Food Network has already created TV sensations with a number of now well-known names such as Emeril Lagasse and Rachael Ray, both of whom are known even by non-Food Network fans.
Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Paula Deen and Alton Brown haven’t done to badly for themselves either, achieving a following and reputation beyond their first show.
On Sunday, June 6 at 8 p.m. ET, “The Next Food Network Star” once again tries to find that next face, pesonaly and branding gold mine through a reality show format.
Check out the promo for the two-hour premiere:
It’s a fun show, full of regular folks trying to make it big, celebrity chef cameos and colorful cooking/media challenges, but does it actually work? Does it accomplish what it sets out to do? Oh sure, each of the contestants get great exposure and may go on to capitalize on their experience (much like the runners-up in “America’s Next Top Model” do) elsewhere but does the winner actually become a “star” of the caliber of the aforementioned Food Network celebs?
Let’s take a look at the past winners:
Season 1: Dan Smith & Steve McDonagh
Season 2: Guy Fieri
Season 3: Amy Finley
Season 4: Aaron McCargo, Jr.
Season 5: Melisaa d’Arabian
From our perspective, “The Next Food Network Star” hit gold only once with Guy Fieri. He’s such a big personality, he’s become more known for hosting/eating than for actively cooking. On Food Network alone, he’s headlined “Guy’s Big Bite,” “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” “Ultimate Recipe Showdown” and “Guy Off the Hook,” not to mention guest starring in “Dinner: Impossible” and “Paula’s Party.” He’s even broken from the cable world and hosts “Minute to Win It” over on NBC.
The rest of the the winners, however, haven’t really become household names. Each has had their one show, none of which achieved that much notoriety. McCargo of “Big Daddy’s House” has potential though and he’s appeared in a number of “Best Thing I Ever Ate” episodes, so his star could still rise.
Of course, just because we don’t think the track record for “Next Food Network Star” is the greatest, doesn’t mean we’ve given up hope.
We’ve already seen the premiere for Season 6, and one of our favorites is Aarti Sequeira, who has a great personality, different cooking P.O.V. (Indian) from the usual on cable and an adorable accent.
We love that she started out as a food blogger with an online variety show (and we found the Aarti Paarti YouTube channel and her blog). She’s the kind of person whose food we’d love to try but also who seems like a fun person to hang out with.
Check out the Food Network video and then an episode of “Aarti Paarti” from her blog.
We’re also psyched that the new season of “The Next Food Network Star” also features De Laurentiis as a mentor, since we remember how in “Chefography,” we saw those first awkward attempts at filming a cooking show. She was not comfortable in front of the camera then, and we think her insight could be really inspiring to the contestants.