Jeff Mauro, Susie Jimenez, Vic "Vegas" Moea
After 11 weeks, numerous cooking and camera challenges and the ultimate pilot presentations the newest Food Network Star has been named. But first, the pool had to be reduced by one. Their penultimate challenge is to make and present the best dish of their lives.
Jeff Mauro brings an eggplant parmesan sandwich to the table, Susie Jimenez presents carnitas with cactus side salad and Vic Moea whips up a hearty zuppe de pesce.
The "Mama's Boy" is eliminated, but he leaves with great cheer and grace. Good guy, Vic. We have a feeling we'll see you again on the Food Network.
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On to making the pilots. Past Food Network Star winner Guy Fieri is on hand to coach them. Jeff's first attempt is a mangled, tongue-tied mess. His second take is over-peppered with "Boom!" Finally, he focuses on his family and brings it all together; he's charming, confident and informative. Very impressive.
Susie's pilot trajectory follows Jeff's (except for that silly "Boom!" business). It seems that focusing on their families is the key to making a pilot.
In a wicked little twist, the focus group watching and providing feedback on the pilots are the eliminated contestants. With the exception of a few lukewarm critiques, they're pretty kind. Most give "Spice It Up!" Susie credit for being energetic and improving her camera skills from the early days of the competition. They also praise Jeff's polished pilot and easy star quality.
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In the end, Jeff wins.
It's kind of a no-brainer since his simple, focused and highly marketable "Sandwich King" concept and his strong on-camera skills were present from the start. Beginning next week, you can check out his new show, Sandwich King, on Sunday mornings at 11:30/10:30c on Food Network.
Are you happy Jeff won? Will you watch his show?