We saw the dramatic ending to a fun season on Food Network Star 2014, as the winner of Food Network Star Season 10 was announced last night and we could not be any happier that is was Lenny McNab who took home the victory. Lenny was one of our favorites all season long and knew he had a big fan base out there, but were unsure if he could take down Luca Della Casa and Nicole Gaffney along the way. We got a chance to chat with the winner of Next Food Network Star 2014 today and discuss his time on the show and what we can expect from Lenny next! Check out our exclusive interview with Lenny McNab below in our Food Network Star 2014 spoilers!

Food Network Star 2014 Spoilers - Lenny McNab

Todd, Reality Rewind: What made you try out for Food Network Star 2014?
Lenny: I was invited to go on Guy Fieri’s new television show called Guy’s Grocery Games and I lost in impeccable style right in the final round. I undercooked a lamb and I went down for the count. As I was saying goodbye to everyone and was checking out of the grocery store, Guy Fieri came up to me and said “Lenny, this is not the last Food Network is going to see of you.” He inspired me so much at that moment that I immediately put in my application for Food Network Star. And here I am a winner. Is that insane, or what?

Todd, Reality Rewind: Very insane, but that’s a great story.
Lenny: The whole Food Network has been a real dream to work for and they are so professional and loving and kind. It’s like dealing with family not dealing with a boss of any sorts.

Todd, Reality Rewind: You seemed to be a frontrunner early on, but then struggled some the past couple weeks. How were you feeling heading into shooting the pilot?
Lenny: When I was moving into the last couple challenges and I had to connect with the camera, I do really well with a big crowd. That’s been my whole life, where I work here at the ranch. I am always around people, so I have that energy to draw off of. I ended up, for some reason, sometimes in life things gets into your head. I got myself into a small spot and I couldn’t get a word out for a couple days. I was just all jumbled and bobbled up inside myself. Where it all came back into it for me was when we were shooting the pilot. First thing they did was bring me into the kitchen and it had been a few weeks since I’ve been in the kitchen for those last challenges. I think what happened is I found myself getting too far into my head instead of cooking and talking about what I’m cooking. When they let me get back into that kitchen for my pilot at Steve’s restaurant in New York, everything came back to me and I was back in my comfort zone.

Todd, Reality Rewind: What was going through your mind when it was down to you and Luca on the finale and waiting for the results to be announced?
Lenny: I was for sure that handsome, hunk of a man was going to pull this one out. Honest to goodness, Luca’s so good! Of all the contestants I met on the show, Luca and I had become really good friends. We sat around playing poker and laughing and joking. I would talk like him and he would talk like me. We had a big ol’ time and I had literally set in my mind that I wasn’t going to win. When my picture popped up on that screen, there was this moment of disbelief and maybe they put up the wrong picture. Same thing happened to me last night when I was watching the show. Even though I knew the outcome, I thought for sure they were going to edit it and make Luca win. When they did show my picture, even at my little viewing party here at the ranch, I dropped to my knees again and started balling my eyes out. It’s pretty monumental to me…I’m a Food Network star now.

Todd, Reality Rewind: And well deserved. What was it like working with the mentors this season?
Lenny: When you first meet them, these are people you just see on TV. You’re extremely starstruck and mesmerized by them. Bobby Flay is an Iron Chef and man can that guy cook and now I have to cook for him. Giada is so beautiful that it just floors me. Alton Brown is probably one of the smartest men in the Food Network kitchen. What I decided to do with the mentors this season for myself was I tried to cook food for Bobby Flay. I tried to keep my personality going for Giada and whatever Alton Brown told me to do, I did it to the T! It seems like it all worked out well for me.

One of the most touching moments for me last night, at the end of the show when they were all congratulating me, Giada came over to me and she gave me a big hug and looked at me in the eye and said “Welcome to the family, Lenny” and it was so touching for me. They are really cool people.

Todd, Reality Rewind: Of the many challenges this season, which one was your favorite?
Lenny: My favorite challenge this season was the pool party. There’s no reason I should be taking my shirt off on national TV, that’s for sure, but I did it twice this season (laughs). I’m going to have to reevaluate my wardrobe function. The best time for me this year was when I did that belly flop into the pool. When you are working in front of a lot of cameras and a big crew, there is a lot of stimulus going on around you. It had been going on for a couple months and every day is constant stimulation. When I fell into that pool, there was this matter of 2-3 seconds I was under water and everything muted for me. There was this peaceful, serene feeling knowing I was under that water and things turned off for me for half a second. It was the most blissful time on that show was that belly flop.

Todd, Reality Rewind: It was a belly flop, but to have that moment. That’s a great story.
Lenny: It was an unexpected moment for me, which is why it took me back so much. I was under water and I could still hear everyone screaming and yelling, but it was muted. It was almost like I had cried back into the womb of some sort and I knew right then and there I was safe and everything was going to be good. Sure as heck, it worked out just fine.

Todd, Reality Rewind: Now that it is done and you have seen your victory, what has this whole experience meant to you?
Lenny: There is a lot of validation for me now. Not just being a chef or an entertainer, but I feel validation of who I am as a person and the road I have chosen to take in my life. Everything from being a honky tonk musician in Nashville to a chuck wagon cook for a cattle operation or a medic in the Army or going to culinary school in Germany or mule wrangler at the Grand Canyon. I always thought of myself as a rambling kind of man who moved around wherever the wind blew me. This time the wind blew me in a direction that is so monumental. I feel so blessed to be here where I am right now. The accumulation of the season and being able to do what I did for those three-and-a-half months and then juggle my job back at the ranch at the same time showed me yes, I can do this.

Now I am going into making the new show with a lot of confidence and a sense of ease. I’m not scared about it anymore. I think it would have been different if they had just come up to me and offered me a show, but I had these three-and-a-half months to practice and learn the tricks of the trade. I feel really good about that.

Todd, Reality Rewind: We are very excited for your new show. When can we expect to see that?
Lenny: We’re talking with the producers and the writers and nothing has been set in stone. They’re not sure when it’s going to air. That’s just left out in limbo and not just for everyone on the blog, but for me as well. I have no idea.

Todd, Reality Rewind: You are out there as the winner and working on the new show, but do you have anything else in the works?
Lenny: I have a very exciting thing doing this winter. I was invited to cook a dinner at the James Beard House in New York, which is a very big deal for chefs. They asked me to cook dinner on New Years Eve. They want me to bring my guitar too and play and sing songs that night, so I’ll be doing a cowboy-inspired dinner at the James Beard House on New Years Eve and I’m very excited about that.

To be honest, this interview was amazing and confirmed my love for Lenny. He is such a nice, humble guy and I can’t wait to see his show. A great guy to talk to and so easy to chat with. Best of luck to Lenny in the future!

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