The tenth season of Food Network’s Next Food Network Star debuts on Sunday, June 1st and Nicole Gaffney of South Jersey is going for the gold. Gaffney, who has watched the show for the past nine seasons, is one of twelve contenders put to the test for the chance to win their own Food Network television show.
With the encouragement of her husband, the personal chef says she was reluctant at first to enter a video into the cooking reality series but was shocked when she received a quick return phone call telling her that she had been selected to compete on the program.
The 29-year-old Academy of Culinary Arts dropout recalls bouncing around waiting tables and even tried modeling but she always felt that food was her passion. Perhaps it is because she comes from a big Sicilian family of commercial fishermen. Gaffney says that has heavily influenced her coastal cuisine take on food along with growing up in Brigantine, in the shadow of Atlantic City.
While claiming that the kitchen is her retreat, a career in food has always been her dream. After dropping out of the Culinary Arts Academy in Mays Landing she decided to become a personal chef and work in the homes of her clients prepping meals and packaging them in the refrigerator for future use.
Gaffney says she is extremely excited about working with culinary icons and Food Network stars Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay. While not disclosing details of what happens during the production of the show, Gaffney says she and the eleven other contestants are put to the test with unique competitions challenging their kitchen and on-camera chops to determine who has the talent and charisma to follow in the footsteps of other Food Network stars.
In the season premiere on Sunday the contestants are invited to Los Angeles and a red carpet party at a Hollywood studio backlot. Each finalist must present themselves to a select group of tastemasters and prepare their most impressive party bite for the challenge judges.
While season ten is getting ready to cook up a variety of different challenges, Gaffney has her fingers crossed that she will be able to compete successfully and is waiting for the season finale on Sunday, August 10th. That is where she is hoping she will be crowned the Food Network’s Next Food Network Star.