Posts tagged ‘nipa’

NFNS 4 Marathon

Well, it is News Year’s Eve and Food Network is passing the time by showing the entire fourth season of NFNS.  Now everyone who didn’t get to see how Kelsey, Lisa and Shane got screwed can watch it for themselves.  This way they can watch (SPOILER ALERT!) Aaron McCargo and wonder the same thing the rest of us did who watched the first time, “How the hell did this guy win?”

They also get to see Tuschman string Nipa along three or four episodes simply because there are 3 billion people in India, a virtually untapped market.  Granted Nipa is beautiful and very good at her cuisine but OMG!  I belive that Nipa is the Klingon word for deja vu.

You can now relish the quick exit of Kevin Roberts who referred to people who eat boxed mac and cheese as white trash in an interview in the push leading up to the beginning of the season.

Then there is Cory, the professional comedian, who wasn’t funny or even pleasurable to watch in anyway.  During her exploits in the first episode all I could think was there are thousands of qualified chefs (self included) who didn’t even get a casting call but you run over to the set of Last Comic Standing and say, “You, Cory, have you ever cooked anything before?  You have?  Cool come be on our show and make people laugh.”

Let us also not forget Mary Nolan?  What you don’t remember her from NFNS?  That’s because FN execs were so blown away by her interview that they just gave her a show without having to compete.  She was the actual winner of NFNS 4.

But my heart will always go out to Kelsey Nixon who blew away the competition every week and got let go because she was only 23 and Tuschman just didn’t think audiences would buy her as a food expert.  BTW, Mary Nolan was only 26.  During the season Food Network maintained an interactive fan poll and Nixon was far and away the big winner there.  Even today with FN rerunning the whole dog and pony show the hit to my site have been overwhelmingly from people searching the name Kelsey Nixon.  The stats?  Kelsey 21 hits, Big Daddy 5, Lisa Garza 4.

Oh and Adam Gertler who proved to be a poor cook but a great personality is getting his own show, Will Work For Food which will air in prime time as opposed to winner McCargo whose show Big Daddy’s House is buried in the no-man’s land of seldom watched Sunday morning programing.

And with NFNS 5 just around the corner I wonder ploys we will have to endure this season in the name of ratings.


December 31, 2008 at 8:24 pm

NFNS: Big Daddy’s Cliché Kitchen

UPDATE: Big Daddy’s Kitchen has been renewed for 13 more episodes.  Read HERE.

So now I have watched the worst kept secret in history, Aaron McCargo Jr. is the Next Food Network Star winner.  Hence forth to be referred to as the NFNS winner because “star” seems an extreme long shot.  Boring.  My thoughts skew negative.  Aaron did the poorest of the three finalists last week and this week was no different.  Aaron’s pilot seemed like an exercise where he tried to incorporate as many cooking show clichés as possible.  Also, he did what he called “Jerk” seasoning, but it was no where close.  I don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t Jerk – if it doesn’t have Scotch Bonnet peppers it isn’t Jerk.  As usual he was hard to understand and seemed to be at his best when he forgot the camera was on.  All and all, it was not a winning performance.

Adam’s concept was brilliant although I may be biased; I have been shopping a similar show for the past few months.  Adam was funny and entertaining, he stuck with the only thing he is good at, BBQ, but once again his expertise was drawn into question when asked why he put rosemary into a dry rub his answer was, “for flavor.”  Really?  I would have never thought that?  Lisa on the other hand was scary good.  I mean she seemed so natural it was like she had been doing this her entire life or least since ’93 when the Food Network first went on the air (like Bobby Flay).  Lisa also credited guest host/producer Gordon Elliot with helping her put her vision on film.  Nice move, Lisa, he’s an important man in this industry.  Gordon’s reaction to each during taping was an important factor on how things went.  He seemed to have to correct Adam and Aaron more than he did Lisa to whom he usually just said, “beautiful.”

Some other things caught my attention in the show.  When each contestant was introduced to the live studio audience, Adam and Lisa’s interaction with the crowd was suspiciously demur while Aaron seemed to already be in celebration mode.  Curious.  Also, it was interesting to see how loud Kelsey Nixon‘s ovation was.  It was clear that everyone on hand knew that she was the best.  I have been watching Google Trends all evening.  GT is a list of the hottest 100 keyword searches on the world’s most popular search engine, Google.  It is updated every hour and all night “lisa garza” has been searched more than “aaron mccargo,” and that friends is a direct indication of who the viewers want to see.  And not to be forgotten in this is the fact that TFN got their real winner of “Star” in the form of Mary Nolan

Lisa, I know we will see you again soon.  There is chatter about the Fine Living Network, a perfect fit.  Good luck.  It appears that she is doing ok already as she is on tour for Whole Foods, the Texas-based grocer.  This is from the web-based magazine SideDish,:

The Liza Garza Train stopped in Austin this weekend. She’s on a Whole Foods Market statewide tour (3 weekends in Dallas, 2 stores in Houston, and the flagship store in Austin this weekend). People stopped Lisa everywhere on the streets. At the Lamar store, customers asked for her autograph on anything and everything, including a wooden tasting spoon, as she did a cooking demo of cod with peach salsa. And she never once cried.

Adam, please consider two things, culinary school (just for some fine tuning) and trying out for Last Comic Standing, you are a riot.  I like the way your mind works.

Aaron, good luck with your new show.  I hope you prove all of your doubters (self included) wrong.  You are a good person and deserve to have good things happen for you.  And, hey, even if Big Daddy’s Kitchen only airs the six guaranteed episodes that is still six more than I have, and I am jealous.  Well, I do have a cooking show available on youtube which is more than most people.  Ok, I feel good about myself again.  Now I have to get ready for my phone interview in the morning with Food Detective host Ted Allen.  That’s right, I’m name dropping.

July 28, 2008 at 1:41 am 4 comments

NFNS: We Have a Winner!

Okay, so who won isn’t the news going into tonight’s finale.  Unless, the leak was a hoax or they re-taped the ending pretty much everyone knows that Aaron wins, but no one knows why.  Did he win any competitions?  I don’t think so.  He survived through attrition.  Other, more qualified candidates were booted for conjured reasons.  Shane: we know we criticized you in the beginning for acting too mature for your age but you’re too young.  Yeah I get that one, panel – no one ever wants to watch a show about a child prodigy, right Doogie Houser?  Plus it isn’t like someone dropping two and a half boy-band members in just three years isn’t inspiring and worthy of a long career is it Jared Fogel?

I’m sorry, Kelsey, but between your gorgeous smile, fantastic food knowledge, unbelievable energy, genuine passion, and the fact that you have won more challenges than all of the others combined we just can’t see you as a food expert.  What was that?  Sunny Anderson is a DJ and Sandra Lee doesn’t actually cook; she reheats?  Their different, you’re just too young.  What?  Mary Nolan is 26?  Well, uh, er, hmm, oh yeah, those extra few months of life are very important – you’ll see.

Of course Nolan is the real winner of Next Food Network Star.  She got her show and didn’t even have to compete.  I wonder if she had been in the final three in place of Lisa Garza if her promo would have seen her dangling from a string 30 feet off the ground.  I think not.  I still maintain that Lisa’s promo challenge last week was designed specifically to cut her out, but yet she won the final challenge in impressive style while Aaron bombed like nothing we have ever seen before.  Adam copped out with his smoked meat buffet, and a monotone soliloquy worthy of an Obama campaign speech.

There just wasn’t much talent this year.  There was Cory the comedian who wasn’t funny.  Kevin who re-defined jerk.  Jeffery who wasn’t memorable in any way, Nipa who was scared of fish, Jennifer who had the confidence of Ichabod Crane (not the Johnny Depp version), Shane, well Shane was pretty good, and Kelsey who was perfect in every way.  Then you have all three of the final pair – Lisa the poster child for lithium, Adam who cannot cook, and the winner Aaron who was never was really bad but at the same time never was really good either.  There were also some new things this year – Bob wrote a blog, Susie kept a vlog, and Adam Roberts (no relation to Kevin) found something to dish about.

I bet this is way more than Bobby bargained for when he agreed to MC this year.

July 27, 2008 at 1:47 am 5 comments

NFNS: Adiós, Nipa!


This week on The Next Food Network Star we saw Nipa’s final meltdown. Nipa is a beautiful woman with an untapped genre for Food Network, Indian food, and I think that is why she managed to hang on so long. However, her lack of versatility and inability to handle criticism were her undoing. You cannot truly consider yourself of TV chef if you are scared to touch a fish.

The other thing this week’s episode showed us was that there are only three people in this season’s cast who actually have a chance of winning Kelsey (who has to be the odds-on favorite and has been since day one), Lisa (who is great when she stops trying to be so damned perfect), and Adam (a bit of a wild card – he is not afraid to take risks – but sometimes they do not work). Shane is easy to root for but until this week he just wasn’t getting it done. A few more good weeks and Shane may become a contender. Jennifer is so sweet but I really think she goes home this week unless she can pull a 180 like Shane.

Aaron divulged that the reason he has not opened up about his family and background is that his son ran away just prior to taping. I think Aaron should be at home with his family and inside I believe Aaron feels similarly. You have to feel for the guy though – on one hand there is a serious situation within his family but on the other he has a chance to get a position that can financially take care of his family for generations. My prayers are with you, buddy.

Tyler Florence and Michael Symon joined in on the fun and were their usual liakable selves.

The most disturbing thing to come out of this week’s episode is that TFN has once again sold its soul to the bane of American existence – chain restaurants. First they teamed up with TGI Fridays on the show Ultimate Recipe Showdown and this week they sold out to Red Lobster, a concept owned by Darden Restaurants who also own the Olive Garden. The OG has long had the reputation within the food industry as “Chef Boyardee without the annoying can.” The hypocrisy of TFN imploring everyone to go green and use locally sourced foods and then partnering with corporations who use mostly imported product makes for an unholy alliance.

June 24, 2008 at 3:19 am


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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."


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