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The Next Food Network Star is a reality television series produced by and aired on the Food Network in the United Statesmarker that awards the winner his or her own series on the Food Network.

Season One


The first season of The Next Food Network Star series was taped in February 2005, and was composed of five episodes premiering on Sundays at 9 PM in June 2005. Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh were the winners of the first season. These two Chicagomarker area caterers host a show called Party Line with Dan & Steve, now titled Party Line with The Hearty Boys, which premiered on September 18, 2005. The runner-up, Deborah Fewell, was chosen to host a special on food at beaches, Surf N Turf, which aired in June 2006. Michael Thomas is the recurring chef on The Tyra Banks Show. Susannah Locketti has made an appearance on The Tony Danza Show, and is also an on-air chef for Publix grocery stores in the southern United Statesmarker.


Finalist Age Hometown Place
Dan Smith & Steve McDonagh 42 and 40 Bellmore, NYmarker and Wayne, NJmarker Winners
Deborah Fewell 32 Los Angeles, CAmarker Runner-Up
Hans Rueffert 32 Jasper, GAmarker 3rd
Susannah Locketti 33 Plymouth, MAmarker 4th
Eric Warren 52 Los Angeles, CAmarker 5th
Michael Thomas 36 Venice, CAmarker 6th
Harmony Marceau 30 New York City, NYmarker 7th
Brook Harlan 24 Columbia, MOmarker 8th

Season Two


The second season of The Next Food Network Star series was taped in December 2005 and began airing in March 2006. Guy Fieri was announced as the winner on April 23, 2006, beating Reggie Southerland. Guy's Big Bite premiered in June 2006 and was picked up for a second season in 2008 and remains in production. Originally intended as a one-hour special, Fieri's second series, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, premiered April 23, 2007. Guy's third series, Ultimate Recipe Showdown, first aired on February 17, 2008, co-hosted by Marc Summers. Guy's newest show debuted on the Food Network on September 14, 2008. Called Guy Off The Hook, it is similar in concept to Emeril Live, but allows guests to come up on stage and participate in the cooking.

Guy has appeared with Dinner: Impossible chef Robert Irvine, and with Paula Deen in Paula's Party in 2007; and as a guest judge in subsequent seasons of The Next Food Network Star.

Fourth-place contestant Nathan Lyon began hosting his own series, A Lyon In the Kitchen, on the Discovery Health Channel in March 2007.


Finalist Age Hometown Culinary P.O.V. Eliminated
Guy Fieri 38 Santa Rosa, CAmarker "Off the Hook" California Cuisine Winner
Reggie Southerland 39 Los Angeles, CAmarker Modern Soul Food Runner-Up
Carissa Seward 33 San Diego, CAmarker Simple Food for Entertaining Week 6
Nathan Lyon 35 Los Angeles, CAmarker Healthy and Seasonal Food Week 5
Andrew Schumacher 26 Brooklyn, NYmarker Cooking Techniques Week 4
Evette Rodriguez 35 Port St. Lucie, FLmarker Latin Cuisine Week 3
Elizabeth Raynor 32 Sausalito, CAmarker Simple Mediterranean Cuisine Week 2
Jess Dang 24 Menlo Park, CAmarker Asian Cuisine Week 1

Season Three


The third season began on June 3, 2007, and the winner was announced on Sunday, July 22. In season 3, judges narrowed the field down to 2 with 1 or 2 contestants going home weekly. Once the field was down to 2, the viewers picked the winner. During the season, the contestants lived in a shared house in New York City. The contestants' challenges included cooking concession food for a NBA game (with guest Darryl Dawkins) to a mini version of Food Network's Iron Chef America (with guest judges Bobby Flay and Cat Cora). The Selection Committee consisted of Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson along with one guest. Guest judges included Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis, Duff Goldman, season two winner Guy Fieri, and Robert Irvine. Additionally, Paula Deen and Rachael Ray participated in contestant challenges, and Bobby Flay also played a role in the guidance and selection process. Amy Finley was chosen by America as The Next Food Network Star on July 22, 2007. Her new show The Gourmet Next Door premiered on October 14, 2007 and ran for six episodes. Finley later declined to continue with the series, citing relocation to France and family reasons.


Name Age Hometown Eliminated
Amy Finley 33 San Diego, CAmarker Winner1
Rory Schepisi 31 Vega, TXmarker Runner-Up
Joshua Adam "Jag" Garcia 25 Havelock, NCmarker Withdrew1
Paul McCullough 36 Los Angeles, CAmarker Week 6
Adrien Sharp 29 Jackson, MImarker Week 5
Michael Salmon 53 Brooklyn, NYmarker Week 4
Tommy Grella, Jr. 34 Methuen, MAmarker Week 3
Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine 29 New York, NYmarker Week 3
Nikki Shaw 38 Oakland, CAmarker Week 2
Patrick Rolfe 33 Seattle, WAmarker Week 1
Vivien Cunha 40 Hermosa Beach, CAmarker Week 1

 Amy Finley was eliminated Week 7, and the original finalists were Rory Schepisi and Joshua "JAG" Garcia. After the final elimination episode was aired, evidence came to light that JAG had lied about both his culinary training and his military service, representing both as more extensive than they actually were. Food Network allowed him to withdraw from the competition and reinstated Amy Finley, who was voted The Next Food Network Star.

Season Four


Season four of The Next Food Network Star premiered on Sunday, June 1, 2008. Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson are joined by Bobby Flay as the selection committee for this season. Each new episode aired on Sundays at 10:00 PM EDT. For this season, the viewers no longer received the chance to vote for the winner; producers instead made the final decision. This led to an error by a employee who accidentally posted the winning moment video on their website three days before the finale aired. It was subsequently taken down. The winner for the fourth season was Aaron McCargo, Jr. His winning show idea, Big Daddy's House, first aired August 3, 2008 at 1:30 PM EDT on Food Network. Finalist Adam Gertler hosts a Food Network show called Will Work for Food, which debuted on January 19, 2009 at 8:30PM Eastern Time. Kelsey Nixon co-hosts a web show on (a Food network sister site) and also appeared in the premiere of Chefs vs. City in 2009.


Name Age Hometown Occupation Eliminated
Aaron McCargo, Jr. 36 Camden, NJmarker Chef Winner
Adam Gertler 30 Philadelphia, PAmarker Food Server Runner-Up
Lisa Garza 32 Dallas, TXmarker Restaurateur/Designer Runner-Up
Kelsey Nixon 23 North Ogden, UTmarker Assistant Culinary Director Week 7
Shane Lyons 20 Colorado Springs, COmarker Private Chef and actor Week 6
Jennifer Cochrane 32 Woonsocket, RImarker Chef Week 5
Nipa Bhatt 35 Victoria, MNmarker Marketing Manager Week 4
Jeffrey Vaden 43 White Plains, NYmarker Food Service Management Week 3
Kevin Roberts 39 San Diego, CAmarker Radio Talk Show Host/Restaurant Owner/Author Week 2
Cory Kahaney 45 New York, NYmarker Stand-up Comedian Week 1

Season Five


Season five of The Next Food Network Star premiered on June 7, 2009. Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson were joined by Bobby Flay as the Selection Committee for this season, which was filmed early this year in Miami, Floridamarker and New York, New Yorkmarker. Melissa D'Arabian was declared the winner on August 2, 2009 with the title for her show being "Ten Dollar Dinners." Her show premiered on August 9, 2009. On August 17, 2009 Food Network announced Jeffrey Saad would return in a series of online videos based on his pilot, now called "The Spice Smuggler." The program premiered with four 4-1/2 minute videos featuring one spice and a recipe incorporating it.


Name Age Hometown Occupation Culinary P.O.V. Eliminated
Melissa d'Arabian 40 Keller, TXmarker Stay-At-Home Mom "Family Cooking at its Best" Winner
Jeffrey Saad 42 Los Angeles, CAmarker Restaurateur/Food Consultant/Recipe Developer/Chef "Cooking without Borders" Runner-Up
Debbie Lee 39 West Hollywood, CAmarker Restaurant Consultant "From Seoul to Soul" Week 8
Jamika Pessoa 30 Atlanta, GAmarker Personal Chef/Businesswoman Caribbean Cuisine Week 7
Michael Proietti 28 City Island, NYmarker Executive Chef "Global A Go-Go" Week 6
Katie Cavuto 30 Philadelphia, PA Personal Chef & Dietician Healthy and Green Cuisine Week 5
Teddy Folkman 33 Alexandria, VAmarker Restaurant Owner/Executive Chef "Gourmet Bar Food" Week 4
Eddie Gilbert 30 Los Angeles, CAmarker Apprentice Chef Traditional dishes simplified for the home cook Week 3
Brett August 32 New York, NYmarker Executive Sous Chef Simple food for the home cook Week 2
Jen Isham 30 Orlando, FLmarker Sales Manager "Housewife 2.0" Week 1


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