Lisa is fluffing her hair. She arrives at Aureole, Charlie Palmer’s Las Vegas outpost. OMG, she has to go up on cables and ascend the wine tower. I think this is really sexist and just an excuse for them to look up her skirt. Ok, I know she’s not wearing a skirt, but still. She IS in some sort of cat suit. They raise her on the cables and she says she’s nervous, but I think she’s doing fine, although it takes awhile to get the line right.
Bobby meets up with Aaron to the Planet Hollywood casino floor. Aaron says it intimidating to deal with the rolling cameras. He has to memorize the script. He does okay, although he is a little stiff. Bobby gives him a little advice and he does a lot better. He has to intro his show and then throw some dice. He gets through it.
Adam’s task takes place in the Jubilee Theater in Bally’s Hotel and casino with show girls and Guy. Adam gets to wear a tux. (Hmmm, let’s see…Lisa is wearing a skintight jumpsuit and Adam is wearing an elegant tuxedo.) Adam has to learn choreography and his script. He moves so fast that the camera can’t keep up with him. He finds it much harder than he thought he would. He wasn’t that good. He was rushing a bit. Even Guy said it wasn’t great.
Commercial. Oh, Michael Symon is the new host of Dinner Impossible. That was soooooooo dumb of Robert Irvine. He could have owned that franchise for years. He was good.
The big task this week is for the contestants to create their own lavish, over the top, monster buffet. Guy says this could be their last chance to impress “the selection committee” (c’mon Guy, just say JUDGES), as well as some of the chefs and entertainers from Vegas. They get 6 hours and $1000 dollars.
They head to Whole Foods. Uh-oh, a thousand dollars won’t go far there. Adam says he’s going to do a smoke-tacular. Lisa drops her fish on the floor of the supermarket. Oy. They go back to the place where they will be cooking and serving - the Tryst Nightclub in the Wynn Hotel.
Guy tells them that they each get a sous-chef. 3 former contestants walk out. Lisa picks Kelsey, Adam picks Shane… smart, HE can cook and Aaron gets Jennifer.
Smoked Pork Chops
Smokes Chicken Wings
Smoked Mushroom Pizza
Sweet Potato Fries
Banana Cream Pie.
Adam even admits that if Shane weren’t there, it would be an impossible task.
Chicken Bow Tie Pasta
Chicken Tortellini Salad
Aaron says he wants it to be impressive.
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
Lisa gets Kelsey to prep every single vegetable that needs to be cut. That’s smart. She has “selected foods that would be dramatic in presentation, but be approachable from a palate standpoint.”
Adam decided to build a smoker out of 2 huge woks.
Lisa has discovered that she’s missing a bag of fish, so she only has 7 pounds to work with.
Guy is worried that Aaron has 3 different kinds of pastas. Aaron says he’s going to disguise them well, but he is kind of down.
We haven’t heard a word from Shane. Kelsey discovers that Lisa’s pork is burned or half of it is. Lisa scrapes off the burned part and throws it on a tray and garnishes and gets it out.
The three line up behind their tables of food. Aaron says Lisa’s food is elegant and making his food look like burgers and fries. He says he also has to deal with Adam and his over the top smokefest. He says he better come up with a great performance. At some point, they are told they have to introduce their food in a showy way.
The tasters come in - show girls, the cast of Spamalot, pirates and all kinds of Vegas loonies come in. Adam says these are his kind of people. This isn’t so bad. I thought they were going to have to feed Siegfried and Roy or Celine. Oh wait, more folks are coming in. Impersonators, and then the judges, AND THEN the chefs of the Wynn enter in their chef’s whites.
Lisa starts and blows them away by belting out a song. The judges are very impressed. She gets great applause. Bob is in love.
Guy introduces Aaron. He’s so nervous he wants to pay someone to go out there for him. He starts a weird act where he says he has an eating disorder with forks in his pocket. He’s acting kind of “special”. No one gets what he’s doing. He completely, completely bombs. Then in a perfectly normal way, he introduces his food.
Hello, Las Vegas, Adam screams. That was the high point of his presentation. He gives a fairly straight intro to his smoked foods. He wasn’t bad, just boring.
I don’t think Aaron should be held accountable for his poor intro. He would never have to write his own shtick.
They serve the food. One performer tells Aaron his food is an eight. Aaron says he needs a ten. Danny, one of the performers, tells Aaron to be himself.
The judges are in awe of Lisa’s singing. Guy says her pork is dry. Starry-eyed Bob says HIS was wonderful. Guy shows him his piece. Adam is intimated by the Wynn Hotel’s chefs.
One chef said Aaron’s food needed more creativity. Another chef said Adam’s was the best buffet. Another one said Adam did the best job.
Bobby liked Aaron’s crab cake. Bob didn’t like the tortellini. Susie thought the salad was strange. Various impersonators said Aaron’s performance wasn’t good, but one of them said the crab cake made up for everything.
A MAGICIAN said Adam’s was his favorite. Yeah, that WAS a real trick. Probably Shane cooked everything while Adam was making fires in the kitchen. Various other performers loved Adam’s. Some other weirdly-dressed folks liked Lisa the best. The three thank their sous chefs.
They go back to the hotel. Adam says rather pathetically, “Winning this would be a new beginning for my life. Right now, I got nothing. I’m not married. I don’t have a real job. My restaurant’s been closed for over a year. And I don’t know what I’m going to do if it doesn’t happen.“
That doesn’t really inspire confidence, even though he is being honest and sincere. Is it really the job of the Food Network to give purpose to Adam Gertler’s life? And at the expense of its viewers?
The three go into the eval room. Guy is sitting at the judge’s table and Bob says he was standing where they were 2 years ago.
Aaron’s promo is shown. Bobby said he came a long way in a very short time. Bob said his biggest problem has been a technical one of relating to the camera and that he did really well. For the intro to his buffet, Bob said Aaron took a big, big risk, which didn’t work. He said when the performer is uncomfortable the audience is too.
Well, you’re the ones that gave him that silly challenge. He was fine when you wrote something for him. I really don’t think his dumb performance should be held against him. Guy wishes he had told a story about his family or about how food had changed his life.
Bob said he thought Vegas would really inspire Aaron’s big bold flavored style of cooking, but he was disappointed to see 3 pasta dishes out of 5 or 6 dishes, “which negate what the draw of a buffet” is. That’s not a bad point.
Aaron says he wanted to keep it simple and the crab cake was meant to be the high end item. Bob says he loved the crab cake. Bobby says they’ve been big fans of his food, but they’ve had better food from him than what he served at the buffet.
I know where this is going. Lisa and Aaron both had somewhat disappointing buffets. Adam’s was really good, but they had better not use THAT alone as the basis of keeping Adam around. But I am feeling as if they may get rid of Aaron tonight.
Bob admits that Lisa had the hardest of 3 promos to do. Isn’t it interesting that the woman always has to work harder, be better and STILL fight her way to the top?
I do find this outrageous. It is so overtly sexist. The only reason they had her get up there in cables is because she’s a good looking female. And I think her promo was good, in spite of the difficulty. Bob doesn’t really us give a straight answer about how she did when she was all roped up and none of the other judges even comments (that we see), so basically the entire thing is gratuitous.
Why should I be surprised that sexism rears its ugly head, even in as non a political setting as the Food Network? After all, this is the network that shoots Giada’s show aiming straight at her chest. But, honestly, that doesn’t particularly bother me. Giada can control her own destiny at this point.
But in THIS situation, 3 people are competing on a supposedly even playing field. Adam is with sexy showgirls, Aaron is gambling, looking all manly and powerful and Lisa IS the sex show wrapped in cables up in the air. I don’t think they actually planned it to look as stereotypically sexist as it did, but the fact that this didn’t occur to anyone is troubling.
Susie moves on to Lisa's buffet. Susie says she took a huge, huge risk but it paid off. What was the risk, she has a great voice? Gosh, note to self, if I’m ever in that situation THAT is the time to bring out my championship hula hooping skills…
Bobby thought her buffet was incredibly elegant and that her “buffet looked like who” she is. She nods. Bobby loved the pork. Guy says he was disappointed that he got a piece of pork that was really dry.
All Lisa says is “I would have liked for it to be better, but it was the best we could with the situation.” I don’t mind that, I think apologizing is pointless and it only draws more attention to the mistake.
Adam said the showgirls were fun. The promo looked better than it seemed at the time. Susie liked it. Guy asked if he was as prepared for that 3 minute presentation as he was supposed to be. They never showed us when they were told about the formal presentation, but I guess it was supposed to be a big deal.
Susie said Adam's presentation was surprisingly boring. Guy wondered if he bit off more than he could chew with the smoking thing. He said he knew his food had to be really good this week. Bobby liked the pork, he liked the pizza. Adam looks at him meaningfully and says it means a lot. His pork chop was deemed the best dish in all the buffets.
Susie asks him why he’s getting so emotional when he hears good things about his food. Susie, I could tell you that. Low self-esteem, hard knocks the last few years, not feeling like he belongs… yada, yada, yada. He answers her... Low self-esteem, hard knocks the last few years, not feeling like he belongs…
Oh no...Bob says Adam settled all questions this week about whether he can cook or not. I knew it. He has ONE good week - food wise - out of eight and that’s going to be enough to send Aaron home?!! That stinks…..Bob says each of them brought a lot of positives and negatives to the challenge today.
Hey, I didn’t know that Everyday Italian was On Demand. It’s probably really old shows though. I’ll have to check it out.
They wait outside Caesar’s. Bobby says Lisa has a great package. See? I told you they just wanted to see her hanging in the air. Oh, he means she looks good on television and she can cook. Bob isn’t sure if people will like her enough to tune in every week.
Bob says it was heartbreaking to watch Aaron tumble so badly. He had 7 great weeks and one really bad week. Bobby also says this hasn’t been his strongest performance.
WAIT, they previewed Bob saying they’ve never done this before…I bet they’ll send NOONE home this week, because they know that Aaron’s not that bad and Adam’s not that good. They won’t put it that way, but let’s see...
Guy says there’s just something you like about Aaron. YUP, I think that’s what’s going to happen. Of course, I won’t mind if they send Adam home. He’s a nice guy, he really is, but, as Susie said, why should he learn on their dime (and OUR time)?
They move on to Adam. Bob says Bobby has been one of his severest critics and what did he think tonight? Bobby says he’s not a critic, “I want to believe him, I just have a hard time viewing him as an authority figure.” Bob says, yeah, but his food was the overwhelming favorite of the chefs and the performers. Bobby says (rightly) he showed tonight that he knows how to cook smoked meats, meaning that's ALL he can cook.
Guy likes Adam, but mentions his inconsistency of food and says THIS IS THE FOOD NETWORK. YES!!!! Thank you, Guy, YOU are a wise man.
Susie says she has a hard time believing that they could put Adam in a cooking show today. Okay, okay we all agree (except for Bob maybe) let’s send Adam off with a pat on the back, but let’s just send him…..
Guy says he wants the best of all three. Bob says he doesn’t know who to kick off.
Okay, here it comes and it’s…NOONE. ALL THREE are going back to New York. I’m sure I’m not the only genius who saw that coming.
They’re happy, especially Adam. He should be. He doesn’t deserve to be there. And, finally, next week, it looks as if they will actually be giving a cooking demo in a studio, without the help, hopefully, of RR and the girl scouts.