This week I’m really paying attention to which contestant they show first. Ooh, there’s Giada in the opening, with really gorgeous violet eyeshadow.
Teddy is shown first. Okay, he’s out.
They walk into the kitchen with Bobby and Ryan D’Agostino from Esquire magazine. The winner of the challenge will have his or her recipe in Esquire. They’re all excited to come up with dishes for men. Each one gets a different combo of ingredients they have to use. They lift the covers of the trays to reveal them.
Jeffrey is so clueless he can’t come up with what to do with steak and pistachios? Uh Jeff, that’s not hard. Peppercorn and pistachio crust on the steak, of course.
Brett is also not the sharpest knife in the drawer and can’t figure out what to with pickles and ground beef. Who cooks with pickles? he says. How about a hamburger with homemade relish INSIDE the burger? Or maybe a bobotie style dish with pickle accents. This is not brain surgery…not yet anyway.
Teddy says rib eye and maple syrup are a strange combo. Oy! He never heard of a cowboy breakfast of steak and eggs? Just throw the maple syrup in a glaze for the steak.
They have 45 minutes to come with their dish. Okay, THAT makes it hard.
They have 45 minutes to come with their dish. Okay, THAT makes it hard.
Katie - Bran Cereal & Lamb Chops
It’s funny that she got those ingredients and she's the "healthy" cook of the bunch. She makes a bran crust (possibly, eww) with
Debbie - Peanut Butter and Flank Steak
Smokey Korean barbecue is what she comes with. I thought Debbie knew nothing about anything Korean…I guess when it’s convenient she brings it out.
Brett - Pickles and Ground Beef
He makes a burger with Bleu cheese and leaves the pickle plain. I can tell you right now that’s boring and not what they’re looking for.
Michael - Coffee Beans & Pork Chops
There’s only one way to go here, isn’t there? Grind the beans and make smoky crust for the pork. He’s doing a Columbian caw-fee rubbed pork chop with a caw-fee glaze. Hmm, not bad.
Melissa - Maraschino Cherries & Chicken Thighs
That is so unfair. That’s not even real food. She say’s she’s going to use them in sauce for a chicken tajine.
Jeffrey - Pistachios and Filet
He is showing some very nice knife skills, but he’s still confused about how to use pistachios in a savory dish? Think NUTS, Jeffrey, just nuts. It’s a heck of a lot easier than cooking with maraschino cherries.
Jamika - Whiskey & Porterhouse Steak
If she's just gone to Friday’s recently and seen pages of Jack Daniels dishes on the menu. she'll be okay. Jack Daniels, Whiskey, whatever…it’s all good. Now I’m REALLY feeling sorry for Melissa. In my opinion there’s only one use for a maraschino…A Shirley Temple!
Eddie - Beer & Strip Steak
Eddie likes to improvise and “be in the moment”. Gag me.
Teddy - Maple Syrup and Ribeye Steak
He’s using butternut squash. That’s actually smart…if he has time to cook it.
Plenty of mishaps happen: Katie’s lamb is raw; Melissa doesn’t have time to finish the sauce, so she just throws the cherries on the chicken. She says it’s like a sundae and she’s obviously very unhappy with the dish. I kinda feel sorry for both of them.
In the second part of the challenge, they have to do their first on-camera presentation. They’re showing Melissa a lot. Does that mean she’s gone? Yeah, I guess. Except Teddy was the one at the beginning. Nah, I’m guessing Melissa gets cut loose.
Eddie starts his presentation by calling his steak “Lovely, Lovely”. Heh? Susie is smiling. He uses the word lovely again to describe the Brussels Sprout hash (ick).
The Esquire editor looks completely unmoved. It turns out he actually likes the recipe, so I guess his negative stare is actually him just trying to have a blank expression on his face. Susie loves the
Melissa has no idea how to present her crappy dish. She kind of blabbers on about how it is family friendly (this is supposed to be geared to GUYS) and how you could feed it to a baby or a toddler. Reporter guy raises his eyebrows. Bob looks puzzled. They all agree she sucked.
Jamika starts out beautifully. She makes a “Seal The Deal” Porterhouse steak recipe. Then she falls apart. She gets confused and forgets what she’s made. It’s a shame because she started so well. Bob says it was about OVER-rehearsing, but they love the dish.
Jeffrey goes on so long that it’s embarrassing, but apparently I’m the only one bothered by “the sweet cleansing refreshing finish from the chutney” or some such thing.
The only thing THAT makes me think of is this amazing foot massage I had in
Esquire man says Jeffrey's dish is man food. Susie says, unfortunately, he didn’t share anything…what does she mean? About how the dish was cooked? About himself?...which is of NO interest to me. No clue what she meant.
Teddy is obnoxious with his “I’m coming at you from the mind of a chef.” Bob blinks back in disgust. He WAS the first guy shown at the beginning of the episode (thus instant banishment), but he’s not doing as badly as Melissa.
Bobby looks at him with HATE, while Teddy thinks he did really well. Bobby’s take: “Why is he yelling at me?” Reporter loves the meat. Susie: “If I’m the girl he’s made this for, I’m taking the steak and running.” Funny.
Brett IS funny. I’m sorry but he is. The best part is when he says, “The only way to become good lucking and muscular like me” is to eat this dish. He is so clearly NOT good looking and certainly not muscular that it was amusing. Bobby: “He was strangely funny, but I wish he would have utilized the pickle in a more interesting way.” THAT just sounds weird. Editor guy isn’t buying it. He said he thought the challenge was to NOT make a burger with pickles. Good point.
If Michael says caw-fee one more time, I may have to punch him out to prevent him from speaking. His accent is not charming and authentic, he sounds like Harvey Fierstein (whom I love), playing a woman playing a man and even HE doesn’t speak like that. Michael blows the whole thing by finishing too soon. THAT I feel sorry for him about. Bobby likes the dish.
Debbie does a good job. Susie says “fantastic”. Ryan thinks it's tasty, just not the most creative. Honestly, I think he's bothered because he doesn't think she's hot.
Katie is worried because her lamb isn’t cooked. Bob and Bobby are shaking their heads DURING her presentation. They all agree the lamb isn’t cooked.
The winner is Eddie. I wouldn’t have predicted that. His recipe will be in Esquire. They don’t say anything else about how bad some of the others are.
Next, they go the
Eddie gets to assign the holidays to each person. They grab props for their holiday and start to cook.
Eddie - Valentine’s Day - Seared Ahi Tuna with
Nice dish, but how does that say I love you?
Michael - Halloween (that’s funny) - Wonton Wrapped Tuna with Butternut Squash Salad
Katie - Earth Day (THAT was nice of Eddie) - Roasted Shrimp with Cannellini Beans & Grilled Radicchio
These dishes are sounding really good. WAIT, I may take that back…
Jamika – New Year’s Eve (WHY is Eddie being so nice?) - Spicy Collard Greens with Sweet Corn Bread.
Um, nothing says New Year’s Eve like Collard Greens. NOT! Wait, do I vaguely remember that this IS a traditional New Year’s Eve dish? No, I think it’s a traditional New Year’s DAY dish.
Jeffrey – Groundhog Day (THAT is a tough one.) - Lobster 7 Chorizo Stuffed Avocados
What that has to do with Groundhog Day, I have no idea, but it sounds good!
Debbie - Mardi Gras - Cajun Mandu (Korean style pot stickers) with Country Rice and Black Beans
Again, I thought she said she didn’t even SPEAK Korean…but whatever. She burns her rice and also I’m thinking that’s a bit too much starch on one plate.
Melissa – Mother’s Day (It would have funnier if had given that to Michael.) - Oven Scrambled Eggs & Orange Coconut French Roast.
Her breakfast in bed may not be the most inventive, but I’d be happy to sample that on Mother’s Day. (Is anyone listening?!!)
Teddy – Labor Day - Surf & Turf with a Marinated Filet & Lump Crab Cake
He’s kind of full of himself and jerky as he tells us he likes to dance around the kitchen, because he’s a chef or something like that. I wasn’t really listening.
Brett – April Fool’s Day - Pan Seared Filet Mignon & Lobster Tempura
He explains what this has to do with April Fool’s Day and I’m not understanding any of it.
Teddy and Brett have taken it upon themselves to help Melissa plate her food in the final few minutes, which is nice, but it seems to make her more scattered.
Susan Westmoreland joins the judges, Giada and Rosemary. Melissa does fine as she says Mother’s Day means sleeping in and breakfast in bed and then she shows her tray off with a flourish. Gosh, Rosemary Ellis is well-groomed.
Rosemary loves the eggs. She says Melissa IS their reader.
Ay yi yi! Jeffrey tells us that the only connection between his dishes and Groundhog Day is HIS interpretation, which means we’ll probably get another long-winded soliloquy on the meaning of spring. His hands are in his pockets. Not good.
He says something about spring and how he’s in the mood for Mexican food. HUH? WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO WITH THE PRICE OF EGGS…or groundhogs?
Bobby is puzzled. Bob actually asks him what the connection is between groundhogs, spring and
Jamika’s dishes look awful. She blows a horn and tells us that she and her family superstitiously eat foods that are supposed to bring good luck. How much you wanna bet that they’ll love her personal story and good presentation and hate the dishes? And they laugh when she says the spicier you make the collard greens, the spicier your sex life will be. She offers Bobby more pepper. Cute.
The surprise is they all love her food AND her. Okay, If you betted, how much do I owe you? Bob says she’s the essence of a Food Network star.
Katie starts well, but then, by her own admission, she begins to ramble. Susan Westmoreland looks puzzled and startled. They think the food is bland, the presentation is boring.
Teddy’s weird voice delivery bothers the judges. Bobby says he wishes he wouldn’t do that “acty’ thing. They do like his food, but not him. Ouch. Bob says, ”When you reach for something that’s not you, it’s just a little bit painful.” More like A LOT painful.
Brett says, in all seriousness, I’m stressed out, I can’t sleep, I’m not going to continue with the competition. They all look back at him with sincere seriousness. April Fool’s Day!, he says. Okay, good one.
But maybe they’ll be mad at him for fooling them. Then he mentions his mother somehow and Giada actually asks him what his food has to do with April Fool's Day. He says something about spring and flowers, but they don’t buy it.
Rosemary thinks his was actually a second Mother’s Day’s meal. The judges agree they have no idea what to make of him. Plus, Bobby found shell in his lobster and Rosemary says basically it’s meat and potatoes. Meanwhile, Brett is telling the camera he thinks he nailed it.
Debbie says southerners and Koreans have in common the characteristic of loving to party. Susie and Giada love to watch her.
Michael comes out in a witch’s hat. He takes it off and reveals flame-colored, standing-straight-up hair. Clever. He says when thinks of Halloween, he thinks of
Eddie (THIS IS SOOO GOOD!) blathers on about his dish, which he calls “The Muse”. He says the demographic of Good Housekeeping is the modern woman.
Then he actually says, “As a modern day man, being conscious of modern day women is SO key to understanding how to cook for them. Women have different dietary enjoyments and restrictions at times…uh...There is love on this plate …
THEN he tells them he made this for his girlfriend on their first date AND…”There was something intimate about that night.”
STOP! PLEASE! before we all get taken away by the schmaltz mobile.
Bobby actually stops him as he’s telling them about his roommates being out of town. WHAT WAS HE THINKING??! Giada is grimacing through her smile. HE thinks it went great.
When he leaves the room, Susie says there was nothing authentic about it. Giada says she felt like he was ridiculing them, which is a good point, because how could he have been serious? I think, though, that he was actually sincere, which is even more frightening. Bobby adds that there’s no seasoning in his food.
Bob says they have to bring food to life. Jeffrey – not so great in the food department - BUT they say he’s a charming con artist.
Giada likes Debbie, so does Bob.
Bobby tells Katie that antioxidants are not delicious. She agrees. She says she keeps getting stuck and she starts weeping. Giada tells her not to lecture them.
Bobby says Michael’s food is too complicated, but they like who he is.
Susie says Eddie is very passionate (that’s ONE way of describing a blowhard), but that he shares TOO much and it's getting to be insincere.
Giada says she takes offense (although not using that word) at the idea that women have to be cooked for differently than men. Yeah! You Go Girl!
Eddie apologizes if anyone was offended. It’s not that they were offended, exactly, it’s that they were horrified at his pomposity AND his food wasn’t good enough to overcome that. They also say the rose petals all over the dish completely overpowered it. He looks stunned and surprised and completely uncomprehending of their critiques.
Bobby says Jamika’s risk of making side dishes completely paid off. Jamika says it’s cool to hear that from him. Bob practically cries as he tells her that she whisked him away into her world.
Giada tells Teddy that she loves his food. She says to make sure he’s real.
Bobby tells Brett he got shell in his lobster. Bob tells him he’s trying to figure him out and he asks him if he’s ever wanted to be on TV before. Remember Brett is the Adam-wanna be. (That was what I thought when I hated Adam. Remember, I think he’s funny now. )
Bob actually asks Brett…basically…what is he doing here? Brett says friends encouraged him to enter. Bob is amazingly a little rough. It always surprising when “nice guys” go on the attack. Bob could have said that about any of them and he kinda targets Brett a little unfairly, I think. Okay, his food isn’t that great and his presentation isn’t that great, but you can say that about a bunch of the others, plus why in the world was he picked as a finalist if he’s so bad?
Bob says there’s a lot of mayhem going on with Melissa, but he loved her eggs. Then Brett…I TAKE BACK EVERYTHING I JUST SAID ABOUT BOB BEING MEAN TO HIM, pats Teddy on the back as if HE had made them instead of Melissa.
Giada asks Brett if he wants to say something and he says no, no, and THEN he says, “In the culinary world you have to be able to produce your dish and get it out.”
Melissa looks at him wide-mouthed as Bob asks her if she’s capable of making the dishes on her own. Then Brett says, “Teddy and I helping you REALLY saved you.” OMG! Bobby grabs his head in disgust. They leave Melissa in tears. Why don’t they just review “the video tape” and see that all they did was to plate the eggs.
The top 3 people that impressed Good Housekeeping were Debbie, MELISSA (take THAT, Brett!) and Jamika. Interesting…all women. Take that, EDDIE! The winner is Jamika. All three of them are safe. The others who are safe are Jeffrey, Michael, Teddy and they can leave.
Melissa is in complete shock about Brett and Teddy, but Teddy didn’t say too much.
Katie, Brett and Eddie are in the bottom. They have to leave while the judges talk. Giada really doesn’t like Eddie. She says the more he talks the more insincere he becomes. He’s annoying. I have no clue as to who is leaving. Katie is safe. She weeps. And it's...Brett who is leaving. Good!!! I hope Melissa kicks him. Is she going to hug him? Nope, she just waves bye bye.
Jamika goes to Good Housekeeping and comes up with a totally different recipe for the July issue. What was the point of that?
This was a good episode with lots of drama. I do prefer it when there are fewer people and we see more cooking.
Here are the newest odds from Bookmaker.com (click on entertainment). They were spot on about Brett. I really don’t get why Jeffrey is the favorite.
1) Jeffrey Saad (-170)
2) Michael Proietti (-120)
3) Melissa d'Arabian (+120)
4) Jamika Pessoa (+165)
5) Debbie Lee (+180)
6) Eddie Gilbert (+200)
7) Teddy Folkman (+250)
8) Katie Cavuto (+270)
I also don’t get why you have to click on: “WILL ANGELINA JOLIE AND BRAD PITT REMAIN MARRIED FOR THE REST OF 2009?” in order to get to the TNFNS’s odds. But here are THOSE results:
YES THEY WILL REMAIN MARRIED IN 2009
NO THEY WILL NOT BE MARRIED BY 2010