Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A little summertime diversion from my woodworking

Even though I've occasionally seen the show Survivor in the past, it's not something that make a conscious effort to watch. The best part of it is the human dynamic, the wild card of seeing a particular idiot being called out for being....well, an idiot.

But mostly, reality shows leave me longing for...well, again... reality.

But there's just something special about the Food Network's show - The Next Food Network Star - that fascinates me to no end. Maybe it's the combination of someone having to put together a whole package - cooking skills, appearance, camera presence - all while learning this in front of a camera, for the world to see.

In my own little way, I got a taste of that when I recorded those four Watco Application videos a while back - I had no idea that filming something was that hard, and trust me, it shows in the quality of the videos.

The reason I bring this up - this coming Sunday, the Food Channel is going to run a marathon of the entire current season of The Next Food Network Star, or the NFNS. It's the only sort of marathon I would ever consider doing. If any of this sounds vaguely interesting, you should check your local TV guide for a time in your area. I'm pretty sure they're going to run all the shows, back to back, culminating at the final show, where this season's winner will be revealed.

So - they're down to three finalists. If you've been watching, who do you think will win?

You have Aaron McCargo Jr., a executive catering chef from Camden, NJ.

Adam Gertler, a server/ex-restaurateur/performer from Philadelphia.

And Lisa Garza from Dallas, who is immersed in food, doing everything from owning an event planning/catering business to designing and selling her line of kitchen aprons.

On a gut level, Aaron and Adam's food appeals to me the most. They make comfort food, like barbecued and smoked meats that take a lot of time and effort. I'm not likely to make meals like that, so I've enjoyed watching how they simplify things. But in the last challenge, which took place in Las Vegas, I think Aaron really bombed by making three pasta dishes out of the five he was supposed to create for his buffet. Anyone can make three pasta dishes, what was he thinking? His "I wanted to keep it simple" idea might have cost him the show. Aaron might be the underdog, so I'm in his corner. But his food lacks something inventive for my taste.

Adam finally managed to pull together an awesome meal, but I had the feeling it was almost a little too late. His cooking has been really up and down, and that might not be a risk that the Food Network is willing to take. Sure, he's very likable and seems like a guy you'd like your daughter to bring home, but consistent? It's debatable, and that's too bad, because he has other nice qualities.

Which takes me to Lisa. In the first few weeks of show, I was prepared not to like her. I'm not sure why, maybe it was the perfect skin, the great hair, her stylish outfits, her polish, her poise... she just seemed like she had so many great things going on, that she would be a natural favorite. I never root for those people! Like I said, I'm always in the underdog's corner.


There's just something about Lisa that makes me want to watch her. Maybe when she slipped and fell on one of the earlier shows, it metaphorically brought her off that pedestal that she appears to be on. As the show has progressed, she's become more down to earth, more vulnerable, which makes her
more likable.

My vote? Who do you think?

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