Monday, July 21, 2014

Next Food Network Star won't be Emma Frisch

In a scene reminiscent of last year's Next Food Network Star competition when popular, sweet, genuine, and talented food blogger Nikki Dinki was basically shown the exit door by Alton Brown for not knowing what a pilaf was, the soft spoken, but engaging, all-natural food advocate Emma Frisch was eliminated from the Food Network competition last night. Emma's team in the competition to create a 360-degree "food experience" suffered from a poor vision and even worse execution. And because Emma was seen as the leader - and because her food disappointed - she was ousted. That left the brash personalities of Lenny and Loreal to survive another day.

Texas chef Sarah - who hasn't until last night actually shown any hint of what "Tastes of Texas" really means - led her team to victory, and they truly did put on a nice show. The problem, of course, is that none of these contestants has true star power, and it's clear that none is really ever going to be a "Food Network Star." There is no Guy Fieri or Bobby Flay or even Jeff Mauro in the mix. They are not food experts or great personalities or even exceptional chefs. There is seemingly less "star power" in each season of the Food Network Star.

As I noted last week, the "star" of the Food Network Star is the show itself, giving greater vehicle to the network and its icons like Bobby Flay. But it's not producing stars - because Lenny and Loreal and Nicole and Luca and Sarah are simply not that impressive. And they won't ever be. And here's another interesting thought: When did Alton Brown turn into such a total jerk? I know Alton has always been that sort of quirky personality that goes back to his breakout success on "Good Eats." And, he had a bit of an edge as a "food elitist" because he really does know his stuff. And I always enjoyed watching him. But Alton seems to have bought into the "caricature of himself," and he's made the mistake of not just being naturally quirky and curt, but going out of his way to be … a prick (pardon my language - it just fits here.)

Ultimately, the prize should probably go to …. oh, hell, I don't really care. Pretty boring people at this point. However, I will keep an eye out for the continued rise of Jeff Mauro. And a big congratulations to Michelle Ragussis, from two seasons ago, as she has secured a spot of NBC's new food show "Food Fighters with "Man vs. Food" Star Adam Richman. Can't wait to see it - a chef like Michelle and a foodie like Adam are what I think of when I think of "Food Network Stars"?

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