Follow TV Tropes


Characters / The Next Food Network Star

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    Judges and Mentors 

Bobby Flay
  • Big Applesauce
  • Fiery Redhead
  • The Kirk
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: He's harsh with the contestants, but it's because he sincerely wants to push them to do their best work.
  • Self-Made Man: Bobby came from a hard-scrabble existence in a rough neighborhood of the Bronx, dropped out of high school, and fell in with a bad crowd, by his own admission. But then he got a job at a restaurant and realized he loved it. He finally had a long-term goal, and he began working hard to become the best chef and entrepreneur he could be. He built himself up into the celebrity chef he is today through Horatio Alger-style hard work. Quite admirable.
  • Stern Teacher

Giada De Laurentiis
  • But Now I Must Go: In Season 6 she's brought aboard as a mentor to the contestants during the Los Angeles portion of the season; when the contestants go to New York for the final leg of the journey, Giada wishes them good luck and encourages them to remember everything they've learned.
  • Cool Teacher
  • The McCoy
  • Perpetual Smiler
  • Team Mom

Alton Brown

Bob Tuschman

Susie Fogleson



    Season 1 

    Season 2 

Guy Fieri

    Season 3 

    Season 4 

Aaron McCargo Jr.

Adam Gertler

    Season 5 

Mellissa d'Arabian

Jeffrey Saad


    Season 6 

Aarti Sequeira

Herb Mesa

  • Adorkable: Depending on how you look at it.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Averted. With Herb, they wanted him to act more foreign.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Though it always seems the people who don't win disappear, the winner and the other runner up, Aarti and Tom, both got their own shows, while Herb was just as good a cook.
  • Lovable Jock: He is very muscular, and a personal trainer, though he can hardly stand being separated from his familt for so long.
  • Nice Guy

Tom Pizzica
  • Breakout Character: He's definitely a character, which is likely why they tried to get him his own spin-off. Didn't quite work out too well, though.
  • The Runner-Up Takes It All: Open to interpretation on whether or not this was attempted. Aarti's show was still more of a success.

Brianna Jenkins
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: She's not exactly a blond, but her hair is light colored, especially compared to her skin.
  • Male Gaze: She tries to aim at a sort of seductive style. And yes, she does succeed.

    Season 7 

Jeff Mauro

Penny Davidi
I am a couger.

Vic "Vegas" Moea

Mary Beth Albright

    Season 8 
Notable Team Alton Members:

Emily Ellyn

Justin Warner
  • Adorkable
  • Hipster: He is called this by the judges.
  • Like a Son to Me: He seemingly is this to Alton which leads to...
  • Running Gag: The constant question of whether or not he uses lipstick. He has stated that he doesn't, and that his lip color is from the frequent use of Burt's Beesnote .

Martie Duncan
  • Cool Old Lady: She seems to think of herself as this, but she is not all that old.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Her food never looks all too appealing, but it doesn't seem to taste too horrible. She also has had a number of dishes that weren't well liked.
  • Expy: She is basically a cross between Paula Dean and the Pioneer Woman — who cannot cook all too well.
  • Motor Mouth: She just talks, and talks, and talks, to the detriment of her team.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: The judges decide to let her make a pilot rather than eliminate her in the penultimate episode, only for her to be the lowest scoring contestant in the national poll. Also a notable subversion of Creator's Pet, since despite her being put through she still didn't win. invoked
  • Southern Belle

Judson Allen

Notable Team Giada Members:

Ippy Aiona

Martita Jara

Yvan Lemoine

Notable Team Bobby Members:

Malcolm Mitchell

Michele Ragussis

Nikki Martin

    Season 9 

Viet Pham

Lovely Jackson

  • Lethal Chef: The mini-arc in episode four concerning the rise and fall of her "doughnuts" made from store bought pizza dough which she's rolled into super-dense wads and deep fried before dunking in cinnamon and sugar certainly made her seem this way. Nobody thought this was a good idea except for her. And she looked completely baffled and shattered when told by the judges that everyone found them inedible.
  • Sassy Black Woman: While she's generally very nice, she can shift into this when necessary.

Damaris Phillips

Danushka Lysek

  • 0% Approval Rating: In the first episode, her dial drops faster than anybody else's to begin with. In the second, she only attracts two people out of one hundred to her burger stand.
  • Brainless Beauty: Definitely brainless most of the time, and she was a formal model.
  • The Bully: Not afraid to share her opinion on the other contestants behind their backs. Nikki might be her most common victim.
  • Dumb Blonde
  • Femme Fatale: She joked in one episode that to attract people to her burger stand she would take off her shirt and hope they like what they see.
  • Simpleton Voice
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Seemed to have been heading that way with Nikki.

Nikki Dinki

  • Genki Girl
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Focus seemed to be going this way in episode two, but Danushka's early elimination in episode three didn't allow for much more exploration.

Chris Hodgson

Rodney Henry

  • You Keep Using That Word: In one particular challenge where the contestants become each other's judges, Rodney uses the word "killer" to describe three of the four dishes he judges. Outside of this challenge, you'll find him throwing it around pretty loosely.

    Season 10 


    Season 11 

Matthew Grunwald

  • Hypocrite: In the first episode, he's very quick to deal out criticisms of his contestants' first impressions. His turns out to be probably the most awkward of all of them.
  • Jerkass: Constantly talking about how he's a better chef than all the other contestants and disregards the judges advice. This behavior ultimately proves to be the deciding factor in his quick elimination.
  • Large Ham: Seems as if he's trying to open his mouth as wide as he can when he talks.
  • Smug Snake: Believed himself to be the best of the contestants, and while he was admittedly a good cook, this attitude is what ultimately costed him. When the deciding vote between the judges was 2 to 1 in favor of eliminating Sita, Matthew's smug smile is what changed Giada's mind and sent him home.

Dominick "Dom" Tesoreiri

  • Adorkable: Most likely comes across this way because of his crippling fear of being in front of the camera.
  • Not Quite Dead: Wins his way through Star Salvation and shoots a pilot for the finale. After he doesn't get it, he battles it out with other former contestants to get a spot in season 12's lineup, but barely loses to Martita.

Eddie Jackson

  • Lovable Jock: Former college football player turned professional chef and Food Network Star Season 11 winner.

    Season 12 

Erin Campbell

  • Adorkable: Always smiling and geeks out quite frequently. Think a displaced Christmas elf who took a wrong turn from the north pole.
  • Bad Liar: Whenever the challenge dictates she should make something she wouldn't normally eat, she has a very hard time selling it to the judges. She even said while presenting a dish that its quality was "to be determined."
  • Berserk Button: When Bobby comments in "Guilty Pleasure Dinner" that her chocolate chip cookie wasn't "chocolatey" enough, she's visually offended and responds by saying she's sold thousands of those cookies. Despite Bobby actually being pretty lenient on his criticism, Erin perceives it as him calling her a bad baker, which she responds to with uncharacteristic haughtiness.
  • Break the Cutie: Her elimination is not the easiest thing to watch. See Berserk Button above.
  • Christmas Episode: First introduced on Holiday Baking Championship (she was the winner)
  • Everyone Hates Fruit Cakes: Averted. On Holiday Baking Championship, the rest of the contestants rolled their eyes and groaned at the fruitcake challenge. Her reaction? "Fruitcake! Yum!"

Ana Quincoces

  • Buxom Is Better: One of her excuses for not being super energetic on-camera is because she doesn't want "boobs flying everywhere." Bobby encourages it.
  • Femme Fatale: Resorts to flirting with Rhett & Link during their challenge to appeal to the camera.
  • Karma Houdini: Ana should not be one of the final four contestants. As the others point out in "Tiki Takeover," the two women who partnered with her in past challenges were eliminated the same week. Sure enough, her partner during that particular episode, Joy, is sent home after their presentation goes poorly. Ana is not a bad cook, but she comes across so awkwardly that she ends up weighing down whoever is with her and gets by on her food alone despite being on the bottom more times than any of her fellow contestants.

Damiano Carrara

  • Funny Foreigner: Unlike the previous years' primarily foreign contestants, Damiano is actually a contender.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Hunky Italian chef with a thick accent. Can be seen several times throughout the series to be winning over female crowds rather easily
  • Oh, Crap!: Can be seen making this face several times throughout "Tiki Takeover" just because he can't stand working with frozen foods.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Frozen Food?: Damiano specializes in fresh ingredients, which puts him on the bottom when he fails to do frozen foods justice.

Rob Burmeister

  • Big Fun: One of his biggest skills is a natural ability to "bro out" onscreen.
  • Nice Guy: Seemed really fun and nice all around.

Jernard Wells

  • Big Fun: Arguably the most charismatic of the contestants.
  • Captain Obvious: Has a tendency to state things that the viewer is already well aware of. For example, the first challenge of "Guilty Pleasure Dinner" allows the contestants who describe their ideal dish the best to have first pick over the part of the dinner they get to cook.
    Jernard: It's important for me to do well in this challenge so I'll get the ability to choose first.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: Being the "Chef of Love," Jernard tends to include light sexual undertones when describing his food. He actually goes too far in "Guilty Pleasure Dinner" and ends up in the bottom three.
  • In-Series Nickname: The self proclaimed "Chef of Love."

Joy Thompson

  • Amazingly E Mbarrassing Parent: In the episode where she tries to start a rap battle.
    "I just committed social suicide for my poor teenager."
  • Motor Mouth: Has a tendency to occasionally go off on a story that has little to do with what she's supposed to be talking about and never quite get back to the main point.

Tregaye Fraser

  • High-School Sweethearts: Mentions that she met her husband back in high school and they've been happily married since.
  • Jerkass: Can certainly come across this way. While most contestants offer a balance of positive and negative insight on each other's methods, Tregaye almost always has something harsh or arrogant to say. Throughout "Tiki Takeover," the way she gloats over the other contestants in the first challenge also gets pretty annoying.
  • Sassy Black Woman: A pretty noticeable example.

Yaku Moton-Spruill

  • Badass Baritone
  • Badass Beard
  • Gentle Giant: According to the show's official wensite, Yaku's six feet and nine inches tall. He's also one of the nicest contestants.
  • Not Quite Dead: Returns in "Pushing for a Pilot" after winning Star Salvation, though he goes home within the same episode. For what it's worth, the judges do compliment on his improvement since he'd been cut.

Monterey Salka


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: