POPSUGAR Food

Next Food Network Stars: Where Are They Now?

Jun 5 2011 - 3:55am

Get excited: Food Network's number one series, Food Network Star [1], premieres its seventh season tonight at 9 p.m. As we once again count down to more hopefuls competing for their own show (get acquainted with the new cast! [2]), we take a look back at winners and finalists from seasons past and come to a conclusion: what happens on the Food Network stays in the Food Network. To see what we're talking about, keep reading.



All Photos Courtesy of Food Network [3]

The Hearty Boys

In 2005, Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh went down in history as Food Network's first-ever reality TV-made stars. The winners — both partners in business as well as in life — had their own show, Party Line With the Hearty Boys, on the network for a few seasons. They adopted a son, Nate [4], published a cookbook [5], and operate a Chicago restaurant [6] and catering business.

Guy Fieri

Where isn't Guy Fieri now? Season two's winner — by far the most successful — owns five restaurants and a line of sauces [7], has multiple shows with the Food Network, hosts NBC's game show Minute to Win It [8], and headlines food festivals and multistate tours, among numerous other gigs.

Amy Finley

Season three's Amy Finley quietly debuted a show, The Gourmet Next Door, but it only lasted six episodes. When producers offered her more shows, she turned them down, instead deciding to relocate to Burgundy with her family. She returned to San Diego in 2008. Her first book, How to Eat a Small Country [9], was published two weeks ago.

Aaron McCargo, Jr.

Ever-goofy Aaron McCargo, who took home the crown in season four, is still busy with his Saturday morning Food Network show, Big Daddy's House [10], which focuses on Southern food with big, bold flavors. "Honestly, I don't feel like I am famous," he told the network [11] in an interview. "I'm still the same person I was before, so I haven't experienced any great surprises or disappointments."

Melissa d'Arabian

Stay-at-home mom Melissa d'Arabian won the title of Next Food Network Star in 2009, and she's still busy shooting new episodes of her show, Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa d'Arabian [12]. Following her win, she, her husband Philippe, and their four daughters relocated from Keller, TX to Kirkland, WA.

Aarti Sequeira

Aarti Sequeira spent her childhood pretending to be a cooking show star, but finally became one last year when she won season six of Next Food Network Star. The former journalist, who was already the host of an online cooking variety show, continues showcasing her culinary talent in the Food Network show Aarti Party [13].

Kelsey Nixon

Season four's girl next door only made it to the the final four, but her memorable camera presence landed her a spot on the Food2 web series Kelsey and Spike Cook [14]. When FN's sister network the Cooking Channel premiered in 2010, she landed an opportunity there, as the host of her own show, Kelsey's Essentials [15].

Adam Gertler

Aaron McCargo may have narrowly beat out Adam Gertler to take the Food Network Star 4 title, but it was only a matter of time before the camera-friendly Gertler got his own gig, demonstrating how food industry insiders perform their jobs on Food Network's Will Work For Food [16]. Now he travels the country seeking out sweets on a new show, Kid in a Candy Store [17].

Jeffrey Saad

Viewers were shocked [18] when Jeffrey lost to Melissa in season five, but Food Network programming exec Bob Tuschman offered Saad a miniseries of web episodes based on Jeffrey's original TV pilot, The Spice Smuggler. Now he hosts United Tastes of America [19] on the Cooking Channel.

Tom Pizzica

Season six's avuncular Tom Pizzica didn't win, but he managed to land his own primetime Food Network show, Outrageous Food [20], anyway. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Rachel, where he stays occupied in between his shooting schedule by hosting whole hog seminars [21].


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