Friday, October 30, 2020

Food Network Star Winners: Where Are Your Favorite Chefs Now?

Next Food Network Star, Guy Fieri, Melissa d'Arabian, Aaron McCargo Jr.

Getty Images, Instarimages/ E! Illustration

Everyone wants to be a star on the Food Network. But what happens when you actually get the chance to heat up the network’s kitchen?

For 13 seasons, viewers have watched up and coming talent demonstrate their cooking skills and on-camera likeability for a variety of experts on Food Network Star.

And while frequent judges Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis and Alton Brown make things look easy, those watching at home realize there’s a lot more than what meets the eye.

Later tonight, a group of contestants will come together and compete to be the Food Network Star for season 14. And as culinary teachers, caterers and chefs try to impress both judges and viewers at home, we wanted to know what recent winners have been up to.

For many, the show catapulted them to a whole new level of success and fame.

Next Food Network Star took my career to the next level in so many ways. One of the ways was I went from being a cafeteria manager in an elementary school and cater to being on TV and getting to live my dream I had always wanted to do,” season 13 winner Jason Smith shared with E! News. “Getting to touch people’s lives from the youngest child to the oldest viewer through food and TV is the most rewarding part of my life and the journey of Next Food Network Star led me on the right path.”

As for what it takes to win, some former winners shared their advice to E! News before the big season premiere.

“Know who you are and what mark you want to leave on this earth.  Be very clear on what you contribute better than anyone else, and celebrate that,” Melissa d’Arabian shared with us. “For example, I was the very best among the chefs my season at getting dinner on the table quickly and affordably while juggling four daughters in diapers. No one can beat you at being you. So, be you.”

Aaron McCargo Jr. added, “Viewers love realness and honesty in the kitchen and aren’t really looking for the cookie cutter style cook/chef, but someone they can trust when it comes to what you say your good at doing.”

Without further ado, take a look at all the successes your favorite winners have accomplished since winning their respective season in our gallery below.

Dan Smith, Steve McDonagh, Next Food Network Star, winners

Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

Season: 1
Point of View: The Hearty Boys
Successes: Hosts of Party Line with the Hearty Boys, Restaurateurs, Authors of Talk With Your Mouth Full

Guy Fieri

Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Caesars Entertainment

Season: 2
Point of View: “Off the Hook” California Cuisine,
Successes: Host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Host of Guy’s Big Bites, Host of Guy’s Grocery Games, Founder of Hunt & Ryde Winery, Best-Selling Author, Restaurateur, Carnival Cruise Line Restaurateur

Amy Finley, Food Network Star

Courtesy of Food Network

Season: 3
Point of View: The Gourmet Next Door 
Successes: Author of How to Eat a Small Country, Host of The Gourmet Next Door

Aaron McCargo Jr., Next Food Network Star, winners

Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Hearst

Season: 4
Point of View: Soul Food
Successes: Author of Simply Done Well Done, Host of Big Daddy’s House, Launched McCargo’s Flavor of Bold and Jersey BBQ Products

Melissa d'Arabian, Next Food Network Star, winners

Steve Granitz/WireImage

Season: 5
Point of View: Kitchen Survival Guide
Successes: Host of Ten Dollar Dinners, Host of Drop 5 Lbs. with Good Housekeeping, Best-Selling Author, YouTube Host of It’s Tuesday Night Somewhere, Online Host of Smart Carts: Winning the Supermarket, Online Host of The Picky Eaters Project

Aarti Sequeira, Next Food Network Star, winners

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Season: 6
Point of View: Aarti Paarti
Successes: Author of Aarti Paarti, Host of Aarti Party, Host of Taste in Translation, Host of Drop 5lbs with Good Housekeeping, Host of Hidden Eats

Jeff Mauro, Next Food Network Star, winners

Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Spectrum Brands

Season: 7
Point of View: Sandwich King
Successes: Co-host of The Kitchen, co-host of The Kitchen Sink, Host of Sandwich King, Chef & Partner of Pork and Mindy’s Restaurants and Products

Justin Warner, Next Food Network Star, winners

Ralph Notaro/Getty Images for SOBEWFF

Season: 8
Point of View: Rebel with a Culinary Cause
Successes: Author of The Laws of Cooking: And How to Break Them, Host of Rebel Eats

Damaris Phillips, Next Food Network Star, winners

David Livingston/Getty Images

Season: 9
Point of View: Modern Southern Food
Successes: Host of Southern at Heart, Co-Host of The Bobby and Damaris Show, Blogger of Bluebird and Blackberries, Author of Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy

Lenny McNab, Food Network Star


Season: 10
Point of View: Gourmet Cowboy
Successes: Honkey-Tonk Entertainer, Executive Chef

Eddie Jackson, Next Food Network Star, winners

John Parra/Getty Images for SOBEWFF

Season: 11
Point of View: Caribbean
Successes: Host of BBQ Blitz, Online Host of Eddie Jackson’s Game-Day Playbook, Online Host of Eddie Jackson’s Fitness Playbook, Food Truck Owner

Tregaye Fraser, Next Food Network Star, winners

Prince Williams/WireImage

Season: 12
Point of View: Food Fusion
Successes: Co-Host of Kitchen Sink, Founder of Non-Profit Playing the Game Tour

Jason Smith, Food Network Star


Season: 13
Point of View: Country Bling
Successes: Winner of Holiday Baking Championship, Judge on Best Baker in America

New episodes of Food Network Star air Sunday nights at 9 p.m. only on Food Network. 

Don’t miss E! News every weekday at 7 and 11 p.m.

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