Follow Monsters of Television on Twitter

Wednesday, 22 of September of 2021

Tag » The Next Food Network Star

Food Network Star – “Impossible Beginnings”

“Did I really just say my mom looks like a cookie?”

Food Network StarI didn’t tune in for much of last year’s season of The Next Food Network Star (now named Food Network Star and hereafter referred to as FNS because that’s still a lot to type) because…well…I haven’t the slightest idea. I think it was because something else was on (was I watching The Killing…I don’t know), but I do think one reason was that I felt like, after writing about it during the season before it, I had a pretty solid grasp on the show.

But thanks to promos while watch Chopped All-Stars (I hope Chris Santos has learned a little something about how hard it is on the other side of that chopping block), I was drawn back to check in, at least just for the premiere, Food Network Star. Bouncing off the success of The Voice (and, I guess, The X Factor (or vice versa)), the show has placed each of their contestants under the tutelage of Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, and Alton Brown as they vie for the Food Network contract.

This is a rather interesting decision on their parts. De Laurentiis was originally added to the show to provide something of a mentorship role for the contestants, but she never really seemed to do much mentoring as the contestants struggled to improve their on-camera presence and develop their culinary point of view (CPOV) with not much in the way of assistance. My hope is, with dedicated mentors, that the caliber and growth of the contestants is less frustrating than it was two seasons ago. Read more »

There is a Problem with the Pears – This Week in Monster

These are pears.

We’ll discuss it later.

It’s been a busy week at Monsters of Television. This whole “summer-is-just-another-season/no-rest-for-the-weary” thing the networks are doing is wearing me out. But we can’t really complain about some of the great television we’re getting. Well, mostly great television. Hopefully Melissa & Joey doesn’t create a great abyss that sucks the life out of everything we hold dear. Forget the atomic collider in Switzerland: that show might obliterate the universe on its own, unraveling the fabric of time and space with ill-timed canned laughter and overacting that would make the cast of SNL blush.

Sorry. I digress.

We have some really great reviews for you to take a look at this week, from Mad Men to True Blood to Sherlock to, gods help us, that aforementioned pit of despair. If you missed any, it’s new to you!

Read more »

The Next Food Network Star – “Rachel Ray Directs”

You’re a star. It’s just obvious.”

Three words for you: demographics, demographics, demographics. But more on those three words in a moment.

If the entire competition essentially boils down to who has the best pilot, and it seems to have done that, I must wonder why the show just didn’t do a tournament style pilot structure, showing pilot after pilot to focus groups, with the last pilot standing being the winner. I know that past performance weighed into the decision, but I’m willing to bet that the response of the focus group gave weighed in even more. Read more »

The Next Food Network Star – “Iron Chef Battle”

You are all my mortal enemies.”

A couple of a weeks ago, I skewered FNS for doing a supper club challenge because I don’t perceive Food Network as being a foodie channel. This week, they decide synergize their programming (this show is pretty good at it, I have to admit), with a Iron Chef America challenge. This makes sense for their penultimate episode, as well as a way to plug a new episode of ICA that follows it. However, where the super club challenge was a mistake as a branding issue, an ICA challenge is a weird challenge to throw at people who aren’t established and sure of themselves chefs.

It’s certainly a way to test someone’s mettle, but I feel like it’s a little unfair to the chefs, and it’s a poor way to decide who your final three are. Read more »

The Next Food Network Star – “Cooking For Eva Longoria”

Well, that was something.

I wasn’t crazy about this episode. It felt a little a lazy, from the Camera Challenge (a re-tread of an earlier challenge, though it does serve a purpose) to the kind of silly Star Challenge (dish inspired by an emotion). This episode was pretty “Meh.” across the board, which leaves me with little to say about it beyond the rather surprising dismissal. And by “dismissal” I mean the fact that Giada isn’t going to be on the show until the finale. That’s four episodes with my precious Italian goddess. Why are they doing this to me? WHY?! Read more »

The Next Food Network Star – “Secret Supper Club”

Way to take a step back, Food Network Star.

After a very solid two weeks, the show backslid with Sunday’s episode, an episode that misses the mark for a whole slew of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the Star Challenge had no business being on this show. What the star challenge, an underground supper club for LA foodies (“The first rule of supper club is that you do not talk about supper club. The second rule of supper club is that you do not use saffron. It is so 2005.”), tells me is that Food Network wants to extend its brand to foodies. Too bad Food Network doesn’t really scream foodie to me. Or anyone. Read more »

The Next Food Network Star – “Retro Palm Springs”

Scariest 5-year old party ever.”

While Karen is encouraging you watch Hell’s Kitchen instead of Top Chef, I’d kind of nudge to marathon The Next Food Network Star, and this is something I really didn’t think I would ever say. Part of this is just how boring Top Chef has been this season (painfully so), but another part is now that FNS has a smaller group of competitors, well, the show has a chance to actually breathe and be interesting, as opposed to a mad dash to cover every dish and contestant.

This week’s episode, while not as entertaining as last week’s lunch truck challenge, is still considerably better than any of the earlier episodes. In those episodes, both the contestants and the show seemed fairly lost in exactly what needed to be done for a successful program, whereas now, with a smaller group, the show can actually focus on developing ideas and personalities, and I think it’s a format the show should consider for its future seasons. Read more »

The Next Food Network Star – “Lunch Truck With Paula”

Well, it finally happened. It took five episodes, but The Next Food Network Star finally produced an entertaining episode.

I chalk this up to the fact that, with the field winnowed down to 8 contestants, the show has a bit a more time to devote to developing their personalities beyond a CPOV, and to actually start doing a few things it might’ve benefited from doing all along (namely having Giada earn her paycheck). But lest you think that I was over the moon about the episode, the show’s strategy of clever promotion and branding remains intact, and is just as painfully obvious as it has been in the past. Read more »

The Next Food Network Star – “Grammy Award Celebration”

Dzintra loves to twirl.”

Last week’s recap was a bit more straight-up (and thankfully shorter) than the first week’s. This week will not have a lot of the snark and pithy comments that I’ve been using (maybe next week), because we need to talk a bit more about how this show is AN AMAZING marketing device for Food Network. Because it is. The competition is painfully (obviously) secondary.

I wish this was causing me to dislike the show more (this show is pretty dull), but it just drives up my fascination as I try and guess not what the contestants will make or do or say, but how everything, and I mean everything, will synergize and cross-promote around this show. Read more »

The Next Food Network Star – “Sweet to Savory Carnival”

And then you started brutalizing the spinach.”

We don’t get much of a soft intro here. We dive right in, with the contestants off to the studio. Das comments that being on the chopping block last week was horrible. Das is obviously not aware of which show he’s currently taping. So their first challenge is probably one that might’ve helped them a bit last week: talking while doing things, like preparing a meal. Way to plan ahead, producers.

So Giada gives them one of her veggie lasagna recipes and each contestant has a minute to do a particular step while talking about it before handing it off to the next person. Of course, if someone doesn’t finish their step, that means the entire flow is thrown off, and it could cause the already completed lasagna to get really cold. While a few don’t finish their steps, it doesn’t seem to really matter. Read more »