Who would have thought a sandwich could be so compelling? The Food Network is willing to take that chance; as Jeff Mauro — a.k.a The Sandwich King — was named the winner of Food Network Star. Jeff entered the competition with a somewhat simplistic point of view, but really made it compelling by the finale. The man can take any food and turn it into a sandwich; which is actually kind of impressive when you think about it. While it appeared his personality might eventually get the best of him as the competition progressed, Jeff really focused in and found the perfect balance of humor and knowledge. Susie presented quite a tough challenge in the finale, but there’s no doubt Food Network made the right decision.
With the win, Jeff’s show — Sandwich King — will premiere on Food Network next Sunday. While the show should be entertaining, I hope the Food Network gives Jeff the opportunity to do more than just a cooking show. He clearly has the culinary chops, and skills to make a great sandwich, but his personality almost seems wasted on a traditional cooking show. I’ve only really followed the last three seasons of the show, but Jeff seems like he could be the biggest star since Guy Fieri. He has a great combination of food knowledge, but he’s entertaining enough to host his own show (like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives). I think his talent is somewhat wasted if he’s just doing a simple cooking show.
Overall, though, Food Network made the right choice. Even though I won’t consider Jeff’s new show “must see T.V,.” I will definitely give it a shot. If Food Network were to give him a hosting gig, I think I would be more inclined to DVR that type of show. Jeff is at his best when he can be funny and interact with others; making him an ideal host on the Food Network. It’s easy to envision a show where he finds outrageous sandwiches across America, talks to the people who make them, attempts to recreate them, etc. This would be a great opportunity for Food Network to allow Jeff to cook while simultaneously showing off his natural star power and skill. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
The only issue here is that the winner of the show gets a terrible time slot. Very few people are going to wake up and watch a morning cooking show on a Sunday; so these chefs really start out on the bottom. If Jeff gets low ratings early on, I hope Food Network is willing to stick it out with him and give him multiple opportunities at stardom. Hell, they keep giving Adam Gertler opportunities…you would think Jeff deserves more than that.
So, congrats to Jeff. He definitely deserved the victory. Let’s hope Food Network handles this situation properly If so, they could have their first big star since Guy Fieri.