Next Food Network Star…quick thoughts after the first episode

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I’m not sure why I keep watching Next Food Network Star every season, given what a joke it really is. (When Guy Fieri is a network’s most successful find via this competition that kind of says something…) And especially when I actually was excited about the possibility of a cooking show by Justin Warner last season and then he just…basically vanished after a single pilot show that had nothing to do with his original show premise and just looked like another generic Food Network road/food show.

But it’s a cooking competition show that isn’t about cupcakes, so I guess I’m a sucker to keep watching.

I can’t say any of the contestants really caught my eye yet as someone I would watch. “Lovely” already grates on my every last nerve; Damaris seems like a Paula Deen-wannabe but more kooky (and skinny) than talented. Viet looks like he actually cooks food I’d be interested in learning about but there’s no way he’s going to improve his charisma enough on screen to last. Chris and Russell both vaguely creep me out and Danushka, well…honestly the less said about her the better.

If I were to pick a top four whom I expect to make it to the end, I’ll say at this point it’s likely to be Chad, Nikki, Rodney and Stacey…and of those Chad is the only one I could actually see myself occasionally wanting to watch, although do we need another barbeque show? But I like what we’ve seen of his personality so far. Nikki’s got the on-screen chops but I should probably check out her online videos and blogs, so far she doesn’t interest me much with her approach. And Rodney seems cool but we need a pie guy as much as a sandwich guy on Food Network (wait a minute…). I kind of think Stacey has the edge to win, but I don’t dig her “vintage” vibe (whatever that means) and the near constant mentioning of being a MOM and a working MOTHER and blah blah blah…and one has to wonder a bit about the “Star” potential of someone who worked for a place featured on Restaurant Impossible (and if she had such a problem keeping that restaurant open for dinner so she could be with her kids? How is she expecting to spend time with them with running a restaurant AND a cooking show?)

Anyway, I’m definitely not planning on regularly recapping and reviewing NFNS like I do for MasterChef, but like a sheep I’ll keep watching even just out of train-wreck fascination…

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