August 02, 2009 11:40 PM by Cindy Adams
Only Jeffrey and Melissa remain for the finale, after cooking their way to the top and knocking out all other contenders on The Next Food Network Star. After spending some much needed time with their families, Jeffrey and Melissa head back to The Next Food Network Star kitchen and meet with Alton Brown, who Melissa called the “food knowledge king.” I wholeheartedly agree!
They are told by Alton thatthey will each star in a fully produced pilot presentation of their own Next Food Network Star show which Alton will direct.
Then each met with Alton alone to discuss their show’s premise and the concepts behind their pilot.
Jeffrey went first and explained his “cooking without borders” idea. Alton said it sounded like a travel show. That’s not good. They finally agreed on “Ingredients Smuggler” when Jeffrey told Alton about the time he went through customs with a packet of paprika in his jacket and he felt like a smuggler. Good idea!
Melissa had a few ideas, but Alton rejected them. Instead he said he has watched her throughout the season and believed her showshould beabout survival in the kitchen, which was sheer genius, since Melissa is the queen of tips and tricks when cooking.
Next the pilot’s were shot, with Melissa going first. She arrived on set and was overwhelmed. She made a lemon rustic onion chicken dish using her technique called 4-step chicken. She called it that because you can interchange the 4 ingredients to make hundreds of different dishes, while using the same cooking techniques. She began, but thought she was looking at the wrong camera, so stopped. After manytakes, her great personality shined and she was fantastic.
Jeffrey was next, but was not his usual cool, calm, and collected self. Shocking! He didn’t smile once and got really bogged down in what he was doing. His Zen-like personal was evaporating fast and he started calling yellow tomatoes onions. Oh no! Finally, it all came together for him and he completed his pilot like a pro!
Next Jeffrey and Melissa headed to the finale hosted by Bobby Flay. The former contestants entered the stage and clips from the season that never aired were shown. In the clip, Katie danced when bored; Melissa had a fascination with talking about lactation; Eddie rambled on incessantly; and Jeffrey seemed to perpetually wink at everyone! The clip was hilarious. They also showed another clip of the strangebromance that blossomed between Eddie and Teddy! So funny!
Next everyone got to see the finalist’s pilot presentations. Melissa’s was first andit was called ‘Kitchen Survival Guide.’ She was brilliantand her tips were really informative. I’m definitely going to make her chicken and potato recipe! Yum!
Jeffrey’s pilot was next and called ‘Ingredients Smuggler.’ Right off the bat his motions were jerky and uncomfortable lookingÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â¬”very noticeable. But, overall, he did really well. The sandwich he made looked delicious!
The contestants made their final pleas and Melissa said no one can do what she does. She also said that if she and Jeffrey could both win, that would be great. Jeffrey made a passionate plea saying he was born to cook and have his own show and wanted to be doing this for the next 20 years.
The judges deliberated and finally came to a decision. The winner was announced and it was Melissa. She was the dark horse all along, was disrespected by Teddy and Brett, and made it all the way to the finish line!! Yeah Melissa!
That ends another great season of The Next Food Network Star, which I’m sure everyone will miss. But, the show will be back next year when a round of new hopefuls try their hands at cooking their way to stardom!
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Photo credit: Food Network