Food Network Star down to six

Double elimination on the Next Food Network Star sent Chris and Penny packing while the rest set their eyes on New York City.

So far the contest has shaken out about as expected. I thought Chris would be gone much sooner. He certainly shouldn’t have outlasted Orchid. Yet somehow he managed to stay alive while others crashed and burned spectacularly. He has the energy to be a star, but he lacks the mental filter to keep him focused and accessible.

Penny never really found her stride. Her antics were flabbergasting from day one. The scheming and fighting might have worked well on a show like Survivor or Apprentice, but she didn’t seem to understand the nature of the Food Network talent search.

Winning IS important, but it’s not the only way to get something from the experience. Contestants should take note that several past participants have shows despite not winning the contest. The key is to stay on for as long as possible and build up name recognition.

For example, win or lose, the odds are good that Vic Moea is going to wind up with a show. I don’t think he really needs to have an instructional show, but he would excel on the road. Give the guy a few people to work off of, and you’re going to get good TV.

Mary Beth could also produce good TV on the road, perhaps some sort of international traveling would be her strong suit.

Jill, Jeff and Whitney will have a much rougher time getting a show without a win.

Jill could probably use her catering background to produce a reality-themed hybrid. Maybe a smaller-scaled Restaurant: Impossible but aimed at struggling catering companies.

BTW Jill shouldn’t feel too bad about the Risotto incident. Even the best fail. Hell, Bobby Flay loses 70 percent of his throw downs. Just remember that sometimes losing with style is better than a win. For example, I don’t remember who won the challenge, but I remember Duff putting the pitiful remains of his cake for judging after his shark-themed masterpiece self-destructed.

Whitney is clearly comfortable on camera, but she doesn’t have anything to sell an audience at the moment. Her destiny will likely involve hosting rather than teaching on a show. She may leave the food genre all together.. who knows?

That leaves Jeff. It’s clear that his “Sandwich King” hook has trapped him in a narrow space with the judges. On one hand, he hasn’t produced a sandwich that wowed me enough to proclaim that he IS in fact the king of sandwiches. On the other, if he doesn’t make a sandwich the judges scratch their heads.

The wildcard in all of this is Susie. Mexican cuisine is poorly represented on the network. I think there’s one Saturday show. So there’s a void looking to be filled.

My guess is that she and Vic will be the last two standing. Both are good cooks, but Susie’s stronger talking directly to a camera. I think Susie will win, but Vic will wind up becoming the bigger star.

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