The Food Network's Next Stars?

Posted on July 4, 2007

Photo of Paul and Jag at Fort DixIn between firing up the grill, entertaining relatives and getting ready for fireworks festivities, we kept sneaking peeks at a reality show that we've become quite addicted to: The Next Food Network Star, where people compete to get their own show on The Food Network. Yes, this is the third year it's been on, but we've been a bit late to the party on this one.

They've been doing a marathon of shows for season three all day and we're up to Episode 5 now, with Episode 6 happening on Sunday. Our favorite episode so far is when the contestants went to Fort Dix to cook for the soldiers. First, they had to make MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) palatable, which sounded like an impossible job to us. Then they had to cook for 75 soldiers. Pictured are Paul McCullough, who is a caterer and is openly gay, and JAG (Joshua Adam Garcia), who is straight, never had a gay friend, and who is a former Marine. What a great episode! Those two are hilarious together -- and Paul's hardcore pushups really got the troops' appreciation, as did their fried meatloaf (the oven broke and JAG nearly lost it, before coming up with deep fat frying as a creative alternative). Paula Dean and Giada De Laurentiis helped judge. Giada (another one of our favorite Food Network stars) is apparently is mean when she's not on her show and we nearly bust a gut laughing as she skewered each contestant. We love Giada even more now that we know she's not so sugar sweet as she appears.

We demand that Paul and Jag get their own show -- together. It will be great, like the Odd Couple of Cooking. If you want to catch up on this addictive series, check out the website for the show.