Next Sunday, June 1st is the fourth season premiere of The Next Food Network Star. There are 10 new food lovers, five men and five women, hoping to become the next Guy Fieri, namely someone who takes the six-episode show opportunity they get and turns it into a career. That dude is everywhere. So anyway, who are these people?
Bios & Photos – Next Food Network Star – Season 4
- Nipa Bhatt, 35 (Victoria, MN) – Is a marketing manager by day and cooking enthusiast by night. Nipa is the former owner of the Gypsy Curry House and has taught a variety of cooking classes. This married mother of two thinks everyone should cook with a fearless attitude. Her versatile background has allowed her to grow up in both India and the United States and bring both worldly tastes to the table.
- Jennifer Cochrane, 32 (Woonsocket, RI) – Is a self-taught chef who started playing in the kitchen at the age of seven. Currently, Jennifer is the Executive Chef at Geppetto’s and Briggs Corner restaurants and is the proud mom to her 3-year-old daughter. Jennifer hopes her cooking can show people how to discover the basic ingredients behind some of the greatest flavors.
- Lisa Garza, 32, (Dallas, TX) – Brings her own sense of style and elegance to the kitchen. Voted in 2006 by The Dallas Morning News as one of Dallas’s “5 To Watch – Chefs,” Lisa is the co-owner and special event planner of Suze Restaurant & Catering. This former beauty queen designs her own line of chic kitchen aprons and brings glamour to the gourmet scene.
- Adam Gertler, 30 (Philadelphia, PA) – Is an actor and server who has made the kitchen his stage! Adam is the former owner of The Smoked Joint – a BBQ joint he ran with his brother that brought ‘the barbeque experience’ to Philly. Currently starting up a catering company, he constantly searches for new ways to bring easy, approachable meals to the table with a side of fun.
- Cory Kahaney, 45 (New York, NY) – Is a New York City native that is no stranger to the spotlight. Cory has previously been featured on Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. When it comes to cooking though, Cory is serious about great food. She considers her style MAMMA cooking – grounded in the classics of Mediterranean, Austrian, Mexican, Middle Eastern and Asia.
- Shane Lyons, 20 (Colorado Springs, CO) – Shows the kitchen holds no boundaries when it comes to age. As a former child star and professional actor, Shane was part of the hit Nickelodeon show, ALL THAT and won a Kids Choice Award with the cast in 2004. At 20, Shane runs his own catering service, Experience Dining, in Los Angeles and still dabbles in acting. Shane is also a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America.
- Aaron McCargo, Jr., 36 (Camden, NJ) – Is a family man who loves all things buttered and barbequed. Aaron got his start cooking in a local hospital at 13 and is the Executive Catering Chef for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Married with three kids, Aaron brings an easygoing presence to the kitchen with his warm smile and passion for down to earth cooking.
- Kelsey Nixon, 23 (North Ogden, UT) – Happily dubs herself as the ‘Mini Martha Stewart.’ This bubbly, blonde dynamo has brought her unique cooking style to her eager peers at the local college cable station as the former host and star of Kelsey’s Kitchen. Turning the kitchen into a classroom, Kelsey currently teaches culinary classes covering everything from seafood to cupcakes and freelances in the food department for The Salt Lake Tribune.
- Kevin Roberts, 39 (San Diego, CA) – Is widely known as “The Food Dude.” As the Executive Chef of East Village Tavern & Bowl, Kevin is immersed in the San Diego food scene. Kevin writes cookbooks and is the food contributor for a local radio show. This martial arts expert thinks all flavors should pack a mighty punch!
- Jeffrey Vaden, 43 (White Plains, NY) – Is 6’5″ and brings a tall order to the kitchen. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, he has owned his own restaurant, catering business and was even a TV intern at one time. Although Jeffrey has a BA in Political Science and English from Howard University, he says he couldn’t pass up the way cooking channels the creative side of the brain.
Group Photo – Next Food Network Star – Season 4
First Thoughts – Next Food Network Star – Season 4
One of the biggest problems contestants usually have on The Next Food Network Star is learning how to be on TV. So, I think it will be interesting to see how Cory Kahaney, Shane Lyons and Kelsey Nixon do. They all have different levels of previous experience being in front of a camera. Kahaney on a reality competition show, Lyons on a kid’s show and Nixon on her own little cooking show. That should serve them well in the early rounds.
The other thing a contestant needs to do is bring a clear perspective to the recipes they put forth. According to the bios, they all seem to have one. Kahaney already has a name for hers. I look forward to seeing what they actually bring to the table. A review of the season premiere is forth coming.
Based on the bios and photos above, who do you think has a good shot of becoming the next Food Network star?
Photos: Courtesy Food Network
Update: Added link to the review.