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FNH Recap: The Sandwich King Premiere with Jeff Mauro
Posted on August 21st 2011

What’s the perfect go-to food when you’re starving to death and standing in front of the refrigerator with both doors open? That’s right! A sandwich! It’s arguably America’s favorite food, in part perhaps because a sandwich can be thrown together in a pinch from all the great leftovers in your house.

Unless, of course, you’re watching Jeff Mauro’s new Food Network show. On today’s premiere episode of Sandwich King, Jeff made a Chicago Italian Beef Pot Roast Style sandwich… which might be delicious IF I WANTED TO SPEND TWENTY ONE HOURS AND TWENTY FIVE MINUTES MAKING A FREAKING SANDWICH! Want the homemade Giardiniera to go on top of it? Sure, but that’ll be another 16 hours and 20 minutes. Of course you could plan ahead, but doesn’t that defeat the entire point of making a sandwich?!

With the magic of TV, it was all made in 22 minutes. Unfortunately, the rest of us at home don’t have that luxury.

Anyway, the episode kicked off with Jeff leaning over the counter of his poorly decorated set, rattling off the ingredients for his sandwiches. He’s too cool to stand up straight. He doesn’t have to. He makes sandwiches.

Speaking of the set, it was pretty much the cheapest thing ever. It looked like a back corner of a NYC subway that someone set up a discounted Ikea kitchen in. Food Network might as well just come out and say: “we are not expecting you to do well, so we’re not going to throw a lot of money into this at all. Here’s $50 for paint. The bald guy from HGTV said barf green was your color. Now run along and make it happen.”

As far as first-time hosts go, Jeff wasn’t half bad. You don’t instantly want to jump through your television and strangle him like with some “other” winners of Next Food Network Star, and that’s always a good thing. Aside from some over the top accents and an overuse of stupid filler words like “awesome” and “perfect” he held his own.

Personally, I really could have done without those constant triple-camera chopping and assembling shots. I get it. He’s chopping shit. I don’t need to incessantly see it from every possible angle known to man.

And as is the case with most Food Network shows, the majority of the half hour was centered around filler, fluff, and tall tales about the host’s boring childhood.

Jeff’s 2nd sandwich was a panini made on focaccia bread. The catch? He didn’t have a panini press, because “he ain’t no millionaire.” As Eric told us on Twitter: “The Sandwich King doesn’t have a panini press in his kitchen?! Next week, he won’t have bread.”

Jeff couldn’t afford to spend $30 on a panini press, but luckily, he could afford to spend $20 on a heavy-duty cast-iron bacon press. Oh happy days. One thing’s for sure: Jeff certainly ISN’T going to be a millionaire any time soon, because Food Network is going to own his ass for the next X amount of years. Oh, those pesky contracts.

The best part of the show came when Jeff took a break to play a little impromptu saxophone:

Kidding. He was really just eating his sandwich. Maybe next week.

Bottom line: I watched the entire show, and all I got out of it is that people in Chicago are rude to you if you order a sandwich wrong. Jeff did a fine job, but then again, he hasn’t had time to become an overly characterized Food Network-ified version of himself yet. For his sake, I hope that doesn’t happen.

What did you think of the show, FNH?

Next Food Network Star »

Next Food Network Star: Season 7 Finale
Posted on August 14th 2011

Finally! The finale of Next Food Network Star: season 7! Are you ready to see who is going to be the already pre-determined winner of the most anti-climactic season in years? Then read on!

Quick question before we start: Why on Earth did Food Network air the “reunion” show before the finale? No one does that! That’s against, like, every unwritten reality TV rule in existence! Not cool, Food Network. Not cool at all. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

The show kicked off with Giada asking Vic, Susie, and Jeff to make the “best dishes of their lives” and then present them on camera. One person was going to be eliminated after the camera challenge and would not get to continue on to become the next contestant on the Price Is Right, which caused Giada got all hyper and emphatically state that “the stakes could not be higher.”

I disagree. They could definitely be higher if they spent a few minutes in a room with Duff Goldman:


Jeff made an eggplant parm sandwich and talked about his father. Then, Susie fried a bunch of pork in pure lard, and talked about her father. Finally, Vic threw a bunch of seafood in a pot and talked about, well, nothing. Such a tough choice! Who should be eliminated and not go on to film their own pilot? Judges?

And just like that… VIC was eliminated from the show – just like we called last week here on FNH, folks. Food Network showed the side of his big ol’ head in the focus group, which was a dead giveaway he was the one to go.

Next up, Susie and Jeff headed to the Food Network studios to film their pilot episode. They used Anne Burrell’s set for the day, and their director was GUY FIERI. Because let’s face it: if there’s anyone you want guiding your career, it’s him. /sarcasm

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Next Food Network Star »

Next Food Network Star: Episode #710 Recap (Iron Chef)
Posted on August 7th 2011

Another week, another predictable episode of Next Food Network Star!

This week, the final four battled it out in Kitchen Stadium. Jeff, Susie, Marybeth, and Vic Vegas… excuse me, Vic MO, competed in two head-to-head battles under the ever-watchful eye of  Alton Brown.

Eliminated contestants Whitney, Chris, Penny, and Jyll were back to help. They acted as sous chefs for the finalists, and generally didn’t get much camera time. Of course, Marybeth got her arch-nemesis Penny as her sous chef. Never would have seen that coming!

Marybeth and Vic competed head to head first in battle rack of lamb. While they cooked, Jeff and Susie acted as commentators and fielded questions from Alton.

Alton asked Susie to explain the difference between green and white asparagus. Susie replied that the green variety was more bitter, and more “FIBER-IER.” Wow. You see, folks? You really DO learn something every day by watching Food Network. Personally, I would have been all, “DUH, ALTON, ONE IS GREEN AND ONE IS WHITE.” But that’s just me.

Meanwhile, at the judging table, Fogelson and Giada were snickering at Susie behind her back like jealous schoolgirls. Fogelson insinuated that Susie fell back on being a ditsy slut when she didn’t know the answer to a question, and Giada shook her head in complete agreement. Right. Because Giada NEVER falls back on being a ditsy slut when she doesn’t know the answer to a question. I forgot. Moving on.

Next, Alton asked Jeff what ingredients he would showcase in his Umami dish, and Jeff didn’t miss a beat. He suggested fish sauce, and jokingly said he “didn’t want to give all of his secrets away” because it “was a competition.” The camera then panned to a blushing Fogelson, who sheepishly stated how “good” and “cute” he was. If you looked carefully, you could actually see the drool pooling up around the corners of her mouth.

After tasting, the judges said Marybeth’s lamb was overcooked and underseasoned. They also noted that Vic’s fries were disgusting and horribly overcooked, which – as far as I’m concerned – automatically makes him eligible for the “fry guy” position at Bobby’s Burger Palace.

Next up, Susie and Jeff went head to head in battle lobster. This was… in a word… boring. Jeff made three sandwiches, but didn’t use his own mayonnaise. And much to Giada’s chagrin, he didn’t even squeeze any lemon in it! THE HORROR!

Meanwhile, Alton asked Marybeth what a bisque was. After 5 minutes of rambling, she ultimately stated it was “a thick, cushy little bed that you’d wanna sleep in for a week.” Alton’s reply was the funniest moment of the episode:

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Next Food Network Star »

Advice Fogelson Meme: Part 2
Posted on August 5th 2011

Last week we asked you to create your own Advice Fogelson memes, based on the horrific – and conflicting – advice Susie Fogelson gives to the contestants on Next Food Network Star and the ridiculousness of the show in general. These were our 6 favorites. Thanks to everyone who sent them in!

susie fogelson meme next food network star

susie fogelson meme next food network star

susie fogelson meme next food network star

susie fogelson meme next food network star

susie fogelson meme next food network star

susie fogelson meme next food network star

Next Food Network Star »

Next Food Network Star: Possible Spoiler Alert
Posted on August 5th 2011

Well, folks, they do it every year.

Without fail, Food Network does SOMETHING to reveal the winner of Next Food Network Star before the season is over. Last year, they added Aarti to their “Our Chefs” page on their website. During season 4, they posted a video clip with “Winner Aaron McCargo” before the finale even aired.

With a few weeks left to go in the show, could THIS be this year’s spoiler?

Read the rest after the jump.

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