Star Commentary: Cheers to Jeff!

by in Food Network Star, August 16, 2011

Jeff Mauro's winning moment

After a neck-and-neck race to the finish line, Jeff Mauro inched out fellow finalist Susie Jimenez to become the season 7 winner of Food Network Star. Dedicated viewers and opinionated commenters on Food Network’s Facebook page and our Star blog offered countless hearty congratulations to the newly crowned Sandwich King.

Many complimented his vibrant “charisma & personality” and obvious “talent.” Another wrote that he was simply a “favorite from day one and the obvious choice” for the winner. One ardent admirer left a message for Jeff: “Congrats! You have a little Mt. Prospect/Park Ridge fan club here, and we were cheering for you the whole way ... Stay true to yourself, don't get a big head and remember where you came from! We love you, and we'll be watching!”

Other supporters write that Jeff’s pilot was “joyfully heartwarming and happy” and that they promise to “be loyal fans of his show.” Viewers “can't wait for [Jeff] to get started,” as many realize he has a unique “opportunity to create a new perception of the ‘sandwich.’”

What's your favorite sandwich, and what kind would you like to watch Jeff make? Tell us on Facebook and Star Talk. Don’t miss Jeff’s premiere episode of Sandwich King this Sunday, August 21st at 11:30am/10:30c.

Though a Star has been chosen, you can still help your favorite finalist win the Fan Vote by voting for him or her up to 10 times per day.

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Comments (119)

  1. Rose says:

    Yes, Jeff seem to be good towards the end but, I felt the judges were leading towards Susie andi sincerely believe the judges were looking for a new idea to not only incorporate the "SANDWHICH KING" but, his character as a comedian in the show. A new money market idea for FN. Personally, Susie was better with her creations regardless of her personal background stories. I can't see how sandwiches can take a show too far out. I'm sure it will get stretched out from it's original idea, once the show gets going. I congratulate Jeff but, still feel Susie deserved it. I do think the judges had other motives for their final selection.

  2. Jeff B says:

    Jeff's italian Beef Sandwich recipe is listed as 6 hours combined prep and cook time. Thats right. 6 hours. I think the motto of this show should be changed to "Make any sandwich into a day long activity."

    • Tiffany says:

      Re-read the recipe.

      Of the 5 hours and 55 minutes, Prep = 1 hr 30 min, Inactive = 1 hr 0 min, and Cook = 3 hr 25 min

      That doesn't mean you are standing there working for 6 continuous hours.

      • Jeff says:

        How is a prep time of 1 hr 30 minutes for a sandwich acceptable?

        • diane says:

          What you should be mentioning is, that not even some of the finest prosciutto cost as much as it does to make that sandwich, might as well throw in some black truffle shavings too.

          • Guest says:

            Not to mention the calories and saturated fats in the burrata cheese alone would make even Paula Deen cringe.

  3. No more FN for me says:

    I still say local PBS stations have the right idea...real chefs demonstrating proper techniques and injecting humor without talking down to the audience the way several of the "chefs" on FN do, (Racheal, maybe?) or being an absolute bafoon like Paula! Excellent, delicious dishes are presented weekly, and there is another bonus: NO commercials!!

    • The Shrink says:

      I ate at Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah...At best, the food was mediocre...I've had better meals in highschool cafeterias. I can't believe the FN isn't embarrassed by Paula Deen's restaurant food. Anybody else here ever been to her Savannah restaurant?

      • kaye says:

        We tried to get in but the maitre 'd asked very snootily if we had a reservation - on a Tuesday at 11:30 AM. We promptly left that stuck up place and headed over to Mrs. Wilkes dining room and have never looked back. The food is fantastic AND the people are genuinely nice.

    • subdjoe says:

      Jacque Pepin would be cut within the first two episodes of NFNS. He doesn't play to the camera well, he doesn't tell endless heart warming stories about his parents or his kids. He just quietly prepares excellent food with little commentary.

      Nick Stellino does tell a lot of family stories, but again, isn't flashy, isn't constantly grinning for the camera. Just makes good food.

  4. Pearlean says:

    I miss Emeril! Who's with me?

    • Mel says:

      Plus One million, galazzlion, trazillion for Emeril!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • luvcookin says:

      Read that Emeril is going to be a new judge on Top Chef this coming season! And I love his Fresh Food Fast show on Cooking Channel.

      • subdjoe says:

        Which Emeril? In the home kitchen, and the early studio shows, he was great, but the last few seasons he was too much of a 'personality' playing to the audience and doing schtick.

  5. Donovan says:

    Please, please, please give Whitney and Susie shows. They are great teachers and great cooks.

    • Dishy says:

      Donovan, I agree that Susie should have a show. Some of us even started a page on facebook to support Susie. Not so sure about Whitney though. I don't think she's focused enough, meaning she really has no point of view. When I met her in person (after the show had finished filming and the winner chosen), I talked to her about what type of foods she would cook if she had a show. She still had no idea. And there was a special pull-out section in Sunday's news paper featuring Whitney's recipes using fresh tomatoes. There were 6 or 7 recipes, and most of them she took from cook books. Only one or two were her original recipes.

  6. The Shrink says:

    The Truth...I actually enjoy the competition shows more than the actual cooking shows. I watch them all...including the Iron Chef and Chopped on FN and the Gordon Ramsey food competion shows on Fox. What cheapens the Next Food Network shows, in my opinion, is the filming of their living quarters and what they do after cooking. The Master Chef series just aired and ended last night, and we never saw any of the psychodrama of the personal relationships in the evening. I find that so much more relaxing...focussed off that garbage and just focussed on the cooking. FN cheapens itself by adding all that psychodrama footage.

    • JamesinAlaska says:

      I watch Iron Chef. And I like it.
      But I'm curious. I have asked it before, and it has never yet
      gotten any amswer. Nothing. Silence. Quiet as King Tut's tomb.

      Just exactly WHY--do all the "instruction" shows hafta be restricted to daytime...and then once 6pm hits, its "all competitions all the time" ?
      Example: you never see Sandra Lee or Ina Garten on at 9pm.
      What is the reasoning behind that? I wish Food Network would tell us openly. (Its not like I havent asked it. I have).
      Any thoughts? Anyone?

      • mlp says:

        I don't pretend to know the answer but I'm inclined to think it's because cooking shows were originally meant for housewives so, naturally, they were on during the day. I have a feeling they're still on during that time frame because that's the way it has always been done rather than for any real and concrete reason.

      • subdjoe says:

        A few years ago, when Bob T actually responded to things, he answered that. Supposedly surveys conducted by FN showed that endless cake contests, Unwrapped reruns, and the like are more popular in the evenings than real cooking shows.

  7. Bob Toren says:

    This season Susie was my favorite for pretty much the whole season but I have to admit, I think Jeff did the better job in his pilot and I really like his personality and sense of humor, even when it was a little overboard it didn't bother me.

    For the most part I wouldn't change the way they do the FNS except the editing does bother me. To be fair it's probably a tough job doing the editing and selecting what to keep and what to leave on the cutting room floor.
    One of the things that left a lasting impression on why I think the editing needs improvemnt was the episode where they were on the Rachel Ray show it looked like Jeff totally blew everyone away and Jyll looked like one of the worst of the contestants. I happen to follow a link that someone provided to these same presentations from the Rachel Ray show but unedited. The unedited versions actually showed Jyll (at least in my view) as one of the best and Jeff's was ok but he did his share of stumbling, no longer did he look like a clear-cut winner or not even the best.

    • diane says:

      WOW, Bob you sure said a mouth full, I glad someone other than me was paying attention, not to mention this was the episode with the cupcakes, didn't Jyll make a pretty good one?

      • diane says:

        Wasn't that the episode where Jyll was eliminated, and if memory serves me correctly, wasn't Jeff proclaimed the winner of that week, aside from being told "you kicked the food right under the table" and not having such a good cupcake? Backtracking through all the episodes sure does put a different light on things. I'm going to string the whole sequence of events together from the beginning and see what else comes up. Lucky I have them all taped.

    • JamesinAlaska says:

      I thought Jyll was awesome!
      Prior to the "mid-term", even "catty" Giada said Jyll's Camera was Spot-On! And the Judges had loved her food. More than once! She even won the com petitions. Twice. And then, out of the blue...we suddenly hear Susie Fogelson talk about how Jyll seems (what was the word? Disingenuous? Scripted? Insincere?) Bang! Just like that.
      I had never gotten that impression at all. And so, yes, I am also quite curious about when you say she looked better on the unedited version.

      • diane says:

        Did you ever see the unedited version of RR show hosting the contestants. Jyll was very engaging and answered the audience question gracefully, not like some that forgot altogether. Bang! just like that. WHAT HAPPENED?

        • JamesinAlaska says:

          What happened? I wish I knew. Nope, haven't seen it. I remember she was doing great! On both food, and camera. Praise from judges in both areas. Then it was either Giada and/or Susie F. suddenly out of the blue talking about how Jyll was genuine (since WHEN!?)...and it all went downhill. I thought she rocked! It was also interesting to see how Bobby Flay happened to do a beer-braht recipe of his own, posted on here very soon after Jyll was successful with hers. I dont think anyone who already has show should be involved in ANY judging at all. Cattiness. I cant help wondering if a few of the newcomers might just be too good and take some o' the spotlight from those who are already here.

          • JamesinAlaska says:

            oops..above..should read "wasn't" genuine. sigh. I'm a lousy typist. Thank God for "clicking". And a mouse.

          • diane says:

            Unfortunately this industry is a very plagiaristic one, almost nothing is sacred anymore, dog eat dog, just to get the edge no matter who or what pays the price. Bang! just like that.

          • diane says:

            You have seen it, we all have seen it, the thing is: many can't believe it. Everybody is talking about it, do you remember what this post started out saying, reread it carefully and the replies that follow. Piece the sequences together. Trust is a powerful ally when your selling something!

          • JamesinAlaska says:

            I"ve got it!
            The ULTIMATE adrenaline-rush super-competiton
            reality show.
            Next year---show us all of the episodes, LIVE---not taped in advance.
            Yeah, I know. It''ll never happen. But how might it be...and what would we see...if it were live? No Bias. No editing. No manipulation. What you see is what you get. The real deal. No faking. "the Ultimate Kitchen-from-hell" challenge. Mwuuuuahahahahaaa! (wink)

          • diane says:

            Do you mean Ramseys' Hell's Kitchen or the Real Deal Kitchen sounds sooooo great wish it would happen my friend, I know one thing it wouldn't have come to this if that was possible.

          • JamesinAlaska says:

            No-no. I mean simply all the episodes of next season's Next FoodNetwork Star, in whatever kitchens all of the competitions are in. "All live, all the time!"
            Oh well, we can imagine....
            ...and with that...its time for me to watch an episode of MONK (the TV show, on DVD). (yes, there is life after cooking). hee-hee :)

      • diane says:

        Did it feel strange to you that all the women left the show crying, or did you just say there girls of course there gonna cry? I don't think so.It sure seemed strange to me. Maybe some other reasons were at hand.

        • JamesinAlaska says:

          No. I wouldnt write-it-off "just cuz they're girls."
          I think these people all wanted it really bad. Losing is a big disappointment when you try so hard. It also seems (if memory serves) like I've read past posts on here where people felt like the judges would give advice and then a contestant would try and live to it or do it, and then get their head messed with later. I regret that I cant think of an example right this minute--but i seem to remember people writing/commenting on here about that. Add to that--the HUGE kitchens..bright lights....gobs of cameras.....speed & pressure....and its easy to cry.
          creator of

          • diane says:

            Yes which contestants, all but whom? Poor Vic didn't know who he was anymore but was willing to do anything at that stage of the game. Did you really think Vic would all of a sudden become this great camera personality in a few short weeks when he struggled so badly in the beginning. I think he did pretty good given the circumstances but ultimately he would not prevail in that department and therefor he was no threat. A scapegoat, like others. Bang! like that.

    • Dishy says:

      Bob, can you post the link to the unedited version of the Rachael Ray show challenge? Would love to watch it. Thanks.

  8. Cathy says:

    Frankly, I'm disappointed! Jeff is OK, but I LOVED Susie. I think I've learned enough about "sammies" from Racheal Ray and others over the years and I think the pizazz of a sandwich show will fade rather quickly. As it is I feed my family way too many sandwiches already, so I am not motivated by a sandwich show. I could take anything I learned on another show and stick it in a roll-I'm at least that competent a cook! I know how to make braciola (and I think my recipe is much better than Jeff's) I am just sort of tired of the whole "comfort food" thing-I want to learn about other cultures and cuisines. With that, what happened to Aarti, is she on at like 8:00 a.m. Sundays or something? Is Mexican Made Easy (which is a cute and interesting show) already enough "Latino" for the Food Network? Oh well, I remain disappointed.

  9. The Shrink says:

    Regarding Jeff'sBraciole Sandwich: I am Italian and grew up eating braciole. Jeff's braciole seemed boring, dead and lifeless compared to the braciole my family gotta roll up more deliciousness in that meat besides bread crumbs, family puts hard boiled eggs, good Italian ham, and a slice of provolone...

    • diane says:

      That sounds good, Pehaps you should send him your authentic recipe, one that doesn't include tomatoes from a tube. I have never seen anyone put it on a roll, not even my brother-in-law who puts everything on bread. Traditionally it is served with a bowl of various meats (meatballs, sausage, pork, beef,etc.) that have been simmerring for hours in tomato sauce, and served with pasta.

    • Anne says:

      I don't care how real Italians do it. It looked good enough to eat to me.

      • diane says:

        Well thats a good thing, at least some good will come of this, getting people interested in the food aspect again, but if you go to a steak house you don't order the chicken. When in Rome....

  10. applestycx says:

    I am not a fan of Jeff(cant get past the flag incident) but it looks like the show was suppose to show the preparation of a great meal. Then a sandwich being made from it. I dont think the point was to have someone use several hours of prep time just to make a sandwich.