“Food Network Star” Returns, New Hopefuls
By LaDale Anderson
Jun 8, 2013 - 5:21:13 AM

HOLLYWOOD—As the summer months roll in, TV lovers are scrambling to find something to occupy that down time.  For those foodies out there, Food Network is back with a new season of “Food Network Star.”  For those unfamiliar with the concept, a batch of chefs, home cooks and die hard foodies compete for a chance to join the ranks of Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Paula Deen, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri and countless others. 


The idea of being a celebrity chef is a big thing for many; I mean let’s be honest anyone who cooks in the kitchen has a flair for cooking, but this competition is much more.  Food is one part, personality is the second element. 


It was quite interesting to watch the contestants size up one another upon first meeting; some have already been featured on the Food Network in previous shows, others newbies to the arena.  They were thrown right into the Lyon’s den with a camera challenge about their culinary point of view. Chad, Damaris, Nikki and Rodney shined during the first challenge, but it’s important to note those who start on top, never stay there. 

"Food Network Star" contestants.


The group’s first challenge involved making an unforgettable bite involving the potato.  The potato is indeed a versatile item that can be baked, fried, steamed; the opportunities are quite endless to say the least.  It does appear we have our first villain to speak of the season in Danushka, who doesn’t hold back when it comes to expressing her opinion.


Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, along with Alton, Bobby and Giada judged each of the contestant’s potato dishes; it was more of an evaluation on their pitch videos compared to their dishes.  The clear frontrunner was Chad, who received a thunderous applause from the focus group.  He’s laid back; he can cook and has charming camera presence.  He’s one to watch.  During the first elimination, it was almost a given that Stacy, Chad and Damaris would be safe.  Heck, they had the best pitch videos of the entire group.


Personality hooks the judges quicker than actual cooking technique. I would argue that Bobby Flay is always keeping his eye on the cook in each contestant.  You can be a great personality, but if you can’t cook, Food Network isn’t the show for you. 


Finding themselves in the bottom three were Danushka, Daniela and Russell.  All three had horrid pitches, but in my opinion Danushka’s was almost unbearable to watch, but remember this is reality TV. The audience loves a villain, so the chances of her going home first was not going to happen, which opened the door for Daniela to bid farewell.  One down, 10 more to go before a victor is crowned as the next Food Network Star. 


My only question is will the winner actually have a show that will last on the network.  There has only been one winner since the series in my opinion that has had a show that has lasted eons, and that is none other than season two winner Guy Fieri. “Food Network Star” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Food Network.

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