Quick Synopsis: Tell me and then show me what your unique culinary point of view is.
Long Synopsis: The 10 contestants have to dive right into their first challenge almost as soon as they arrive. Alton Brown greets them and puts them in front of a camera. Next, they get paired up in teams and have to cook for a table full of Food Network stars. Namely, Alton, Giada De Laurentiis, Sandra Lee, Gina and Pat Neely and Masaharu Morimoto, along with the selection committee that includes Bob Tuschman (Senior Vice President, Programming and Production), Susie Fogelson (Vice President, Marketing) and Bobby Flay, who is a permanent member of the selection committee this season. The committee shares their thoughts on each contestant. Then one of them is sent home.
Review: The Next Food Network Star is one of the few shows in the reality/game genre that I actually watch. So, when the first episode showed up here at TVaholic headquarters, I was quite happy. But, don’t worry, cause I can’t spoil the ending for you. Not that I would, but I couldn’t even if I wanted to. The screener leaves you with a cliffhanger, as it ends where the last commercial break will be, before they come back and send someone home. Yet, I know who it should be.
The first episode does a good job of introducing you to the 10 contestants that are hoping to get their own Food Network show. They are: Nipa Bhatt (Victoria, MN), Jennifer Cochrane (Woonsocket, RI), Lisa Garza (Dallas, TX), Adam Gertler (Philadelphia, PA), Cory Kahaney (New York, NY), Shane Lyons (Colorado Springs, CO), Aaron McCargo Jr. (Camden, NJ), Kelsey Nixon (North Ogden, UT), Kevin Roberts (San Diego, CA), and Jeffrey Vaden (White Plains, NY). For more on them, check out their bios and photos.
Their first task is to stand in front of the camera and give a brief statement that introduces their culinary point of view. They could grab a prop or just stand there and do it. This was a great way to start things off, as it forced them to try and convey, right up front, what their show would be about, if they got the opportunity. Alton Brown takes them through the task and provides constructive criticism and praise along the way. This also allows you to see how comfortable they are in front of a camera. Incredibly enough, one of the people you wouldn’t think would have any trouble, absolutely did. Holy dear in headlights, Batman!
Next, they are randomly paired off, by drawing cards out of a pot. This is always fun, because inevitably there will be two people that just don’t get each other that have to work together, which happens here. Each team gets 10 minutes to come up with a three-dish menu. One dish each that highlights their culinary point of view and one that they work on together. Then they get a brief shopping trip and then 30 minutes to cook and plate enough to serve nine people.
The show does a good job of creating tension, but without too much drawn out filler. You get intros, a couple of tasks, and the selection committee’s thoughts on each contestant. Then somebody is sent packing. It just clicks right along, but you feel like you’ve seen enough of each person and the dishes they prepared to draw your own conclusions about who should be going home and who you are going to be rooting for.
There is a change from previous seasons, as the selection committee will be making the final decision of who wins, not the viewers. But, you can still vote on your favorites at The Next Food Network Star website beginning June 2nd. The finalist with the most fan votes will win an assortment of prizes.
Season four of The Next Food Network Star premieres next Sunday, June 1st on Food Network of course. Will you be watching? You know I will, cause I want to know who gets sent home. After it airs, let us know what you thought of the episode, the prospects this season, who you like the best, least, etc.