Last month, an investigation led by The Army Times determined that The Next Food Network Star’s Josh “Jag” Garcia not only lied about the extent of his military experience, but also his educational attainment. According to the newspaper, Garcia did not spend nearly two years in the infantry, nor was he ever deployed in a war zone. The newspaper also reported that he was discharged by the Corps eight months early, and that he never completed his studies at the New York Restaurant School.
The allegations surfaced after the third season premiere of The Next Food Network Star on June 3. When production for the particular season wrapped up early this year, Josh Garcia was among the Final Two vying for the title. However, a meeting between the series’ judges and Garcia that aired at the end of Sunday night’s episode showed Garcia withdrawing from the competition.
“I’m taking myself out of this competition,” Garcia told the judges. “I can’t, in good conscience, continue knowing what you guys demand of a Food Network Star. I can’t continue knowing that I’m not mature enough yet to meet those requirements, and I’m sorry.”
The judges regrettably accepted Garcia’s decision to leave the show.
“Unfortunately, we will accept this resignation. You’re stepping down [while], we believe, holding your head high,” Susie Fogelson said.
Bob Tuschman added, “Jag, you’re a talented young man and we think you realize you made a choice that you probably wish you hadn’t made at this point. I know this door is closing for you, but I honestly do believe there’s a hundred other doors that are going to open for you. And we want you to succeed. We really do.”
Josh Garcia’s withdrawal came a week before the The Next Food Network Star’s third season finale. Viewers were supposed to vote for either Garcia or 30-year-old restaurant owner, Rory Schepisi, but in light of recent events, 32-year-old caterer and freelance writer, Amy Finley, will be the one awaiting the results with Schepisi during the finals.
Initially, the Food Network chose to remain silent about the allegations, only saying that they would conduct their own investigation of the matter. It wasn’t until Sunday night’s episode that the network finally released the results of their investigation.
“Several months after this episode was taped, Food Network learned that Jag had misrepresented facts about his military service and his culinary training,” read the Food Network statement. “He said he had served in Afghanistan and that he had graduated from cooking school, neither of which is true. When given the opportunity during a press interview, Jag did not set the record straight. Food Network asked Jag to come to New York to discuss the situation.”
-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image Courtesy of the Food Network)