The Next Food Network Star Finale

We are down to the end. Who will it be? Aarti, Tom or Herb? I’m pulling for the Big Chef, but I like the concepts presented by Herb and Aarti, and they are both such likeable presences on this competition.

The Big Apple, and they’re going to shoot their pilots. We see them walk into the Food Network kitchens while Rachael Ray walks out. She will be directing their pilots, while the production staff will be preparing food for the three pilots.

The pilots will be shown to a focus group of Food Network people, who haven’t seen the finalists before

Aarti (Aarti Party) wants to make an Indian Pizza on Naan
Herb (Cooking Con Sabor) will make a Fritatta with Egg Whites and Sausage
Tom (Big Chef) wants to make a Roasted chicken with mushrooms under the skin

Herb’s up first and he starts calm, cool and collected-and four and a half minutes over. He has a harder time , but comes up with the brilliant idea of taping pictures of his wife and kids onto the camera and the weeks of jitters evaporated!

Oh my gosh, he is a natural and I even wanted to eat the frittata and I HATE EGGS! He totally sold me on the food and his story about his mom cracked me up. (Please, Food Network, we need a healthy show with ethnic flair. PLEASE)

Now Aarti’s up and she becomes overwhelmed at first, but Rachel gives her some pointers and she works on focusing. When she comes back, she shares a personal story and it seemed so natural. It totally looks like she uses our favorite knives, too.

Tom’s turn and they go the choreography of the shoot-and Tom glazes over. He starts rambling and he doesn’t have a script, which is the recipe for disaster. Susie’s voice in his head started telling him “Shut up, Tom” and he asks to reshoot it. Tom says he needs to make it his own and it looks like his second try is the guy we’ve seen living bold and zany all through the competition.

Next, the finalists are seen vegging in their suite, talking about their pilots and their journey in life and the competition. It has been an amazing ten weeks, watching them take the advice and critiques and growing from them

The pilots are about to be reviewed by a focus group, but the finalists get to see them for the first time while watching the focus group’s comments! Talk about scary. Bobby, Bob and Susie are in the audience with the focus group.

Herb is great, having the focus group laughing throughout! It is so natural and Herb says it catches his essence. The focus group is says he was charismatic, one person wanted to jump through the screen, another said fat free usually means taste free, and this looked like it would be a great way to get flavor.

Aarti’s pilot went well, she was very relaxed and she said she hoped her personality was coming through-and it did. She had the audience laughing as well. One said she wanted to be part of the book club, another wanted her to slow down, and another said she finally learned what chutney was!

It is Tom’s turn. Aarti tells him she wants him to do well, but not too well. He describes it accurately, he was engaging. His show had plenty of tips to make the cooking easier and the crowd was laughing. He talks of being a latch key kid and no one told him what he was cooking was wrong, so he played around with the flavors of his food.

Comments were that he had star quality, viewers loved it and he looked like he was your friend who also knew how to cook. Ed said his scruffy appearance works for him because he just appears approachable.

Here’s the hard part, all three put up pilots that were great AND are shows that they need. I’ve said several times I would watch any of their shows before the pilots and now that I’ve seen them, would not be able to pick just one if it was just mine to make. However, I adore Tom’s personality, but gosh, Herb, you made me want to eat EGGS!

Judgment time. Three finalists were ushered into see the Food Network Wall of Fame and there’s a blank picture among other network stars.

Herb was told that he brought a strong presence to the screen, the point of view is something FN has struggled to fill.

Aarti was told she lit up the screen, Bobby loved the way that she introduced the Indian flavors in a way that was comfortable, and Susie said the friendly nature seemed like they were hanging out with her in her kitchen.

Tom was told Big Chef showed big heart, big flavor and big personality. He made cooking fun, and that’s the essence of what they were looking for. Bobby said he made it feel like it was going to have lots of flavor. Susie told him he brought it all together, made it fun and he showed expertise.

Bob tells them that all three have star quality and they made the right choice in this competition. They are asked to leave while the judges deliberate. If I were to base it on the comments, I suspect it’s tipping towards Tom-but any three of them is in contention!

The judges deliberate. Herb seems to have come the furthest and taken their notes and grew from them. Aarti’s challenge is that they’re worried that the self doubt worries them. Tom’s unconventionality might pay off for them, according to Bob.

Brooke Johnson comes out to talk and we still are wondering.

The next food network start is…


Cool, an Indian show. Can’t wait to DVR those episodes! However, I think that the other two will show up soon. The way it ended, though, seemed almost anti-climactic.

Herb, I also want to learn more about Cooking Con Sabor. Tom, keep going with your Big Chef ways, because I’m sure you have appealed to someone with your natural way and mad cooking skills.


ligirl said…
Yay, Aarti! Love her. Although, I am like you and would have been happy with Herb or Tom winning, as well...

Just as an aside, have you seen the promos for "Family Style"? That show featuring a brother/sister team? Nice way to "steal" the name of the show Aria was hoping for! Although I'm sure it was in development way before Aria got there...

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