NEW YORK – August 3, 2009 – Last night, after nine weeks of grueling competition, stay-at-home mom and home cook Melissa d’Arabian was crowned The Next Food Network Star during the hit reality show’s season five finale. Melissa, who recently moved from Keller, Texas to Kirkland, Wash., beat out Jeffrey Saad of Los Angeles to win the ultimate prize in television: her own Food Network show, Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa d’Arabian, set to premiere this Sunday, August 9th.
“Week by week, Melissa proved she had the makings of a true food star,” said Bob Tuschman, Senior Vice President, Programming and Production, Food Network. “Her expert technique brought sophisticated flavors and ideas to home cooking, and her bright, warm, and down-to-earth personality made her a viewer favorite. We’re thrilled to share her wealth of ideas for making easy, delicious, and inexpensive meals.”
On her new series, Melissa shows viewers how to incorporate creative and tasty meals into their budgets by sharing her tried-and-true recipes. With countless tips to save time and money in the kitchen, she keeps her $10 promise in every episode: four people, ten bucks, infinite possibilities. From approachable Parisian and Moroccan menus to sophisticated upgrades for everyday chicken and pork, Melissa’s delicious budget-friendly meals demonstrate home cooking at its finest. Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa d’Arabian premieres Sunday, August 9th at 12:30pm ET/PT. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit: www.FoodNetwork.com/
As a wife and a stay-at-home mother to her four preschool-aged daughters, Melissa pairs her varied culinary and life experiences to provide food lifestyle solutions to today’s families. Due to her mother’s schooling and career, Melissa moved around as a child living in Tucson, Ariz., San Diego, and Bethesda, Md. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at The University of Vermont in 1990 and went on to earn her MBA at Georgetown University in 1993 before launching a successful career in business consulting and finance. She stopped working during her twin pregnancy in 2007. Melissa believes strongly in volunteering, her Christian faith and living her life with meaning and purpose. She and her family recently relocated from Keller, Texas to Kirkland, Wash.
While enduring countless culinary challenges, the finalists also had to impress notable Food Network stars including Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Alton Brown, Guy Fieri, Ina Garten, Emeril Lagasse, Gina and Pat Neely, Masaharu Morimoto, Ted Allen, Tyler Florence, Michael Symon and the show’s season four winner, Aaron McCargo, Jr. Melissa and Jeffrey competed against eight other hopefuls: Brett August, Katie Cavuto, Teddy Folkman, Eddie Gilbert, Jen Isham, Debbie Lee, Jamika Pessoa, and Michael Proietti. Iron Chef Bobby Flay and Food Network executives Bob Tuschman (Senior Vice President, Programming and Production) and Susie Fogelson (Vice President, Marketing and Brand Strategy) served as this season’s selection committee. In addition to winning her own show, Melissa will also be featured in Food Network Magazine and have a top spot at the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival in October.
Casting for season six of The Next Food Network Star, set to air in 2010, is currently underway. For information about open-call auditions, applications, contest rules, and submission instructions visit www.FoodNetwork.com/Star.