Food Network Star Exit Interview: Chris Nirschel

The future of both Penny Davidi and Chris Nirschel may be a bit uncertain at the moment but one thing is for sure; they will not soon be forgotten.  For reasons Chris Nirschelboth good and bad each left their permanent marks on Food Network Star.  Hopefully they will be able to parlay their notoriety into full and rich lives.

I tried to watch Chris’ official Food Network exit interview but the sound goes wonky just when he begins to speak and never recovers.  What is audible on the clip is Bobby Flay summing up Chris’ cooking on Star, “I think you need more experience cooking on the line so you can learn a lot more.”  And who can forget Flay’s response to Chris’ arguing the point, “You want to bring up the lobster dish with the cream cheese again?  I don’t think so.”

No doubt those words were hard to take after all Chris is the executive chef at Café Napoli in New York City and to be told that you need to go back to being a line cook must have hurt.  Especially when it comes from one of the most accomplished chefs in the city, a guy who had already amassed a restaurant empire by the time he was Nirschel’s age.  But Bobby has a point.

Café Napoli has a pedestrian 2.4 star rating (on a 1 to 5 scale) from 70+ reviews at Yelp.  It is located in Little Italy where it is oft described by the locals as a “tourist trap.”  A quick glance at the rating breakdown shows that it has received more one star ratings (the lowest) than any other with the overwhelming number of reviewers rating it three stars or less.

Chris did not make himself available for the conference call because of a scheduling conflict so I was not able to probe the rumor that he had also tried out for MTV’s The Real World.  However he was able to briefly answer a few e-mail questions by way of an intermediary.

Looking back what is your favorite memory from the show?

I have a brother and best friend for life in Vic and there were so many great memories on competing on the series with him.

What experience on the show has had the most profound effect on you? 

I was humbled and sometimes defeated but I am convinced what doesn’t break you makes you strong so Food Network Star has made me who I am and who I will become.

What’s your next project?

Confidential, but you will see me soon!


Be sure to read Penny Davidi’s exit interview HERE.


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Be sure to stop by each Monday for my exclusive mourning after exit interviews with each exiled foodie (HERE). This year I have also added the WTVC (WannabeTVchef) Food Network Star Polls – six categories for contestants who best embody the spirit of former Food Network Star competitors. Be sure to check them out HERE. Click HERE to get all the news, gossip and snark on Food Network Star season 7.

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
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2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
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2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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