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The Next Food Network Star is a program on the Food Network in which hopeful chefs vie to host their own show on the station. Contestants are judged by a selection committee which includes producers from the network. The format of the show varies. Viewers have the opportunity in some but not all seasons to vote for contestants. Contestants were on their own in earlier seasons, but later the competition changed to divide them into teams mentored by celebrity chefs.

The experience of these aspiring stars varies from professional to amateur, and the producers are not just looking for good cooks. Equal importance is placed on contestants' charisma and their comfort in front of a camera. This includes the ability to think and tell stories on the fly and to recover quickly from setbacks as well as basic skills like timing and measured, enunciated speaking. As a result, various challenges along the way test contestants' readiness for television alongside the food they produce. Hopefuls who are skilled in the kitchen but unable to convey an enthusiasm to viewers are cut. Constructive criticism and regular feedback allow the remaining chefs to hone both their cooking and presentation skills over the course of the show.

Contestants also need a strong concept. The more successful cooks will know who their audience is and how they want to sell themselves to viewers. Essentially, they have the opportunity to deliver an extended pitch to both viewers and the selection committee. A focused identity, whether on Italian home cooking or healthy cuisine or party planning, is essential to success.

Many of the winners and runners-up have gone on to host food shows. Guy Fieri, the season 2 winner, has been a particularly notable success from the program. Popular Food Network personalities including Bobby Flay, Alton Brown and Giada de Laurentiis have appeared regularly on the show as judges and coaches.

Sunday 9:00 PM et/pt on Food Network
14 Seasons, 136 Episodes
June 5, 2005
Reality
6.4/10
Cast: Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Bob Tuschman, Susie Fogelson
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Food Network Star Full Episode Guide

  • Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay watch the Food Network pilots for the three finalists; what happens behind the scenes of Food Network Star; finding out who joins the Food Network family and is crowned the newest Food Network star.

  • The three remaining finalists are in for a shock when they learn that a previously eliminated finalist is re-entering the competition. With the help of former finalists, the last four competitors must cook for the privilege of making a pilot. Former winner Eddie Jackson is back to help select the three finalists, who then shoot pilots directed by none other than Guy Fieri.

  • Finalists report live on location by visiting popular food trucks; finalists partake in their own segment of a special called "Up Your Game (Day),'' performing a demo of a special game-day dish while also tackling surprises along the way.

  • The finalists must try their hand at something big; live cooking while streaming on social media; each finalist streams their take on a start-to-finish 15-minute weeknight meal while viewers cook along.

  • Finalists make their best potato dish; Tiffani Thiessen helps Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay judge the finalists' efforts as they each host a summer social gathering for a crowd of people in a park.

  • Finalists take on a typical shopping budget problem while creating an Instagram Story about their shopping trip; finalists perform Sunny Anderson's favorite problem-solving segments from ``The Kitchen'' in front of a studio audience.

  • The remaining finalists are divided into teams and sent into the wilderness. When they arrive at a campsite, they must use whatever camping food is in the back of their cars to create a "glamping" meal. Each team will present their dishes to Giada De Laurentiis, along with guests Melissa d'Arabian and Andrew Zimmern, who will decide which finalist successfully elevated camping food to glamping dishes and gave the best tips for working with wilderness fare.

  • The ten remaining finalists divide into two teams, with each team creating a five-course menu for an experiential restaurant. Diners will experience a completely different environment for each course, such as an appetizer in the jungle and a main course in the desert. Each finalist must also make a video menu describing their dish for the diners, who will select which one they want to taste. Special guest Tyler Florence dines with Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay and helps decide which finalist is sent home.

  • The finalists host a party celebrating Disney's live-action feature Beauty and the Beast. The finalists are divided into three teams, with each team drawing inspiration from one of the iconic rooms of the castle to decorate a serving station and cook up a dish before presenting to a ballroom full of party guests. Special guest Sandra Lee attends the event with Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay to help pick a winning team, then two finalists from the losing team are sent home.

  • Twelve Food Network Star hopefuls arrive at the historic Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles searching of their big break.

  • One ousted rival rejoins the competition, but only if he or she can survive a six-week journey on Star Salvation.

  • The final five competitors hack a classic salad bar to create a dish and share it on Instagram. For the final challenge, the last four competitors create a dinner party and a video invitation to attract potential dinner guests.

  • For the Mentor Challenge, the competitors use forgotten pantry ingredients in a creative and modern way. For the Star Challenge, the finalists go head-to-head, traveling back in time to create a decade-appropriate dish.

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