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The Telefile
Double Your <I>Top Chef</I> Rip-Offs, Double Your Fun If by "fun" you mean, "copyright infringement." And I know you do, you thievin' thieves! Anyway, the peeps over at the Food Network apparently had some meetings where they decided The Next Food Network Star isn't nearly blatant enough, because they've put out a casting call for a new competitive cooking show. It's basically Top Chef with fewer contestants and likely no Tom Colicchio hotness (don't judge me!).

"Food Network is currently casting for a new cooking competition series and is looking for professional chefs, who want to test their culinary skills against those of their peers. Four competitors will race against the clock; their food judged on taste, creativity, and presentation by the experts. Three are eliminated along the way, and only one remains the ultimate winner."

Wow. The Food Network has even less shame than I do. What are they gonna call this thing? Best Cooker? This is already a show, people! I've only seen a few episodes of The Next Food Network Star, but it is a ridiculously dumbed down version of Top Chef. Which is fine. I understand there's an audience that doesn't necessarily care that people like Daniel Boulud or Wylie Dufresne are big-ass deals in the culinary world, or maybe aren't interested in being bombarded with highfalutin' foodie terms like "amuse bouche" or "pommes dauphin," for example, and want something a little more accessible. That, I get. Pretension is definitely something Top Chef is guilty of, and that's why The Next Food Network Star works for the people who like it.

What I don't get is anybody trying to make the exact same show as Top Chef, like anyone who loves Top Chef would want a cheap knock-off of it. And the Food Network has this vast audience at their disposal who love and respect the network so, why not try and create original ideas? It's not like they aren't capable, and it's not like the audience wouldn't follow them there.

All that being said, if the fabulous Ina Garten is a judge on that show, I'm totally (and secretly) watching it. Why won't she just adopt me already?

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