Amy Finley, winner of The Next Food Network Star, hails from La Mesa, California, but the intro to her newish show, The Gourmet Next Door, was shot on a tree-lined block in Brooklyn, New York. In fact, I watched Finley’s crew shoot the intro from my own front stoop, so the show literally hits close to home for me.

I don’t mind that there’s nothing glamorous about this series, which seems to have lower production values than other Food Network cooking shows, but Second Helpings blogger Elisa Ung is concerned about Finley’s appearance:

Finley is cast kind of like a ground-level Giada. The judges often seemed concerned that Finley’s frequent ‘I lived in France’ talk would come off as too snobby, and the show seems to be taking great pains to glam her hair and makeup down, to the point of being unflattering.

Her nerdy dessert names, like Amy’s Freaky Good Apple Tart, also lack sex appeal, and she’s not all that graceful in the kitchen, but I kind of like seeing a TV cook who is a bit of a spaz. One anonymous reviewer of her tart recipe thinks she should be a bit more poised, though:

Amy looks so uncomfortable on the screen, disorganized, constantly shifting from one thing to another and always standing on her tiptoes. Obviously the counter and stove is too high for her, give her something to stand on.

Like Second Helpings, the Gastronomic Fight Club blog suggests that Finley might want to get off the “I lived in France” train. Since Finley seems so wrapped up with her stint in Europe, perhaps her own travel show would be more original and intriguing than her basic behind-the-counter cooking show?

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