Who Will You Vote For On ‘Food Network Star?’

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Well, the latest great season of Food Network Star is rapidly drawing to a close with viewers getting to select a winner on this upcoming Sunday’s show, and for the first time ever, I must admit that I truly like all the final contenders. If you haven’t watched last night’s episode, beware: spoilers ahead…

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Meet The Next Food Network Stars!

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It’s summer time, which means we’re already three episodes deep into one of my favorite reality shows ever, Food Network Star (née The Next Food Network Star). So far this seventh (!) season has been pretty excellent, but could we really expect anything less from something involving the inimitable Susie Fogelson? The cast is wide and varied, and with any luck, we’ll actually wind up with a winner we’ll want to watch — something the show has yet to achieve for me. Sure, Melissa D’Arabian is aiight, and Aarti Paarti is genial enough, but I’ve yet to set a season pass on my DVR for a winner’s program (certainly not for anything involving Aaron McCargo Jr.).

With the season still young, let’s take a look at the cast — both those remaining and eliminated — and see who we want to win, who will win, and who just full on are terrible. Analysis after the jump

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Espresso Chocolate Caramel Bars

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Once again, CSN Stores has furnished me with a lovely gift certificate on the condition that I review whatever purchases I make with it. This time around I nabbed four items: a hand blender, a candy thermometer, a cooking sheet, and a four-cup angled liquid measure. I decided I would test out the candy thermometer first, and what better way to employ one than by making caramel? This, of course, was a bold choice for me because I’m deathly afraid of things that are super hot and bubble. Call me old fashioned, but anything that has the potential to simultaneously suddenly explode AND maim me is something I stay away from. (And yes, I include “scarring” under the “maiming” category). Luckily, when I went through the great Apple Tatin phase of 2009, I overcame most of my caramel fears and felt more or less confident that I could tangle with the beast again.

After the jump, check out photos of the exciting process, including many shots of bubbling caramel (which is incidentally my tranny stripper name).

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Checking In On Our Food Network Stars

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We’re just over halfway through yet another fun season of The Next Food Network Star, and with the finish line coming closer and our opinions of the contestants growing stronger, I thought I’d check in and share my thoughts about the remaining finalists. The good news is that of nearly all the people left standing, I’d probably watch a show by any of them. Well, almost any of them.

Opinions after the jump…

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What I Loved About The ‘Next Food Network Star’ Premiere

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It’s certainly a good June for food TV fans. We’ve got Top Chef Masters wrapping up (sniff), Top Chef: DC gearing up, and now The Next Food Network Star amping up. Yes, the oft-overlooked but no less awesome Food Network series is back, and unlike those two other esteemed culinary competitions, this one features a component that viewers at home can actually pontificate about legitimately: star power. That’s right, this show is more than just cooking. It’s about personality and taste-level and discerning who we want to see staring back at us on umpteen pots and pans in Target. I’ll be honest: it’s neat watching the would-be celebrity chefs put together a meal, but the real thrill is watching them either soar in front of the camera or crash and burn in an avalanche of stammers, tears, and pit stains. And let me assure you that we had plenty of that on last night’s two hour season premiere. There were some epic disasters, and I truly felt bad for some of these people who embarrassed themselves so thoroughly. (But I didn’t feel that bad.)

After the jump, I’ve compiled a list of everything I loved about the premiere. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts too…

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