A week ago, I introduced you to this season's contestants on The Next Food Network Star, and last night we saw the 10 competitors in action for the first time. They'd barely settled into their new digs before facing their first challenge: to cater the network's sweet 16 party for more than 75 guests, including Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and stars like Giada De Laurentiis and Alton Brown.

Although all 10 cast members appeared to bond right away, I wasn't experiencing the same connection to them on the small screen. Hopefully, I'll soon be convinced otherwise. Find out my thoughts on the show — and share yours! — when you


  1. Most of the contestants didn't seem comfortable speaking. Were you as stunned as I was to find that outgoing personalities like Brett and Eddie became awkward and flat in front of the camera?
  2. I was surprised that dietitian Katie Cavuto, with her plain Swiss chard and stereotypical spinach salad, didn't wind up on the chopping block. What did you think of her dishes?
  3. Debbie, with her awful leadership skills, also should have faced elimination. Although she jumped at the opportunity to take charge, she turned out to be an ineffective leader and poor judge of character. Shouldn't she have taken ownership of the atrocious angel food dessert?
  4. I thought the judges were spot on to eliminate Jen. Her food looked bland, and I couldn't take her seriously at all. In fact, I felt like she set womankind back a few decades with some of her remarks. What makes her a "housewife 2.0" anyway? It's entirely de rigueur for women to work full-time and cook every night. And what was with the parting comment about "making babies"?
  5. Who are you rooting for so far? I don't mind watching Michael, Jeffrey, and Teddy. I already can't stand Brett and Debbie.

What were your initial thoughts about the season? Share them with me below.