'Next Food Network Star' recap: When bad things happen to French toast

How do you cook the single worst dish in Next Food Network Star history yet sail into the final three without even the threat of elimination? Well, it sure helps if your opponent's idea of cutting-edge cuisine involves making the saddest piece of pale French toast in the history of the stove-top range. But more on this week's brilliant Iron Chef challenge in a moment. I'd like to take just a second to ask why, during last week's episode (sorry I didn't recap got sucked into a whirlpool of Idol news!), Food Network was running ads for a new series called Family Style? Yes, Family Style, which was the proposed title for the series pitched by aggressively chirpy Aria over the last nine weeks. (Although that concept was never as good as her initial pitch to travel to specialty farms, cheese-makers, and wineries, then whip up recipes using their local ingredients.)

Okay, yes, I realize that the winner of Next Food Network Star doesn't always end up hosting the exact series he or she proposes (otherwise Melissa D'Arabian wouldn't be the star of Cooking on a Budget of Spare Change Shaken Out from the Barefoot Contessa's Couch Cushions), but to me, the Family Style ads were a massive spoiler letting us know things were inevitably going to get boiled down to Aarti, Tom, and Herb. Well, unless Food Network changes course and decides it wants to hire this week's booted contestant because my proposed show title, Aria Speedwagon, is simply too delicioso to ignore.

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