Monday, July 7, 2008

The Next Food Network Star - PART ONE Kelsey Enrages Rach

Well, sort of. I'll get to that later. Bobby comes in and tells the 5 remaining contestants that their next challenge will be Surprise! Surprise! A COOKING DEMONSTRATION!

What a revolutionary idea that they would actually have to demonstrate a recipe! This is the first time they’ll be doing something that directly relates to the point of this whole thing…giving cooking demonstrations.

AND Whoo Ooh, it’s actually going to be on RR’s show in front of her live audience.

The fact that this is week 6 and they are just getting around to this now shows how misguided this whole enterprise is. They should have been giving cooking demonstrations each and every week, instead of answering mindless questions (okay, so what if I didn’t know the answers, I’m not bitter), or tasting a dish they’ve never seen before on camera and describing it. At least THIS bears some resemblance to what the final prize is - having a show where they give cooking demonstrations.

Kelsey is thrilled by the prospect of cooking on the Rachael Ray show. She would be.

“Cooking on the Rachael Ray Show is a dream,” says nitwit Kelsey…More like a nightmare, what if you mistakenly mix an orange soufflé in her garbage bowl and it ends up tasting of fish heads instead of citrus? Or what if you’re forced to use her ridiculous bath towel-sized pot holders and you burn your arm up the elbows? Or what if you have to pretend that you’re standing next to a food icon when…oh I could go on and on. Let’s just see what happens…

Lisa says her biggest challenge will be to let her personality come through. More like that’s her biggest roadblock. Aaron, whom I would like as a neighbor or colleague, is simply not suited for this task, or really any other that involves speaking in front of more than 2 people. He even admits that the demonstration part on camera is the real challenge for him. But what would he prefer? To do a demo in front of paper dolls? Or with one old man taking Polaroids, instead of the lights and cameras and a studio audience in this case?

They have to create a meal that’s innovative, nutritious and will appeal to a very discerning palate. Just then, out walks a bunch of girl scouts. Shane says dismissively “I gotta feed little girls. This is going to be a challenge.” Kelsey: “They’re so cute.” She’s probably only a few years away from having earned HER last badge.

This is annoying. We were at the point where they were being asked to do something that was actually useful and germane to the competition. Then they throw this mindless wrench into the works. Unless they are auditioning for a kid’s cooking show, this is a waste of time. I like girl scouts as much as the next person, but whether a random sash and badge-wearing teenybopper likes their food really shouldn't matter.

Lisa gets Haley. She remarks in her confessional camera interview, “My eleven year old son, Wadsworth, has such a sophisticated palate, I hope Haley does too.”

Okay, I made up the name, but the rest is true. Kids are NOT supposed to have “sophisticated palates.” Those are the ones that get beaten up in the school yard.

Kelsey gets the toothless grinning one. She is cute. They kinda look like sisters…

Aaron’s little girl wants him to make a triple chocolate cake. It looks as it she’s had more than enough of that in her young life…I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I take it back. I should not have said that (out loud).

Aaron’s going to get busted, because this is supposed to be nutritious. Unless he’s sneaking some beets and spinach in there, I predict he’s in for trouble. (Let’s remember Aaron works in a hospital, so hopefully he would be the one who is the most prepared to demonstrate a nutritious meal…On second thought, the reverse is probably true.)

Oh good, he says it’s not happening. He asks his girl what do you like that’s healthy? She says broccoli. That’s something that he can work with at least.

Kelsey’s happy that she’s finally cooking for someone that she’s taller than and has more authority than. Well, one out of two ain’t bad.

OMG, Lisa acts as if she’s never had a conversation with someone younger than fifty. “Have you ever had a horseradish cream? It’s a cross between a rémoulade and a plain horseradish.”

Gosh, I wish her little scout had said,” WELL, strictly speaking, Lisa, although rémoulade CAN contain horseradish, more commonly the term refers to a French tartar sauce made with mayonnaise, gherkins, capers and mustard.”

But no, the sweet girl, just smiled rather uncomfortably and said no, while thinking to herself what the heck is HER deal? Somehow, they end the interrogation on good terms with the girl agreeing to try frog’s legs. Just seeing if you were paying attention…actually couscous is the revolutionary ingredient that Lisa will use with her young one.

Adam thinks things will go well for him because he ”still IS a child.” His very wise kid looks at him as if he’s an idiot.

Shane is not having very good luck relating to his Brownie. They all say goodbye to their kids and hug. Shane and his kid stand a mile apart.

They have 75 minutes to prepare what they’re making.

Kelsey is making a breakfast meatball sandwich with eggs and cheese. The only thing that would delight RR more would be if Kelsey served Munchkins to her little munchkin. Plus, she’s making a banana boat with strawberry yogurt and granola. She admits that that was her breakfast in college. Well, I guess it’s better than beer with a whiskey chaser like most kids have.

Shane is making Chicken Cordon Bleu stuffed with honey ham, Munster cheese and coated with puffed rice and vegetable ratatouille, which his kid is probably going to think is nasty.

Aaron is making a ground beef and broccoli pizza. He’s still worried about his presentation.

Adam is doing a barbecued chicken pita with spinach. He tells us his sad story of owning a restaurant for 2 years and having it close and becoming a waiter. The interesting thing is that this is the first time he’s talked about it. He could legitimately have called himself a restaurateur or a former restaurateur, but instead that he chose to identify himself as a server…not that a good one isn’t worth his weight in gold.

For a COOKING competition, however, you would have thought chef/owner or restaurant proprietor would have been a more appropriate title to hang your hat on. You get what you give out. If you’re not presenting yourself as a food professional and instead you act like a clown, that’s how people are going to see you.

Lisa: “I believe that food does not have to be dummied down for a kid.” She prepares flatiron steak with horseradish cream, which could be a spectacularly poor idea for a child. Horseradish is iffy at best and most girls don’t love steaks either. At least her Brownie can eat the herbed couscous with broccoli.

Of course, I don’t believe that you should “dummy” down kid’s food either, but on the other hand you don’t feed them something that is guaranteed to make them hurl.

Kelsey asks Lisa if she should remove the casings from the sausage. THAT’S WHY THEY’RE SAUSAGES AND NOT GROUND MEAT, DUMKOPF, unless you’re going to use them in a stuffing…or as we find out later, in a meatball! Did you think you were going to fry the sausage and cram it into a meatball with the casing still on? Gosh! Lisa pretends to be busy and not attending to what Kelsey is saying.

Aaron makes a plea to the camera,” I’m here for my family, for my kids… That’s why I gotta win this.” Aaron, you have a job, you have a nice way about you. Leave while you can. Get out while the getting’s good.

He doesn’t listen to my entreaties and goes with the rest of them and the fixings of their dishes to RR’s studio.

Kelsey looks like she’d skip into the studio if she could. She looks 12 years old in her Peter Pan collar and pinafore. I’d hire her as a baby sitter; she’d probably be great. But as a host on the FN? Never.

Rachael gives them very telling advice. She says their main goal should be story telling. The actual recipe or food is not the main point; it’s the tale they tell. AHHH, THAT explains it! All this time, she hasn’t even been TRYING to teach us how to cook; she’s just been interested in telling us a story. Ok, that makes me feel better about all that crap she’s made.

Then, licking her lips, she talks about Yum-O and getting kids to cook. The food should still be a BIT healthier, but fun.

Kelsey grabs Adams thigh and squeezes HARD, squealing, “It’s really happening”. He almost falls off his stool and says yeah. He looks a little green. I can’t tell if he’s nervous or he thought Kelsey was groping him.

Rachael introduces the show. Aaron is first. He comes out with a big smile and his girl scout. He tells the kid she has to wash her hands and then he turns his back to the audience as he joins her at the sink. That’s not good, but he recovers. They’re making pizza, but he’s going way to slow. He rolls it out with the girl. They’re topping it off. He’s rushing now, but he’s very affable. He hands the kid a piece of cooked pizza. She grabs the plate and, chewing full-mouthed, she runs off. He did well AND his kid was really cute.

The judges really liked him. They taste the pizza. They liked that too.

Kelsey goes next. “Ooh, I’m getting a shot at my dream job.” Gag me. Kelsey has a BIG smile. She puts Rachael to work immediately. Oh good, RR looks really PO’ed. The judges say they feel uncomfortable watching her. Rachael, without her trademark grin, says, “What are you going to be doing, while I’m doing YOUR job?” Ouch!

RR is stirring the eggs in the pan. Kelsey is pointing at ingredients and doing nothing else. Bobby, watching her, says, “COOK the food, Yo!” Finally, she fries some meat balls. RR is filling in the blanks for Kelsey, but it’s obvious that Rachael is displeased and that Kelsey did badly.

Instead of a platter, Kelsey plates the food on her hand.

Not good any way you look at it. Kelsey ordering RR around also wasn’t the way to go. It’s surprising that her instincts took her there. The judges, as they watch, criticize her for not actually cooking. She was worried about that as she put air quotes as she said the word cooking in an after-interview, as if that aspect wasn’t important.

The rest of the episode follows in Part Two...


KAMILLE said...

You might be interested to see the actual show with each of the contestants on the RR show, b/c it differs completely from the "edited" one on FN. After watching it--it makes one wonder how correctly these people are portrayed and if FN is purposing to set them up. Here's the link:

Emiline said...

Ohhh, Rachael does look mad. I would be afraid to make her angry...she's so powerful. I don't think I would like Kelsey, but I don't know.
Still haven't watched this.

Sue said...

Thanks Kamille,
I heard about that and I do have to watch it. It’s not surprising that they edit TNFNS in that way. They have to have a villain, a sweetie pie, an ethnic type.

The fact that they sign a waiver that actually says they may be humiliated in the editing of the show should give them a clue about what’s to come.

Hi Em,
I'm with you! You don't want to PO the Meat Magician.

Emily said...

Heh heh heh.

Oops! Look what I wrote!