatch for the no. 2 spot). I keep harping on the editing, but either no one had any personality, or any flares of realism were left on the hard drive (or cutting room floor, depending on your era). The weird thing is that Top Chef began with contestants like this their first season, but each year the talent pool gets better and higher up the culinary food chain. This is not a perfect analogy, because it's very clear that Food Network is no longer looking for skilled chefs, but that wouldn't prevent them from looking for more talented amateurs.
My disappointment in this show is not that it's failing to become a Top Chef clone (believe it or not), but that they've watered down the competition and created such a bland product that it's boring. Whether through editing or elimination decisions, it was pretty clear from the beginning who was being groomed. It's hard to invest in a finalist if you know his or her days are numbered. Obscure judging also didn't help things. In this season's final episode, the criteria cited by Susie or Bob was that the winner had to be able to start filming the next day. This could mean one of two things (well, it could mean more, but these are the two I came up with): Either two of the finalists had family obligations or only one needed the least work to become camera-ready. If it's the former, what a stupid way to make a decision, if it's the latter, I do not see how they chose the winner they did. But how would we know? Not one decision was ever explained on camera either to the contestants or to the viewer.
Even understanding that they are focusing on camera skills, rather than cooking ability -- a sad trend throughout the network -- I believe this show could be so much more than the rote entertainment it is.
Really good show as it is very addicting. And that it is trying to find the next Food Network star. It is a tamer version of Top Chef and that it tries to be like that. Though it isn't like Top Chef and it is a good show both of them. They try to find stars with good cooking, charisma, personality, and working well with others. A lot of people became stars on here and that it is neat to see who will be the next star of their own show. Shows you they have to go through a lot and put up with a lot.
I really enjoy this show, i pretty much love every show on food network. Even though i wanted Shane to win, it is still intence. At this point, its gonna be close, although, 1 thing is sure, lisa will not win, i dont know how she made it this far into the competition. She was terrible with the demonstration with Reachel Rae, she completely failed. The pressure is on for evry contestant. My personal opinion is that they r having too many new shows on the food network, some of the new shows suck, but hopefully the winner willl have a great show!
I was so pleased with the ending. Both Amy and Rory are great cooks and know their stuff. I just felt that Amy was more down to earth and deserved a show.
I know that it didn't seem fair since she wasn't the original choice for the final two. But I was so glad that Jag took himself out of the running. That was a smart choice on his part. I think they really didn't know who to choose between Jag and Amy - it was so close. So, bringing Amy back to be in the final two wasn't really an injustice. She deserved to be there. I can't wait to watch her show and see her grow. If I'm ever near Vega, TX, I will definitely stop by and eat at Rory's restaurant. It looked awesome. It will keep her busy. I thought she had enough going on without adding a network show to it. She will go far.
Who can be the next Bobby Flay or Emerill Lagasse so to speak. That's what this show is about, though in reality TV forum. Each week someone get's the perverbial "boot" and is asked to leave. As with all reality tv shows alliances, backstabbing, etc.
Each week we have someone from the Food Network pose a challenge, & each week they come to the chopping block to be sent home. We have a vegetarian who seems as saccharine as sugar, though she does a under-handed move at the supermarket to Paul, or our resident military man,or is he? Best yet is the last episode!!! Emerill Lagasse is there to announce the winner. Instead of coming out and shaking hands with both, he walked right up to the winner on live television, shook her hand and said "congratulations". That is unintentionally funny at it's best!
With this new format, the Food Network has lost some of its integrity. The old stars and the judges are coming across badly. (And I mean not nice or happy to be there.) There has been no grooming of the incoming talent. (That the viewers have seen.) The group has had very little appeal. They all seem to be shaken and off balance. It appears the Food Network is not one big happy family anymore. The show is all stress and no joy. I'm voting for Amy. She seems to have the best presence and talent.
This is a good show. I don't understand why Sue Fogelson is a judge. I suppose it doesn't matter that I've never seen her cook, and she has no personality. However, I enjoy the show mostly even though there has to be a Simon on every show I guess. I can't imagine I would ever watch a show if Rory were to win. I really like Amy and I could see myself watching a show she were to host.
This show has contestants that compete to become the next food network star. They all want to have their own food network show. They go through food-related challenges and get eliminated every episode. The show is overall entertaining. It's just like all of the other competition shows: American Idol, America's Next Top model, and all of the shows like them. It's pretty unorigonal, but still interesting. The challenges and judges are very entertaining and interesting also. Overall, it's a good summer fix but it can't compete against the regular year shows. The good thing is that we get a new food network host and show out of it. Guy won last year and he was really good and I can't wait to see who wins this year.
As a rule, I detest reality TV. It seems to have as its sole objective either pitting people against each other or making people behave like fools, always in a preposterously forced situation. It's a mindless, moronic form of entertainment, an opiate for the masses. The one and only notable exception has been Queer Eye, which at least has a heart and some very good intentions.
But I must confess, I've found a second exception in the third season of The Next Food Network Star. I blame my nephew. And maybe Guy Fieri. But somehow, I'm hooked. And I must confess, it has a lot going for it, including the participation of Duff Goldman, Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine and Alton Brown, all of whom outweigh its three main demerits: the stiff-as-a-board Susie Fogelson (lighten up, woman!), Giada's over-exposed girls, and the participation of Bobby Flay in any capacity.
The contestants are a nice mix of personalities and aside from the phoney Nikki and the obnoxious Jag, a likeable group, with Tommy and Paul best in small doses. One strength: the show is blessedly free of the usual sniping and back-biting that is generally the substance of a reality show. Oh, there's a bit of witchy talk, and the occasional conflict, but no more than we would expect in a high-stress, high stakes situation such as this. And at the end of the day, they go home and await the outcome of the latest round as a team.
But the fun really comes from the guest judges and the challenges they present: Duff's wedding cakes, Robert's catering for 100, Paula's home cookin' at Ft. Dix and soon, Alton with the camera. Its these that lift this show above the ordinary, using the individuality of the Food Network's ensemble. I could do with a bit less Giada, but hey, can't win 'em all.
But the burning question remains: do they have a Food Network Star among the contestants? I'm not so sure, especially now there are only five left. We've got some great cooks, some winning personalities, but do they have the one with the combination to strike lightning in a bottle? That remains to be seen.
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