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Who is the Food Network Addict? He's the guy serving up the latest news and gossip on your favorite celebrity chefs. From Rachael Ray to Ina Garten, Paula Deen to Giada, he's got you covered. Stop by daily and feed your addiction.

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Thursday, June 4

7 Questions for Melissa D'Arabian - Next Food Network Star Contestant

The season 5 premiere of The Next Food Network Star is this Sunday, June 7 at 9pm ET. All this week, Food Network Addict will be featuring mini, 7-question interviews done with each of the contestants.


Why did you decide to apply to be on The Next Food Network Star?
So many of my girlfriends wanted to know how I made yogurt at home without any special equipment (one of my secret weapons: our hot Texas garage!) that I decided to make a little video to email them. Well, this happened about the same time the Food Network was accepting videos for The Next Food Network Star on its website – great timing!

Who are your chef / TV cooking star idols?
I love that Food Network has a great variety of different stars, but the one star that I've waited in line in the rain for hours to meet (with a newly-potty-trained toddler!) at a book signing was Bobby Flay. So you can imagine how in awe I was that first day in the Food Network kitchen when he walked in.

What does it take to be a great Food Network star?
The Next Food Network Star needs to be a fantastic cook, needs to be able to connect with a sizeable audience and needs to pass along information that is more universal than just the episode's specific menu. Many people, myself included, will watch a cooking show not necessarily to get an exact recipe, but because first, they want to spend time with the host, and second, they hope to learn something...a technique, a flavor combination, a nice tip....that they can apply in their own lives. If it's just about a recipe, well frankly there are faster ways to get a recipe than spending thirty minutes in front of your TV.

Did you feel prepared for the types of challenges you endured on the show? Anything in particular you struggled with?
As the only home cook in the final 10, I definitely struggled with cooking in an industrial-sized kitchen. My first day, I was blown away. A restaurant kitchen is very different from my own. Of course, they do contain similar equipment; I just had to look past the differences in scale.

The need to have a clearly defined culinary point of view is brought up again and again by the judges. What's yours and how is it different from what we've seen before?
I am all about home cooking at its finest. I completely get that those who don't know me might define me purely as a stay-at-home mom or a soccer mom (who could blame them...I turned my convertible in for a mini-van three years ago!). I understand that need we all have to label as a means of social shorthand, but I changed my first diaper four years ago. I went to grad school, and spent years in a high-pressured career, so when I say "home cooking," I also mean working an 80-hour week and getting home to cook for family or having my friends over. There's a lot of Carrie Bradshaw in me.

You were judged by lots of Food Network stars over the course of the show. Which star(s) were you most excited to meet and why?
Bobby Flay (see question 2). I love him as a chef....my husband took me to NYC to one of his restaurants for my 40th birthday last year, but I also admire him tremendously as a businessman.

Apart from winning this competition, what goals do you have for the future?
I live life day to day. So, goal for tomorrow: find my second daughter Charlotte's pink ballet slippers so she won't be the only one wearing the wrong color for her spring ballet recital (don't want to embarrass her in front of her preschool peers). Goal for this weekend: Google "6th anniversary" so I know if it's paper or gold or whatever for our anniversary on Saturday. Then end up getting my husband something practical at Home Depot instead. Goal for this summer: lose the last few pounds of baby weight from the twins (before they turn TWO this August...that's still baby weight, right?)


I like your honesty, Melissa. Good luck on the show!

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At 6/04/2009 10:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about being "Carrie Bradshaw" says ANYTHING about "home cooking" and "family"? So you're a slutty Amy Finley? I'm confused.

At 6/05/2009 5:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is this crazy obsession with bobby flay???
he ain't all that.......

At 6/05/2009 7:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now this is a long winded know it all soccer mom. Have to add delusional for the whole Carrie Bradshaw thing. Imagine getting tuck next to her on a plane. Make you want to jump out.

At 6/05/2009 7:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd say this... but this crew makes me miss Lisa Garza. Cute, painfully awkward, accident prone, blinky Lisa...

At 6/05/2009 4:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Bobby Flay but she's creepy about it. This home cook better go home fast.

At 6/05/2009 4:54 PM , Blogger Molly Mormon said...

Finally, someone mosm can relate to- I'm so glad to see a REAL woman represented on the show! I think it's amazing Melissa can balance her passion for cooking with raising a young family, so in that category you've already got Bobbhy Flay beat. Now Carrie Bradshaw- bleh, she's as fake as they come, be who you are--a real mom.

At 6/05/2009 11:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can beleive it either..you got to be kidding,very painful.

At 6/06/2009 1:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:59 Lisa was a total mess. Trainwreck.Wonder why being in the top 3 finalist she's not on food networks website of "where are they now" She loved everything to be about her so what gives?
Maybe Jacob can tell us.

At 6/06/2009 9:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Lisa and Kelsey too.

At 6/06/2009 10:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could somebody please tell me, WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO THESE PEOPLE LOVE BOBBY FLAY SO MUCH? I think only one of these interviews didn't mention Bobby Flay, and that was Brett's, which didn't mention much of anything.

At 6/11/2009 12:06 PM , Blogger Margee said...

Is it just me or is Melissa the identical twin of Sissy Biggers who hosted "Ready, Set, Cook"? She looks just like her and talks like her. I swear it's the same person! Help FNA!

At 6/15/2009 12:44 AM , Blogger traceyjb said...

OH MY GOODNESS... I completely agree - she looks exactly like Sissy Biggers! I knew she looked like someone familiar - and you nailed it. I agree - they must be identical twins or the exact same person. I have NEVER seen a resemblance so similar.

At 6/28/2009 10:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG!!! Can't believe how critical and rude some can be!! She is amazing when you consider her experience, and how far she has gone. Could you really do better!!?
Give me a break!!! What about saying, they are all doing a good job!! Some are better chef's, some are beter personalites!
So what if she likes Bobby Flay, she was asked who her favorite was?

At 7/10/2009 2:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melissa is amazing. Some of you need to shut up, you have no idea what your talking about. You probablt are the people who screw the environent and stare and naked people.Shut up. I hope Melissa wins. 6/28 Anonymous is smart.

At 8/13/2009 10:41 PM , Blogger Blaithin Dhu said...

Melissa never seemed this unlikeable on the show. She won because she's a mom - let's face it, she wasn't unique in any other area - but this whole article makes her seem very insecure or shameful about being 'just' a home cook.

At 9/20/2010 11:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why doesn't anyone seem to realize this is a scam?
Melissa D'Arabian is none other than Sissy Biggers who was a "Star" on the Food Network years and years ago.
Why doesn't she ever talk about it and why is the Food Network not mentioning it?

At 10/06/2010 1:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this is not Sissy Biggers will the real Sissy Biggers come out of hiding!! Who's kidding Who???


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