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Season 2 of 'The Next Food Network Star'
Courtesy of Food Network

It wasn’t until its second season that The Next Food Network Star accomplished its mission to discover the food channel’s next breakout celebrity and catapult that person into stardom. The winner of season 2 of the series, in which eight chefs competed in culinary challenges assessed by a group of judges who eliminated contestants until crowning the ultimate chef champion, is undoubtedly the show’s most successful: Guy Fieri. The restaurateur has gone on to host several tentpole programs for The Food Network, including Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, which aired for 42 seasons, and Guy’s Grocery Games, which is still airing 30 seasons in. The Next Food Network Star gave Fieri an enormous platform—and the series, which follows the blueprint of talent competition shows like American Idol, proved how seemingly ordinary people with extraordinary skills could become famous. As noted by Julia Moskin in the New York Times in 2010, Fieri’s win ushered in a new kind of raucous and real approach to reality food television: “Mr. Fieri is the rare reality-show winner who has translated a small-screen victory into a national fan base, and the rare chef who has transcended the food-TV genre.” —Annabel Gutterman

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