Someone had to go – that’s how the show works! And, as you saw Sunday night, Alexis Hernandez was the first to bite the dust. Did you agree with the judges' decision to send him home? He seemed a bit shaky, but honestly, I liked the guy. What's your take?
The premiere became a bit dramatic with Dzintra’s eye situation. I like offbeat people – I find them interesting and they keep you on your toes. Dzintra definitely is one of those people! What did you make of her whole eye debacle? The other finalists seemed to think she was being super dramatic. Do you agree? I, mean, I go into a full blown, eye-watering, red-faced tizzy if a small speck of dust gets on my contact. So, perhaps she shouldn’t be judged too harshly?
Tell me what you thought of the premiere!
- Aria Kagan's Stuffed Chicken Breast with Curry Sauce Over Roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower
As I watch The Next Food Network Star from my couch at home, I’m pretty jealous of Bob, Bobby and Susie—the lucky ones who actually get to taste the food. Well, maybe not so lucky during the very first challenge when, despite the high caliber of talent this season, several of the chicken-and-potato dishes were undercooked. I certainly wasn’t envious of all that raw chicken.
But let’s focus on the good stuff—every week, we’re cooking and blogging the winning Star recipes. Aria’s chicken breast stuffed with a date-walnut-grape mixture wasn’t raw at all—in fact, Bobby pronounced it moist and well-seasoned, and all of the judges seemed to enjoy digging in.
The premiere had not one but three winning dishes, and two of them belonged to Aria. I decided to try out her chicken—I’m always looking for new ways to jazz up a chicken breast. Hers sounded interesting and not super-complicated, perfect for a weeknight dinner.
First step was the side dish of roasted potatoes and cauliflower. I did some quick chopping and tossed the veggies on a sheet pan with a big handful of raisins, olive oil, salt and pepper. My grocery store didn't have any chervil, but I wanted a little green mixed in, so I sliced some scallions and added those.
- The potato element of Aria's dish, ready to roast
That went into the oven for 25 minutes, per Aria’s instructions. Meanwhile...
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- Melissa d'Arabian, host of Ten Dollar Dinners and Season 5 winner, has tips for Star hopefuls.
If you were cast as a finalist for The Next Food Network Star, wouldn't you want to know what works with Bob and Susie? And what Bobby Flay is really like when he comes into the kitchen and you're frantically trying to represent your true culinary point of view? And whether you should act larger than life or (warning: here comes the cliche) be yourself?
There's no need to mess around with guesswork; instead go to a reliable source. Like Melissa d'Arabian. Melissa, winner of The Next Food Network Star season 5, has been uberbusy with creating recipes and producing her show Ten Dollar Dinners and traveling and talking to fans and, oh-by-the-way, being a wife and mom to four young daughters. But she found a few minutes to sit down and share how she feels a year later, plus her advice for the twelve Season 6 Star finalists.
"They really need to trust that they are enough," Melissa says, "... to know who they are, put their arms around that, celebrate it, and bring it to the table." See what else Melissa said, then check out her top recipes and visit her Facebook page. Read more »
- The Next Food Network Star, Season 6, Two-Hour Premiere Airs This Sunday Night at 9 pm ET
Check the Countdown Clock: There are only a couple days before the kickoff to The Next Food Network Star. In case you missed our all-out check-this-season-out fervor in the lead-up to premiere night, here’s a cheat sheet to catch you up.
- Bob, Susie and Bobby are back, making up the Selection Committee, prompting nervous laughs and shaky camera smiles among aspiring Stars everywhere. Each week you’ll find news from them here—last year Bob’s posts got more than 20,000 comments--I can only imagine how much you’ll have to say with this trio at your disposal. Guess which of them heats things up early by telling the finalists: "If you guys can't cook, you'll be gone, no doubt about it"? (A matter of seconds into this clip and you'll get the answer.)
- Shooting for this season was in Los Angeles, not New York; we Chelsea Market fans are a wee bit wistful but like the cool-kid approach to cooking West Coasties seem to have. Laid-back vibes, however, do not mean the stress level in the kitchens will be any lower.
- This year’s secret ingredient: Giada’s in the mix. But you’ll have to watch to see what she’s up to. Ok, so I’m teasing. Shamelessly. Read on...
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