The sixth season of the American reality television series The Next Food Network Star premiered on Sunday, June 6, 2010. Food Network executives, Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, were joined again by Bobby Flay as the judges for this season. In addition, Giada De Laurentiis will serve as an on-set mentor. The series was filmed in Los Angeles, California and New York, New York. Winner Aarti Sequeira went on to host her show Aarti Party, which premiered on August 22, 2010. Runner-up Tom Pizzica was also hired to host a travel food show Outrageous Food, which began airing in November 2010.
In a special two hour premiere episode of The Next Food Network Star, twelve hopefuls arrive in Los Angeles to compete for the ultimate dream job: To host their own show on The Food Network.
The competition starts right away as they face their first on-camera test: preparing a meal that best represents who they are. Next, the finalists are taken to Paramount Studios where an A-list Hollywood Director films 30-second promos for the show that each finalist wants to host. Finally, the finalists must each create a Power Lunch for LA's biggest celebrity Chef, Wolfgang Puck.
The remaining eleven finalists learn how hard it is to perform an assembly line demo in only eleven minutes. Then, special guest star Duff Goldman from "Ace of Cakes" presents their next challenge: Duff is throwing a party for 100 of his closest friends on the Santa Monica Pier. The finalists must each take a classic carnival sweet and transform it into a savory party bite for the guest of honor and all of his friends.
Ten remaining finalists get a crash course in the Hollywood way of life. First they have to present a dish to camera, inspired by a classic film genre. Next they strut the red carpet at an after-party for Grammy Award-winner Colbie Caillat. The twist: They also have to cater the event in teams of two.
The heat turns up on the remaining nine finalists. Pepper Master Bobby Flay has the group make a mad dash to choose a pepper to cook with — the winner's dish is put on the menu of Bobby's famous restaurant, Mesa Grill. Next, Bobby introduces three culinary legends who challenge the finalists to re-invent the best thing they ever ate.
In a super-sized episode, the remaining eight finalists have to create their very own food product in a jar. The twist: instead of presenting the product to camera, they must do a live demo in front of a crowd of hundreds. Then, special guest Paula Deen reveals four lunch trucks, and challenges the finalists (in teams of two) to create and operate their very own lunch-truck business at Venice Beach.
The seven remaining finalists must prove that they have another essential trait for a Food Network star: the ability to entertain. Special guest Ted Allen assigns each finalist a party theme "in a basket." The finalists much create a party bite, and give an entertaining tip to camera. Next, the finalists head to Frank Sinatra's estate in Palm Springs where they must serve a retro dish for a table of special guests.
A busy home cook herself, last year's winner, Melissa D'Arabian, drops by to task the finalists to relate to the busy home cook by making "dinner with breakfast" using cereal. Then they must relate to hardcore foodies when they team together to create an underground supper club, the members of which count among the culinary elite.
Camera Challenge: Make Dinner with Breakfast
Star Challenge: Work as a Team to Open Your Own Supper Club
Family and emotions play a key role in tonight's challenges as the finalists are delivered an unexpected twist to the camera challenge by people they know, and then must devise a dish with a meaningful story for some star clients based on an emotion.
Camera Challenge: Create a Signature Dish Featuring Your Least Favorite Ingredient
Star Challenge: Cook a Dish Based on the Emotion Assigned to You
The four remaining finalists travel back to Food Network's New York City home for their hardest challenge to date, an Iron Chef America competition.
Audience feedback will play a pivotal role in tonight's selection, but first the three remaining finalists must create a pilot which Rachael Ray will direct. Then, in a first for the competition, the pilots are screened in front of focus groups whose reactions will be used by the panel to select the Next Food Network Star.