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'The Next Food Network Star' Finale Predictions

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 13th 2010 6:00PM
the_next_food_network_star_2010_season_sixThe season finale 'The Next Food Network' airs Sunday at 9PM ET, and if you've been watching since the first episode, you know that it's been a good competition. All the three finalists -- Aarti Sequeira, Herb Mesa, and Tom Pizzica -- seem to have a good shot at winning the top prize.

We have our own thoughts about who would excel with his or her own Food Network television show, but if you've studied the judges' reaction, one candidate seems to have the inside track to victory.

Check out our analysis of who will be 'The Next Food Network Star,' starting with the chef most likely to win ...

aarti_sequeira_the_next_food_network_star_20101. 'The Next Food Network Star' Will Be ... Aarti Sequeira.

More than any other contestant, Aarti has won over the judges. They admire her tenacity and grace. They gushed over her food last Sunday during the 'Iron Chef America' challenge. Even though she's not a chef and has no experience in a professional kitchen -- and she does not work quickly -- they have overlooked the negatives and appreciated the positives. Yes, she has failed spectacularly, like serving mushy rice, but they've always moved her along.

What's the reason for the pass? Perhaps it's that background as a CNN producer. Also Aarti's proposed show, 'Aarti's Party,' would be an Indian-themed program, which is a niche that's yet to be covered by any other Food Network star. Aarti would represent the kind of expansion into other kinds of food that the network wants.

Finally, Aarti's vivaciousness and bright smile have a strong telegenic appear. When you compare her to Giada DeLaurentiis or Rachael Ray, you can see a similarity and Aarti seems well-suited to promoting the network and her brand -- given some PR schooling and confidence-building.

The_Next_Food_Network_Star_Season_Six_2010_Tom_pizzica2. And the first runner up is ... Tom Pizzica.

Through most of the season, Tom has been very high, and very low, depending on the challenge. But when he's succeeded, the judges have really been dazzled. Tom has the bold, adventurer quality that could make any show he created a lot of fun. But he doesn't have a strong, specific point of view, which might hurt him in the end.

As for his personal style, Tom's very good on camera. In the Eva Longoria episode, Tom's interpretation of the word jealousy as a "fairy tale" battle between two types of tuna was both unique and winning. It was a season high point.

However, his huge risk during the 'Iron Chef America' challenge -- making a bacon steak that was inedible -- nearly got him booted from the show. During the commentary section, however, Tom was superb.

Should Aarti be upset, Tom's the likely guy to be named the winner. His Seth Rogen quality, with a dash of Guy Fieri, is very workable for the Food Network gurus. He has some real star potential.

herb_mesa_The_Next_Food_Network_Star_Season_Six_20103. Least likely to win ... Herb Mesa.

No offense to Herb, but he's struggled throughout the competition. At one point, he seemed emotionally checked out, but managed to bounce back. To his credit, though, in the 'Iron Chef America' challenge, he did very well with two of three shrimp dishes and might have won the whole thing if he had taken two minutes to clean the clams for the seafood broth.

Ironically, if he had won that challenge, it would have been his only solo victory. In the previous episodes, unlike Aarti and Tom who have racked up solo wins, Herb just won only once ... and that was in partnership with Brianna.

However, when all is said and done, Herb's been too unsure of himself and his goals to be the top guy. Once before the Food Network went with a contestant who's heart was not in the process.

In season 3, Amy Finley was named 'The Next Food Network Star,' but she had at one point removed herself from the competition. A controversy with another contestant put her back in the running. So she was the winner, and after just six episodes of a show called 'The Gourmet Next Door,' she flaked out on them and walked away from the network.

Herb's emotion have gotten the better of him during season 6. Will Food Network risk a show on another potentially unsure chef? I don't think so.

So, those are our predictions. What do you think? Share your comments and thoughts before Sunday's broadcast on the Food Network.

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Found this on the web: yeah Tom!


On this new daytime show, Sequeira will share "approachable and delicious ways to enhance American favorites with simple but unique Indian influences," just like she has been doing all NFNS season long! Whether she's sprucing up everyday pulled pork sandwiches and perfectly roasted chicken or taking classic bread pudding and basic red lentils to new heights, Sequeira cleverly combines the familiar with the exotic to create mouthwatering meals. No matter the occasion, Aarti Party promises great food and endless fun for home cooks everywhere.

However, in additional news the Food Network is excited to announce that Next Food Network Star runner-up Tom Pizzica will host the new primetime series Outrageous Food, premiering November 2010. Production begins today, August 16th, for this traveling food show featuring out-of-this-world eats.

So where does that leave second runner-up Herb Mesa? The personal trainer-turned-chef was always confident and charming, and kept pointing out he had a lot at stake with his family at home. His Cooking con Sabor was a vibrant and passionate-- although a bit last minute as he switched from "The Energy Chef"-- attempt, so Examiner feels as long as he continues to hone his concept and his presence, he will have a show or cookbook in no time!

August 16 2010 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Randy Slovacek

What happens if Aarti wins the "fan favorite" competition too? Does she get the network show AND the online show? Or does it go to the second place "fan favorite"?

August 16 2010 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It would be a close call between aarti nd tom but aarti's indian cuisine is more exciting. I still don't know what tom would bring into the show. The winner should bring an exciting and totally new cuisine to the food network. As a non-indian I would still connect with aarti because I haven't tried too many indian recipes. This show would be more exciting than mellisa d'arabian's ten dollar dinners for working mom's around the country. This time it should be all about the food not for just for a particular audience, but for everyone that would watch each episode wanting more of the recipes.

August 15 2010 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Aarti has been my personal choice for some time now. She has camera presence, polish, and a fresh point of view. Had no idea she was once a CNN producer, because Food Network is passing her off as a blogger. I guess that explains the polish, but I'm unclear why she's occassionally unsure of herself. Thankfully her food speaks for itself, and it seems would be great to try.

Tom didn't initially impress me, and I thought for sure he'd go, but he pulled together towards the end, and managed to show off some presence, despite his apparent inability to impress the judges with his food. Some of his creations... seem... a bit off. But I think he would make a great commentator or sidekick.

Herb I liked early on, but his culinary point of view about healthy cooking is a huge turn off. (YAWN) And I'm doubtful he could host a show.

August 15 2010 at 8:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I know Aria screwed up on the last challenge but I think she should be worked into a show, somehow. She was a delight to watch and I think she'd work into a really interesting personality.
Look at Bobby Flay, so full of charisma and interesting to watch
but at first it was definitely a struggle , both for him and his audience. I sincerely wish the producers would find her a place.
You're an interesting show. Peggy

August 14 2010 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob Walley

Tom is the choice if they want a long term Food Network star.
Aarti will do well in the short term and then move on to something else that interests her.
Herb...you just don't know. I think he could be so appealing if he could just find a rhythm and just get comfortable. I think it's too late for him and I'm not sure why he's still there. Even Aria was a more solid contestant than Herb.

August 14 2010 at 1:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Aarti has been my favorite for quite some time. She has a great personality and could easily become the next big thing for the network. Maybe not as big as Guy Fieri but far more of a presence on the network than Melissa D'Arabian. D'Arabian was my favorite last year, but the show the network pigeon-holed her into is mediocre and makes D'Arabian mediocre buy extension (which is a shame). I could also see Aarti on cookbooks and other products, which is a good thing considering how FN likes to cash in on their stars.

I like Tom and also think he could be successful. If he doesn't win, and the network has a brain in their collective head, they'll find a way to keep him in the fold much like they did with Adam Gertler (even if Gertler is a pathetic host and not much of cook). As for Herb; I'm so tired of his whining I hope he quickly fades away.

August 13 2010 at 8:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well Brianna has won my heart and that's all that matters.

August 13 2010 at 7:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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