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Folkman (front) in his pre-Star days
Teddy Folkman, a fixture on our Best of D.C. lists, will soon have a chance to prove his worth to a wider audience. The chef at Granville Moore’s (and spanker of Bobby Flay) has been selected as one of ten finalists for the fifth season of The Next Food Network Star, which premieres on Sunday, June 7.
The winner of the contest receives his or her own Food Network show; four previous winners have already launched their own programs, including Aaron McCargo, Jr. (Big Daddy’s House) and Guy Fieri (Guy’s Big Bite). Whether or not Folkman becomes the next Food Network darling, the chef already has a protective layer of PR bureaucracy around; when Y&H tried to phone Folkman for comment, he immediately returned the call but said we needed to go through official Food Network channels.
Y&H dutifully did so and got only this canned, promotional quote, allegedly from Folkman:
“Being on The Next Food Network Star was truly an amazing experience. It was intense, challenging, fun, chaotic, emotional and just one crazy roller coaster of culinary competition. I am proud to be part of what should be the best season yet.”
Blah, blah, blah, blah.
Y&H is thrilled for Folkman, but he also has some questions: What does Folkman’s appearance mean for Granville Moore’s both in the short and long term? And what does it mean for the other Joe Englert projects that Folkman has a hand in (lower in the story)? I’m still searching for answers.
In the meantime, the official Food Network release says that Folkman will be competing against the following chefs in the series: Brett August (Washington Heights, N.Y.), Katie Cavuto (Philadelphia, Pa.), Melissa d’Arabian (Keller, Texas), Eddie Gilbert (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Jen Isham (Orlando, Fla.), Debbie Lee (West Hollywood, Calif.), Jamika Pessoa (Atlanta, Ga.), Michael Proietti (New York, N.Y.) and Jeffrey Saad (Los Angeles, Calif.).
The chefs, according to the release, will have to face a number of challenges:
This season’s finalists must prove their culinary expertise and star potential through a series of complex challenges. In each episode, their cooking chops will be put to the test to see who can handle the pressure and present the most mouth-watering food. Challenges include catering a party for a roomful of Food Network stars, impressing the “Barefoot Contessa” herself in the Hamptons and preparing a comforting meal for returning soldiers on the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. The show also flies to sunny Miami – for the first time – where the finalists must survive a beachside wood-grilling challenge for Red Lobster and create a delicious dinner for a group of culinary elite at a screening of Columbia Pictures’ movie Julie & Julia (in theaters August 7). Throughout the season, they will also have to prove they have star quality and dazzle a variety of media outlets with their personalities, including Access Hollywood, Good Housekeeping, Esquire, Food Network Magazine, and USA WEEKEND.