Whether you loved him or hated him, Michael Proietti was likely the most entertaining contestant on The Next Food Network Star this season. While he’d been named most likely win the show by his competitors, last night the edgy chef from City Island New York fell into the bottom three and was booted from the show after a combination of food and camera snafus.
All right, so what happened?
Last night I think it was just a culmination of everything. I couldn’t get the camera down—that was going to take a little bit of practice for me—and [the judges] didn’t like the food. You know, I was a little flustered going into Miami because you’re kind of in captivity all this time. And I’m in this fabulous city and we have the most beautiful hotel room and all I wanted to do was go out and party—so I did! But I had so much fun at the cocktail party. I treated it like it was my party, and I think that I might have lost the point of the whole thing—it was kind of to make everyone else happy and I was just having a good old time. I was a little flustered that I did get voted off but, in the end, I was really kind of happy about it. I was ready to do. I got like 12 days to hang out in Miami after that so I had a great time.
What was the best part of being on the show for you?
Everyone was so great. Between the cast and the crew, the judges—everyone from the Food Network was so supportive and so much fun. You know, there have been so many supportive people. On my Facebook I must have gotten like 200 hits in the last day. I just walk away knowing that I’m a great chef. Before [the show] I was good and I felt like I was okay, but this just kind of reinforces that. I’m 28 years old and I think that this is just the beginning. I was honored just to be there.
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What will you take from your experiences?
I walk away with more confidence in my cooking. I knew my cooking was good and now I’m pretty sure of it. It was a really great experience.
What’s it been like watching yourself on the show?
I think that when I don’t get too nervous I’m fine. In the little challenges with time frames, I get so nervous and flustered. I needed to rehearse. It was very hard for me watching some of it, but, all in all, I think that I was portrayed very well. It was true to who I was. That’s really how I am—loud and jokey—and I think my personality really came through on camera.
Is there anything we should know about you that didn’t come through in the show?
You know what I said about [hating cameras]? Well, I’m not afraid of cameras. I could get cameras down, I just need some rehearsing. That’s really what that’s about. But I think I really shined through and the network was really honest in how it depicted the situation.
What are you up to now?
I have a website where I work with recipes and do some blogging [called] MVPChef.com. I also run a hotel in Westchester, New York, and I’ve been there for three years so I’m going to continue doing that for a while and see what happens. I’m hoping some opportunities are going to come my way and I think they are.
Who will you root for to win?
At this point, I’m rooting for Debbie. I think she gets a bad rap and she made some bad decisions but I really think she’s a great girl. We’re seeing a really tough side of her [on the show]. I think the game gets the best of people sometimes, [but] she had a lot of integrity and I think she’s wonderful. I just hope everyone else gets to see that.