The Next Food Network Star started early this Sunday at my house. That’s right; this Sunday for Father’s Day, me and my two sons, who are four and five, woke up at 8:00 a.m. to make the world’s best dad a big breakfast.

As my little chefs pulled up their stools and put on oven-mitts to protect them from burns, I gazed and though, “They are growing their ‘food chops'” as Bobby Flay would say! After I tried to manage their every move, I could clearly see why some people have a knack for cooking and others don’t — meaning me! I think I was more in the way than helpful which is scary since I am much older and should be more experienced in the kitchen. So I think if anyone had to choose to cast someone out of the kitchen this father’s day, it would have been me. Which is fine, I would prefer to eat than cook!

This actually says a lot for this Sunday’s cast off on “Next Food Network Star.” Eddie Gilbert, who landed a spot on this season’s show, he has only been cooking as a professional chef for seven months! Yet he immediately left an impression with viewers and with the judges when he won a food challenge early on in the season.

This week the challenge was to make a Budget Dinner for Ina Garten, Food Network host of “Barefoot Contessa.” Eddie was paired with Melissa, or as they have been called “mommy and meany” and they prepared a watermelon, sweet onion, feta cheese dish. The meal didn’t fare so well with the Ina and her dinner guests, so unfortunately Eddie saw himself back on the chopping block again (he has been there every week) and was fizzled out of the show.

So what did this post corporate honcho made newby-chef think of his cooking chops on season five? He professed that it was the “birth of his culinary career.” Well I guess that is more than enough time to earn those rights. After all I gave birth after nine months and deemed myself a great mom and great care-taker.

But I have to wonder how these contestants manage the stress that is put on them during one of these shows, especially for Eddie who is very green in his career. How does one showcase the knowledge you need to be a chef, but also get used to the cameras? Maybe when you are cooking up a concoction that you feel is fab, everything else comes naturally, right? Well according to Eddie, he found it hard to find himself in the eye of the camera, which is probably why he only made it through 3-weeks of the show.

So what does a cast off of a Food Network show look back on and wish they would have changed? “I wish I would have done ribs in the first episode” says Eddie. Hind sight is always 20/20 as they say-but doing a knock-out punch like ribs would have landed him my vote! De-lish!

So what does Eddie see himself doing now that he won’t be hosting his own food show? Even though he doesn’t really know why he was kicked off the show, he is going to continue his career as a chef and perfecting his favorite food “Lamb Lollipops” which is made with Guinness (a favorite beer of his). Sounds like a tasty move in the right direction.

To see missed snippets of the Next Food Network Star visit

About The Author

Kristin Lambert is a freelance writer from Michigan.

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