I have to say, I was kind of impressed. Or at least happy that it wasn't a complete disappointment. So here are some of my random thoughts about her first episode, entitled "Nod to the Bistro".
Over all I liked the content. I liked the style of food that was prepared and the way it was presented. I was also pleased that they didn't shy away from recipes, techniques or terms that might "scare away" the their Sandra Ray demographic. Personally I don't think they give their audience enough credit. That's not to say Finley's bistro menu was all that scary. The only thing I was really surprised to see was the fact that she made a pâte à choux.
I also appreciated that the show was done mostly in real-time with very little "TV magic". She prepped and cooked almost the entire menu on-air and only used pre-made ingredients when it made sense -- though she could have easily melted some chocolate for her dessert instead of using a jar of chocolate sauce.
For the most part Finley was very comfortable on camera. I think the rehashing of some phrases, like mentioning her husbands birthday like 3 time in 5 minutes, was simply nerves and will get better with experience. I was a bit surprised when the first words out of her mouth were "When I lived in France", considering she was criticized by producers during The Next Food Network Star competition for constantly referring to her time in France and possibly sounding condescending when doing so. I didn't watch the competition enough to comment on that, but I still found it interesting that was how she chose to start off her new show.
Another bit of interesting reading was this little tidbit from an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune and her MySpace page.
"She hadn't seen a reality show before her Food Network experience because she doesn't own a television."
"We download programs off my mother's cable onto our computer using a SlingBox"