One of the few reality competition type shows I watch is The Next Food Network Star.   The show starts with 10 finalist and each week one is eliminated. Most of the finalist are professionals but there is always at least one “home cook” each season.

Weeks 1 & 2

Jenn Isham
Jenn Isham
Brett August
Brett August

The weakest finalists were eliminated the first two weeks. Jen Isham was the first to go.  She is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and once worked as a line cook at Walt Disney World. Currently, she is a sales manager at Crowne Plaza Downtown. Actually, her performance was less than memorable. Not only was I unimpressed with Isham I really don’t remember much about her.  Next to go was executive sous chef  Brett August.  While Bret did seem knowledgeable he just didn’t seem to be that comfortable on the show.

Week 3

egilbertEddie Gilbert was the next to go. Eddie openly admitted that he stole a recipe from Paula Deen’s cookbook. Did he really think he wouldn’t get caught. When criticized for his salad Eddie claimed that it was a good recipe because he got it from the Paula Deen cookbook. Come on dude, where is your brain on that one.

Week 4

tfolkmanTeddy Folkman only made it to week 4 because the judges could only eliminate one in week 3. In week two  Teddie and Brett helped out home cook Melissa who was having trouble getting her food together. During the judging when all three were in the bottom, Brett was very quick to point out what he and is partner in crime had done. In week 3 Teddy once again threw his partner under the bus. Teddy and Debbie  Lee were paired up in the challenge at Ina Garten’s. Each was supposed to make one dish and a third together.  Debbie made the pasta, Teddy made a very lame dessert and together they made the meatloaf. When his dessert tanked he quickly, claimed the meatloaf was his. Despite challenges from the judges who offered to provide tape evidence Teddy insisted he made the meatloaf alone. The guy is actually a very knowledgeable cook but has serious personality issues.

What’s Next

So, here is my take on the future for the remaining six.  Two of the remaining six clearly stand out in the crowd and there is clearly one at the bottom. The remaining three are just sort of there in the middle.

kcavutoHopefully Katie Cavuto will be the next to go. She is a registered dietitian and quite knowledgeable. Katie is to be commended for wanting to educate others about healthy eating but does she have to be so stinking annoying about it.  Everything out of her mouth is how the food she is preparing is such a healthy option and better than whatever. She comes across as condescending and a health snob. It makes me want to go on a junk food binge just because. Also, Katie is a very week cook.  So far she has served inedible and undercooked food 2 out of the 4 weeks. For the Bobby Flay burger challenge in week 4 Katie selected to make a turkey burger. She noted that it might not be a good choice because of cooking time but she insisted on going with turkey because it was the healthier option. She did show some improvement when the finalist appeared on the Rachel Ray show this week.  She is clearly the weakest link left.

Jeffery Saad
Jeffery Saad
Jamika Pessoa
Jamika Pessoa

After, Katie  it gets tougher to pick the order of elimination.  My guess is that Jeffery Saad and Jamika Pessoa would be the next two eliminated. Both have struggled at times.  Jeffery has never really been able to express is personality and point of view. He seems to be knowledgeable but that hasn’t always come out in the challenge. His specialty “cooking without borders” is a blend of Mexican, Southwest and Italian. He has really come up with some creative dishes.  Jamika is a personal chef from Atlanta whose specialty is Caribbean. Jamika performance has been very inconsistent. Like Jeffery, Jamika has an endearing personality that you want to succeed but just has been able to consistently show star potential.

dleeI think Debbie Lee will make it into the final three. She got off to a rocky start with the first challenge but has been very good in later challenges. Debby was charged with shopping for her team and went over budget. She failed to get key ingredients needed by her teammates and made a very lame dessert. Since then she has really had a chance to shine. Last, week Debbie was off but still did well despite a mishap while preparing food for the second challenge.  Michael Proietti accidentally hit Debbie in the face with a baking sheet right out of the oven. Debbie was obviously in pain but finished the challenge anyway.

Michael Proietti
Michael Proietti
Melissa d'Arabian
Melissa d'Arabian

After last week and the presentations on Rachel Ray I think that Michael Proietti and Melissa d’Arabian will be the final two.  Both are very personable. Michael obliviously is has a very charismatic crazy personality.  Although, I wish he would do something about that hair, it kind of looks like a rooster.  I certainly would watch his show.  My personal favorite is Melissa d’Arabian and not just because she is from Tarrant County. Melissa is a stay at home mom from Kellar, Texas. Melissa had a rocky start but has done really week the past couple of weeks. I think that Melissa and Michael’s presentation on The Rachel Ray Show were the best. It find it ironic that those who plotted to get rid of Melissa are already gone.

4 thoughts on “The Next Food Network Star Week 4

  1. Very interesting, Dee. I haven’t watched this show but, after reading your great review, I’ll have to check it out.

    Do you also watch “Top Chef”? I am not a huge fan, but I’ve watched it a few times and it’s interesting.


  2. Hi, I’m Teddy Wells, I’m a professionally trained chef with an unusual personal history, an outgoing personality and a deep passion to create and present food with wide appeal. I also have had valuable experience in front of television cameras, so I’m familiar with the weekly TV series production process.

    I’m an African-American male who is a devoted single dad to my eleven-year-old son. I am articulate, have a good sense of humor, a great smile, an infectious laugh and the energy to work 16-hour days.

    Buckle up – ‘cause here’s my story:
    I grew up in New Orleans, a poor, black kid with a dysfunctional family and a variety of do-nothing relatives. Fortunately, I was blessed with a supportive, devoted mom (now deceased).

    I was able to escape the impoverished wards of New Orleans and avoid becoming yet another criminal statistic thanks to the power of food. But not just any food.

    First, the food prepared in my Mama’s kitchen – made from what items were on hand, purchased with a limited budget, based on the Creole traditions of New Orleans, and stretched to feed an immediate family of five and various down-and-out relations.

    Second, the exceptional food prepared in the outstanding French restaurant where I began my culinary career, as well as the famous New Orleans Creole food served on the Natchez Steamboat. And lastly, the wide variety of foods to which I was introduced in culinary school.

    As my experience with food increased, I realized that the preparation of delicious, nourishing, wholesome food was becoming my passion – an art form that could transform my life. I found the drive and commitment to “make it” and move on – way beyond – what the depressing statistics said I could do or accomplish with my life.

    Timeline of your next Celebrity Chef Star
    • 1987: I did what a sixteen-year-old with no experience could do; I got a job as a dishwasher at a restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans. To my surprise, the mountain of dirty dishes and the derisive comments from some of my fellow employees were more than compensated for when the head chef took a liking to me. He encouraged me to observe while he prepared the food and he answered my endless questions. I knew enough to stay out of the way, but I didn’t miss a thing.

    In time, I was promoted to line cook at the Louis XVI French Restaurant in New Orleans. I also worked a second job as a cook on the Natchez Steamboat where I prepared New Orleans cuisine in large quantities for the tourists.

    • 1990: I had found my passion. I enrolled in Tulane University’s culinary arts program and immersed myself in every class, while working in the restaurants of New Orleans.

    • 1992: Life dealt me a blow when my Mom died of breast cancer. I decided it was time for me to put my culinary training to the test. I moved to Dallas, Texas where I went to work for the Hyatt Hotels. This was Nirvana for a kid from New Orleans and I was on my way.

    Over a period of 4 1/2 years with the Hyatt, I moved up from line cook to kitchen supervisor and on to assistant sous chef. I learned what food in the corporate world was all about; preparing and presenting outstanding quality to a highly selective clientele, and learning how food “fits” into the business profit environment.

    • 1996: A time of miracles. A wise man once told me “If the grass is greener on the other side, then you might need to fertilize.” So, I decided to expand my culinary horizons.

    I relocated to Hawaii and became a line cook at Nick’s Fishmarket , one of the top seafood restaurants in Waikiki. Eventually I also held positions as server, front-of-the-house manager, and food and beverage manager in several elegant Honolulu restaurants.

    I was asked to take a temporary assignment as the personal chef for the owners of the Four Seasons Hotel and Resort in Beverly Hills. In this assignment, I was able to share my passion for food with several Hollywood stars. Returning to Hawaii, the opportunity to “moonlight” in movies and television came my way and I had small roles in ”Krippendorfs Tribe”, “The William Hansen Story”, “Baywatch” and the new “Fantasy Island.” Eventually, I was given a role on the TV series “Lost” where I appeared in nine episodes in the third season.

    This experience has given me complete ease in front of the cameras even after a long day in the restaurant.

    • 2008: I enthusiastically bring to the Food Network a unique combination of interesting cultural heritage, culinary training, interest in exotic and unusual foods, and television experience that will let me “hit the boards running” at the Food Network.

    Today, I live a life of appreciation for what I have, and what I can give to others. I have a natural “teaching” skill and a natural talent for managing other people that builds teams and opens up opportunities for myself, and others.
    Well-known author Dr. Leo Buscaglia said, “Teachers serve as bridges for their students to cross so the students can then build bridges of their own”.

    Teddy believes he can build a bridge through television to an ever-expanding audience of viewers who are passionate about food and thirsting for knowledge. My first teacher, the chef at Louis XVI restaurant , saw in me an unrealized passion for cooking, an eagerness to learn, a thirst for knowledge and the diligence to do things just right. I believe that I can inspire the same passion in the Culinary Arts Industry.

    I currently played a lead role as Krishna Thompson in “How I Survived” airing in August on Animal Planet. Teddy Wells will soon introduce his new cuisine so stay tuned.

    What’s Next??

    I will go to San Diego to audition to be the Next Food Network Star on August 17, 2009. I pray that my guardian angel is there with me.


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