12. Anne Burrell
Anne Burrell’s pedigree is incredibly impressive. She’s the host of several Food Network shows (Worst Cooks in America and Secret Life of a Restaurant Chef among others), she served as a sous chef to Iron Chef Mario Batali and competed on the The Next Iron Chef (she was eliminated in episode 6) and Chopped: All-Stars Tournament (she finished third behind Aaron Sanchez and Nate Appleman).
Unfortunately, the successes that Burrell has had as a Food Network personality are also the reason that she is 12 for me and not higher. The remainder of the ranking is filled with Iron Chefs, multiple time Chopped and Guy’s Grocery Game champions and the biggest stars that Food Network has.
Any other Food Network competition and Burrell is probably a top-seed, but here she slots into the 12 position.
11. Alton Brown
You can certainly make the case that outside of Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis that Alton Brown is the most recognizable personality on Food Network. His rapier wit, distinct look and the way he incorporates science and food facts into his dialogue make him come off as the smartest guy on the Network.
Here’s the thing though, Brown has hosted pretty much everything on Food Network but he hasn’t exactly cooked on a lot of shows, let alone on any head-to-head competitions. He obviously knows how to cook (he’s either authored or co-authored over 11 cook books and cooks regularly on his show Good Eats), I’m just not really certain how he would fare going head to head with the likes of Robert Irvine, Alex Guarnaschelli and Bobby Flay.
Using food science to impress the audience is one thing, but using it in a head-to-head competition to flambe your cherries jubilee is another.