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The Next Food Network Star
Season 6
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Previous Episodes

Twelve people hit up the Food Network for a pilot of their own show. But who'll beat the heat and who'll get out of the kitchen?

Recaps by Jason Block, GSNN
Host/Judge Bobby Flay
Judges Bob Tuschman
Susie Fogelson
Onset Mentor Giada deLaurentiis
EP Tom Seligson
Packager CBS EyeToo Productions for Food Network
Web foodnetwork.com/star 
Airs 9p Sun, Food

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Welcome to Los Angeles
June 20

12 aspiring chefs venture out to Los Angeles to become the 6th winner of The Next Food Network Star! Who will be the next Guy Fieri? Let's find out!
First to arrive at the house is Doreen Fang from Los Angeles, CA. She is 39 and a caterer. She cooked from a very young age because she hated her mom's Chinese food. Next is 31 yr old Aarti Seguiera. She loves to cook but never thought of it as a career. She thinks LA is an amazing food town. Paul Young is 32 and a waiter and bartender. He knows he is going to win this. He started going to school at 19 as an improv comic, but then went to culinary school and has been a chef for 7 years. Next is Herb Mesa. He is 41 and a personal trainer/chef. He wants to do a personal training/personal cooking show. He is also a stay at home dad. He struggled with his weight his whole life and wants to change people's lives.
Brianna Jenkins is a 30 yr old caterer who is the sassy diva of the competition. She went to culinary school in Paris. 32 yr old Tom Pizzica is an unemployed chef, who was the executive chef at the Imperial Hotel in Maryland. He has a big personality. Alexis Hernandez is 40. He lives on a farm, but doesn't farm on it. He is a food writer. Dzintra Dzenis is a quirky 45 yr old culinary instructor who says what comes into her head. Brianna calls Dzintra a little wacky. Brad Sorenson is 25, but started working in kitchens when he was 17. He opened his first restaurant at 22. He is a bit nervous, never having been to California before. Serena Palumbo is a 31 yr old attorney, who had women teach her how to cook. Darrell A. Smith(a/k/a DAS) is a 28 yr old Culinary Instructor. He is ready to win the competition. Aria Kagan is 30 yr old and a mom of a 3 yr son, Luca. She is a private chef.
Everyone hasn't even gotten comfortable when Dzintra opens a note saying: "Finalists, head to your very own Food Star Kitchens, and be ready to put yourself on a plate!"
Everyone is blown away by the Food Star Kitchens. But the anticipation is broken when host Bobby Flay welcomes the finalists to the competition. He introduces the rest of the selection committee. We have seen them before, but let's re-introduce them. First is Susie Fogelson, the Vice President of Brand Strategy and Marketing at Food Network. Next is Bob Tuschman, the senior Vice President in Charge of Programming. Tuschman says that each of them has a spark, but he is looking for someone to inspire a nation of viewers. He is looking for that star power. For one of them, it is the fast track to stardom. Susie is looking beyond the TV. Can they sell books? Magazines? Their own line of cookware? Who is her next powerhouse brand?
Flay says the food is the most important thing. This season, we have a chef mentor in Giada De Laurentiis. Serena loves her approach to Italian Cooking. Giada tells her story of how she is living proof that she can be a star. 7 years ago, she was in an article. Bob called her up out of the blue and asked her to put her name and recipes on camera, and the rest is history. She will guide them as much as she can. Time for the first challenge:
CHALLENGE: Chicken and Potatoes! This is YOU on a plate. Create a dish in 45 minutes that best describes you on a plate, using chicken and potatoes.
We see the various chefs and dishes being prepped. Each chef promotes who they are and what they want to be. Each chef has their own problems and the time ends!
Flay and Giada tells the chefs they will present the dishes to camera!
CAMERA CHALLENGE: The chefs will have 30 seconds to tell the selection committee about their dish and how it reflects who you are.
Aria presents first. She wants to have a local flavor to her cooking. Susie likes her smile and personality and gets why she presented the plate she made, which was chicken breast, walnuts and roasted potatoes. Bobby Flay is very encouraged by her.
Next is Doreen. She stopped at 11 seconds and had to stretch. She was disappointed and said it wasn't her. Bob didn't get why this dish represented her.
Herb is next. All judges felt the dish did represent him on a plate. Bob called him rough and tumble, which is what the dish was. Bobby liked his Cilantro line.
Tom is unhappy with his dish, so he has to nail the presentation.  Which is he doesn't do at all. He looks down and blows it bad. Bob said his shaggy dog look was ok, but he didn't look he wanted to be here. Flay says the hash is one-note.
Dzintra is up to the camera next.  Bob notices what Dzintra did which was that she got tangled up in her words, as her brain went like a pinball. Bob loved the dish saying, "It's the one dish I can't stop eating."
Serena's dish is literally shaking. Bob called the food "great Italian cooking". Susan was so nervous for her, she didn't listen to the presentation.
Das is ashamed that his chicken is raw that he can't look the judging committee in the eye. Bob said because his dish was raw, he lost confidence in the presentation of the dish.
Aarti is upset that her dish is raw, but she hopes she can salvage it. They loved her presentation, but hated the fact the food was raw.
Paul wants to show he can take food seriously. Bobby thought his potato was an afterthought in the dish.
Brianna starts off strong, but fades in the end. Both Bob and Susan thought "being fun" is not a point of view. Bobby liked the taste and look of the dish.
Brad sees the camera and gets nervous. Everyone liked the food, but they thought he needs to bring his food personality to the camera.
Alexis is nervous. Bobby calls him timid. But he likes the food.
Bobby calls the contestants in for review. He didnt like Tom and Das, and they are in the bottom 2. The winners were Herb and Aria.
Das is bummed about being in the bottom 2. While everyone is commiserating, Aria finds the next clue: "Get ready for your close-up! Head to Paramount Studios Soundstage 21 in the morning for your Star Challenge."
We see the contestants heading from the house in the hills to Soundstage 21 at Paramount Studios. Herb feels awesome about winning the challenge. Tom wants to redeem himself. Giada tells the contestants they will be shooting their very first promo for their very own show. This is the first part of the two-part star challenge.
Joining Giada is director Andy Fickman. Here is the challenge: The chefs have 15 minutes to write a 15 second promo. They also have 3 backdrops and props to shoot the promo with.
We see the prep of all the contestants and time is up.
We see Brianna's promo first. Brianna's glasses fall off.
Next is Doreen and Dzindza.
Paul is up next. Andy recognizes that he is an Improv comic.
Alexis is nervous. They notice him struggling. He is really getting worse take after take.
Brad is comfortable. Andy feels he is robotic. He is struggling with how to do this. He is frustrated with not getting it.
Tom needs to come out swinging. Giada and Andy like it.
Aria is up next. They love it.
Das moves his hands a lot.
Aarti is nervous and cottonmouthed. They try to get her to be more fun. And she does it!
Serena is called a puppet by Giada. She fixes it.
Herb doesnt feel like he can do it. But Herb takes 8 or 9 and feels like he failed.
The 2nd part of the star challenge is this: You will cater a 6 course meal for a celebrity chef: the catch is the chef is unknown. The meal has to feature the theme of California Cuisine and their promos will be screened.
Herb and Aria are team captains and will assign a course to each team member. The teams are:
ARIA(appetizer)      HERB(appetizer)
Dzintra(Dessert)     Brad(Seafood)
Brianna(Seafood)    Serena(Meat)
Tom(Meat)             Das(Salad)
Aarti(Soup)            Doreen(Soup)
Paul(Salad)            Alexis(Dessert)
Each team will get 15 minutes to plan the menu and 2 members of each team will shop. Once the teams return from shopping they will have 60 minutes to cook the 6 course meal.
We see the planning stages of both teams.
We see the prep of the four members of each teams while the other two shop. Das/Herb and Aria/Aarti are shopping. But Dzindza is having problems seeing. She is working through the pain which is getting worse. She is told that she has to go to the emergency room because of her eye.  
Both teams have returned! 60 minutes to go! But Dzintra leaves the challenge. She feels helpless and frustrated. Brad hates the quality of the salmon.
Bobby comes in and watches the chefs work. They tell him about Dzintra. Bobby leaves.
18 minutes to go! Aria and Tom try to complete Dzintra's recipe. And Time's up!
Back at the house, the cheftestants differ about Dzintra's eye injury and whether she should have sucked it up.
The next day, Brad is still worried about the salmon. They chefs goes into Cut and the mystery chef is revealed to be WOLFGANG PUCK.
One team cooks while the other waits. Dzindra has a scratched cornea and cant be in the kitchen for 24 hours.  So Aria's team goes first.
The judging committee and Wolfgang are eating.
Aria presents the appetizer course and we see her promo. (Goat Cheese with Focaccia). Tuschman says, "This is a woman I want to be around."
Paul presents the salad course which is an arugula salad with a lemon herb-vinagrette. He is afraid that he over dressed the salad. Both Giada and Wolfgang tell him the salad is overdressed. But they like the crunch of the salad.
Bobby was surprised Paul did improv, because he felt the promo was forced. Bob said it was a bit contrived, but there was energy.
Aarti is nervous about her soup dish of Dal and shows her promo. Susan loved the dish and the promo. Wolfgang offered her a job and that really impressed her. everyone loved her food and how it expressed who she was. Susie said she was exciting.
Brianna is doing spiced scallops with Potato Hash. Susan didnt get her point of view. Wolfgang wanted a bit more spiciness to translate to her dish. Bob was confused about her message. Bob says if she gets her message across, she might have a shot.
Tom does the Pork Tenderloin with the Mustard Spetazle. Wolfgang said it was messy, which reflected him perfectly. Susie liked him. She didn't like the dish overall, but he knew what he was doing and what he set out to do.
Dzindra supervises the dessert and doesn't like the dish. But she presents the dish anyway. Bobby was trying to get her to claim the dish and everyone caught her trying too hard on the promo. She is worried about being kicked out for the injury and not producing anything.
Herb's team is next. Everyone is prepping their dishes. Serena has never been in a pro kitchen before.
He starts with Ceviche with Plaintain Spiders. Herb is worried with his promo. Wolfgang challenges him to do some push-ups, and he does. He is pumped! They liked his food. Bob likes him.
Doreen runs out of time. She is presenting a Yukon Gold Potato Puree. She is apologizing and we see her promo. She talks about her soup again. She is embarrassed. Doreen was the most disappointing according to Bob. Susan said she couldn't get past the disappointment of the running out of time. She called her a "walking apology."
Das does a crab salad with Guacamole. Wolfgang says he needs to keep his hands in his pockets. Bobby says that he doesn't need to tell everyone how cool he is. Wolfgang says he needs a food and personal editor.
Brad is concerned about his dish. His dish is a pan seared salmon with an asparagus salad. Wolfgang said it was the best realized dish today. Bobby loves it as well. Brad is about to lose it. Susan and Bob want him to grow and get out of his shell. Giada has faith in him,
Serena is next. She has a squash escabeche and chicken dish. Wolfgang loves the dish and her promo. Bob thought was she too "actressy".
Alexis thinks the dish is horrible. He is dealing with beignets and honey. Bob asks him if the promo reflects him and he says it doesn't. Wolfgang says the dough is raw, and if he gave it to his wife, he would divorce her. He calls it unacceptable. The promo didn't reflect him onscreen, Bob says.
Evaluation time.
Aria's team is first. They talk about Dzintra's injury and she begs for another chance. They liked her chicken dish, felt she was forcing her promo and she needs to turn the energy down.
Aria likes the team energy. Bobby likes her dish. Susan says she has all of the right stuff. Bobby says she has a lot of the stuff right out of the gate.
Brianna's dish was a little tame according to Bob. Everyone said her promo was an "act" and didn't mesh with the chef part of her.
Paul was the salad. Everyone thought he didn't crack a smile, and therefore didn't do improv. He didn't want to be known as "the funny guy." Susan said he needed a little funny now.
Tom said his dish was detracted from the dessert. His camera challenge was bad and the promo had him show signs of life. Bob said it looked a bit goofy.
Aarti looks nervous. Bobby loved the soup. Susan is upset that her self-doubt is sabotaging her from doing things. Susan says she has on the most unique points of view. She has to put on her big girl boots and feel like she belongs.
They won the star challenge. And Aria wins the challenge. Bob says Dzintra is dangling by a thread. But she gets a second chance.
The Black team knows they lost the challenge. And someone will be going home.
Herb thought the team put their heart into it. Bobby asks if he suggested any changes. Herb says he wouldn't change things for his palette. Bobby says it's a team thing. He liked his ceviche. Herb didnt like his promo. Bob says his energy isn't translating to the camera.
Doreen came in with an apologetic persona. Susan called it unprofessional. Bob says that they haven't got a lot to work with with her. Bobby asks, :"What's your food?" She says "Anything that moves me." He says if that she makes it to the next round, that is something she has to think about and have an answer for.
Serena's dish was liked by the judges. Susan is intrigued by her, and Bob says she has a lot to offer. But she needs to work on being herself and not a persona.
Alexis's dessert was a failure. Bob is concerned with him. He treats the camera as his worst nightmare, not his best friend.
Brad's dish was liked. Bob says he is a little timid.

Das's dish had too many ingredients. Bob didn't see a passion for food, but a passion for himself. Susan called his persona off putting and he is sabotaging himself. They want to like him.
Elimination time:
Brad is safe. Herb is safe. Serena is safe. They leave.
Down to Doreen, Alexis and Das. They leave and the judges deliberate. Bob calls them frustrating because they had so much promise.
They come back and Das is safe.
Doreen or Alexis is going home...Alexis is the first one going home tonight. Doreen is safe. Alexis will go back home and who knows. Das takes this as a blessing.
Well it's down to 11 chefs...who will be the next to be eliminated and who will be the Next Food Network Star? Find out next time!

To view this episode in its entirety, go to www.foodnetwork.com/star.