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Contestants on The Next Food Network Star Season 6
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Contestants on The Next Food Network Star Season 6

Ok, so I’ll admit it; I’m a bit bitter.

I’m not bitter that the food network didn’t pick me for the show, I’m bitter that they didn’t even so much as send a mass e-mail to everyone who didn’t make it to indicate they wouldn’t be picked. It would have been a nice way to let us know we needed some extra work to round out our résumés. From what I can gather from watching these videos, here are the prerequisites for being on this show:

A) Go to culinary school
B) Have some kind of dead or long-suffering relative

Watch the videos and see if I’m bullshitting you here; it’s ridiculous. I’m taking a wine tasting class and dropping some mercury into my uncle’s ketchup next time I’m up there. NFNS 2011 here I come!

But for reals, I think the Scripps interviewers were really lazy this season. If you notice, a disproportionate amount of the contestants have names that begin with letters early in the alphabet and most of them were picked from the live casting calls and not from internet submissions. It leads me to believe that the judges A) Mailed it in halfway through the day in the open casting calls and B) Didn’t really look at the online submissions that carefully. It’s not like they received more applicants with “A” names than all others combined – Aarti, Alexis, Aria, Brad, Brianna, Darrell, Doreen, Dzintra, (three-quarters of the contestants were picked before we get to the fifth letter of the alphabet), Herb, (No Js, the second most popular first letter for American names), Paul, Serena, Tom. Last year – Brett, Debbie, Eddie, Jamika, Jeffery, Jen, Katie, Melissa, Michael, Teddy. Evenly distributed. Maybe they maxxed out their budget at E.

Enough of that; below are the contestants’ videos with my commentary and my predictions as to when they get kicked off:

Aarti Sequeira

I wonder if she ever got picked second in gym class?

Guess who got kicked off the show early? Aarti Paarti. I know this because she’s still cranking out godawful ten-minute long cooking videos on YouTube. Who wants to watch a ten minute long youtube video? I feel like there was more bullshit going on in this one and it just got truncated by YouTube’s content length restrictions. Thank the lord.

In her latest video, there’s a five minute ukelele interlude. WTF. There is seriously five minutes with this girl playing a ukelele and singing kids’ songs. She claims it’s a variety show and a cooking show all in one. I think the world could do without either and wonder why the execs at Scripps thought it was a clever idea. Her sense of humor was stolen from a third-world children’s television show in the seventies.

After the ukelele-ing is over, she takes the dish from the oven and says “Look at how crispydoodle it got on top!


Stab me in the fucking eye. I can’t wait to see this girl get kicked off. I hate this word, I’ve never used it before on this blog, and I’m going to try not to use it again, but here goes; CASTING FAIL. The videos are just goddamn painful to watch. Just to put this show in perspective, her no-budget, same-thing-every-time intro is 25 seconds long.

For the love of Vishnu, don’t click the Youtube link. Join me in praying that this contestant receives a quick and timely boot from the show.

Guess the parents are staying in India, honey.

Prediction: First Booted, continues filming crappy videos until she figures out no one is actually watching, resigns and accepts dinner invitation of fanboy who incessantly messages her on YouTube, marries, housewife and mother to several annoying Indian children with confusing accents

Alexis Hernandez

The guy named Alexis is the gay one – no fucking shit. I happen to think that everyone is born the way they are, but it’s pretty damn clear that this guy’s parents wanted a daughter, so you figure that out.

The first minute of his video looks like it was ripped directly from his profile (no, that is not a work safe link). The reason why he has time to fuck around with this Food Network Star stuff is because of his sugar daddy prominently pictured in the videos. Don’t get any ideas, guys; his heart belongs to Kenny Rogers.

Yes, the farm-to-table thing is hot right now, and they need two gay guys on the show. I think this guy is going to be entertaining, but I’d rather watch Brian Boitano or Adam Roberts. I think this guy is going to get by on charm for a bit but break down when it comes to working in the kitchen.

Prediction: Fourth Booted, Continues to enjoy life as a boytoy. Buys a local restaurant, works in the kitchen for the rest of his life, restaurant never makes a dime because he can’t figure out food cost – doesn’t matter because Marty does the books.

Aria Kagan

Here we go again. Single mom, went to culinary school, dad died – the recipe for success. In my application, I said “It’d be easy to claim that I have had no adversity in my life.” Wrong answer, motherfucker! I’m going to come down with a bad case of the shingles and live on the streets for the next five months, then I’m going to go volunteer at a soup kitchen, to revamp the menu … That will surely better my chances at winning a spot on the show.

I like this girl, she seems pretty cool, but she’s also plain innocuous. I don’t think anyone would really LOVE watching her. She doesn’t seem exciting, but I think she’s got the vibe one needs to get to the final tribal council. The only problem there is that the same vibe doesn’t win anyone the grand prize.

Prediction: Eighth Booted, Starts writing recipes for “Florida Coast Home,” sustains marginal growth in private chef biz after the show.

Brad Sorenson

All right, this guy is awesome. 25 years old, hard worker, humble, might have some of the best skills in the competition. I like this guy. Sign me up for Team Brad.

The night of my first cooking experience (and first “homecoming”), I was trying to impress a girl and made some home-made spaghetti sauce. It totally worked. Brad and I are definitely on the same wavelength.

Prediction: Runner-Up. You know they are going to give this guy a job on Food2 or The Cooking Channel anyway. They’ll give the winner a six-show series and this guy a real job.

Brianna Jenkins

I’m looking forward to Brianna’s bikini episode.

The video says that her dad was “In a really dark place for most of her childhood.” So all you have to do is have a parent with a drinking problem now? Shit, I can play that up. I can write whatever I want on here because my parents barely ever read this stuff. Hi Mom and Dad! Love you guys!

In the question she was given about the three people she would want to dine with (on her bio page) she answers: Oprah, my grandmother, Wendy Williams, and Julia Childs. I don’t know if it is more shocking that:

A) She can’t count
B) She doesn’t know that it’s actually “Julia Child” or
C) She wants to hang out with Wendy Williams

Regardless, she’s hot. I think that’ll work out for her for a while.

Prediction: One round away from the final three. Parlays NFNS and past appearances in Ludacris videos into feeder fetish pay site.

Darrell Smith

There’s really no one like this who’s ever appeared on the Food Network before. His story is good, he teaches home-ec to inner city youth, he’s from Detroit (Second only to the Gulf Coast when it comes to Americans feeling sorry for your ass), and he’s tall and attractive. And he speaks so well. He’s so well spoken. He’s no Colin Powell, but he’s got something to say as far as his teaching mission goes.

I like the theory behind his potential show – simple meals for bachelors – but I don’t know if it’s going to fly. Every bachelor’s fridge I’ve seen contains about 12 things. Of those, one is beer, one is inside a styrofoam box, and the rest are condiments. The battle for this demographic is one best waged on YouTube by some conglomerate like Kraft or General Mills, but it’s a battle worth fighting. My life is a lot better because I can appreciate fine food.

Darrell is shown in the “Film Your Pilot” episode, which they usually shoot when they’re down to four or five contestants, but I haven’t seen him in any of the other contestants’ videos, which leads me to believe that he got kicked off early. I hope this isn’t the case.

Prediction: Sixth booted. Picked up by the Knicks in the fifth round of the draft after talks fail with LeBron, becomes team chef.

Doreen Fang

How did this girl get through the review process? Oh right, her mom died – eight years ago. And one of her favorite hobbies is pole dancing – she’s so SASSY! Jesus Christ, Scripps. The girl burns grilled cheese in her intro video.

SHE BURNS GRILLED CHEESE. And then she has the nerve to tell us she’s giving us tips, and that it’s “golden and crispy.” We have eyes, Doreen. It’s black and nasty and tastes like charcoal and you can’t cook.

Seriously, though; it takes me 20 minutes to make a grilled cheese (my grilled cheeses are the best you’ll ever eat, trust) and the cost of making one is quite low. I am pretty sure she wasn’t filming this on Super 8, so there’s no more cost there either … Why the hell didn’t she just make another one? Some of this stuff just boggles the mind. Again, I feel like this girl is the Asian affirmative-action choice this year. Yes, I know that they have a show to produce, but if this is the best Asian candidate from this year’s contestants, they’re doing those cultures a disservice. She’s cuter that that obese Korean girl from last year, but she was funny and could cook.

In watching more, she doesn’t appear in many of the other contestants’ bio videos either. You can tell that she isn’t even confident in her abilities in the interview. I don’t think she’s going anywhere.

Prediction: Second to go. Survives as a comedienne until Margaret Cho finds out she is booking gigs under her name and sues.

Dzintra Dzenis

Did you see the daughter in the video? Got a forehead like a drive-in movie theatre, but she’s a good shit.

I’ve gotta say that I’m about sick of the forty-something on meth mom character that they always have one of on the show, but this girl looks fun. Look at the pictures of her in cold-war era Latvia cracking stones – straight out of a Rocky movie. This is the first person that I actually believe went through any tough times in life. This girl probably waited in a bread line when she was a kid. AND she went to the real deal Bill McNeil Le Cordon Bleu, not the extension school crap they’re slinging in the US because someone bought the rights to the name. One word for Dzintra: Respect.

And her last name looks like “penis.” Those are some tough odds, girl. Nice work getting here.

Prediction: Fifth Booted. I hope she goes far, though. She seems to have a great style and works well in the kitchen, but they just picked this girl last year. Goes on to write healthy living cookbook titled, “In Soviet Russia, Diet is On You!”

Herb Mesa

I don’t know about you, Herb. You got a pound from Paul and didn’t blow it up. You need to show some respect, son.

You would think he’d blow it up EVERY SINGLE TIME because he’s the ENERGY CHEF! He’s so energetic, he SWEATS LIGHTNING! Watching this show, I wonder if he’s going to be him or the caricature of him that the Food Network wants him to be. I am going to bet the latter.

I liked this guy until he had his kids say his food was “Herbalicious.” It’s not “Crispydoodle,” but it’s still annoying. If this guy can actually cook, I’ll put him deep into the contest.

Prediction: Makes the Final Three, first kicked off in the finale. Buys rights to PowerThirst, markets late night a la Billy Mays, makes a fortune.

Paul Young

I’m guessing this is our second gay contestant. Why do I assume this? In his bio, it says “Sausage (is) one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth.” Freudian slip my ass; he’s trolling.

This guy went to the low budge LCB, but he seems to have his shit together in the kitchen. I don’t really have much to rag on this guy for, he seems pretty cool, but his impersonations suck. Pretty sure he was trying to to do the Adam Sandler mom voice in the video. It could use some work.

He’s got a good background in food and does improv and stand-up, I figure this prepares someone pretty well for a future in food media, but I don’t know if they want the comedian aspect in the kitchen; it didn’t work for Teddy last year, but I thought he was great.

Prediction: Seventh Booted. Takes a head chef position in Fort Lauderdale; keeps in touch with Alexis. Plays with copious amounts of cock and balls.

Serena Palumbo


Serena, will you marry me? Seriously. Will you?

She has a videoblog about cooking that is pretty average. She basically does the videos in five or six takes with no B roll, iMovie, and uber-basic editing, so you’d think she’d be able to crank out more than one a month. When I applied, I had three times the food-related videos up on the web but about a hundredth of the views. I guess it pays to have a cute accent, gorgeous hair, and a killer body.

I don’t know about her cooking skill; she doesn’t really have any background other than the twelve dishes she’s made on film. Other than that, she’s pretty much like the rest of us as far as practice goes, but she’s absolutely ravishing, so that counts for something.

Prediction: Third Booted. Reads this post, thinks I’m hilarious, puts in another application for the position of Hagan’s sugar momma. Lives happy ever after and receives foot massages anytime she wants (truthfully Serena, I give positively orgasmic foot massages).

Tom Pizzica

I love this guy. His application video looks like it would be fun to watch, he seems down to earth, he thinks life on the Eastern Shore of MD sucks; what’s not to like about Tom? He seems like a very laid back individual.

I’ll bet he actually moved back to CA because the weed is better. There really ain’t jack shit to do on the Eastern Shore, though, so anyone with a moderate amount of foodie adventurousness in them is going to have a problem living there. SF is like the food capital of the west, so the change is a big one.

Back to Tom; he owns a white Astro Van. He wears flannel, and not hipster flannel, actual I-haven’t-stopped-wearing-this-stuff-since-it-was-in-the-first-time flannel. He’s cool, relaxed, and I’d like to watch his show.

Prediction: Winner! I don’t think they’re actually going to pick Tom as the winner of the show, but they should. His show is called “Munchies” and will be shown at 4:30 PM every day.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Paystyle June 1, 2010, 10:37 am

    I don’t understand why there’s an issue w/the Darrell guy speaking so well, and why it’s even worth a mention–and also why Colin Powell comes up in reference to how well he speaks. Well, I actually do have a theory why…

    • Hagan June 1, 2010, 10:58 am

      Apparently you’re not a Chris Rock fan.

      • Paystyle June 1, 2010, 7:44 pm

        Oh I’m definitely familiar w/CR and that routine, but I just think the reference was not as obvious as you think. Sarcasm like that usually requires a context that in this case wasn’t apparent.

  • ABC Dragoo June 1, 2010, 11:04 am

    Very, very nice indeed.

    I have to agree, I too am bitter. I tried out for the very FIRST food network star and when they didn’t offer me a chance, I never bothered to watch any of the episodes. How’s that for being a bad sport? This was before people posted their videos on You Tube, before everyone was writing food-blogs… Yeah, I’m bitter. Whatevah.

    I had fun reading your review — and I think I won’t bother watching the show — I’ll simply tune into your site to see how the season evolves! It’s far more entertaining than the actual show, I’d think. ; )

    P.S. I had to refresh my screen for just about every character review – as well as when I wrote this comment. I don’t know if I am using chrome, but man… do I need a different browser?

    • Hagan June 1, 2010, 11:10 am

      No, it’s my fault. I need to optimize.

      I will be live blogging every NFNS show this year, so there will be a recap every Sunday night with the rundown. Now I just need to find a place to watch the show…

  • Stanislaus Santaclaus June 2, 2010, 7:02 pm

    This is pretty shitty, my friend. It’s one thing to do a take down of the garbage contestants on this garbage show that has produced a slew of failures for Food Network (save for Guy Fieri, who, while being lucrative to the network, is a failure for and a stain on humanity as a whole), but you applied to be on the godforsaken thing!

    This very fact negates whatever humor you’re claiming to have imbued upon this post, and instead the whole thing comes off as the pathetic griping of a scorned wannabe. You clearly have a public presence and an esteemed gastronomic pedigree, and your site is put together wonderfully — so I have to question as to why you’d bare your insecurities to the internet so willingly. Doing a rundown of the contestants is fine since you say you’ll be live blogging the season, but there’s no need to ejaculate all over the faces of these folks — you could have been one of them.

    And I don’t know about you, but I try to avoid my own face when I’m yankin’ it.

    • Hagan June 3, 2010, 12:45 am

      Yeah, I am pretty methodical with my spank materials and pretty careful when it comes to trajectory, I’ll agree with you there. Not like I haven’t been caught in the heat of the moment and had the result land in an unintended place. Who hasn’t, right guys?

      What was your question?

  • Evan Comisky July 25, 2011, 10:01 pm

    Gday Evan Comisky here, excellent article with regards to Contestants on The Next Food Network Star Season 6 — The Wandering Foodie. There seem to be an issue with your web site every time visited inside internet explorer, a few elements did not load the right way… Internet explorer still is industry frontrunner plus a significant portion of people will miss your excellent writing for this reason drawback.

  • Hagan May 31, 2010, 11:30 am

    Thanks! I am writing the second half of the post today!

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