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Seven months after Food Network informed Anne Thornton that her series would not see a third season, the pastry chef finds herself on the cover of Thursday’s New York Post above the ominous headline, “Just Desserts.”
The story alleges that Food axed her under-performing Dessert First after some at the Scripps-owned cable network thought her recipes too closely resembled those from Martha Stewart and “Barefoot Contessa” Ina Garten.
Citing sources “close to production,” The Post points to recipes for french toast and lemon squares that may have raised eyebrows within the network.
For their part, a Food representative tells The Hollywood Reporter that Dessert First wasn’t renewed for a third season “based on the show’s performance.”
And that decision came down some time ago. The last episode of Dessert First aired in June, 2011, with shrinking numbers from the original six-episode run factoring into the network’s decision to not move forward. Official notice of the cancellation was given to Thornton and all parties the next month.
Food Network wouldn’t comment on whether it maintains a relationship with Thornton, but it is the network’s habit to keep many culinary personalities around after their series’ ends — though that clearly isn’t always the case.
Thornton has appeared in three episodes of the network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate since the conclusion of Dessert First, the last of which aired in October.
Speaking with The Post, Thornton said she was unaware of the claims prior to the story.
“There’s only so many ways you can make [lemon squares], so of course there will be similarities,” she said, “It’s chemistry. It’s not just cooking. So there are always going to be things that are the same”
She also showed support for her former employer. “At Food Network, we go over all our recipes with them,” she said. “They wouldn’t [run] something that wasn’t original.”
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