I’ve been watching the Next Food Network Star. I watched Season 3, and I’ve been watching Season 4. I’ve said before that in the beginning, I hated reality TV, but I’ve since developed a taste for some of it. I don’t give a ripped fart for American Idol or America’s Got Talent, nor do I watch Survivor. I really did get into The Apprentice, even the Martha Stewart season. Of course, I love Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers. For some reason, I enjoy The Next Food Network Star.
When I think about it, this has got to be really hard. For one thing, the contestants are supposed to have some kind of culinary skill. I don’t think they have to have attended culinary school or worked professionally as a chef, but they certainly need to have some talent. Of course, that’s not enough. They have to be able to work well under pressure. They have to be able to, as my favorite movie line goes, “Improvise, adapt, overcome” (Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge.) But even if they can pull that much off, they have to go on camera and be believable. They have to be able to teach, to explain, to communicate, and to show some authority. It’s interesting watching people try to do all of this. For some reason I find some perverse enjoyment.
I did get to meet two of the Season 3 candidates. My wife, her parents and I went to the Food and Wine festival in Atlantic City last year. Tommy and Adrian were there. They held the camera so we could have our picture taken with Guy Fieri. They seemed like really good guys.