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TNFNS final spoilers

I like melissa but don't they already have four or five similar shows to what she's going to be doing?

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  1. really disappointing outcome. i loved Jeffrey's pilot, and definitely would have watched his show. Melissa, on the other hand, felt very forced and "in your face" to me, and 've always found her verbal delivery/presentation to be somewhat choppy. i just don't think she's very watchable, and, yes, i feel like her shtick is just another incarnation of the same thing we've already seen too many times on TVFN.

    4 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Perhaps I've become a bit of a conspiracy theorist but I soon as I saw Melissa's family front and center and Jeffery's stuck way up tin the middle (don't thing they even had access to the aisle) I knew she was going to win.

      And nothing I can put my finger on but somehow her 'pilot' seemed better produced/slicker.

      1. re: Withnail42

        i actually spotted an editing spoiler in the commercial before it aired, so i sort of knew what was coming. they showed a clip of Jeffrey walking over to Melissa on stage & giving her a huge hug, and i figured it was his gracious congratulatory concession.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          That was from the part of the show when Bobby Flay introduces them to the audience about 1/3rd of the way into the finale.

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Fear not. It's probable that Jeffrey will get his own show as well. Who wins NFNS and who gets their own show are not necessarily the same thing.

      3. Considering Susie's comments in her last vlog, and the praise heaped on both, I would almost put money on Jeffrey already having a deal in the can for his own show.

        There's no way they'll let him get away. Melissa got this prize, he'll get one of his own, just watch...

        1. I liked both pilots a lot -- I've liked Melissa a lot for the past few weeks, and was hoping that she would win, and Jeffrey has always kind of bored me, but I liked his pilot a lot too, so I hope he also gets a show.

          3 Replies
          1. re: JasmineG

            Where did you see the pilots? Are they posted online somewhere?

            1. re: Shane Greenwood

              they showed a condensed version of each one during the show...did you not watch the entire thing?

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Yes, I watched the show too and saw the clips of their pilots like everyone else. JasmineG sounded like she watched the the pilots so I was wondering if that's what she meant. It's impossible to say if a pilot was good or not from the few clips we got to see.

          2. Jeffrey didn't even have a POV until about 9:10 when Alton gave him one. That was the first time all season that I thought Jeffrey's show would be interesting and unique.

            3 Replies
            1. re: dmjordan

              That's probably how it happens. A "talent" who cooks well and looks/sounds good on camera doesn't determine his or her own concept. That's all part of the producer's job. And Alton Brown is, as Bob said, a damn good producer.

              1. re: dmjordan

                I agree. He bored me all season.

                I think Melissa was great and she deserved to win.

                1. re: dmjordan


                  Melissa was consistent and on point the whole time. Harried mom makes cooking possible again. Jeffrey was fun to watch and had a great energy, but I never got what he was about until Alton helped him turn into the ingredient smuggler.

                2. It had to be Melissa; she appeals to FN's target audience these days...homecooks looking for simple recipes.

                  As much as I liked Jeffrey's concept (the name--Ingredient Smuggler; which suggest he might bring home rhino tusks next--aside) even I had to laugh when he talked about his theme ingredient of harissa. Where will most home cooks even find that? Jeffrey should be on PBS; leave FN to Melissa and RR.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: ooroger

                    Well, I found harissa last year in a store in my Mom's small town in South Carolina, so I doubt it is that hard to find in most places. It's also not terribly hard to make. I do agree, though, that Jeffrey would be a great fit for PBS' food show line up.

                    1. re: ooroger

                      Harissa is sold in a lot of markets these days. Even the big, bland supermarkets have at least a partial aisle with "international" ingredients. Harissa will be there most of the time, it's a pretty common ingredient for about a third of the world. I love Jefferey's concept because it introduces us to ingredients we don't normally think about. The world is full of flavor!

                      1. re: Shane Greenwood

                        It would be nice though, if he had explained what it was as well. He really didn't touch on anything about the flavor, other than the heat factor

                        1. re: kprange

                          We only saw a few minutes of each pilot on the finale show. Assuming it was a full pilot for a 30 minute time slot, there is probably 22 minutes of show. I'm sure he says a word or two about the ingredient, but that wasn't important to the finale episode.

                          1. re: kprange

                            :nodding: That was my biggest problem with his pilot.

                            But yeah, I'd watch "Ingredient Smuggler" over whatever-Melissa's-show's-name-is any day.

                            1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                              Melissa's show, originally titled Kitchen Survival Guide, is now $10 Dinners. So, she went through all the contests and competitions just to end up with a show telling folks how to prepare dinner for $10.00. Oh, and of course Food Network doesn't have anything similar to this concept in their lineup already (heavy sarcasim here). If you haven't read the 2,000+ posts at Bob's Blog on the Food Network site, people either hate the idea of the show, or they love it. I'm thinking the ones that love it are the newbie cooks and that concept will definitely appeal to that audience. And there is speculation and rumors also over there that the show, or the concept of the show, was already decided prior to the start of this year's episodes so the judges kept their eyes open for the contestant who best fit this type of show and it was Melissa. LOL I can just see what would have happened if Debbie, did you know she was Korean?, would have been the finalist and then got stuck with that lame show! Anyway I wish Melissa the best of luck and am waiting for Jeffrey's show to debute soon. Yes I HOPE Food Network is smart enough to give him his own show.

                              1. re: Proud2BWLVRebel

                                It's discouraging. I think Melissa has a lot to offer, but I'm not sure the $10 show will be worth watching.

                                People here have compared Melissa to the existing FN lineup _ Rachael, Sandra etc. But one thing Melissa always apparently excelled in was her baking. Rachael constantly brags about how she doesn't bake! But Melissa was a good enough baker to impress top-knotch pros. I hope the show gives her a chance to show off those skills _ and baking doesn't have to be expensive.

                                1. re: NYCkaren

                                  I agree. I think Melissa is the total package:
                                  She can cook
                                  She can bake
                                  She understands the needs and constrains of home cooks who make up the bulk of the FN audience
                                  She knows how to break down what she does into simple reproducible "tips and techniques"
                                  She is attractive and she expresses herself well

                                  Hardly the second coming, but she should do well.

                        2. re: ooroger

                          Oh, I thought that would have been perfect vehicle for FN to do a little pushing of their own products. Food Network Harissa, only available on foodnetwork.com, as seen on Jeffrey Saad's Ingredient Smuggler (terrible name, btw). Only four times as expensive as you would pay at a Middle Eastern store. And if you place your order within ten minutes, you get the second jar for only $9.99!

                          1. re: ooroger

                            Sorry but you can find harissa all over the place. It's in many large supermarkets.

                            1. re: ooroger

                              Harissa is not hard to find. What was missing for me in Jeffrey's presentation was some explanation of what harissa is, what it is made of and where it comes from.

                              1. re: chicgail

                                you have to remember that we only saw a one- or two-minute snippet of a 30-minute pilot. it's likely that Jeffrey did offer more detailed information, and we just didn't see that part.

                              2. re: ooroger

                                Maybe he could have given some information about the ingredient, what it is, the flavour, how to replicate it at home in case you can't find. Besides Harrissa isn't exactly that exotic.

                              3. They said several times that they are looking for the person who is "ready right now." As we peck at this topic today, Melissa is on the job making her show. It seemed pretty obvious that she was more ready to go as a presenter. No doubt all that corporate ladder climbing helped her polish her preparation and presentation skills. It really showed when she was presenting to the chefs' table in the second to last episode.

                                Jeffery, while great in so many ways, was always struggling to get his personality out. Even when filming the pilot Alton had to remind him to smile. He has some stuff to work on. When you're on set and burning through thousands of dollars an hour in crew, lighting, and equipment with an editing schedule staring down at you, you can't afford to waste time having your star learn on the job. Jefferey will get a show after they polish him up the last 10%.

                                1. Jeffrey's pilot was more interesting, but a stretch for middle America. He did a great job on selling Harissa, but would a typical meat and potatoes family go for smuggled ingredients. Besides, with with a tight shooting schedule, I'm sure FN can't wait 2 or 3 days for Jeff to retrieve the ingredients after a trip abroad.

                                  Melissa had an easy to understand approach for people. What annoyed me about her is her forced smile (her mouth is smiling, but her eyes are not) and her voice. Also, during the finale just before the big announcement, her daughter called out, "Mommy"... At that moment, I thought, "She needs to be home with her children. They're calling for her."

                                  I'm sure both will get a show. Melissa's starts immediately while FN will work with Jeff on his concept.

                                  26 Replies
                                  1. re: dave_c

                                    I agree, dave. I really like the focus on a single interesting ingredient used as part of a normal dish--the idea of the harissa mayonnaise is a great one. Alton sometimes does that sort of thing but he's got his own schtick, and I think he's more process-driven.

                                    Plus FN doesn't really have any male hosts who are easy on the eyes. IMO Jeffrey could also fill that role.

                                    1. re: dave_c

                                      "She needs to be home with her children. They're calling for her."

                                      I totally agree.
                                      I had no idea her kids were so young! The whole time shes been talking about them - I assumed they were sort of 10 - 14 age range. I just spoke to my mom and she said exactly the same thing!
                                      Oh well -she had a nanny so I guess her kids will have a nanny too...

                                      I do think she was the best choice..I did think her food always sounded good...

                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                        Wow, really, just because she has small children, she should be home with them? I know lots of women with small children who go to work, should they be home with their children too? What a strange thing to say.

                                        1. re: JasmineG

                                          I'm sorry - I don't want to offend all those hard-working moms out there..But if you ask me my personal opinion - yes it is my strong personal belief that mothers need to spend the formative years with thier children. I don't want to start a debate, and I already know lots of people belive differently. You are all entitled to believe what you will, as I am. Please don't try to argue, I already know how you feel!
                                          Anyhow, Melissa had stated that she gave up an 80 hour a week job so she could raise her family, and I personally respected her for that. (she later said she hated the job as it was not her passion which explains her reasons for choosing this path now) I still do think her kids are a bit young at the moment.

                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                            As cmvan said, it's not necessarily a full-time job. They shoot several episodes in a brief time span. And then she'd presumably have some down time with the kids.

                                            By the way, it sounds like Melissa really works at getting her kids to try new and different foods. And based on the finale it sounds like Jeffrey does too. They have that in common. As a parent, I think both of them might have tips I could use.

                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                              Probably just my opinion, but this post is very offensive to me, a hard working mother of a 2 year old. Some of us cannot choose to stay home. That aside, I think Melissa was better suited for the FN audience, even though I found her manner a little annoying. I agree with everyone that is saying Jeffrey will probably end up getting a show, or some sort of correspondent job at FN anyway, since they loved him so much.

                                            2. re: JasmineG

                                              I bet you don't know a lot of women with for children ages four and under... that's something...

                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                Yeah, I know a lot of women with children four and under, I don't really understand your point. Do you think they should all be home with their children instead of working?

                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                  No...I don't think I would stay home ....(har, har, har...joking...sort of...). My point was that I was taken aback, thinking about that. I don't think I could even get it together enough to leave my house, let alone cook and look as collected as she does. I know a few women ( two?) that had four children under four . Both they AND I thought it was pretty unusual. In fact, they thought it was pretty isolating that they didn't know anybody else that did ( I saw/see them in therapy...talked with one of them...she only has three) about Melissa this morning!). Oh well, maybe it's just my community.


                                                  "There's an odd phenomenon being reported in tony enclaves across the country: highly educated, highly compensated couples popping out four or more children--happily and by choice."

                                                  "For Laura Bennett, 44, and Peter Shelton, 62, raising five young boys in Manhattan requires a daily battle plan. (Bennett also has a daughter, 19, from a previous marriage, who does not live with them.) A babysitter arrives early at the family's loft-style apartment to help manage the morning scrum. Then Shelton, an architect, and Bennett, a clothing designer whose career was launched on the Bravo reality show Project Runway, hit their offices, although she usually leaves hers around 3 p.m...."

                                              2. re: JasmineG

                                                Why is that a strange thing to say?

                                                Just because there are women with small children in the work force, doesn't make it right for the children.

                                                We all know that mother's have to work, but ideally toddlers needs and wants their mom.

                                                Obviously, Melissa agrees with that point since she bills herself as a "stay-at-home" mom.

                                              3. re: NellyNel

                                                It's not as if Melissa will be spending weeks away from her family. Shows like hers are shot one after the other over a short period of time. And the NFNS winner gets something like 8 or 9 episodes to their contract, with options for further seasons if it's a success.

                                                She already had her episodes in the can by the time she moved to Kirkland WA recently.

                                                And it looked like her mother-in-law was in the audience, so she probably came over from France to assist while Melissa was tied up with filming and her husband was setting up his new job with Microsoft. I'm sure Grandmama and the girls had great times together while Mommy was filming.

                                                By teh way, if anyone wats the recipe for the individual potato gratins hse made in her pilot, here's the URL:

                                                and for the 4-Step Chicken:

                                                1. re: cmvan

                                                  thanks for that link. the four step chicken looked like such an interesting idea to me! ;)

                                                  1. re: jujuthomas

                                                    and those potatoes sound good too!

                                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                                      I had to laugh at that, but it was a laugh of recognition.

                                                      As a working Mom, I've been using that "four-step technique" for cooking chicken for years. It's been my go-to chicken recipe on busy nights. Garlic, oregano, basil, wine, chicken broth, lemon juice, onions, capers. Sometimes dredged; sometimes not. Lots of variations, like she said.

                                                      Good for her for distinguishing it as a special technique.

                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                        I thought that, too--isn't that just the basis for many dishes, including braised stews which are just braised longer? Dredge, sear, sautee, deglaze/reduce. I never thought it was a special technique anymore than it would be a special technique to make a roux and add liquid. But, the way she put it together might make more people who don't cook give it a try.

                                                    2. re: cmvan

                                                      "4-Step Chicken"? This is essentially Chicken Piccata, without the capers. And this wins it? Wow -- I'm going to PBS with Shrinkrap!

                                                      1. re: carbonaraboy

                                                        Chicken Piccata is but one type of dish that is prepared in this classic technique that stems from "old world" cooking. As Melissa states, the technique can be applied to many, many ingredients yielding quick meals of fresh ingredients that don't have to cost a lot, but have great flavor and not be repetitious. Substitute tenderized beef for chicken and you get chicken fried steak with a pan gravy. Put a nice fish fillet in and have a meuniere sauce to top.

                                                        1. re: araknd

                                                          Yes, it's true Melissa didn't actually re-invent the wheel of chicken preparation. But, that said, I'm an experienced home cooks and I appreciated her breaking down the technique in this manner.It's a "no recipe" guide-line that might prompt reluctant cooks to go ahead and cook rather than calling for take-out. I actually tested her and went on to following the steps the next night at dinner. It was quick, easy and delish.

                                                          1. re: lucyis

                                                            As an experienced cook myself, I agree - it is nice to get tips so that we can cook a quick healthy dinner for our family. I think her show will be good.

                                                            1. re: lucyis

                                                              That's a good way to put it. As many chowhounds have said on the home cooking board, making xxxx (variety of dishes) isn't a recipe, it's a technique. She's showing noncooks techniques, rather than a recipe. To paraphrase: Teach a person a technique, and he/she can cook; teach a recipe, and he/she can make one dish.

                                                              1. re: lucyis

                                                                No argument from me on that. I was pointing out to carbonaraboy that she was using a technique, not preparing a variation on Chicken Piccata. I also am an experienced home cook and I learned a lot just from her short presentation.

                                                                1. re: araknd

                                                                  Thank you. I’m fully aware of not only the derivative nature of her final dish, but also the cooking method behind it.

                                                                  On a bigger note: That a simple, ancient, and universal (it’s an Eastern technique as well as Old World) method comes as enough of a revelation to TFN brass to propel its latest star, it strongly validates Pollan’s recent thesis in the NYT that we’ve lost basic cooking knowledge. (Present company excepted.) Still, starting at the bottom is probably what we need, given the sorry state of our national food morass, and if it gets someone off the couch or inspires Board members, great. It just didn’t do it for me.

                                                                  So, does this mean that I can post/publish a recipe based on removing pine nuts from Pesto Genovese and call it “Quick Basil Paste”, under the guise that it demonstrates the method of grinding fresh herbs with olive oil and garlic, and get away with it? Cool!

                                                                  1. re: carbonaraboy

                                                                    I'm in agreement with you about the state of American cooking in the home, in general. I'm afraid that most of the FN audience IS unaware of basic cooking techniques, as noted elsewhere in this thread, they might know how to follow a recipe precisely, but cannot make the leap to apply that technique to other ingredients. So Melissa might be able to get that across, but the cynic in me thinks that the vast majority of viewers can only dream about actually cooking something from fresh ingredients because they are too lazy to shop for something other than a frozen pizza or Stouffer's freeze dried tuna casserole. :-P

                                                            2. re: carbonaraboy

                                                              Not only that she claims to invented the process! Searing, deglazing and making a sauce is an elementary technique. It's a friggin pan sauce. "And the best part is there are endless variations." Yeah, no kidding. God that made me mad.

                                                              Why no one called her on that is ridiculous. If that was the first show and she pulled that she'd be booted.

                                                        2. re: dave_c

                                                          No, the typical meat and potatoes family probably wouldn't go for Harissa, and that's exactly why Jeffrey's show is so needed. The FN is full of dumbed-down shows trying to make things easy for people who probably aren't going to get off the couch and cook anyway, why not present something more challenging to keep the smart viewers who know which side of their spatula's up tuned in? I mean, after we watch Alton Brown and Michael Chiarello's reruns, what are we supposed to do?

                                                          Oh that's right, tune in PBS.

                                                        3. Neither of them was perfect, but I was uncomfortable watching Jeffrey's pilot. He seemed like he is trying too hard to not be the "Zen-Meister." Throughout the series Melissa did a better job of assimilating feedback from the judges.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Foodie in Friedberg

                                                            I predict that TFN will produce a show with Jeffrey and within the show he will introduce a little known ingredient. Next comes the TFN spin... the ingredient will be magically available on their website!

                                                          2. I'm glad Melissa won. Jeffrey always seemed glib to me. I did like both pilots though.

                                                            What's with Susie saying now she feels inspired to try harissa? She's one of the top people at the Food Network and she's never tried harissa????

                                                            I thought it was funny how they showed Melissa and Jeffrey having an intimate dinner. I was imagining they would leave their spouses and run off together. What would that show be called? Jeffrey and Melissa Plus 6?

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: NYCkaren

                                                              Never mind her trying harissa Suze never even met Ina one of their biggest stars until they shot the episode. That really boggles the mind.

                                                              Now I would watch Jeff and Meliss Plus Six.

                                                              1. re: NYCkaren

                                                                "What's with Susie saying now she feels inspired to try harissa? She's one of the top people at the Food Network and she's never tried harissa????"

                                                                I don't think Susie is a big food person. She just works in the marketing/advertising department. In one of her blogs, she mentioned that she felt some of the guest judges snickering at her as she said she loved such and such dish. Apparently she's the only one on the panel who likes things when everybody else thinks it's gross. So I think FN has her on the panel because is not a foodie -- to get a layperson's perspective. Because the average FN audience's palate is going to be more like her palate than Bobby Flay's.

                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                  Also she's beautiful so she balances out Tuschman. Remember, it's TV.

                                                                  1. re: yumyum

                                                                    She's beautiful? That would not have occurred to me.

                                                                    1. re: NYCkaren

                                                                      She is when seated next to Tuschman. I shouldn't get personal, but I find him annoying for some reason.

                                                                      1. re: Claudette

                                                                        Especially when seated next to Tushy.

                                                                  2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                    She's probably there for her marketing expertise, not her palate.

                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                      "So I think FN has her on the panel because is not a foodie -- to get a layperson's perspective. Because the average FN audience's palate is going to be more like her palate than Bobby Flay's."
                                                                      and i think you're absolutely right. makes perfect sense.

                                                                  3. Well, no surprise that Melissa won. I think that she may have been the dark-horse in the beginning of the competition, but she emerged as the odds on favorite to take the win. I don't think Jeffrey had a chance-not because of his performance or platform, but because Melissa was perfectly poised to slide into Sarah Moulton's slot since it has not been filled yet. While Melissa has no formal trianing, like Sarah, she is cute, blonde, petite, relatable, and can quickly feed a family with delicious food. There's just a bigger demographic for Melissa.
                                                                    Although "Ingredient Smuggler" was an awkward name, the concept is solid. I DID want to make something with harissa, and I had to wonder what other less-often used ingredients from afar I would be encouraged to use next. I liked Jeffrey's energy too-positive, eager, and smooth around the edges.
                                                                    I too think that Jeffrey will get his own show-there is a demographic for him that would watch a male chef with a bit more cooking chops, and an entirely different energy than Guy F., who is wildly successful and has a following of his own.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                      I don't think the Ingredient Smuggler concept is "solid" at all. Maybe for PBS, but not for Food Network. FN doesn't air shows for foodies who might hunt down harissa; its shows are mostly intended for people who have a casual interest in cooking, but mainly want to be entertained.

                                                                      1. re: lscanlon

                                                                        I have just the opposite reaction: harrisa, etc., would be too ordinary for the PBS crowd, who are probably already familiar with harrisa, zataar, ras el hanout, etc. After a few weeks of such ingredients, where else could Jeffrey go with this? Oyster sauce, fleur de sel...? ;-)

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              And we're a go on the chia. Can't forget the chia.

                                                                        1. re: lscanlon

                                                                          How about they have Jeffrey do a show that's a cross of Ingredient Smuggler crossed with Locked Up Abroad[the National Geographic show]?

                                                                          Jeffrey travels to a far off land,tries to smuggle some hopelessly exotic ingredient back from the country and get's locked up for a couple years for his efforts.

                                                                          Sort of a food version of Midnight Express? I'd love to see Sandra Lee do a star turn where she does some hard time in a Turkish prison.

                                                                          1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                                                            ...as a result of one of her more subversive "tablescapes." Trying to instigate revolution in Burma with her Aung Sun Su Kyi Under House Arrest centerpiece, or something along those lines.

                                                                      2. What a big, phony, pile 'o nothing we saw last night.

                                                                        I don't know about the type of show the Food Network develops this way (proof that decision by committee can really generate some absurd results) . The end product seems all to familiar and derivative- almost forces the contestants into a forced, hyper-energetic persona that bores me senseless- for all the claims that they make of "being themselves," or whatever, these people come off as stunned, fake, and not at all prepared to make the kind of bold and clearly directed forays into the world of ingredients and cooking that would make for good tv. The resulting food from most of the "do-it-yourself" FN shows is analogous to the concept cars that appear in Detroit- kinda predictable, not always practical, and probably forgotten within weeks of the spin on the lazy susan. I can see how basic techniques should be conveyed and all, but most of the shows are about this already.

                                                                        Believe it or not, but I'm learning more from Guy Fieri on DDD than I have ever learned from Tyler, the Napafied Bush look-alike Chiarello, Rachel Ray, Paula, Bobby on the grill, The Neelys, Ina, Gina whats-her-name, and the rest. Where have all The Fat Ladies gone? The Justin Wilsons? Pepin? Bastianich? Hell, even The Frugal Gourmet (if we forget about his conviction)? These shows did unexpected things with common and rare ingredients alike- much more generally interesting to watch. I think I'm done with the majority of stuff on FN, which is unfortunate because I used to really enjoy watching.

                                                                        Also, Jeffrey uses the cheapest, tomato paste-tasting, brand of harissa available. No Tunisian would touch the DEA stuff with a ten-footer.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: SaltyRaisins

                                                                          i happen to agree with nearly everything you just said (i still enjoy watching Tyler Florence)....but in Jeffrey's defense, he may not have had much of a harissa selection to choose from when he got the ingredients to shoot the pilot. in fact, it's possible that they had some lying around in the TVFN test kitchen and gave it to him to use for this.

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            If that's the case with the harissa (and I know that once a "star" has made it into the FN world, they become puppets of the producers and that's "normal"), then why didn't they show him using that sorry little bag of paprika that he "smuggled" out of Budapest, or whatever? At least a jaunt down to a good NY spice market to do a bit of ingredient investigation...I know that that wouldn't have been practical for this pilot episode, but then a show that rules out something as simple as a field trip strikes me as pretty vapid. All that for a steak sandwich with a schmear of piquant mayo and bagged arugula...I was under the impression that these shows were about food. I think I will be faulted for looking in the wrong place for "food-driven" content, but I recall the FN used to do this kind of thing.

                                                                            An above poster's idea of Alton Brown wanting to set Jeffrey's show in a Turkish Prison made me laugh out loud. Very good...

                                                                          2. I just saw on the FN website that Melissa's new show is called "Ten Dollar Dinners"...every week she will cook for 4 on a budget of $10. Yuck...what little interest I had in seeing how she does has evaporated. Strange that she built her whole run on all of these survival tips and tricks and ideas for busy mothers and now she's doing budget meals. Oh well.

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: sibeats

                                                                              somehow i'm not surprised, it's typical corporate crap. TVFN already had an idea in the can for the show they wanted to produce, and they just needed to find a talking head to star in it. now their decision makes sense to me, because Melissa is much more appropriate and believable for this idea than Jeffrey would have been.

                                                                              1. re: sibeats

                                                                                Are they jettisoning Aunt Sandy's budget cooking show?

                                                                                1. re: sibeats

                                                                                  FN has 30 minute meals (Time) and Semi-Homemade (Skill level) so I guess it makes sense that they'd go for another niche, especially during the recession... The pocket book with $10 Dinners.

                                                                                  Other niches
                                                                                  Home Cooking... Paula Deen
                                                                                  Soul (sort of)... The Neelys.
                                                                                  Grilling... Bobby Flay
                                                                                  Competition... Iron Chef America (Fancy food) , Dinner Impossible (Odd Challenges), Thorwdown (spotlighting local spots) and their own semi-serious cake and candy competitions
                                                                                  Travel and local spots - DDD
                                                                                  Humor.... Ace of Cakes
                                                                                  Cleavage... Giada... oops... I mean Italian cooking

                                                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                                                    Sandy oozed into that niche some time ago with "Sandra's Money Saving Meals."

                                                                                  2. re: sibeats

                                                                                    Doesn't Sandra Lee do a show like that? I caught part of it channel surfing but didn't see what it was called.

                                                                                  3. can you say "Amy Finley?"

                                                                                    1. I'm disappointed... they both did an excellent job, but Jeffry's show would have been far more interesting to watch. They're already drowning in 'back to basics' food shows and his would have been something more creative. As somebody who likes to cook and has the basics down pat, I would have loved a show that showed me how to incorporate something new and interesting into my meals and how to use an ingredient that I'm not familiar with in a recognisable way. I want to go BEYOND the basics...

                                                                                      And while I appreciate Melissa's enthusiasm, that continual wide-open-mouthed smile gets very tiring to watch after awhile! Surely it's got to make her face hurt... somebody needs to point out to her that facial expressions can be overused as well as underused. There's got to be a happy medium in there somewhere. When she's relaxed and she smiles spontaneously her whole face lights up... but keeping it there just looks forced.

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                        The only thing I can think of is that they are appealing to people who don't hardly cook. That's the audience they are trying to reach. Not people who know or are interested in harissa...... While I don't agree that mothers can't work, the fact that she has 4 kids under the age of 4 (or just barely 4, whatever) makes me take pause.

                                                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                          "While I don't agree that mothers can't work, the fact that she has 4 kids under the age of 4 (or just barely 4, whatever) makes me take pause." I don't understand why a few posters are saying this. Does it make her ability or knowledge less reputable? Does it change all of her years of home cooking experience? There are many celebs that have a few young children, and have help and babysitters around. Melissa won't be working 24-7, and If she is the dedicated mother that she seems to be, she will find caring, proper child care for her children while she is working, and will enjoy the smaller amount of time she does have with them even more.

                                                                                          1. re: twiggles

                                                                                            Personally, my comment had nothing to do with her as a cook. It has to do with her as a person. Wasn't that a big part of this show? I think that makes it fair to comment on. So maybe I am in the minority, but I am.... intrigued by someone having so many small children, and having it suddenly "in my face", at that part of the competition, sort of blew me away. Perhaps it makes her performance all the more impressive. Didn't really factor in help ; I just imagine myself trying to get out of the house to shop, not to mention cook, with four toddlers at my feet.

                                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                              I am a working mom. When my kids were that small, it was all I could to do get home to them as fast as possible. They weren't my 'best' work years, because my loyalties were so divided between home and work. I can't imagine taking the steps she took ( the challenge, leaving her kids for an extended period of time) to get this job not affecting her children. It's mostly that this wouldn't have been MY choice, and I can't help but think a little less of her as a person. Go ahead and bash away....... JMHO.

                                                                                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                Sigh...we women can't win: we're bad moms if we do anything outside of the home, and we're lazy moms if we don't. Let's just let every mom define her own values and needs in order to be happy and a good mom. Children are very loving and adaptable, and as long as momma is happy, everyone is happy.

                                                                                                I, for one, loved every second of being home with my child; I also loved every second of pursuing my career. Just call me crazy. :-D

                                                                                      2. I found Jeffrey's concept more intriguing, too, but I guess Chowhound ain't the target audience.

                                                                                        As far as the show goes, they are finally going in the right direction (I've been spouting about this for a few years) in terms of the finale being an actual pilot - no gimmicks, no goofy contests. I thought they both turned out really well.

                                                                                        But they still need to go the rest of the way. A few posters mentioned how Jeffrey's "Ingredient Smuggler" concept was never created until Alton thought of it on the finale.

                                                                                        For the life of me, I can't figure out why they don't start off day 1 with an idea for a show concept that they use as a basis for attacking the challenges and that they refine with the help of the FN staff as they go (perhaps Alton Brown filling the Tim Gunn role as a mentor and advisor?). I suppose they're looking for a host, not a program concept but the judges still bleat away about the nebulous "Culinary Perspective" concept (though less than in previous seasons) and having a program concept that reflects your culinary perspective seems like the idea way to show that perspective.

                                                                                        Maybe that's a key to winning. Melissa didn't seem to walk in with a complete picture in her mind of what her ideal cooking show would be, but she pretty quickly latched on to the "power mom" idea and grew it over the whole time while Jeffrey drifted from week-to-week.

                                                                                        And in the end, while I like the idea of Jeffrey's show better, Melissa seemed much more polished and together.

                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: jzerocsk

                                                                                          I agree - if culinary point of view is a main criteria, and it must be, it's mentioned each episode, they should start on day 1 with each contestant offering their point of view, and their idea for a show. But that kind of flies in the face of some of the challenges, where they are trying to get the contestants work outside of their comfort zone.

                                                                                          1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                            Actually the contestants were asked several times what their culinary POV was and most of them already had titles for "their" shows in their heards. Jeffery's was Cooking without Borders, Michael's was Global A Go-go, Debbie, did you know she was Korean?, was Soul to Seoul, etc. But of course the PTB at Food Network knew better than the contestants what "their" shows should be about <sigh>

                                                                                            1. re: Proud2BWLVRebel

                                                                                              I understand your frustration, but I would bet that the marketing dept (Suzy) has done enough research to know what will bring in the biggest audience -- and that is what TV is all about. Audience + Demographics = advertisers = revenue.

                                                                                              One of the other concepts might have been interesting,but if FN determined what will sell, that's what they're going to buy.

                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                YES. Somebody else gets it! It's all about $$$$. I think that Jeffery is their bonus. The network will get two shows out of this series, if they can get someone to sponsor Jeffery's.

                                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                  The problem with marketing research and focus groups is that sometimes people don't really know what the heck they want...until they see it.

                                                                                                  Remember when minivans only had sliding doors on the right (up to the 1996 Chrysler minivans)? Before the left side slider came out, Chrysler did the focus group thing to estimate how many people would be interested enough to spend $$ on it. They came up with a 30% "take rate". And when the vans came out, they couldn't give away the models that DIDN'T have the left side sliders.

                                                                                                  Suzy and the FN PTB prolly have all sorts of analytical spreadsheets and numbers to prove that we need another budget/quick cooking show. The stats don't always tell the story...they need to take a chance every once in a while in something different.

                                                                                                  Others have commented on the fact that Suzy is not really a cook--maybe you do need to have some "foodies" making decisions based on their feelings and experience rather than numbers people doing it based on some Excel analysis.

                                                                                                  As we say in the auto industry--you need "car guys"! (not necessarily men, BTW)

                                                                                                  Hey araknd--how about "ingredient smuggler with Jeffrey, brought to you by Penzeys"? Practically an infomercial.

                                                                                                  1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                    "If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse." -Henry Ford

                                                                                                    1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                      Great idea! Penzeys would be the perfect title sponsor for Jeffery; he could show a little background of the place where the ingredient came from and how it's used there. Too bad FN is so conservative.

                                                                                            2. I just don't see how she will succeed in the $10 dinner format. Many of the dishes that she cooked were with very lean proteins that are usually on the more pricey sides for cuts of meat. I know that she used boneless, skinless chicken breasts in her demo but I was worried when she said the technique could be adapted to turkey (bland) and pork tenderloin (expensive). She also cooked with a lot of salmon during the show and used tons of citrus which can be expensive when it is out of season. I don't recall her using any red meat during the cooking challenges either.

                                                                                              1. Ok, Food Network has already posted the recipes that Melissa will be using on her show. That's fine. What I don't really understand is how there are already reviews for these recipes posted there as well.


                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Philly Ray

                                                                                                  Well, it seems some people (fans of Melissa) were using the recipe reviews to just chat about Melissa''s victory. But, since the recipes are available now, I don't see why people shouldn't cook from them and comment on them.

                                                                                                  All season long, I found Jeffrey too laid back/boring. But, I loved his Ingredient Smuggler concept (though, not the name) and it's actually a show I might have watched. Melissa's pilot was pretty good, too, though there's something about her that just rubs me the wrong way, even though she does seem to have some decent cooking skills and lots of clever ways to remember things (like EZPOT). I think the $10 meals concept is a real snoozer, though. Too bad they saddled her with that.


                                                                                                2. They never have any shows I like out of these competitions...Jeffery's sound much more interesting.

                                                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                      Good news and bad news I guess. It's great that he got his own show, but a bummer that it's "web only". On that topic, I just noticed Kelsey from last season is co-starring on a show on food2, whatever that is. I gather it's food network's online affiliate geared toward twenty-somethings...


                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                        yes, bummer that it's web only...but if people respond positively, perhaps TVFN will consider giving him a TV show.