Granted, Chef Lenny is a "nice guy," and he is a reasonably skilled chef. There were many times that he helped out his teammates, and he certainly knew food as well as any of this year's finalists. But, as I noted last year after the Food Network Star finale, Chef Lenny is not - and never will be - in the same league as chefs like Bobby Flay and Tyler Florence and Geoffery Zakarian and Ming Tsai and Alex Guarnaschelli and, even, Alton Brown (whose behavior in this season indicated he clearly knows everything about food and has utter contempt for anyone who isn't a food dictionary like he is). Lenny is, and excuse my elitist attitude, simply uncouth. He is a bit crass and unsophisticated, and his knack for saying the wrong thing simply makes me uncomfortable. Can you imagine attending a high culture food and wine event like the Aspen Food & Wine Festival, and after discussing cuisine with Bobby Flay or Emeril Lagasse turning around to greet Lenny? It's simply not a very appetizing option.
Of course, this decision tells us a lot about the direction the Food Network is going - and it's not in the direction of good taste. And, perhaps it's the competition mentality which led us down this road. It's a road that has led the Food Network to become the Guy Fieri Show - and some argue that Guy's bombastic personality has ruined the Food Network. While that's a bit of an exaggeration, I don't disagree that a TV network constantly focused on food from "Diners and Dives" is not exactly elevating our culinary discussions in this country. While the Food Network still maintains some excellent evening programming with Chopped and Restaurant Impossible, it is more inclined to seek really low-class E-Entertainment sensationalism like Cutthroat Kitchen and Restaurant Stakeout.
So, I offer sincere condolences to Chef Nicole Gaffney and Lucca Della Casa. It had to be tough to lose in that manner. And, by the way, I completely disagree with the manner in which the Food Network eliminated Nicole first and then made her sit there between the other two and wait to learn who won at her expense. That was a pretty classless act, in my opinion. Nothing would have been lost by simply doing retrospective looks at all three and then announcing the winner from the three. So, sorry, Nicole. You deserved better.
And, to the Food Network: I will never watch Lenny's show, I am losing interest fast in the Guy Fieri obsession, and I am a little put off by how truly "commercial" and gossipy your evenings have become. America has a complicated relationship with food - and you could elevate it or cheapen it. So, far it's seems you are much more about "Network" and much less about food.