And it’s cowboy Lenny for the win! Food Network Star crowned its Season 10 winner Sunday night, and Colorado’s “Gourmet Cowboy” Lenny McNab was the charmer America most wanted to see lasso his own show on the network.
The multitalented McNab — a former chuck wagon chef who also has his own honky tonk act — scored the most viewer votes, besting fellow finalists Luca Della Casa and Nicole Gaffney and earning the right to bring a variation of his Cowboy Up pilot to Food Network.
McNab, 42 — who launched his Stetson into the air when his picture appeared on the big screen as the winner — exclaimed, “Right now I’m feeling like a caged lion who’s been let out for the first time in his entire life and he’s finally found the freedom to roam the range of Food Network.”
“He gave it his all,” said Food Network Star judge-mentor Giada De Laurentiis in a network interview after the finale. “He gave us his soul. And in return America gave him the title.”
“There’s not another Lenny McNab at the Food Network,” added fellow judge-mentor Alton Brown, who was gifted with the enormous silver belt buckle McNab wore on Sunday’s finale, because McNab claimed the one-of-a-kind bauble should go to another one-of-a-kind Food Network celeb.
The 42-year-old McNab — currently the executive chef at Kessler Canyon Ranch, on the Western Slope in the Colorado Rockies — endeared himself to viewers with his quirky combination of confidence and charm, not losing a beat when he split his britches in a recent episode, much to the amusement of the Food Network Star audience, judges and the family for whom he was cooking on The Rachael Ray Show.
“One of the things that we tell all the finalists when they first start is don’t try to emulate or be someone that we already have. … I don’t think there’s another person like Lenny in the world,” said Bobby Flay, the show’s third judge-mentor.
“Lenny’s magnetic personality, culinary chops and cowboy swagger made him stand out in this very talented crowd from the beginning,” concluded Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Food Network in this morning’s official network announcement. “Lenny has a true passion for great food and the great outdoors and we look forward to adding his unique voice to Food Network.”
Photo: © 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved. Photo credit: Eddy Chen.