Sunday, August 11, 2013

Damaris Philips Wins the Next Food Network Star

Well ... that's it.

Southern chef Damaris Philips, known for her awkward shimmy and her negative and insecure attitude, was voted the Next Food Network Star. Damaris will be given her own show - in a weak Sunday morning time slot - and the country will have another overweight Southern woman cooking and promoting unhealthy food. It almost seems a bit contrived - the victory of Damaris in the aftermath of the Paula Deen meltdown. That said, thank goodness voters had enough taste not to award a FoodNetwork show to a crass and unsophisticated pie maker like Rodney Henry.

All I can offer is a very limp and ho-hum thanks to The Food Network for the blandest, weakest, most  annoying and simultaneously disappointing season of #NextFoodStar ever. Those are ten or so Sunday evenings of my life that I can never get back, and they weren't impressive programming by any stretch. The sad reality is that the cast of amateurs presented as Food Network Star "finalists" were simply underwhelming. As many people have noted on endless FoodNetwork forums, the only finalist who seemed to have comfort in front of the camera and a point of view that could be immediately marketed was Nikki Dinki. Yet, she was inexplicably eliminated a few weeks ago for not knowing what a pilaf is.Truly the only interesting part of the show this week was the revelation that Nikki Dinki is six months pregnant. So, congratulations to Nikki.

In reviewing the season on tonight's episode, I was all the more baffled by how all of these people became "finalists." And my doubts about the final three - Damaris, Russell, and Rodney - were constantly reinforced. How did they make it to end with all the miserable performances throughout. It was tough to find any favorable footage of Rodney, other than his "Pie Style, Jack!" schtick. And I've learned a lot about who the Food Network thinks is watching if Rodney is who they believe to be entertaining or watchable or "a star." As I've noted before, America tuned in to this sort of low-class personality before on The Jersey Shore, but I used to believe that was because people were laughing at Snookie, not cheering for her. Now I'm not so sure. Either way, Rodney had no business on this show or the network, and Demaris will ultimately "star" in a forgettable show that should remain in the un-watched weekend morning hours. Meanwhile, the network should consider giving Jeff "The Sandwich King" Mauro a little more prime time.

Meanwhile, let's all wait for Nikki Dinki's show Meat on the Side to hopefully premiere on The Cooking Channel, or perhaps The Travel Channel, or even CNN.  And, though there's not much reason to watch The Food Network these days if you don't want to watch endless re-runs on of Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives, there is some hope for entertaining commentary and reasonably good cooking next Sunday with the premiere of Tyler Florence's Great Food Truck RaceHopefully, Tyler's show will wash away the bad taste in our mouths from the weak dish served up by Bob Tuschman, Susie Fogelstein, Bobby Flay, Giada DeLaurentis, and Alton Brown in this season's Next Food Network Star.

4 comments:

Holly Semrow said...

Before bashing a confident, creative, charming, talented woman like Damaris, please learn to spell her name. If a beautiful healthy woman like her is overweight, then I don't want to see underweight. Finally, I really don't know where the Paula Deen comparisons keep coming from unless every Southern woman who knows how to cook is Paula Deen.

mmazenko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mmazenko said...

Valid point on the spelling, but not on anything else. Damaris has not been remotely "confident" throughout the entire show. And, if you review every episode, you'd note she groaned in dread of every single challenge. There wasn't a time she seemed excited by the tasks in front of her. And, no one wants to see "underweight." What kind of comment is that? However, a healthy weight should be a goal, especially with the quality of the southern dishes that led directly to Paula Deen's diabetes. Damaris seems like a nice person, but she was awkward and uninspiring, and the fare she is selling is not anything America needs. And, criticizing - not "bashing" - is a standard part of commentary. That's what this blog is about.

Holly Semrow said...

It takes real confidence to step up to a challenge that makes you uncomfortable (such as commenting on a blog post-something I've never done until being inspired by Damaris' apparently uninspiring self), and it takes even more confidence to take on a task as rigorous as the challenges the contestants compete in. The groans are clearly a product of editing because if you review every episode you'll note that each contestant is shown balking at the challenges they're presented with at one time or another. You're of course right that I meant, "healthy weight" rather than "underweight." Forgive me for being taken aback by your criticism of Damaris' weight, but she and I share the same size 8 figure, and I would never expect to be called overweight. She did not make a point of cooking with unhealthy ingredients, and in fact she did make a point of saying, "Southern food does not have to be fried." I commend her for being herself, and I don't feel it appropriate for a teacher to criticize anybody for doing so.