ES Picks the Next Food Network Star


As you know, we’re totally addicted to reality food TV. But Top Chef is almost over, Hell’s Kitchen is a predictable highlight reel of Gordon Ramsay disgustedly spitting out the contestants’ “signature dishes,” and Chopped doesn’t even count.  I had it on last weekend and I couldn’t pay attention long enough to determine the exact rules of the show. That, of course, leaves us with The Next Food Network Star, which also veers towards the boring side, but won’t this season if we have our say!

You see, while Top Chef mines the finest restaurants in the land for its contestants and Hell’s Kitchen chooses folks who already work in the food service industry, TNFNS goes the “salt of the earth” route and encourages people like you and me to give it a try.  All you need is a video camera and a dream.

On the season premiere of TNFNS they air a montage of submissions, highlighting the most unique/unusual of them and stressing how the eight or ten that we’re actually going to see on the show were culled from THOUSANDS of outstanding entries.  When I see this, I just think of the poor production assistants who had to suffer through hours of terrible videos, looking for someone — anyone — that they can mark down as a”maybe.”

Fortunately, Food Network has decided to share with us some of the entries by posting submission videos on their site, and I don’ t feel so bad for those PAs anymore, because these videos are a-mazing.  And, if you have some spare time on your hands and are in need of a good laugh, these vids are about twice as entertaining as anything currently airing on the Food Network.

As of my last check, they’re up to 17 pages, with each page sporting 36 videos.  That’s a whole lotta entries, but we dug through them to find the best of the best.  A few cautionary tales of what not to do with your entry video, and at least one that is a no-brainer to make the final cut…

Click the screen-caps to view the video…


Rule Number One…Don’t Record on Your Cell Phone
Look, we’re not asking you to hire a cinematographer for your submission, but how about you borrow your uncle’s camcorder?  You’re not doing yourself any favors by taping on a cell phone.  This type of footage should only be used in cases of bad celebrity behavior.


Sideways Was a Delightful Film About Wine Tasting…
…not a valid stylistic choice for your video.  Seriously, how did this even happen?  I’m assuming something got lost in translation and it wasn’t just a drunk cameraman.  And, apparently, it’s a common problem, because it also happened here and here.


This One is Missing Something.  I Can’t Quite Put My Finger on It.
Oh, now I can.  It doesn’t have any food.  While the submission instructions say, somewhat ominously, “You can be self-taught or professionally trained or somewhere in between, but you should know the basics,” (emphasis mine) I think it would behoove you to include some sort of food product in your demo.  Just a thought.


A New Family Sitcom – The Alcoholics!
This mother and daughter team is ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!!  It’s just unfortunate that their bubbliness is undoubtedly masking a family history of liver disease.


Can I Get a Do-Over?
“Honey, come in here!  Food Network posted my audition tape to their web site!  Let me just click on it and wait for it to load.  Just one more second…  Shit!”


Perhaps Taking the Iron Chef “Battle” Thing Too Seriously?
From the sound of it, this guy has some good points about locally-grown produce and eating the right kinds of foods, which isn’t surprising because he’s a mixed martial artist.  I’m not saying he’s dangerous, but watch your back, Bob Tuschman, watch your back.


It’s a Thin Line Between “Quirky” and “Crazy”
And you, my friend, have found that line. Um, yeah, we’re thinking tranny Paula Deen is the early leader in the race for the ES endorsement. But let us know if we missed someone!  Take a spin through the other submissions and holler back if you can find a potential Food Network Star who beats our favorite.

(Photos: Food Network)

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  • gansie February 5, 2009  

    i really hate cooking shows w/ 2 people. its always just straight awkward. and dude, the matching women – they scare me. kinda remind me of laura bush.

  • BS February 5, 2009  

    I feel like that fighter guy could actually make it…he’s edgy, but not too edgy…I am rooting for tranny paula deen though

  • BS February 5, 2009  

    ps – the third girl looks like a boring version of gansie

  • Maids February 5, 2009  

    #3 knows how to boil water. That’s impressive.

  • gansie February 6, 2009  


  • hdmom February 11, 2009  

    Does anyone know if finalists have been selected for season 5?

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