'Next Food Network Star': Aarti, Herb or Tom FTW? Vote!

next-food-network-star-top-3-320.jpgWhich "Next Food Network Star" contestant can take the heat that Rachael Ray is dishing?

On the "Star" season finale Sunday, Aug. 15 at 9 p.m. ET, the perky Food Network personality will be directing the Top 3's pilots for the shows they're wanting to launch. Once a focus group has weighed in, the judges will decide who has the chops -- in the kitchen and in front of the camera -- to become the next face on the network.

Let's take a look at the finalists:

Herb Mesa - His past as an overweight child informs his cuisine -- healthy but tasty dishes -- but it's also been his downfall earlier on in the competition when his low self-esteem sabotaged his performance in front of the camera. Eventually though, he came into his own, and switched his rather weak "Energy Chef" idea to the much stronger and focused "Cooking con Sabor" (Cooking with Flavor), which honors his heritage. He's only won one star challenge and tied for one camera challenge.

Tom Pizzica - His big personality took a while to hone for the camera, but since then, he's been going pretty strong. He takes major (some would say wacky) risks, and they don't always pay off on the plate, but win him points on chutzpah and originality, which is what saved him during the Iron Chef Challenge. He's only fallen into the Bottom 2 once, and won the most recent two star challenges and has two camera challenges under his belt.

Aarti Sequeira - This food blogger brings her Indian flavors and influences into her "Aarti Paarti" concept, and her charmingly goofy personality won over the judges early on. She's won a whopping four star challenges and three camera challenges but her nerves and occasional low self-esteem have stuck her on the bottom lately, making for an inconsistent run. Zap2it is firmly on Team Aarti and has been from the beginning, so fingers crossed.






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Photo credit: Food Network