Non-Seasonal Greetings! I am honored to be covering for SexyPanda this week on Food Network Star. I love this show because it is about food, TV, blow-ups, bitches and breakdowns. What’s not to like? Lots to cover, so let’s quit wasting time, shall we?
We are reminded that Howie of dubious integrity went home last week and that Orchid stood out on top last week as a front runner. I am reminded that Whitney looks like she’s fairly closely related to Rachel Ray. Like her much younger twin. Poor Mama Ray—that is true labor hell. We greet this week with contestants pouring themselves out of bunk beds and Vic Vegas is telling us this is his comeback. Hey, Vic—there is this whole concept of “Can’t get any worse”, so unless you forget to actually bring an empty plate up to the judges, you can really only go up. Good luck.
Maybe if bring an empty bowl this time…Yeah, yeah…that’s it…
Mary Beth is back to remind us for the 800th time that she does NOT do mediocre food. Or something. Instead of saying you don’t suck, MB, try saying you’re good at something. It feels so much better on the inside. Unless you are a person who is completely average. And if that is the case, here is your “Thanks for Participating” ribbon to put on your shelf next to your “Honorable Mention” trophies and your “Most Likely to Almost Succeed” award from high school. Man—I’ve spent a significant amount of time on someone so…well, insignificant. See? She has me believing it already. It is time for the first challenge!!
Hey, it’s Bobblehead day in the kitchen!
Giada explains to the group they will have one hour to make a pizza and present their story on camera. Wow, this is SO not Top Chef Masters. “Hi, this is my friend Chef Boyardee and we got to know each other when I was old enough to stay home and fend for myself but too young to care about the liquor cabinet.” Giada goes on to tell the group the winning pizza will be featured in Food Network Magazine. Katy gets all pumped: “Hello, publicity…” She realizes she’s in front of TV cameras, right? Also on this challenge: In the first time in the long, long history (this show has a “long” history??), there will be someone eliminated after the camera challenge. Time is called and Vic takes a moment to tell us he bleeds marinara and cheese, so he’s excited and confident. Great—just cut yourself over a plate and you might have a shot at this. Mediocre Beth is making yellow tomato sauces, Penny is doing Middle Eastern flavors and Juba drops his crust on the floor. Time is up!
Juba is up first and unsurprisingly, tanks it. But the judges do like his toppings.
He is so awkward, he’d have trouble collecting money at your front door.
Katy is up next and tells some WTF story about making pizza with a Chinese worker.
Sixteen hour work day and I get dough with sauce. I hate Westerners.
The judges consider her very insincere and I concur. Alicia actually does do a fairly good job with a date story and drawing in the phrase “It does take a pig to find truffles”. LOL. I want to point out here that last week her voice was greatly attacked by the judges (and the viewers) and she stated she is from Missouri. Now, listen mush-mouth, I am from Missouri and I do not speak like I’m chewing a bunch of marbles. Enunciate! Or say you’re from somewhere else, please. Justin B. blows it on camera, but Jyll, Orchid, Jeff, Mary Mediocre and Frat Boy Chris do okay. Penny comes out and introduces her new point of view, which is Middle Eastern Mom. As long as she never, ever, ever and EVER utters the word “Cougar”, I am happy with this change. Susie introduces hers as Latin flair with an Italian concept and then mutters “football” about 4 times, confusing everyone. Vic Vegas, thankfully not bandaged, introduces his new concept of “Mama Showed Me Right” and then proceeded to talk about himself in the third person, which all Mamas should advise against sternly and with heavy punishment. So, one will win this challenge and one will exit. The winner?
I’m sure this won’t come back to haunt the rest of the contestants…
And in the bottom is Juba, because he pretty much sucks. With Juba is Justin who over thinks it . Vic Vegas is the third one and has been in the bottom for the 3rd time. And the loser?
Go home and make other people uncomfortable, please.
Who in his whacked out family/friends circle told him he’d be good on TV? Poor guy was set up to fail. Juba’s family: they are a cruel bunch.
Bobby Flay comes out to meet the group and introduce the Star Challenge for this week: Make restaurant food accessible to home cooks. Isn’t that called Carry Out? Bobby Flay is on so much TV lately I seriously question his ability to boil an egg. Maybe the pizza thing was his idea. Anyhoo—they have three dishes that are complex in different ways and they have to make them easy to make. The first dish is labeled “Time Consuming”; the second one is “Expensive Ingredients”; and the third is “Technically Difficult”. They will be divided into three groups, not teams, and each person in that group makes their version of the restaurant dish assigned. There will be winners of each group. Whew—I could have cooked something in the time it took to explain that. It would have been crappy, but it would have been plated!
And here is the really fun part: Since Penny won the challenge, she gets to assign the groups. Now Miss Congeniality here is not about to be nice to anyone, but since all the dishes have a difficult element to it, does it matter? Why, yes it does—thanks for asking. Now Penny, who is really pretty mean and annoying, but certainly no dumbass, knows that Orchid is one of the biggest competitors here, so she puts her with Vic, Justin B. and Chris under the “Expensive Ingredients” team. I’m not really sure why this strategy would work. Are these three guys really that good? Penny thinks she’ll fold under the pressure. Um…okay. We’ll see how that works out. Her next choice makes more sense. For “Technically Difficult”, she chooses Alicia, Whitney, Jeff, Jyll and Justin D. She obviously doesn’t think Alicia will be able to handle anything truly difficult and will probably crumble under the pressure. For herself, she takes “Time Consuming” with Mary Beth, Susie and Katy, confident she’s better than those three. So, there really is no problem with using strategy for a contest and yes, you have to somewhat play the game to get yourself farther in the competition, but couldn’t she just act a little nicer?
Nice has been removed from my menu. Along with Sexy.
As the team shops, we see obvious editing of future failures. Orchid gets stuck with canned oysters which Chris describes as the most disgusting thing he’s ever seen as a chef.
You’re not exactly Rockefeller to us either, babe.
Alicia is perfectly calm with solid ideas and plans for execution planted firmly in her head. Kidding! She’s completely clueless and running around like a 2nd grader on recess, but I will point out she is not crying. Yet. Penny points out to us that Katy has three baskets of food and that is a lot for a home chef. Well, heck yeah. That’s why they have those big carts! You can’t fit more than 3 or 4 frozen pizzas in those little baskets and what about the beer? Shopping is completed, for better or worse and we get a lovely little scene back at the contestants “house” where Alicia and Justin D. are hanging out with Penny in the kitchen. Alicia flat out asks Penny how she divided the groups and unlike most villains on reality TV, Penny is completely honest about her choices. She tells her she knew everyone’s weaknesses and formed her own team the way she did because she knew she’d be stronger than the other three ladies. Now, I have to pause here for a second to think about this. In a way, I appreciate Penny’s honesty, but I’m a little flummoxed that after only a couple of challenges, she can properly identify everyone else’s weaknesses. And she does realize this is for a job on TV, right? I mean we might like our villains to make things interesting during challenges and stuff, but would we want to spend time watching this awful person? I mean there are 8 million bitchy housewife shows we can watch, but this is supposed to be about an engaging TV food host. She does point out that her whole goal is to knock out Orchid, as she sees Orchid as her biggest competition and Orchid should feel the target on her back.
The next day as everyone starts to prep, Penny tells us she is most worried about for whom they are cooking. And when the judges are revealed, she has a valid reason to be worried. Scott Conant, Anne Burrell, Patrick and Gina Neely are sitting with the regular panel of judges. Bobby welcomes them to Scott’s restaurant, Scarpetta and tells the group they will be judged not only on the cooking, but the ability to interact with the judges while they’re cooking. Alicia tells us she’s ready to give up already.
A total fighter, this one. Grab a tissue, honey.
First up is the Time Consuming group. Which is totally the new name of my bosses! Mary Beth wants the front station because she’d like to…say it with me…”Bring It On!”. Wow…what an average and overused phrase. She actually does a very nice job on her dish and is very relaxed. And then there is Katy. She actually catches her pan on fire. Penny’s all, “Mission accomplished.”. HAHA—She’s a total bitch, but she knew what she was doing. Penny, with a flank steak sandwich and Susie with a Mexican beef stew both do well. In front of the judges, the first three women get accolades from the judges. Katy is up last. Scott Conant goes through the ridiculous amount of ingredients for her dish and it is way too much for a home cook. Anne Burrell, direct as always, points out that she did not feel comfortable watching her at all. Katy is doing her best to keep her composure.
Smile…though your heart is breaking…
Moving on to the Technically Difficult group, which includes Alicia, Justin D., Jyll, Whitney and Jeff. Jyll is doing beer brats. Really? For Technically Difficult? I swear I made those last weekend. I’m a star! Whitney is making a bacon dish but she’s so focused, she’s like a robot in the kitchen and not interacting at all with the judges. Jeff is doing some sort of play on the BLT but he’s sweating so much, he’s grossing out Giada.
Tell me his dish won’t be too salty.
Then he goes so far as to say he usually wears a sweatband, but all he has is his hair and doesn’t Anne Burrell agree with him?? WTF? Did he just insult Anne’s hairstyle?
Because I’m pretty sure that’s never happened.
Let’s check in with Alicia. She’s doing great and running her station like a champ.
Hahaha. Or making the judges very, very uncomfortable.
Yep, Alicia completely stops cooking to talk to the judges and Anne finally tells her she’s making her nervous. Just cook! Alicia finally finishes her dish by slopping everything on the plate and then tells us, she feels sick to your stomach. Now, that is a great idea for a show—“Queasy Cuisine”.
Jeff is up first. He did the sweaty spring roll. Anne pipes up immediately and says he was entertaining but his food was not so good. His wrappers weren’t, well, wrapped so well and he really shouldn’t sweat in his food. Duly noted—thanks, Anne! Jyll is up next with her *snort* beer brats and okay, so maybe they don’t look exactly like what I did last weekend, but still…All of the judges liked her food and Bob Tuschman tells Jyll how much he liked how grounded she was in her presentation.
Yo! I’m grounded too!
Whitney did a biscuits and gravy type thing and although they all think her food was good, she gets tagged by the judges for not being friendly. Justin D. is up next with his pancake meatball and the judges thought it was tasty and fun. Giada is worried about his confidence level. And then Alicia is up. She did a scallop and bacon wrapped chestnut dish and she just starts rambling with her description. Scott Conant tells her she didn’t look like she was having fun at all. And this is from a guy who knows how to have a blast.
Every day is a party with me. Don’t let my constantly stern face fool you. I’m a smiling on the inside kind of chef.
The judges tell her the scallop is overcooked and Anne tells her again how much Alicia made her nervous. Alicia is already welling up and by the time she gets back with the rest of the group, she is sobbing to Mary Beth, who consoles her.
Who wouldn’t want to tune in to this weekly?
The next group is Expensive Ingredients. Orchid immediately gets asked by the panel why she is prepping by herself, far far away from the guys on her team. Maybe she’s scared she’ll be drenched in Jeff-type sweat. Actually, the three guys are running around in a frenzy and she just points out that she likes to be away from that chaos. Then she gets asked about the canned oysters. She actually had a pretty good comeback on that one, saying that not all home chefs have access to fresh oysters. Chris is doing a seafood stew and acting all cocky and silly in the kitchen. He tells us there is nothing easier than a stew and then he set a pan on fire. For fun. Bobby immediately asked him why he did that and would he encourage a home cook to set a pan on fire? Now, that too would be a good show: “Pyro & Paella”. Vic does a good job interacting with the judges while he cooks. And then Chris doesn’t know what Pernod is and tries to bluff the judges. I personally don’t know what it is either, but I’m not cooking in front of judges. Giada is flabbergasted: “If you don’t know what it is, take a swig of it!”
You’re a frat guy. CHUG, CHUG!
Judging time and Vic is up first and guess what??? There is real FOOD on his plate! Although he overcooked his scallops, Giada thinks he is very sweet. Um, okay. Justin B. presents his pan fried calamari steak with clams and just keeps droning on and on and on with the details. They don’t really care for his presentation (“too cerebral”), but his food is good. Orchid talks through hers, but Anne points out the canned oysters look like a hairball. Giada asks how she got assigned to this group and Orchid answers, “Penny.” Giada laughs that Penny is a smart girl. Orchid’s presentation was good, but food—not so much.
Canned by canned oysters? Seafood irony is my favorite kind.
Chris is up next and Anne tells him he is sloppy and he needs to calm down and respect his food. He gets his little feelings hurt about that. When the group goes back to join the others, Orchid immediately tells them what she told the judges about Penny targeting her. Instead of being distraught over being talked about during panel, Penny takes it in stride. She tells us she did it on purpose and alright, already. WE KNOW! You’re a strategist! A mastermind! A genius! A complete bitch! Not sexy at all!
Judges panel: Once again, Penny is asked about her brilliant strategy and she tells the group that Orchid is a threat so she tried to make her fail. Then they ask Penny why she chose the group she is in. She tells them that with the women she chose to cook with, she knew she wouldn’t be the least successful. The judges keep Jyll, Whitney, Justin D., Jeff and Alicia out and send the others back. As soon as the others are in the back room, Mary Beth asks Penny about picking her and the others. Penny admits she knew she could beat Katy.
I’m so flattered! You think I’m a threat?? Oh, wait..what? Oh well, smile, smile, smile!
Back with the judges. Alicia gets tagged again for her bad food and rough performance. Susie says she looks too fragile.
Sweaty Jeff gets scolded for his crappy spring rolls and they loved Jyll’s brats. With Justin D., they liked his food, but he is struggling with who he is. The Tusch wants him to focus. Whitney is an engineer and that is evident when she is cooking, with her organizational skills and other engineering type stuff. But she lacks passion. The winner is Whitney. Seriously? The girl is a robot. The person in the bottom is unsurprisingly Alicia.
Next group: Penny, Susie, Mary Beth and Katy. The judges liked Penny’s dish, but she really needs to find a way to be more friendly. HAHA! That is the understatement of the show—fo’ sho’! They loved Susie’s dish and as far as Mary Beth goes—she did a good job and blossomed!
I’m slightly better than average!
As far as Katy is concerned, Bobby starts to read the 8000 ingredients needed for her dish and tells her she just doesn’t really seem to fit in. Her response is classic. She doesn’t really want to be pinned in. She’s in to fashion and food and clothing and rainbows and Lite Brite…yeah, we get it. She is told she can’t choose too many things and she has to focus on food. The winner of this group is Mary Beth!
I will win by not winning. Bwahahahahahaha
Last group is Orchid, Chris, Vic and Justin B. Chris is up first and he is told his food wasn’t so good and he’s not taking this seriously enough. They liked Justin B.’s food, but he needs to come out of his (clam)shell. Giada really liked Vic’s plating and she really wants him to succeed. Orchid admits she got spooked by the group she was in and Bobby tells her she went backwards in the competition to him. The judges tell this group that no one really excelled in this group for both parts of the challenge, so they’re just focusing on the food and with that—Justin B. takes the win.
Move over, Mary Beth—I’m mediocre too!
Chris is not safe from this group. So the bottom three are Alicia, Chris and Katy. The judges discuss the three some more. Alicia is frantic and needs to relax. Chris is likeable but still a frat boy and Katy is not real. She’s way over the top “rah-rah-rah”. So who is sent home? Katy. She takes it very well, but it is all so fakey-fakey, I’m thinking she’s PERFECT for TV. She tells the group, “Nobody can steal my smile”.
And there you have it. Don’t you think Penny would be better served in a competition that wasn’t heavily based on actual personality? If it were a regular competition, where people didn’t need to actually like her, she might do better. She may be a good competitor, but who wants to root for a total bitch?
Thanks for joining me!