The Next Food Network Star (season 5)

The Next Food Network Star (season 5)
The Next Food Network Star (Season 5)
Winner Melissa d'Arabian
Original run June 7, 2009
– August 2, 2009
Filming dates February 2009
– March 2009
No. of episodes 9
No. of chefs 10
Previous Season 4
Next Season 6

The fifth season of the American reality television series The Next Food Network Star premiered on Sunday, June 7, 2009. Food Network executives, Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, were joined by Bobby Flay as the Selection Committee for this season, which was filmed early this year in Miami, Florida and New York, New York.




(In order of elimination)

  • Jen Isham, 30 — Orlando, FL; Sales Manager; (Culinary Point of View: Inexpensive, Pre-Planned Meals)
  • Brett August, 32 — New York, NY; Executive Sous Chef (Culinary Point of View: Italian-American Cuisine)
  • Eddie Gilbert, 30 — Los Angeles, CA; Apprentice Chef (Culinary Point of View: Modernized Traditional Dishes)
  • Teddy Folkman, 33 — Alexandria, VA; Restaurant Owner & Executive Chef (Culinary Point of View: Gourmet Bar Food)
  • Katie Cavuto, 30 — Philadelphia, PA; Personal Chef & Nutritionist (Culinary Point of View: Healthy and Sustainable Mediterranean Cuisine)
  • Michael Proietti, 28 — City Island, NY; Executive Chef (Culinary Point of View: "Global A Go-Go")
  • Jamika Pessoa, 30 — Atlanta, GA; Personal Chef & Businesswoman (Culinary Point of View: Caribbean Cuisine)
  • Debbie Lee, 39 — West Hollywood, CA; Restaurant Consultant (Culinary Point of View: "From Seoul to Soul")


  • Jeffrey Saad, 42 — Los Angeles,CA; Restaurant Owner, Chef & Food Consultant (Culinary Point of View: "Cooking without Borders")


  • Melissa d'Arabian, 40 — Keller, TX; Stay-at-Home Mom (Culinary Point of View: Family Cooking)

Contestant Progress

Episode 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
None1 Eddie Jeffrey Michael None2 Jeffrey Debbie None1 None1
  • ^Note 1 : There was no Mini Challenge in this episode.
  • ^Note 2 : No winner was announced in this Mini Challenge.
  • ^Note 3 : On August 17, 2009 Food Network announced Jeffrey Saad would return in a series of online videos based on his pilot, now called "The Spice Smuggler."[1] The program premiered with four 4-1/2 minute videos featuring one spice and a recipe incorporating it.[2]
     (WINNER) The contestant won the season and Became "The Next Food Network Star"
     (RUNNER-UP) The contestant made it to the final challenge, but did not win, becoming a Runner-Up of the season.
     (WIN) The contestant won that episode's Main Challenge.
     (HIGH) The contestant was one of the Selection Committee's favorites for that week, but did not win the Main Challenge.
     (IN) The contestant was not one of the Selection Committee's favorites nor their least favorites. They were not up for elimination.
     (LOW) The contestant was one of the Selection Committee's three or four least favorites for that week, but was not eliminated.
     (LOW) The contestant was one of the Selection Committee's two least favorites for that week, but was not eliminated.
     (OUT) The contestant was the Selection Committee's least favorite for that week, and was eliminated.

Episode summaries

Week One: Press Party for Food Network's 16th Birthday

  • Mini Challenge: None
  • Main Challenge: Upon arriving in the Food Network Kitchens in New York City, the ten finalists are greeted by the Selection Committee, consisting of Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, as well as celebrity chef and television personality Bobby Flay. Bobby informs the finalists that they will be catering a press party to celebrate Food Network’s 16th year on the air. He randomly splits them into two teams, Team Green (Brett, Jamika, Jen, Melissa and Teddy), and Team Red (Debbie, Eddie, Jeffrey, Katie and Michael). Each team is given $1200 to shop at Whole Foods Market, as well as 5 hours to prep and cook their dishes for the 75 guests at the party, including many Food Network stars and the Selection Committee. Then, each contestant must give a short presentation about themselves and their dish to the guests, and must participate in a short interview with Access Hollywood co-host Nancy O'Dell.
    • Winner: Jeffrey
    • Eliminated: Jen
  • First aired: June 7, 2009

Week Two: Holidays with Giada

  • Mini Challenge: The nine remaining finalists arrive in the Food Network Kitchens, where Bobby Flay and Esquire Magazine's articles editor Ryan D'Agostino greet them and tell them they must create a recipe for the Esquire man that works for the magazine's "Recipe for Men" section. They each have 45 minutes to cook an inventive dish using ingredients typically found in an Esquire man's pantry- a cut of meat and a special ingredient such as pickles, maraschino cherries, or whiskey. Then, they have 1 minute to explain their dish in a direct-to-camera presentation, with the Selection Committee watching. The winner's recipe will be featured in the magazine.
    • Winner: Eddie (Grilled Strip Steak with Drunken Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Hash and Citrus Cinnamon Chutney)
  • Main Challenge: The finalists head to the Good Housekeeping Magazine test kitchen in the Hearst Tower, where they are greeted by Giada De Laurentiis and Good Housekeeping's editor-in-chief, Rosemary Ellis. Giada tells them that they will each have to create a simple and creative interpretation of a meal to celebrate a certain holiday. Eddie, as the winner of the previous challenge, must pick the previously chosen holidays and assign them to himself and his fellow competitors.
  • After cooking, the contestants must serve and present their dishes to the Selection Committee, Giada De Laurentiis, Rosemary Ellis, and Good Housekeeping executive Susan Westmoreland. The challenge winner will have one of their recipes featured in Good Housekeeping's July issue.
    • Winner: Jamika
    • Eliminated: Brett
  • First aired: June 14, 2009

Week Three: Dinner at Ina's

  • Mini Challenge: The eight remaining finalists meet Tyler Florence at a Stew Leonard's supermarket in Yonkers. He tells them they must shop for a family dinner for 12 with only $60 and half an hour to shop. During this half hour, they must also stop by Tyler and present a money-saving tip to the camera.
    • Winner: Jeffrey
  • Main Challenge: The next day, the finalists head to the Hamptons to visit Ina Garten in her home. She splits them into pairs (Jamika and Katie, Eddie and Melissa, Teddy and Debbie, Jeffrey and Michael) and tells them each team must work together to create a lavish three-course meal for Ina and her friends, as well as the Selection Committee, using the ingredients they purchased in the Mini Challenge. Each individual in the team must create one of the three courses, while the third one must be a collaboration between the two team members.
    • Winners: Jeffrey and Michael
    • Eliminated: Eddie
  • First aired: June 21, 2009

Week Four: The Ultimate American Meal

  • Mini Challenge: Bobby Flay tests the remaining seven finalists by having them put their culinary point of view on a classic American dish – the burger! The finalists must whip up their ideal burger while sharing personal stories and their connections to their dish. The best burger lands a place on the menu of Bobby's new restaurant venture Bobby's Burger Palace.
    • Winner: Michael
  • Main Challenge: Then, Guy Fieri and USA WEEKEND Magazine associate editor, TJ Walter, surprise the finalists on the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, challenging each of them to create a dish using a basket of international ingredients for a group of returning American soldiers.

The winner learns that his or her recipe will be featured on the July 3-5th cover of USA WEEKEND Magazine, and another finalist is eliminated.

    • Winner: Melissa
    • Eliminated: Teddy
  • First Aired: June 28, 2009

Week Five: Rachael Ray

  • Mini Challenge: Yum-O Challenge, where chefs make dishes out of "adult" food appealing kids.
  • Main Challenge: Rachel Ray Show Challenge, where chefs pair up and do live presentation of the Rachel Ray show. Dishes must add an "adult" twist on "kid" dishes.
    • Winner: None
    • Eliminated: Katie
  • First Aired: July 5, 2009

Week Six: Miami Up All Night

  • Mini Challenge: Finalists compete by making a dish for one of Jet Blue's Terminal 5 restaurants. The winner's recipe would be added to the menu for their respective restaurant.
    • Winner: Jeffrey
  • Main Challenge: Finalists cater a Miami cocktail party as a team. Each finalist must complete at least two hors d'oeuvres and create a signature cocktail as a group.
    • Winner: None
    • Eliminated: Michael
  • First Aired: July 12, 2009

Week Seven: Red Lobster Beachside Wood Grilling Challenge

  • Mini Challenge: Finalists perform live cooking demo on a Miami Morning show. The Food Network crew intentionally "sabotages" each demo to test how the finalists react to adversity.
    • Winner: Debbie
  • Main Challenge: Iron Chef Michael Symon presents a seafood challenge on the beach. They have to cook a wood grilled seafood dish. The winner of the Main Challenge will have their dish served at Red Lobster as a menu item. After the finalists plan their dishes, select their ingredients, but before they begin to cook with them, the judges interrupt them. The judges remove some key ingedients from their workstations replace them with others, forcing them to change their plan on the fly.
    • Winner: Jeffrey
    • Eliminated: Jamika
  • First Aired: July 19, 2009

Week Eight: Miami VIP

  • Main Challenge: At Emeril's Restaurant they meet Emeril Lagasse who talks about his friend Julia Child. In the spirit of the new film Julie & Julia, each chef must create their own three course meal using $1000. They will have three hours to cook for twenty people. The presentation will include a demo of some portion of the meal to the judges. They will also get an advanced screening of Julie & Julia prior to the challenge to help inspire them.
    • Final Two: Melissa, Jeffrey
    • Eliminated: Debbie
  • First aired: July 26, 2009

Week Nine: Finale

  • Mini Challenge: None
  • Main Challenge: The final two were directed by Alton Brown in creating their own pilots for the show that they would want to host on Food Network.
  • Runner-Up: Jeffrey
  • The Next Food Network Star: Melissa d'Arabian
  • New Show: Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa d'Arabian
  • First aired: August 2, 2009


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