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Ready for the Next Food Network Star?

I know, this is the board for Top Chef and the one that isn't greatly enamoured of the Food Network in general. That said, what do you think of the prospects of this year's Next Food Network Star program? I'm asking this now as the first show premiere's tomorrow, Sunday, night.

For me, well, recently on my blog I put up a two-minute preview video and a list of the bios. And then i wrote about how, despite what's happened in the past seasons, this year's really looks like it might finally kick into high gear. I base this on what I've seen so far including bios that are the most heavy of any of the previous years with a combination of cooking experience and/or some kind of media experience.

Let's put it this way. We all love our cooks to be chefs and our chefs to be the best. That said, look at couple of the visiting judges on Top Chef this year. Koren Grieveson was boring as hell. Rick Tramonto was referred to on this board the other day as either "Mr. Excitement" or a bit of an ass -- either way you can you would never ever want to work for the guy, you can tell just by looking.

So just being a star chef doesn't mean riveting television. I would want neither of them doing a food show that's for sure. And they're just the tip of the iceberg. So it takes kitchen skills and a certain personality too to be on television successfully which NFNS targets on..

So are you going to give this season of NFNS a chance? And how do you think it will do?

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  1. Considering the track record of the past winners it should be titled, "the Next Food Network Flop".

    16 Replies
    1. re: Antilope

      well, i'm not his biggest fan (in fact he makes me cringe) but with his ads running EVERYWHERE for fridays and all and my parents who don't watch food network recognizing him, i don't think you can call guy fieri a flop. a fab tv chef maybe not but he certainly has become a recognizable personality and that's all they're after, isn't it?

      1. re: AMFM

        There have been 3 "Food Network Stars". Guy is the exception in being a success. The other two winners are never heard from. That's a failure rate of 66% so far.

        1. re: Antilope

          In show biz 30% is a pretty good return.

          1. re: jlafler

            batting .333 is great in baseball too.

            1. re: AMFM

              Good for Food Network. But as a viewer, watching 2 out of the 3 years of the "Next Food Network Star" has been a waste of time.

              1. re: Antilope

                oh agreed! :) watched tonight though. nothing much else on in that time slot so... but certainly wouldn't make a point to.

          2. re: Antilope

            Guy the "golden boy" should ask for a new clause in his contract. He's the only reason people may tune into this show. ME? I watched the first episode...won't be watching anymore.

            1. re: Antilope

              Guy's a success? Jesus, they gotta get someone standing by with a comb to get the disgusting crumbs and grease out of his beard.

              If he's a chef, I'm a week-old baby with exceptional typing skills.

              1. re: Pete Oldtown

                What a cute baby! Wait is that a five o' clock shadow?

                1. re: Pete Oldtown

                  He never said he is a chef, but he has a lot of cooking experience. I find him quite entertaining and enjoy watching his shows, especially Diners, Drive ins, and Dives.

            2. re: Antilope

              I never saw the Gourmet Next Door (and never heard anything good about it), but foodnetwork.com has some "where are they now" info on previous competitors. Amy says FN offered her more shows, but she didn't want to pursue the life of a TV personality -- focus on the family, and distance herself from the less than generous criticisms online.

              1. re: momjamin

                wtf? Why compete if you don't want the prize?

                1. re: coney with everything

                  It could just be that in the process of producing the show and dealing with the viewer response, she soured on the whole thing. Or it could be a polite fiction.

                  1. re: coney with everything

                    Wasn't there an article or something on CH, way back when she won, that her husband didn't approve of her doing the show or even being in the competition.

                  2. re: momjamin

                    Maybe it wasn't all that was promised.

                    1. re: momjamin

                      She also kept trying to quit throughout the competition and had several break downs.

                  3. I think NFNS gets it backwards. To your point Harry, yes, some personality does make the show entertaining, but in the case of the NFNS, they are letting the tail wag the dog. Its ALL ABOUT personality. This is not to say that some of the people they have on can't cook circles around me, but they are supposed to be better than the average schmuck, lots better than the average schmuck.

                    One other thing about this show is that I expect the contestants to do outrageous things, much like the TC contestants do, but the judges are extremely, overly melodramatic. That is not what I care to see. The show should not be about them, it should be about the contestants.

                    Latly, whoever that white haired guy is, the VP of talent for the Food Network, really bugs the crap out of me, even more than katie Lee Joel did. And they keep showing him saying :"this is going to change your lives." dramatic pause, " forever!" Uh, take a chill pill schmuck.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Phaedrus

                      Three schmucks from Phaedrus. 'Nuf said. ;-)

                      1. re: Phaedrus

                        Yes, the VP of talent for the Food Network (don't know his name) is the reason I hesitate to watch the show. He, himself, is not a TV talent and should take a back role on screen. I find him really annoying as well.

                        I am glad to hear that they offered Amy (the last winner) some other shows. All this time I held it against the Food Network thinking that they didn't support her as the winner.

                        I will admit that I'm really curious, and since there's nothing on TV now that the network season has ended, perhaps I'll give in to my curiosity and watch it.

                        Meryl
                        http://mylittleworldoffood.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: puppymomma

                          somehow i don't buy the fn/amy story about why no new shows. i think it was: "your show stinks. we can't save it. bye-bye!"

                          1. re: puppymomma

                            Well, I watched the first episode and completely regretted it. I am erasing the second. Maybe I'll just read a book or something.

                            The contestants were less than mediocre and I can't believe the poor cooking that was "covered up" with a bubbly personality and passed off as acceptable. How dare they!

                            Meryl
                            http://mylittleworldoffood.blogspot.com/

                        2. I'm doing my best to pretend I have no opinion here and am the bastion of middle-of-the-roadness (yes I said that) ... .but you guys keep making me laugh.

                          Oh, let's try this ... what could FN do to make this show better? What would you advise?

                          20 Replies
                          1. re: HarryK

                            Harry - I just don't think it's the show - it's the entire network.

                            They *used* to be good to many of us; now they've just dumbed the entire network down to the lowest common denominator. Yes - I'm fully aware that it's all about the dollar - we are, after all, a capitalistic society. Yet there's still a way to make a buck and teach people how to cook vs. put a frighteningly wax-like Marc Summers up there in all his Madame Tussaud's glory and tell us how candy, doughnuts, or whatever is made.

                            It's the "personality" aspect that they focus on vs. people/chefs who can actually cook and have something to show that's *different*. That's what bugs me. It isn't gonna change. The bulldog marketing people have their claws into the network, and once hooked, they will not let go.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Do you think it's time for a competing network to emerge?

                              1. re: HarryK

                                Possibly - but that's what PBS is doing - taking the real chefs and putting them on Saturday afternoon, mostly. For me, that timing just doesn't work (and I don't have TiVO or a DVR set up, so I can't tape and watch later).

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Just to show how long certain phrases live on w/ the march of technology, you mention tivo/dvr but use the phrase "can't tape" :).

                                  1. re: jgg13

                                    LOL! I realized that. But AFTER my 45 minutes was up and I couldn't change the post. I was hoping no one would notice. <vbg>

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      Eh, no worries. I still say it too - just one of those things that I find amusing. Of course now that I'm on the spot, I can't think of another example.

                                      1. re: jgg13

                                        Saying when an "album release" is going to be vs. a CD release. I still say that one, too. :-)

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          It will always be an album. How else am I going to separate the seeds...

                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                            Exactly. I like that seed "food reference" there, Phaedrus. ;-)

                                    2. re: jgg13

                                      Hey, I still "dial" a phone number. To talk about food, Chowhound Moderators! So don't delete me!

                                      1. re: jlafler

                                        man, are we whipped or what?! lmao

                              2. re: HarryK

                                If they are sincere about finding a real live host, they need to have the following:

                                1) Someone who has a great background in the history and the science of cooking.

                                2) Someone who is more than competent in the kitchen, something beyond a good home cook, but a great home cook or someone who is at least almost a professional. They will react calmly and knowledgeably to any and all disasters that may happen. And not make any beginner faux pas when speaking about cooking.

                                3) Some one who has a clue about hosting, someone who can act natural and multitask with ease.

                                4) Some sense of self awareness and sense of humor.

                                So NFNS really does not put them through any kind of paces which tests any of those qualities. They are too busy making people do what they think a reality show competition should be doing, which is abuse the hell out of them, have haughty judges be really catty to them while making the contestants sleep deprived to make better TV.

                                Its almost like TC, except TC is supposed to be more about the food and not about the hosting abilities. NFNS isn't all that about hosting OR the cooking, they are all about drama and personalities. Which does not serve them well in the kitchen or the TV studio.

                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                  I think you're right about the reality-tv aspect of it, which poisons whatever practical value the whole exercise might have. And the basic fallacy of "reality" shows is to assume that manufactured drama is...dramatic. I've never enjoyed humiliation drama/humor, which is mostly what reality tv seems to consist of.

                                  Watching seasons two and three of the show has taught me a lot about FN, possibly including things they didn't particularly want me to learn. Season 2 taught me a lot about how tv is made -- I found it really interesting. Season 3 left a bad taste in my mouth, especially regarding the business with Jag, who, while undeniably a jerk and a liar, was also rather interesting to watch (imo) and clearly the only technically skilled cook in the group. Next Iron Chef (about which I will say no more, since it would cause the Chowhound moderators to delete this post, and not for being off-topic) put the nail in the coffin.

                                  1. re: jlafler

                                    Wow, I hated the Next Iron Chef. That judge from Bon Appetite magazine was trying to outdo Simon Cowell, just being so cruel to everyone. Like as if he could cook his way out of a paper bag. He seems alright as a judge on Iron Chef but I absolutely despise him now, because of that show.

                                2. re: HarryK

                                  get cooks/chefs of a higher caliber

                                  no one right out of culinary school, no caterers, no cafeteria chefs

                                  I wouldn't want to eat the food from most of these people, so having said that, they probably shouldn't be hosting their own cooking show

                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                    Ah, the "cafeteria chef" seemed to have the best flavors this episode and the "fine dining restauranter" almost got sent home... interesting. Just goes to show ya that you don't have to be a chef in a fancy restaurant to produce good food. I love chowhound but lets just say most of us would get water up our nose when it rains...

                                  2. re: HarryK

                                    "I'm doing my best to pretend I have no opinion."

                                    You came across as an FN PR person/cheerleader.

                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                      Nope, just a conversation starter, Withnail42

                                      If you were to see my site you'd read where I've ripped FN a new (ahem) orafice on several occasions.

                                      1. re: HarryK

                                        My mistake.

                                        Did have a look at the website. Quite good lots of interesting stuff!

                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                          Appreicate the kind words. Thank you!

                                  3. I'm really curious if they learned anything from the disaster of the last one. The preview are not promising.

                                    1. I just ran across this review, which makes it seem as if they might have learned a bit from last season.

                                      http://allyourtv.com/0809season/nextf...

                                      I was disappointed in last season, but when you look at it, hitting it out of the park one out of three times is a pretty solid batting average. And given the amount of success Guy Fieri has had, the Food Network could easily write off the other two seasons to experience.

                                      I don't shre some people's knee-jerk dislike of anything Food Network. I'm willing to give the new season a chance, and see what happens.

                                      1. halfway into the first episode i already want to slap one of the contestants. what's with unlikable women named lisa on reality cooking shows this year?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          she is annoying.
                                          and i really wanted to like the indian woman (honestly what food network needs!) but she doesn't seem to be all that. at least not so far. over confident doesn't impress me. we'll see. it's one of those - i'll watch if i have the tv on then since it's a dead time slot, but it's not drawing me.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            She encapsulates FN is all about style no substance and totally void of anything useful.

                                            Personally I liked it when she tried to throw in a French word for it's own sake and completely got it wrong. It was if she had invented her own language...Oh and her '3c's'? I wonder how many more time she'll try and sell all that...

                                          2. I'll give it a shot. I enjoy watching cooking challenges and watching the selection process... I may not watch the winner's show, but I'll watch a few to see if the show keeps my interest.

                                            Although, last year, I only lasted 4 or 5 episodes before I lost interest.

                                            1. TV is so mediocre this month that I was going to give this one a chance, then forgot that it was on.
                                              Does it repeat during the week?

                                              3 Replies
                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                  I don't know, they may have to knock off a dessert/pastry/BBQ/Snickers bar/store bought cookies challenges.

                                                2. re: shallots

                                                  It's The Food Network - everything repeats ad nauseum. :-)

                                                3. FN needs either to A: Theme it up, at least one East Asian, one Latin, one Indian, one French, Spanish, Mediterranean (shuddering as I write the word), Middle eastern, and even African (Ethiopian, S. Africa, whatever, I'll crave any of it!) trained chef, see which one wins or B: throw in the towel and just ask for some Top Chef applicants who didn't make the show. Episode One did not fill me with promise, though there's a couple who garnered some interest from me.

                                                  Edit: Ethnicity refers to cuisine, not heritage.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Icantread

                                                    The crazy thing is, if they can't find anyone who can do all the various types of cooking and fill in 30 minutes ... why don't they (duh!) take a note from Martha Stewart's Everday Food show on PBS and get four or five cooks into a single show. Call it "World Cuisine" or something. Even that would give FN more of a "we're trying" feel.

                                                    1. re: HarryK

                                                      They have already done that show. It was called melting pot or something. Symon, Cora, Rocco, Aron and a few others got their start on FN on it

                                                      1. re: DDR4040

                                                        I think that is a much much better model for identifying a new personality than this hokey reality show.

                                                  2. It's all about personality? What kind of personality? The ones I tend to be drawn to are NOT the perky, over-the-top ones. That Lisa bugged the crap outta me...and that short blonde who just graduated from cooking school.

                                                    Morimoto looked disgusted just to be there. "The teacher said I had to do this, but I don't have to like it!" That 30 minute challenge was TOUGH.

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: melly

                                                      I can just see Morimoto doing his seppuku prep now.

                                                      1. re: melly

                                                        The blond who recently graduated has apparently been sending FN tapes for years, according to Bob's "First Impressions" blog at foodtv.com, and finally wore them down.

                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                          yes, well apparently her "cheerleader on crack" demeanor is already wearing thin. why doesn't it surprise me that sandra lee was the only one who responded positively to her?

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            Yet not one thought the Diva from Dallas was over the top?

                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                              I think she'll be kept around for enterainment/conflict/etc.

                                                          2. re: momjamin

                                                            for years? isn't she only twelve years old? ;-)

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              The more episodes I watch, the more I'm starting to like her. Maybe it's because I'm short. Maybe it's because she reminds me of Kristen Chenoweth. Maybe it's because she seems to be one of the only two contestants that actually knows what she's doing. Whatever it is, she's growing on me.

                                                              Perky isn't necessarily bad. It's perky+forced demeanor+overly chatty that's bad. That's why I can't stand Rachael Ray. 6 years on the air and she still is so forced on camera that she just can't ever shut up and stop giggling. If Kelsey is happy and perky without being forced or silly, she might not be so bad. It would be hard to tell unless she gets an actual show.

                                                        2. I just really could not like any of them. Especially that Victoria Beckham clone..the brunette w/ the bob? How freaking annoying. I didn't watch the whole episode..I was doing what most of them could not do..which is cook.

                                                          It seems as if all the FN wants is a whole line up of a valley of the dolls type show. Take someone w/ "personality" & spoon feed them every recipe & put them in front of the camera w/ a teleprompter.
                                                          I want to see a show where you come home from work..exhausted yet you still have to make dinner. Show me how to take what I have in my fridge & pantry to make something realy tasty.

                                                          12 Replies
                                                          1. re: sugarbuzz

                                                            To be fair (hmm, ok, fair-ISH) I don't think they actually want the valley of the dolls. Why? Last year, the reason I think they soooo wanted JAG was because a) they want male hosts over females to bring in that demographic and b) the wanted someone who cooked Latin.

                                                            When they couldn't get JAG because of his resume BS, notice the contortions they did to make sure they did not get the Sandra Lee clone, but got Amy instead.

                                                            I'm betting the same this year. That they probably want a guy over a gal (look at the new shows that have come out and are coming out -- Sunny Anderson, Mary Nolan, Anne Burrell, Alex Guarnaschelli -- four shows, four female hosts.

                                                            And second they want someone who can cook some ethnic cusines that get too little attention right now. As to whether they actually get what they're looking for is a whole different thing.

                                                            Btw, catching Sunny Anderson's show a few times. She's an army brat. And being stationed around the world, one show she was cooking Japanese and another German food. Why that's more variety she's done in six episodes than some of the hosts have done in six years! Heck I don't think I've seen a cooking show on German food since Wolfgang did one in 2002 or something. So, as they say, more power to her. :)

                                                            1. re: HarryK

                                                              I caught Sunny Anderson's show a few times too. I didn't even know there was a "new" show. This show is totally under the radar. FTV dosen't seem to advertise this show as heavily as the Neely's Not a FTV productions so they don't own the brand?

                                                              I find her interesting... reminds me of another Giada-type.

                                                              1. re: dave_c

                                                                That's a very good point. They pimp out the Neelys every 3 seconds and that show is terrible (and go even further by having them on the judges panel of "food network stars") ... yet there are other new (and new-ish) shows that I don't even realize exist until I bumble across them.

                                                              2. re: HarryK

                                                                JAG was never in the running...they already had their giggle and jiggle latin show in the works. He lies proved helpful to them as it gave them a way out.

                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                  Hmm. Thought it went the other way around. They found they had to get rid of JAG. Figured they were in the crapper since a) they wanted Latin cuisine and b) figured the Latin community would turn it around that they axed him making them look bad and so they went on a mad dash. Found out Hoffman who had been doing Delisioso on the Spanish station was fluent in English and whipped up a TV show for her in record time.

                                                                  Least that's the way I heard it. :)

                                                                  1. re: HarryK

                                                                    I never heard anything official one way or another. I do know that production schedules, not to mention all the other various departments that need to get involved, dictate well in advance what's going to be airing. I'm sure they knew all about their own latin show before NFNS got going. There had to have been some overlap...still can't believe Hoffman was the best they could come up with.

                                                                    At the very least it was bad form to start showing her adds when 'The Jag' was still a contestant wanting to do a latin show. Sort of gave away the ending.

                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                      Tell you what surprised me. I didn't initially think Hoffman was all that hot either. And I had this thing in the back of my mind that Daisy Martinez was a better cook. Dunno, maybe it's the rawer PBS thing vs. the glitzy Food Network thing that made me think that.

                                                                      Then, one week I watched both shows. Two days apart they made the same dish (wish I could recall the name of it). Anyhow I this great example to compare the two. To my own surprise Daisy's looked like well, it was brown and runny and you can figure out what it looked like (not good.) The exact dish Ingrid made looked totally different and incredible.

                                                                      Since that time I've seen the same dish on TV, photos of the web.... Almost all of them look towards Hoffman's (those hers looked the best) and none of them looked like Daisy's.

                                                                      Since that time I've upped my estimation o f Hoffman's talents considerably. And I don't watch Daisy anymore.

                                                                      1. re: HarryK

                                                                        i've never seen ingrid hoffman's show, and t's been a very long time since i've seen an episode of "daisy cooks," but i did have one thought when i read your post. it's highly possible that ingrid hoffman has TVFN food stylists working on her show and making everything look pretty, whereas the lower budget on daisy's show might not allow for such luxuries.

                                                                        i say try both recipes yourself in a side-by-side comparison and see which one comes out better in terms of appearance, and even more importantly taste - which you can't possible ascertain from seeing them on TV.

                                                                        1. re: HarryK

                                                                          Daisy is a real chef with a real book- and she cooks real food. I bet her dish tasted 100 times better. Why don't you try both recipes and report back? Please remember that when the producers of a food network show are choosing and planning the "talent's" menu more is taken into consideration on how it looks and how to dumb it down rather than teaching the viewer anything useful or how it tastes....

                                                                          1. re: charlottecooks

                                                                            Honestly, I was pretty upset when Hoffman showed up. Stereotype "latina" in Miami that really to me was an insulting caricature of hispanic culture. Then unbenownst to me, i tried several of her recipes which were VERY good. still cannot watch the incredibly cheesy/lame show with her still insulting personality, but I will respect her cooking chops.

                                                                    2. re: Withnail42

                                                                      "giggle and jiggle" -- so that is the phrase to describe fn's model. ahhh.

                                                                  2. re: sugarbuzz

                                                                    Actually I liked the hospital caterer's personality. Unfortunately, that's a tough gig to sell. Though I have eaten much better at hospitals recently (visiting)

                                                                  3. I wasn't overly impressed with any of these folks. If the hosital cook punches the spices and herbs up a notch he might show off some interesting dishes. But not enough to make a show go. The unfunny comic was a gonner from the get go. And the Dallass Diva was way over the top IMO. Has any CH ever eaten at her restaurant "Suze"? The Dallas Morning News did a review about 4 years ago and the food sounded very pretentious. Here's hoping her bob meets the same fate as Cate Blanchett's.

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: crewsweeper

                                                                      But I liked her shoes! The best shoes yet on any cooking show, besides Mario's. Perhaps FN could do a Sex and the City Food show? Cooking in 5 inch heels, big floppy hats, and designer clothes? Maybe it'll entice my teenager to watch and learn. ;-)

                                                                      1. re: Claudette

                                                                        Last second touch - make that flower accenting your dress into a garnish!

                                                                        1. re: Claudette

                                                                          I want to see her work in a busy kitchen for 12 hours in those shoes.

                                                                          1. re: melly

                                                                            Well, we've seen previews of her taking a spill. Gotta be the shoes.

                                                                            1. re: why_itsme2

                                                                              Her hair could be too heavy to one side .... Nyah! :-)

                                                                              1. re: HarryK

                                                                                I just get a WTF feeling when I 1st saw her. I am still not sure if she is really as dumb as she comes off, or is this just some giant put on, and she is the only one in on the secret. I am sorry, that as much as Sandra Lee gets ripped, Sandra does what dallas does only much better. My wife was hoping that Spike from top chef would guest on the NFNS and rip her to shreds in his own personable way

                                                                        2. re: crewsweeper

                                                                          All I ask is to boot the Spice Princess too. she is way too cocky and in untolerable to watch.

                                                                        3. I watched the first episode and I'm not a fan of this show. Top Chef is better in my opinion. None of the food looked good to me.

                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Chew on That

                                                                            How could it possibly look good. They were faced with an impossible task, 3 dishes, 9 plates in 30 minutes and only a total stranger to help. But then again as they say so often on this show, it's about the personality, not the food.

                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                              One of them served hunks of raw pork on a plate, I think he was the kid who started crying at the end. And the person who got kicked off was a comedienne so I'm not sure what they are trying to accomplish.

                                                                              1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                Comedienne is older and set in her way.
                                                                                Young kid is inexpensive, easier to "teach" and create into a brand.

                                                                                1. re: dave_c

                                                                                  Ummm, that was a weird, I didn't catch that at all.
                                                                                  I felt that the both of them were really taking the challenge way to serious, and then neither was able to handle the pressure. Each displaying in their own way, how they handle stress.

                                                                                  Cory was so serious she forgot to have fun and never did let her self enjoy the challenge and then relax once she was presenting.

                                                                                  Shane did the impossible with pork, and then was destroyed after he asked for approval from Chef Flay and he did not get the response he'd hoped for.

                                                                                  I think these challenges are more about how you handle yourself on stage under pressure. Of course it helps if you're creative and can cook. And also if you the canidate can create a TV/Stage personality that is easy for them to run with i.e., Guy Fierri (spelling) then that is the person that lands the role. Define yourself, your food, relax and come across sincere and interesting... just my thoughts for what its worth.

                                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                    I give up trying to use the edit function..

                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                      Works for me, I think you're pretty right on.

                                                                                      For interested parties, Wikipedia has a table of contestants, they aren't in any discernible order. Makes me wonder if they're in order of elimination. If so, then Shane looses it tonight.

                                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                        they're listed in alphabetical order by first name - cory kahaney obviously got moved to the bottom since she's gone. i assume they'll continue to just stack the eliminated contestants on top of that last row each week.

                                                                                        if the table really was in order of elimination [and the order appeared to be completely random otherwise], you can be sure the food network would sue the pants off whomever compiled the list for spoiling an entire season.

                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                          I'm concerned for Shane, hopefully he hasn't beaten himself up too badly. Maybe there was some coaching from the other contestants.

                                                                                          Yes I agree with ghg, I can't imagine that they wouldn't dare do anything so damaging.

                                                                                          I want to see what the whole Nipa drama is about. I am wanting her to win for a change in their already sameo sameo shows.

                                                                                          Lately, these shows are grasping at straws. They are doing recipes to death, with their "twists" and just making horrible food combos that I can't imagine anyone would ever make.

                                                                                    2. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                      Ah, but that's the point. These "challenges" aren't designed to make anyone successful. This folks are being set up to fail. It's easier to make an elimination based on failure than it is on success.

                                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                        That, and I bet they also feel they have to keep upping the ante with the challenges. It has to be "harder " (more imossible, that is) than last time.

                                                                                        1. re: jlafler

                                                                                          And jlafler, that's the problem. How do the next challenges get harder than 3 dishes in 30 minutes presented to what not a three- but a nine-judge panel of stars including two Iron Chefs??? They may have burnt out in the first episode in terms of difficulty of a challenge.

                                                                                          1. re: HarryK

                                                                                            Well, they could just up the ante by dropping them into amazon jungle and make them forage for their own food. Kill and skin your own protein with a rusty pocket knife. The easiest way may be to put styrofoam floors in the kitchen. Lets see her move arond in stilettos then!

                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                              Man vs Wild meets Network Star ... I like it, Phaedus!

                                                                                              Let's run it up the flagpole and see who salutes. :-)

                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                thanks phaedrus - i just got a great visual of the dallas diva standing in the middle of the kitchen waving her arms trying to flag someone down to help her because her stilettos are stuck in the styrofoam floor :)

                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                  three in thirty isn't all that hard. I didn't hear the beginning of the competition, were they told to use only fresh ingredients or could they take some help from cleaned and prepared items, as RR does on her show?

                                                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                    To me, a good cook or even a good TV personality doesn't necessarily have to be able to slop together three dishes in 30 minutes or need to be able to efficiently cater to 100 people in under an hour.

                                                                                                    So many of these challenges seem to be based on fast catering skills and not on good cooking technique or creative recipes.

                                                                                    3. Well I have to say I love this show! It is a fascinating slow-train-wreck of a program. Last year however will be hard to top as the majority of the contestants were in need of some serious professional help. But this year there are some strong contenders. There is the aforementioned Diva from Dallas. There is the single mother who somehow is able to mention every 27.5 second the she has a daughter. The dude that cries because he has to plate his food. The comedienne who was about as funny as an undertaker and froze when she had to speak. And let us not forget 'Mr. Romance' who almost wet himself when he saw Bobby Flay.

                                                                                      Then there is the judging. Credit must be given for being able to contradict themselves at every possible opportunity. They talk about it being food TV but is really about your personality. Giada has already started being catty early even for her complaining and the personality of the perky bond who ironically was the one who used used an Italian ingredient.

                                                                                      I am already looking forward to next week when former FN personality and current unemployed liar Robert Irvine leads them in a task.

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                        Anyone want to bet that Robert Irvine will lecture the contestants about the importance of integrity?

                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                          I watched the 10+ minute preview on TFN's site last night; so far, he didn't dip his toes in those waters. ;-)

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            I'm sure the producers were careful about what was aired.

                                                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                              Yes, but when would this episode have been taped? Before Irvine's debacle back in February of this year? I have to believe so - otherwise, why have him on at all?

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                Once they had taped it they were stuck. I'm guessing that in editing they were careful about was left in.

                                                                                                Then again this is the same company who refused to fire the guy and let him continue to tape show until his contract had run it's course.

                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                  Wouldn't be surprised if they bring him back after all of that kerfluffle, too. I think it's a popular show so they wager it will have blown over after a while.

                                                                                                  1. re: mumblety

                                                                                                    They have a new host for the show.

                                                                                      2. I think "Top Chef" is a better show, but I'll admit to getting sucked into the first episode of TNFNS the other day. It's fun to watch when there are people you want to root for and others you loathe. That Lisa _ what a nightmare! Does she really not see how pretentious and scary she comes across? And what about Miss "I'm still the queen of spice?" You just had a table of judges say your food wasn't properly spiced, so maybe not.

                                                                                        1. So the early money has got to be on Kelsey Nixon--she interned for Martha Stewart and Sandra Lee. I love the integrity of The Food Network.

                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: jasmurph

                                                                                            Interning with Sandra Lee isn't a particularly *good thing*, as Martha might say.

                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              The real mystery is what interning for Sandy would entail--taping over brand-names on labels? Buying spice mixes? Assembling table-scapes?

                                                                                              1. re: jasmurph

                                                                                                Finding creative ways to pump more alcohol into Sandra Lee in the least amount of time. Oh and finding other creative ways to use corn nuts.

                                                                                                1. re: jasmurph

                                                                                                  Perhaps she was in charge of the ever changing curtains?

                                                                                              2. re: jasmurph

                                                                                                Stewart and Lee talk about opposite ends of the spectrum. Perhaps it will balance her out.

                                                                                                1. re: jasmurph

                                                                                                  So, what was with Kelsey playing like she didn't know Martha Stewart last week? The fix is SO in.

                                                                                                  1. re: jasmurph

                                                                                                    i know NO details of her working there. but i do know that martha's (and many similar) empire is so big that you could easily work for someone and not really know them personally.

                                                                                                    1. re: jasmurph

                                                                                                      Actually this brings me back to the first episode where Sandra said she liked her. (And Giada went "ewww".) Curiouser and curiouser.

                                                                                                      1. re: HarryK

                                                                                                        did she really say "ewww"??? wow, too bad I missed that!

                                                                                                  2. If I hear that Food Network exec say "This is going to change one of your lives forever" one more time I'm going to throw my TV out the window. This kind of show exemplifies everything that Anthony Bourdain says about FN, it's a way of growing corporate-created "stars" under the ever-present thumb of the suits and their focus groups in suburban malls across America. Incidentally I caught about 10 seconds of the first episode and thought it was hillarious that Sandra Lee was one of the judges - what a joke! You too can be the next Sandra Lee!

                                                                                                    1. Ok, how many peopole think Mipa needs to go? I don't understand how mixing two very simple ingredients and calling it a great spice because of its ratio is a good thing, I kind of liked that challenge, though. Lisa is growing on me. She seemed to really learn from the first challenge, and she really seems to have food knowledge. I think since Mipa didn't go, the next best person was chosen to leave.

                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: kprange

                                                                                                        she totally should have gone on last night's show - geoffrey has a great personality too bad they let him go

                                                                                                        1. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                                                          The more I think about it, the more I think the lady who cooks for her daughter should go home too. She has made nothing interesting, and she is almost an insult to kids' cooking. One of my six-year-old's favorite dishes is pasta with pesto - When I think of cooking for kids, I think about fun cooking, neat shapes, kid eye appealing food, not glazed carrots and mashed potato pizza. The pizza by the way sounds gross.

                                                                                                          1. re: kprange

                                                                                                            Yes, Lisa is growing on me too. I think she is trying to change her earlier mistakes and she seemed geniunely moved to have met Martha. But she squints a lot when she talks. Kid cooking lady is like watching a piece of wood...boring. Kelsey the psycho cheerleader makes me cringe and if the best she can do is Sloppy Joes...er, I mean Janes (cringe) then I'm scurred. I like the laid back Cider-Vinagrette guy...his product sounded pretty good. They all are just so desperate for a TV gig and aren't really as interested in their food. That's the big diff with this and Top Chef. Cayenne and sugar? But its the "perfect" ratio? Please, Nipa go home with your sour attitude. Ugh.

                                                                                                          2. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                                                            I agree.

                                                                                                            I'd love to see more diversity in terms of "ethnic food" on the network but am already a bit troubled; if she's legit about not wanting to cook fusion, FN's not going to want her so much after all.

                                                                                                            I don't think she's camera-ready anyway. We're already assuming that looks and personality matter more than cooking; Geoffrey seemed mildly talented and very camera-friendly. Strange to let him go.

                                                                                                            1. re: mumblety

                                                                                                              They should ALL go home, including the judges. Bobby Flay should be embarassed - he's too good to be dealing with such low talent/low concept.

                                                                                                              Come to think of it, I'll go home, too, and never watch another episode! (Wait - I'm already home...dang!)

                                                                                                          3. re: kprange

                                                                                                            I was so irritated that they saved Nipa in the first round. Why don't they compare/contrast what people did? Nipa mixed two things together (correct ratio, whatever!) and didn't even cook her demo food (she just put the sugar/cayenne on peanuts, right?)! Whereas Lisa actually made marmalade! Other people who only mixed stuff together for the spice rubs, etc. at least smoked chicken or fried catfish! Nipa should be sent home.

                                                                                                            I also agree that the cooks for children woman should be sent home. She made glazed carrots the first week. Glazed carrots! This time she made mashed potatoes on pizza! Then in her tv spot started talking about being carb-conscious! Huh? She totally freezes up, makes no sense, takes the easy way out and makes food that doesn't sound good at all! Also, did you catch her lie? She had said in her one-on-one that she's been making the sauce at her job for several years and then to Martha she said she'd developed the recipe for that challenge and hadn't made it before! Hmmm...

                                                                                                            1. re: akq

                                                                                                              Ooh, I missed that. I will have to watch again and check her out

                                                                                                          4. the only people who have demonstrated even a modicum of culinary skill are aaron & lisa...and unfortunately, neither one is really "watchable."

                                                                                                            FN is screwed, there's nary a star among this bunch.

                                                                                                            i will continue to watch, however, strictly out of morbid fascination. i'm really not a bad person, but there's something entertaining - in a twisted, cringe-inducing kind of way - about watching them fall on their asses [lisa finally does, literally fall on hers next week]....

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                              It's that morbid fascination that keeps me watching.

                                                                                                              I don't know what interests me more the contestants and their unique lack of talent or likability. Or the judges ability to justify their never ending stream of contradictions.

                                                                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                FN created the force that is rachael ray-

                                                                                                                i think after she hit her stride and left for her other projects, the network has been slowly tanking

                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                  I was thinking after last night's show that I would probably not watch a food show by any of these people. Kelsey has the right personality, but she simply doesn't have a proper food background (unless they call the show, "Culinary School Graduate"). Lisa has got to get off the "beautiful basics" schtick for me to consider watching her: she's way too much into the marketing and less into passion for food.

                                                                                                                  The rest of them, meh.

                                                                                                                  1. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                                    I like Shane, too. I think Kelsey can be good, as well as Lisa, but they both have work to do. My big problem with the show is that I have more experience that most of the contestents. They are the only three with any kind of cooking chops. What kind of screening process does the FN do before they pick their contestents?

                                                                                                                    1. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                                      I find Kelsey slurs when she pronounces her "s" and it drives me insane. It sounds like a "ssszzzsh." She's still a little too cheerleader for me.

                                                                                                                      I like Shane and Lisa. I worry, though, that if they gave Lisa a show, that they would force her to dummy it down. I wondered yesterday if being the next food network star is really what she wants.

                                                                                                                      Meryl
                                                                                                                      http://inspiredbites.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                2. who is the dingo that wouldn't touch the dressed fish? i agree that there seems to be zero screening of these candidates.