Monday, August 17, 2015

Eddie Jackson is the Next Food Network Star

Jay Ducotes, you had us from hello. Alas, it was not meant to be.

By all accounts going into the finale of this year's next Food Network Star competition, all bets were on Louisiana cajun cook Jay Ducotes who was nearly flawless all season, and was, in the words of producer Bob Tuschman, "The only finalist we've ever had who was show ready from the first episode." All the judges found his culinary skills "brilliant," and all agreed that he was absolutely "camera ready" to produce his own show. In fact, his pilot from the Sweet Chick chicken and waffle restaurant in New York was an excellent TV-ready commercial that effectively promoted the locale. As some people noted, "When I'm in New York, I'm going to Sweek Chick." In fact, when the pilots were done, Sweet Chick was the only name I remembered. Bobby said it best in the competition, "I never worry about him in front of the camera. Ever." Clearly, Jay Ducotes was ready to be the next Food Network Star.

But the winner was actually Eddie Jackson.

And, that's OK. In fact, that's great. All three finalists are talented chefs with engaging and charismatic personalities who would all represent the Food Network well. And, that is a great relief after last year's debacle when the FNS viewers voted in the disaster that was Lenny McNab. Thankfully, the Food Network has learned its lesson after the past two seasons, and they realized that turning the decision over to viewers is ... well, there's a reason we have network executives. The masses simply aren't that astute some times. And, former NFL-star-turned-fitness trainer and chef Eddie Jackson is a great choice to helm a show. He is talented and genuine and charismatic. And, most importantly, he is fit. The Food Network could certainly use a strong, healthy, fit athlete in their line-up.  Of course, I hope they actually capitalize on Eddie's health, rather than producing a show on barbeque for him.  I mean, seriously, where did that come from? Eddie's persona all season long was not about BBQ. That was Jay's wheelhouse. Eddie should promote health and wellness through tasty cuisine. I mean, for goodness sakes, his twitter feed is "Fit Chef Eddie." Eddie Jackson is a great choice for the Food Network Star. Let's hope they use him well.

And, Dom? Oh, Dom. It was such a pleasure to see him come back from elimination to make the final three. And, it was great to see him finally find that camera voice. Alas, I don't think network stardom is in Dom's future. That said, Dom is a fabulous chef with a great personality, and someone should bankroll him to open up some new dining establishments in the Big Apple. Dom shouldn't be in a food truck - he should be an executive chef and part owner of a classic new restaurant. While he can't always bring it in front of the camera, Dom could work the room at a classic bistro and have the time of his life. Let's hope that opportunity presents itself.

As far as the disappointment for Jay and his fans? Well, there's no reason that the Food Network Star can't give Jay a show as well. That's something they should have done several years ago when New England chef Michelle Ragussis placed second. The Food Network dropped the ball when they let her go, and the same is true of Nikki Dinki. So, maybe there will be salvation for Jay. But, all in all, it was nice to see a final three of talented chefs, all of whom I would watch on TV. And, let's never let the masses choose the winner again.

Nice job, Bobby, Giada, Susie, and Bob. Great season.

No comments: