The Forgettable Season of Food Network Star

The Next Food Network Star is one of those shows that I watch because I think it’s going to get better, but it never does. It’s hard to believe that  Food Network Star made its debut in 2005 with Marc Summers as host. The show hasn’t had a true host for about 5 season. Instead, the judges take turns announcing rules, so that the show does not completely lose its way. Each year Food Network Star continues without a host, I wish Marc Summers was back to keep track of things and help viewers keep track of the contestants.

Spoiler Alert

The contestants for season 8 of Food Network Star.


We’re three episodes into the eight season of Food Network Star. At this point, I should be able to remember who is who and know their culinary point of view. I don’t and have resorted to vague description in an attempt to remember names. There are no real standouts this season. Some contestants I remember because I think they will go far in the competition, such as Ippy Aiona and Eric Lee. Others I remember because they are odd, such as Alton Brown’s kindred spirit Justin Warner and the 50s inspired Emily Ellyn. Martita Jara is memorable solely because Giada De Laurentiis keeps referring to her as “my fiery Latina”. Then there is Michele Ragussis, who is likeable and reminds me of the singer P!nk. Those who haven’t been mentioned yet are the obsessed with her age Martie Duncan, Nikki Martin, Judson Allen, Yvan Lemoine, and Linkie Marais. Josh Lyons, who kept mentioning his rock band and Asian influences, went home this week. Josh will not be missed because he never lived up to his own hype.

Good luck remembering which contestants have Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis, or Bobby Flay as a mentor. The only way I can tell is if one of the mentors is standing next to their team or is embarrassed that one of their mentees is doing so badly.

So how are the challenges?

Food Network has become very good at coming up with challenges for Food Network Star contestants that have little or nothing to do with be a successful TV chef. There have been three challenges so far this season, but only one seemed to actually fit the show and its goal of finding “The Next Food Network Star.”

The first week, “Impossible Beginnings”, had each of the three teams put together a restaurant in 24 hours with only five-thousand dollars to spend. I am still trying to figure out what a restaurant has to do with the ability to put on an entertaining and informative show. I know Bobby and Guy Fieri have their own restaurants, but that is irrelevant when it comes to their respective shows. The challenge did make for interesting television, but didn’t fit well with the shows premise.

Last week the remaining contestants had to give a food tour of New York City. This is a challenge I understood and hope there are more challenges like it. Each team had a different part of the city and had to create dishes that represent the food of that area. While the majority of the contestants were terrible, it is probably because it is still very early in the competition.

This week Chopped judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Scott Conant, and Marc Murphy visited and the potential Food Network stars participated in a round of Chopped. Of course, this came complete with Chopped‘s signature bizarre ingredient baskets with each team receiving different ingredients. I did not find this particular challenge to be fair at all. I watch Chopped to see professional chefs compete in a competition that demands them to use an odd combination of ingredients. I watch instructional cooking shows, which is what the winner of Food Network Star will host, because I want to learn new recipes.

Most people are not cooking with grape soda, prosciutto, and Hershey bars. If you give them a recipe with those ingredients, they will think you are crazy. I am pretty sure finding the host with the craziest recipes is not the goal of Food Network Star, but I may be wrong and in that case the next challenge should feature Cheez Wiz, grape fruit, and quail. There just aren’t enough good recipes with those ingredients.

What do you think of Food Network Star this season?

About Allison Lips

I am the Toastmasters District 83 Public Relations manager and President of Freehold Phrasers.

Posted on May 28, 2012, in Cable, Food Network, Reality TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Did anyone else get the impression that Giada de Laurentiis and Yvan Lemoine were getting too friendly?

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