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Iron chef for a day!

July 20, 2009

Wow, this was my favorite episode of The Next Food Network Star. Not because I won but because of the brilliance of the whole setting. Michael Symon, possibly the nicest guy in the world. Put him next to Bobby Flay and you have more talent and passion than you know what to do with. Two rocking Iron Chefs pushing the four of us to our limits. This is all happening under the 90 degree sun in South Beach between the pool and the ocean standing over Red Lobster’s 500+ degree wood-fired grills. The fans are screaming Bobby and Michael’s names; we are sweating like I have never sweat before. Just as I think I have my dish under control and I am into my cooking the ingredients get switched out. Not once, but twice! It was awesome. A true adrenaline rush. Nothing worthwhile happens in this world until you are way outside your comfort zone.

I have the honor of being on over 600 Red Lobster menus with my dish. Chef LaDuke (Red Lobster) is awesome and I have the pleasure of doing an all day satellite media tour with him today, Monday, around the country. Hopefully you can catch us on your local radio/TV station. Thanks for all your amazing support. Have a tasty week!

Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2009 11:26 am

    Congrats Jeffrey. I haven’t been to a Red Lobster in 15 years, but I may go soon just to try your dish.

  2. July 20, 2009 11:58 am

    Bah. It can be your favorite episode because you won. No shame in winning! Congratulations on your success this week. Melissa’s dish was well received by the judges too, eh? I’m sure she was pleased by that.

    Like you, I have ultimate respect for Symon and Flay. Haven’t met Michael yet, but Bobby has been the picture of grace and humor each time I’ve met him.

    I’ve enjoyed commenting in this blog. And I believe I’m becoming emotionally invested in your winning this thing! Regardless of how the next two weeks go, your performance so far has been … well, I’ll say it … star-like.


  3. Charity permalink
    July 20, 2009 1:13 pm

    Hi Jeffrey,

    Congratulations on the win!

    I am so glad that they switched up your ingredients! I have been wanting to see you work with some different ingredients – to go with your “food without borders” POV.

    Your cultural history sounds intriguing.
    Wondering what cuisines you have experience with.
    Hoping that you get the chance to stay around and flesh out your POV some more!

  4. Roma permalink
    July 20, 2009 3:41 pm

    Hi! First comment here on your blog, and I gotta say, I was impressed by your performance on the show from episode one. I was just wondering…what’s the taping process like? Is it one challenge per day? Did you get days off? What did you and the other contestants do to unwind between challenges? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to…I’m just curious.

    Rooting for you,

  5. Lisa Cubbon permalink
    July 20, 2009 5:29 pm

    I like your Zen approach! I am hoping it’s you too. I know it’s a done deal by now. Lisa

  6. Renee permalink
    July 21, 2009 10:24 am

    Jeffrey, my husband and I went to Red Lobster last night and enjoyed your Wood Grilled Tilapia dish. It was truly wonderful!

  7. Janet Schmidt permalink
    July 22, 2009 9:14 am

    Congrats. My husband and are looking forward to trying it soon.

    I really hope you win. You are clearly the star! Is the finale live? Was it discouraging to have Bob on you so much. The Zen like quality he so hates, is what makes you shine. Most people seem to mention that about you.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      July 26, 2009 9:20 am

      Thank you Janet, I appreciate the support! Yes, things are all done. Jeffrey 🙂

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      July 28, 2009 8:03 am

      Hello Janet,
      Bob was really great. All their feedback was honest and sincere. I took it that way. Thanks for the support and for reading my blog. The finale is not live. All done…
      have a great week and thank you!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  8. bmslou permalink
    July 25, 2009 12:06 pm

    Huge fan of Jeffrey.! Funny story….last weekend had a great weekend with the wife and daughter (5 yrs old. She loves Red lobster so we had planned to eat there last Saturday. It was a nice dinner and evening we had there. Fast forward to Sunday evening…ad my dedication to watching the Next Food Networks Star and seeing how my buddy Jeffery does. Long story show….I made it a point to go back to Red Lobster last night with my daughter and I ordered the winning dish. Now, I don’t so asparagus, so I asked them to substitute it with broccoli. The did and i was grateful for that. But the dish was amazing.! I LOVED it and hope it sticks around for awhile. I really want to order that again.
    I hope ya win the show….and I’m a big fan.

    LOU M.
    (Omaha, Ne).

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      July 26, 2009 9:19 am

      Thank you so much! sounds like you are enjoying your family, eating and the show! Good stuff. Thank you for the support! Warmly, Jeffrey 🙂

    • emma permalink
      July 26, 2009 3:57 pm

      I finally went to Red Lobster (after years of avoiding it) and tried the dish you won with. I never usually eat Tilapia (and I know that’s not the fish you would have chosen) but I enjoyed the flavors. My family is drinking Mojito’s during the show tonight and we’re rooting for you although we know the outcome is already pre-determined.

      I hope you can give us some Lebanese or Middle eastern cooking techniques, spice and food combinations on your blog. One of the most delectable dishes I ever ate was a chicken cooked in a clay pot at a middle eastern restaurant. When food is that moist and delicious (and the people are that friendly) it truly becomes cooking without borders.

      • Jeffrey Saad permalink
        July 28, 2009 8:00 am

        Hello emma, thank you for checking it out. I made a simple tasty version of “hummus” this weekend. I chopped up Garbanzo beans. Sauted them briefly with garlic. I then tossed them in chopped parsley and fresh lemon jucie and piled it on top of pita bread toasted with cumin. Simple and tasty! Jeffrey 🙂

  9. July 26, 2009 12:28 pm

    Hi Jeffrey,
    My husband and I have always thought Michael Symon would be a lot of fun (especially after reading “Soul of a Chef”- just such a regular guy!). Question – you cooked barramundi on NFNS. Why did they change it to tilapia (I imagine it has to do with cost and availability, but just curious). When FN started running ads BEFORE the airing of that epi, it was for tilapia with spicy soy glaze and everyone on the comment sections was MAD, thinking that soy=Korean and so that meant that Debbie won that challenge. We were glad to see that wasn’t the case for many reasons!

    My husband called you a finalist from the very first episode. I was a little later to jump on the bandwagon, but am glad to see you’ve come this far!
    Cheryl (in Lyon, France, so I have to wait until TOMORROW to watch this week’s episode!)

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      July 28, 2009 8:02 am

      Hello Cheryl,
      Yes, that was a fun “mix up”. The Tilapia is just as tasty and is more widely available for the volume Red Lobster does. Thanks for the support and for reading my blog!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  10. Karen Monreal permalink
    July 26, 2009 7:57 pm

    hope only the best for you. good luck on next week show


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