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August 4, 2009

Wow! What an amazing journey. One year ago I was watching season four of The Next Food Network Star and I said to my wife “I can do that”. Here I am a year later. Although not winning was the most painful experience of my life I feel so great because I am more determined than ever to make it happen. 

I never thought I could be closer to my family or love them more and I do after this experience. Being away from them for so long and sharing this journey together has united us like never before.

My favorite challenge by far was the Iron Chef / Red Lobster challenge. Not just because I won but because it embodied so much of what the competition was about. I had to think on my feet, be flexible, and “mind-taste” to come up with a complete dish on the spot. All while smiling! The breeze was hot, the grill was even hotter and we were surrounded by Bobby Flay’s and Michael Symon’s fans yelling and cheering. What a trip!

I am so grateful for this journey. I went into this competition thinking that this is what I was meant to do now I know it is what I am meant to do. It is what makes me tick. It is what makes me jump out of bed in the morning ready for the day. As I have said before I have a better chance of surviving if you pull out my heart than take my tongue!

What I will miss most is looking into that magical lens and believing that I am inspiring millions of people to want to cook, eat, and enjoy life! I will be back. I will not stop. I am sure you will see me on the screen again. When, where and how I do not know but I know you will. I am grateful. I am a better person, better chef, better teacher and more determined than ever before. Until next time, Bon appetite, Buen provecho and thank you so much!

Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.

66 Comments leave one →
  1. Annie permalink
    August 4, 2009 7:06 am

    You have been my favorite contestant since episode 1 and my pick a winner of NFNS! I’m happy to hear that you would continue to pursue your goal. Even though I don’t cook, I love to see you work your magic with food. Keep us posted and hope to see you on TV again soon.

    • Kathy Bullock permalink
      August 16, 2009 7:42 am

      My family and I faithfully followed your progress on NFNS and were sad that both you and Melissa couldn’t each get a show. I was SO impressed with your pilot! It really made me interested and excited to try new ingredients. It’s easy to get stuck using the same old recipes and I think you brought a lot of new, interesting ideas to the food world. We’re all hoping that you get your own show soon. You can be sure that we’ll tune in regularly AND try and recreate your recipes. Best of luck in all your future ventures!!!

      • Jeffrey Saad permalink
        August 16, 2009 12:10 pm

        Thank you Kathy! I am working on it! Thanks for reading. Take care! Jeffrey 🙂

  2. Elaine permalink
    August 4, 2009 7:32 am

    Well, I certainly hope to see you again, soon. And in prime time.

    Your “zen” presentations came across to me as calm, confident, and capable…never in the least bit boring. Mark of a true professional. Kind of like Joe DiMaggio: no one ever saw him dive for a ball, because his instincts had him already in place to make the play. My dad told me that there were an awful lot of baseball fans who, after watching Joe D., were sure they could play centerfield for the Yankees, because he made it look so easy.

    That’s the feeling you give me. I know how much talent and skill is involved in creating and preparing your dishes, but your approach–rather than being intimidating–encourages me to believe “I could do that.”

    A pleasure to watch you, a pleasure to learn from you.

    Best of luck to you and your family.

  3. August 4, 2009 7:56 am

    I liked you at the beginning of TNFNS. At the the end I left my decision up to the “pilot”. I believe your show would have been the better show. I don’t need any more ideas for cheap dinner. You may have lost but you are winner in my book.

    Real Estate being what it is right now maybe you can find a good property and open a restaurant.

    Good luck in whatever you end up doing.

  4. August 4, 2009 9:09 am

    Yep, still don’t get it. If I wanted to watch a frantic housewife I could look in the mirror. I am pretty sure most men would NEVER watch her either. So that leaves……..who?

    OH also, what would you do with that dycon root (sp) Debbie always used?

    • jonnyfrog permalink
      August 5, 2009 1:01 am

      daikon radish is commonly used in Japanese cuisine- as well as other Asian cuisines. It’s considered a “cooling” food when cooking for health is considered. I’ve eaten it hot and cold- my favorite is very thinly jullienned in a salad roll for a bit of freshness and bite. The daikon sprouts are wonderful- use instead of blah ol’ alfalfa sprouts. Anymoreit’s everywhere- even Safeway.

      • Jeffrey Saad permalink
        August 5, 2009 4:52 pm


  5. August 4, 2009 10:16 am

    Daikon, sorry.

  6. Amy permalink
    August 4, 2009 10:47 am

    I was so disappointed that you didn’t win, Jeffrey, but I’m very happy to see that you are still no less determined to use your cooking and teaching skills to encourage people to try new things and invigorate their POV (culinary or otherwise). I look forward to learning from you on camera again in whatever capacity. In the meantime, I’ll keep an eye on this blog– thank you so much for maintaining it and taking the time to interact with your fans. It’s a wealth of information I very much appreciate.

    Good luck to you!

    BTW, I’ve really only had daikon in pickled form (oshinko always makes my day), but I’m probably missing out. /blush

  7. emma permalink
    August 4, 2009 1:13 pm

    That’s the spirit. We wish you the best, and I will follow your career on or off the FN.

    By the way, the fun moments of the night were the vidio shots of your son wearing your food by accident, and intently scoping you out in class to find your weakness for a good takedown (or whatever the proper terminology is). He looks mischievous 🙂

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 5, 2009 4:59 pm

      Thank you. lol

  8. Margaret OBrien permalink
    August 4, 2009 1:31 pm

    I hope you’ve been reading the comments on “Bob’s Blog”, the ‘voting’ doesn’t exactly correlate with the comments (ignore the negative, some people truly fear anything new and different (why finding something at your local store is such a big deal to some I’ll never understand, it isn’t as if Harissa can’t be made from scratch out of stuff that IS in everyone’s local store)). We just don’t care what the people that don’t ‘get’ you think :-). I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the FN doesn’t realize they blew it. BTW, the cooking class sounds very interesting, wish I were going to be in LA this weekend. Achiote, what fun!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 5, 2009 4:59 pm

      Thank you Margaret. I am still pursuing it full speed. Take care,

  9. FRAN permalink
    August 4, 2009 1:41 pm

    Dear Jeffrey,
    Thank you so much for your love and understanding of cooking. What you have done is wonderful and I will wait for you to do your own show, no matter which channel. What I have learned that during the time that most of us boycotted the food network, while Debbie was still there, there are so many many channels with cooking shows and great people. Please be sure to let all of us know where and when we can begin to watch and learn from you. As a senior, on a fixed income, making receipes that are with in a price point is good, but they must also taste perfect. Again, thanks for just being the great person you are, a wonderful cook,
    and a pleasing personality.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 5, 2009 4:58 pm

      Thank you Fran,
      Jeffrey 🙂

  10. Wayne permalink
    August 4, 2009 1:50 pm

    Count me as another fan who is dissapointed you didn’t win. I thought you were the clear winner going into the final given how many of the challenges you won during the competition. Hopefully the Food Network or another channel will give you a chance at a show.

  11. August 4, 2009 2:08 pm

    Jeffrey! If it’s at all allowable in your NFNS contract, talk to independent television production companies . (David Hoffman?) They’ll jump at the chance to work with you. I assume you’re represented? Get ’em to work!

    It’s clear and evident you have an audience. One of FN’s biggest holes in their programming is upper-level cuisine (and they know it). Here they’ve been building a Foodie Fanbase for years, literally hungry for the next level. And you fit in that niche VERY nicely – knowledgeable, approachable, well-spoken and talented.

    I can’t say their choice in Melissa is blowing it … there’s an audience for her too, and she’ll do great.

    But you have enough vocal support to put a show together, pitch it to the network and run. Take the top end food, American and International, break it down for us, explain the differences in fine dining restaurant food & equipment v. home fine dining, so we can reproduce the best of the best. It’d soar, man. And you with it.

    Think Iron Chef -level food meets Triple D concept meets the literary level of No Reservations meets The Best Food I Ever Ate … and then made. There is no failure! Nope.


    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 5, 2009 4:57 pm

      Hello Lana,
      Although my focus right now is on the food network and I do have a contract with them I am open to opportunities and would be happy to speak with your friend. Thank you,
      Jeffrey 🙂

  12. Chris Hopkins permalink
    August 4, 2009 3:01 pm

    You did awesome. I cannot believe you didn’t win. Keep us informed on Twitter and WordPress when you make appearances in the states. I defiantly agree with Kelly Barone, a lot of guys will much rather have watched your show. You both did great but I’m sorry you didn’t win. I look forward to seeing you on TV In the near future. You have inspired my wife and I to try new things, and really think about the flavors in the food we are eating.


    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 5, 2009 4:56 pm

      I am so glad. Thank you! Jeffrey

  13. bmslou permalink
    August 4, 2009 7:16 pm

    While I am very disappointed my bud Jeffrey lost, I am still very grateful that I had the opportunity to become aware of him through the show. As someone who really cannot cook very well (or seem to have the talent to cook very well), I find myself truly inspired to give some dishes a try & for that I thank Jeffery. ;o)
    Lastly, I congratulate Melissa for winning and hope she does well.

    I look forward to a lot more.


  14. August 4, 2009 7:28 pm

    I’m telling you “Ingredient Smuggler” was a potential hit show. I think it would work well on the Travel Channel , esp since Food Network missed out. The concept of the show is perfect..bring a new ingredient from another country back into the states, and incorporate it with good food.
    I am a musical entertainer/producer and I can see a star instantly..and I saw that in you from the first episode. I told my wife..there is the winner. Well you should’ve been. You know food and you have the camera piece down.
    I had wrote FoodNetwork a comment about their choice and my disappointment.
    Anyhow, wish I could do a cooking class with you, but I do live in Indiana lol.
    Take Care.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 5, 2009 4:54 pm

      Hello Trey,
      Thank you so much. That means a lot! I am still working on it full speed. We shall see…
      Take care and thank you for following the blog.
      Jeffrey 🙂

  15. Meredith permalink
    August 4, 2009 9:37 pm

    Turn this energy into positive energy! Your pilot was great. You will be a star. Your wife and children are beautiful – enjoy them until the next opportunity arises…then SNATCH IT! We’ll be watching!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 5, 2009 4:52 pm

      You said it! Thank you,
      Jeffrey 🙂

  16. jonnyfrog permalink
    August 5, 2009 1:18 am

    Jeffrey- thanks for the respopnse to my earlier email- what a surprise. Great blog you’ve got here- I’ll be checking in on it. Here’s a question- would Harissa be used in shwarma? Seems like that’s what you were going for in your lamb recipe. I ate from a trailer in the UK many moons ago- the flavor has not been matched over here, and it haunts me to this day-

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 5, 2009 4:42 pm

      Right on brother! It is great in shwarma!! I love it that way. I also use in for a “gourmet” sandwhich by using cubes of lamb chop meat, carmelized onions, feta and mint all wrapped up in flat bread. I hit the sauteed lamb and carmelized onions with a big spoonful of harissa and some chicken stock. Take care,
      Jeffey 🙂

  17. Marty and Judie permalink
    August 5, 2009 2:06 pm


    Just wanted to take a moment and say ‘thank you’ for a great Next Food Network appearance. You were our choice to win it all after the first night. My wife and I were pulling for you! Though some of the judges seemed critical of your “zen” style, we found it to be very entertaining, and actually quite pleasant. No doubt that Melissa is a great person and cook, as well, but sometimes frenetic is just too much. It seems as if the FN has too many over-the-top show hosts… The Neely’s, Big Daddy, Guy Fieri, etc… Your style and approach to food and cooking is very refreshing, and I hope that the FN can find a place for you in their cooking stable.

    Your knowledge and passion for using ingredients, from around the world, have inspired us to step out of the proverbial box and try new things. Next stop, Harissa! We wish you all of the best, Jeffrey. Many, many thanks.

    Marty and Judie

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 5, 2009 4:39 pm

      Awesome! Thank you so much!
      jeffrey 🙂

  18. Phil permalink
    August 6, 2009 1:09 am

    Great job on TNFNS. No doubt the world hasn’t seen the last of Jeffrey Saad. How long are you under contract with FN? Any chance they’re going to give you your own show? Looking forward to watching things unfold.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 6, 2009 7:34 am

      Thank you Phil. We shall see. I am full speed ahead and determined to make this happen. Have a great day and thanks for the support!!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  19. Mike permalink
    August 6, 2009 7:39 am


    I hardly ever watch cooking shows but you were the one that got me hooked on NFNS. I found your food and your presentations intriguing and appetizing. I too was disappointed that you did not win and I think the Food Network judges were mistaken in what viewers really want to watch. Anyway, my hope is that you will have a show somewhere, is so, I will watch.

  20. Mike permalink
    August 6, 2009 7:41 am

    Sorry, that was supposed to be “if so, I will watch”

  21. Michael permalink
    August 6, 2009 3:37 pm


    I was very dissapopinted in the outcome of TNFNS. I very seldom watch cooking shows but your food and presentations got me hooked on the show. I hope to see you in the future on the Food Network. Your show will be the one that I will watch with great interest.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 7, 2009 9:11 am

      thank you Michael!

  22. Mariah permalink
    August 6, 2009 6:16 pm

    Hi Jeffrey, I am writing you from Trinidad and Tobago! I have cable so that’s where I watch the FN. I thought you was amazing! Did you ever try food from Trinidad? I know you like spicy stuff and here they surely cook REAL spicy food! I get the feeling the FN will offer you a job after your contract is over, I usually get these feelings and I am never wrong so I wish you all the best in your endeavors.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 7, 2009 9:09 am

      Thank you Mariah! I appreciate your support from so far away. I have not but I will!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  23. eva permalink
    August 6, 2009 6:56 pm

    I certainly hope to see you in a format that will showcase your talents. If not Food Network then another. Your pilot seemed to be an excellent opportunity to bring something unique and different to the Network. I hope you will be encouraged to do a similar program and not confined to doing a re-hash of one of their existing shows!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 7, 2009 9:08 am

      Thank you. I am working on it!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  24. shauna permalink
    August 6, 2009 9:53 pm

    Hi Jeffrey,
    I also left a messsage on another site —– I hope you personally read these often and then forward them to the decison-makers.

    I am a 42 yr old wife / school teacher / mom of 2….

    My past life is marketing. This info is for the people who thought the “same-ole-same-ole”-chirpy blonde would have a better market appeal with cheap meals.

    Ugh! A tired show that highlights 101 things to do with a chicken. Wahoo. We ALREADY do that. We ALREADY know.

    I went shopping today at HEB (Texas grocer)—-
    you have been on my mind ever since my husband and I planned to Tivo your show. I observed my own habits + observed others as they worked from their lists.

    People go for YEARS into grocery stores and buy the same products over and over. And over.

    WE SKIP OVER 75% of the yet-to-be-tasted-and-explored exciting products that are ALREADY in the grocery store…..because we don’t know what to do with them.
    We know from experience that an interesting impulse-buy will probably just rot…right along with our good intention of trying something new.

    You, Jeffrey, with your passion!!! can explore and teach us how/what/when to use “foreign” ingredients just from our standard grocers. (Not to mention the whole concept of smuggling!)

    I am repeating this comment…No offense against Melissa, but I did feel like Sara Palin was announced as VP when they selected her. (the whole country said “huuuuuugh?”)

    You are the Obama that cooking shows needs. New, fresh, passionate, exciting, NOT DONE BEFORE.

    Whether or not FN is intelligent enough to give you a show…you WILL have a show!

    And I hope it features your daughter, too. Ya’ll can model how much bonding goes on when you collaborate and explore together in the kitchen with kids.

    I won’t write another post about this (3rd diff site…not a facebooker); just wanted to make sure the DECISION MAKERS get the message!

    Make good decisions. Your fans are waiting.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 7, 2009 9:04 am

      Hello Shauna, You have captured so much of what matters to me and what I am trying to do in your message. THANK YOU. I plan on pursuing this full speed. Thank you for the support and for following the blog. Take care!
      jeffrey 🙂

  25. Allison permalink
    August 7, 2009 7:53 am


    My two young daughters and I had quite a bonding experience watching TNFNS. Our two favorite people made it to the finals so we were happy all the way through. Keep at your goals please as we want to see more of you. I appreciated my girls seeing your positive, creative, classy and calm manner – it was a great lesson for them on how to go about life and work.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 7, 2009 9:02 am

      Thank you so much Allison. Being a dad that means a lot to me. Take care and thank you for following!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  26. Shawn permalink
    August 8, 2009 1:54 pm

    Hello Jeffrey. I just saw the finale after not having watched an episode all season. Although I think there is definitely a place for a show like Melissa’s (especially for people just starting to move out from cooking from recipes – here’s a technique, you can substitute these kinds of ingredients, etc.), and I will check it out, I really hope you get your own show soon. I agree with the previous commenter who talked of a gap in Food Network’s lineup that someone with your approach could fill, teaching a more knowledgeable audience.

    Glad I happened to flip on the TV at that moment, and I’m looking forward to seeing you on there!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 10, 2009 10:19 pm

      Thank you Shawn!

  27. August 10, 2009 6:41 am

    You may not be looking into a lens, but your fans are still watching you. So don’t feel like you’re not inspiring/teaching anyone. 🙂

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 10, 2009 10:08 pm

      thank you Steph, that makes my day!!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  28. Sreevidhya permalink
    August 10, 2009 11:17 am

    Hi Jeffery,
    You were just amazing in the TV. Me and my husband and my 5 year old son love to watch food network. we were so happy that you were in the top 2. we like Melissa(amazing lady…) and you – both of you are so good but for some reason we wanted you to win so badly…. We hope we will see you soon in TV again…. ..
    Your house is beautiful and you have a wonderful family. you have such a great personality…..
    We do not eat meat… but still love to watch you cooking – anything….:) would definetly try your recipes.. (get more of veg 🙂 – please ).. if you open a restaurant we will be there to visit you for sure….. – to experience your food and ofcourse if we get a chance to meet you in person – WOW that would be great……… 🙂 …..

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 10, 2009 10:06 pm

      Thank you Sreevidhya! I really appreciate the support and kind words! I will add some more veggie recipes to the blog! Take care and I am sure we will meet one day 🙂

  29. Laurie Dawson permalink
    August 10, 2009 11:53 am

    Jeffrey, I’m sure it was a very difficult decision for the network to make. I would have been happy to see you win and I’m glad you had this exposure. I signed a petition for you to get your own show…good luck to you! Hope we hear that it happens……….

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 10, 2009 10:05 pm

      thank you Laurie. It means so much. I am so grateful. I am working on it and plan to make it happen! Take care and thanks for reading! warmly, Jeffrey 🙂

  30. Sue Atkinson permalink
    August 10, 2009 1:56 pm

    Love your work-have supported you with many others, faithfully on FN. Hope our collective efforts bring you a show. Cannot believe they would let you go. Best of luck in all you do. I will be watching for your continued success. I wish you and yours, the best of everything! Sue Atkinson

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 10, 2009 10:04 pm

      Thank you Sue. I plan to pursue it until it happens. Take care and thank you so much!!
      jeffrey 🙂

  31. ibcheft permalink
    August 12, 2009 11:57 am

    Just found this, first off Job well done, please keep trying for a show, we need Chef’s to teach. I think the FN missed a opportunity to bring it self back to being in the Cooking and Education industry for the culinary community. I hope you pursue every opportunity, I would love watching you do a show, you are personable, knowledgeable, and have that flair for TV. Once again thanks for giving us the opportunity to see you in action. Keep us informed will be scanning the stations looking for your show.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 12, 2009 11:33 pm

      Thank you ibcheft! Have a great weekend.
      Jeffrey 🙂

  32. August 16, 2009 6:33 am


    Both my wife and I were huge fans of you from the beginning and I still find it hard to believe they didn’t pick you (no offense to Melissa, but I can’t see watching her on a regular basis, whereas you were always fascinating and made me want to try what you were doing).

    Let’s hope FN realizes it’s not just about a game but about a business, and in their business you would be a huge asset. It would be an enormous mistake not to put you on their network just because you didn’t “win” (with the exception of the Guy Fiereo season, I can’t think of anyone on any other season who would have come close to you).

    Keep enjoying what you’re doing and those of us who enjoying seeing you will follow your journey somewhere.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 16, 2009 12:11 pm

      Thank you Mike, these comments keep me going! I really appreciate it. Thanks for reading! Jeffrey 🙂

  33. August 16, 2009 11:26 am


    I had never watched this show before and stumbled on it quite by accident. My wife and I were glued mid-season, and we watched all the episodes for the season, just to catch up on what we missed!

    I’ve got to say I was sure you’d win it, and was pretty upset when you didn’t. I know that is a painful thing to put so much in and not get the top prize. But what has compelled me to make a comment on your blog is the fashion in which you’ve approached everything!

    You have been consistent in your positivity, your can-do attitude, and how you have always been agreeable and helpful to everyone around you.

    This has to be mentioned because I truly believe that nice guys DON’T finish last. In your case, I am very sure there are great things happening in your world because of your outlook on life and the world around you.

    As they say, when one door closes, another one opens. I think losing on the show could be the best thing to happen to you because now you’re not limited to having to work for the Food Network. As a result of that, the world is your oyster, and you have made a brand for yourself that is not limited to any one network; therefore opening up a world of possibilities for you.

    I wish you all the best, and very much look forward to your continued contributions to the culinary world. Keep it up, Jeffrey, we’re counting on you!


    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 16, 2009 12:09 pm

      Hello Jay, that means a lot. thank you. I agree and am determined to make it happen. This kind of feedback makes it easy for me to say positive. Thank you and keep in touch! Thanks for reading. Please thank your wife as well!
      Warmly, Jeffrey

  34. Mel permalink
    August 27, 2009 10:46 am

    Hello Jeffrey! I just read your message & it hurt my heart to read that “not winning was the most painful experience of your life.” I wanted you to win all along, but I had a gut feeling that Melissa would. She seemed to gather momentum as the show progressed while you were consistently awesome! (I know, not fair) I tried to read the reviews of your web recipes on FN, but they wouldn’t pop up. It is very weird. FN has a ways to go to fix their website. There are also mistakes with recipes on there, such as left out ingredients & wrong measurements. (when compared to the TV episodes) They need quality control. Anyway, I hope you write a cookbook! But I REALLY hope you get your own show. I have another gut feeling that you will! I’m excited for you. You have too much charm, charisma, talent, & great ideas to NOT be on TV! I am grateful to FN for your webcast recipe videos, but we want MORE! And whether FN sees that they need to offer you something, or whether some other smart channel offers first, we will see Jeffrey Saad…….one way or another! And remember, for every person who writes to you, there are hundreds more who feel the same way, but just don’t take the time to type! Have a wonderful life, Jeffrey. It’s on its way……..

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 30, 2009 9:02 am

      You are so kind Mel! Thank you for the support! Jeffrey 🙂

  35. Vin Ree permalink
    August 27, 2009 6:19 pm

    Sorry to see you lose in such a close battle. However, my wife and I thought your idea of the “Spice Smuggler” (Indegredient Smuggler?) was excellent; a definite twist for food shows. I know that I would have been a dedicated viewer since Day 1. Anyway, you should consider pursuing such a show on a different network, say, Fine Living Network, The Travel Channel, or even PBS. The Spice/Ingredient Smuggler would work well on anyof those networks.

    Best of luck!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 30, 2009 9:00 am

      Thank you Vin Ree!!! Jeffrey 🙂

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