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Five reasons why Jeffrey will win The Next Food Network Star

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 29th 2009 10:02AM
Jeffrey_Saad_Food_Network_StarJacob at FoodNetworkAddict.com has come up with five good reasons why he thinks Melissa Darabian will win The Next Food Network Star when the competition wraps next Sunday. His points are well thought out, especially the one that suggests that Melissa's journey on the show has been dramatically edited to make her seem like an underdog who has now emerged as a dynamic player. However, I'm banking on Jeffrey Saad to win. Here's my five reasons:

1. The likability factor
Since the opening episode, there hasn't been a more attractive and likable competitor on The Next Food Network Star. Jeffrey makes viewers feel comfortable, like a Tom Selleck or James Garner, and when you're talking about TV personalities, that's the most important asset. Jeffrey would be welcomed on TVs in living rooms -- and kitchens -- around the country.

2. Food really does matter
We don't actually get to taste the food during The Next Food Network Star, so we have to go by the opinions of the judges. Jeffrey is a trained chef, with real experience and a culinary background. Oh yeah, he blew it with the risotto, but he still produced a perfect scallop and chocolate mousse, for the super-important food experts dinner last week. In a series, Jeffrey's food would be consistently well-seasoned, flavorful and tasty.

3. Star quality
Food Network execs Susie Fogelson and Bob Tuschman have been talking about star quality and if I had to ascribe that trait to Jeffrey or Melissa, my vote goes to Jeffrey. Maybe it's the twinkle in the eye or the Pepsodent smile, Jeffrey has it. I can envision him happily working on a kitchen TV set, roasting peppers, grating cheese, and talking about how to render chicken fat. He's sort of a Michael Chiarello or Mario Batali type.

4. Concept and philosophy
Melissa has going for her the single mom of two concept, the real housewife angle. She's not a pro, so she also has a Rachael Ray/Sandra Lee vibe. However, when I look at Melissa, I see Sara Moulton from Gourmet Magazine who used to do a Food Network show called Sara's Secrets. In other words, I don't see something fresh and new with Melissa. If Food Network wants fresh and new, Jeffrey's more likely to deliver it, especially with his "cooking without borders" philosophy.

5. Gut/guyfeeling
Food Network has a certain idea of who they wanted to win this competition. I don't think it was ever going to be a woman. Maybe it was the bad experience from recent winner, Amy Finley, who opted out after six episodes. Food Network could use another man to expand the face of the network because right now there's too much Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri. Jeffrey's the guy.

... Of course, even if Jeffrey doesn't win, there is a life on TV for runners-up. Adam Gertler, for instance, lost to Aaron McCargo last season and he still landed a show, Will Work for Food. Kelsey Nixon was plugged into the Food Network's Food2 web TV show Kelsey & Spike Cook. (Spike, by the way, was a Top Chef contestant). And another previous Next Food Network Star "loser," Nathan Lyon, has a show on Discovery Health called A Lyon in the Kitchen.

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Melissa was pre-selected, unless she totally screwed-up, which she didn't. That said, her food was basic and her personality artificial, right down to the nacy Pelosi fake smile. I would have looked for Jeffrey's show on the schedule. I saw Melissa's 1st show and will not watch again. DULL.

August 25 2009 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well wasn't that nice of WPIX news to ruin the finale for me of TNFNS! They have the winner cooking today on their morning news show! (finale is SUNDAY)

July 31 2009 at 7:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
karen b

I'm rooting for Jeffrey, I like his personality, knowledgeability. The risotto was just a timing issue. Melissa is quite a good cook but I find her personality grating, also thought the tale of her mother's suicide a bit too much. She could have just said 'after my mother died.' So many of these FN women are the same, how is she different from Robin Miller, Elle Kreiger and the aforementioned Sara Moulton as far as personality goes. Ina and Giada are great cooks, Rachael, love her or hate her is unique. (Sandra Lee is beyond awful and should be booted off the air). Other than Michael Chiarello, the men on FN are all into the super macho thing, a little tiring.

July 31 2009 at 6:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lana Teninga

I have to pull for Jeffrey since he is my son. It has been a very interesting 3 months and I've loved every minute of it.

Thanks. - Go Jeff

July 30 2009 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kevin Choi

When Debbie was sent home, I had a feeling that the judges already had in mind who they wanted to win. Expecially, Bobby Flay played a bad guy role and openly criticized Debbie. Of course, Debbie should have come up with a real WOW to the food gurus, that is her fault.

Jeffrey came up with a disaster to the food big shots who said 'This is the worst risotto I've ever had.' and another one said 'This is disrespect to Italy.' Yet, Debbie was sent home, which gave me an idea that Food Network really hated to lose Jeferrey. So, my bet is that he will be the next star.

July 30 2009 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would not watch a show with Mellisa; she turns me off with her frenetic ego-driven sentimental antics which seem to be seeking sympathy from the judges. Let's put the focus on the talent,experience and cooking chops. It's a cooking show, not a soap opera. Jeffrey comes across as knowledgable, likable and a genuine chef. I would definitely watch a show of his. good luck Jeffrey!

July 30 2009 at 3:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I could equally watch either one of the finalists.
I originally got the feeling that the panel was leaning toward Mellissa, and think there is still a possibility she's who they want. Really, Sandra Lee is great to watch but you can only handle so much of her , and Ina's stuffy hooty tooty food is not something everyone likes to cook , or watch for that matter. Rachael is destined to leave the network, Oprah has her talons in her. Giada is a new mom and will soon have to cut back her hours to enjoy her child who will be fully mobile shortly. Paula is an old standby and will need someone to offset her southern buttery style. There are a few other shows with women either starring or co-starring , but they aren't full of the "WOW" factor the stars previously mentioned are. Though the Neeleys are doing quite well. That show "Cooking For Real" is coming into its own and (can't remember her name) cooks food easy to duplicate and tasty looking.. But she's only one up and coming star, they DO need another female. That said, Jeffery could really step into Mario's empty spot on Food Network. He's just as laid back, but unfortunatley doesn't have the personality Mario has... maybe he can get one...

July 29 2009 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wulfn1's comment
Mary Ann Starnes

I have been pulling for Jeffery the whole show.There is an ease,and confidence with him that I just like.Melissa,is too hyper chaotic in everything she does.I did not like her or Debbie from beginning.

July 30 2009 at 3:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't disagree with what you say, but I find Jeffrey uninteresting. I think I could actually enjoy watching Melissa. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if the network doesn't find a place for both of them when all is said an done. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to see Debbie show up on the network somewhere.

Last year, it was barely a month later when they annouced boring and uninteresting Adam Gertler was given a show of his own. If Lisa Garza hadn't been so unlikeable they might have found a place for her, as well.

July 29 2009 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with you. I love watching the Mario Batali's, Bobby Flays, Aaron's on Food Network television. I don't think I would watch Melissa. There are enough Rachel Rays, Barefoot Contessas, Sandra Lees. We need some new. I will watch Jeffrey and I think I could cook his food.

July 29 2009 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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