Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Next Food Network Star – Jeffrey Falters; Katie Can’t Cook And Debbie Gets Whacked

The Next Food Network Star

Scenes from last week with Teddy crying. Then I remember how much I really don’t like Debbie. Ooh, there’s Ina, looking so pretty in the intro.

The first person we see is Michael, then Melissa and then Jeff. Oh, it might be Teddy going home, because he says he’s really exited about doing better.

The group goes into the Food Network kitchen and Bobby is there. The challenge this week is to create the ultimate burger. Bobby says he’s opening Bobby’s Burger Palace in Connecticut this weekend. He says the winner will have his or her burger on the menu.

The burger should come from a specific region of the country…oh, so like an elk burger from…wherever it is there are elks... They have to present their idea in front of the camera in 30 seconds and they have 20 minutes to cook it. Teddy looks like he wants to pass out.

Melissa - Burlington, Vermont Burger with Vermont cheddar cheese

Oh, there’s a real culinary hotspot for you. The shopping is great, but is it known for its cuisine? Not exactly, but maybe the judges will think it’s a charming choice.

Michael - Mulberry Street Burger with mozzarella and pancetta

Jamika - Mardi Gras Madness New Orleans Burger with cayenne and sausage

That’s a good idea.

Debbie - Cal-Asian Burger

Jeffrey - California Convertible Burger Californian in a Mexican way

Huh?

Teddy - Pennsylvania Burger with an Amish spin

(Hmm, is he going to put a bonnet on it?)

Katie - San Francisco Market Turkey Burger

Uh-oh, Katie’s burger isn’t done when the time is up.

Melissa goes first. She makes a Burlington burger. She tells us she went to college in Vermont, oh, okay, that’s fair. She did a good job. Bobby likes that it’s a beef burger with turkey chili. (I think that’s weird and I have no idea where the chili is. Inside?)

Jeffrey is next. He doesn’t say much, except that when he’s in the mood for blah, blah, blah he makes blah, blah, blah. Bobby: It’s the usual hot, sweet thing. Susie didn’t feel like she learned anything. Bob says he’s not showing any growth.

Teddy is okay as he describes his burger with Amish elements and a whole bunch of other stuff, including special ketchup. OH! I guess I’m wrong, because we see three contestants in the back with their mouths hanging open at how badly he did, including Debbie, who has a grudge. Bob says Teddy can’t find a comfortable place in front of the camera. Jamika says (to his face) that he’s like a game show host. Did I miss something? I thought he was fine.

Susie says his burger isn’t as good as she thought it was going to be. Bobby says “Sometimes, you can have TOO MANY things on a burger.” Oy, he can’t win with them. Oh well.

Debbie….wait…I’m not sticking my neck out here. Let’s see what the judges say. Susie “loved” her presentation. Bob says he likes the flavor of the burger, but there’s not enough of it. Bobby likes the idea, but she didn’t deliver it. I don’t like that she said “Kree-in” for Korean and that’s all I’m going to say…in this paragraph.

This whole time, I’ve been thinking about what hamburger I would have made in this challenge…one that would have been incredible and…honestly…I COULDN’T THINK OF ONE. I think this was harder than it seemed. I happen to love Garden Burgers with all the crap that a regular hamburger has, but I really don’t think I could have come up with one in 20 minutes. So I think Teddy’s was better than they’re giving him credit for.

Michael’s sounds sooo good. It’s stuffed with mozzarella and pancetta and served on garlic bread. It looks like there’s some kind of tomato sauce too. I don’t care what the judges think, I think his spiel is fine (plus he’s toned down his accent) and his burger looks fabulous. Whew! Susie agrees. Bob says he’s always nervous in front of the camera. Bobby likes his burger – classic ingredients. Bob does like that it’s on garlic bread. I bet he’ll win. Oh, I forgot Jamika.

Jamika says, “Wazzup to all my burger lovers out there?” Susie’s in love. But then Jamika gets a little too slick and begins to sound like she’s doing a commercial. Bobby doesn’t like the slab of sausage under the burger. So as I was saying, Michael will win.

Oh wait, there’s still Katie with the raw turkey burger, which she’s now told us about a hundred times. All she can think of during her 30 second camera routine is that the burger is raw. She’s not great.

Bobby likes the combination of ingredients, but Susie is “disappointed” that it’s not cooked. I actually thought hers looked like it would have been good, had it not been served in E coli territory.

The bottom two are Katie and Jamika. The top two are Melissa and Michael, who is the winner. Go me!!! Michael is so happy he says (to us) that he wants to make out with Bobby.

By the way, here’s the menu for Bobby’s burger joint and I don’t see Michael's burger on it. Another thing - Does ANYONE agree with me when I say that I think there should be Veggie Burger on the menu. I like that they have burgers with beef, turkey or chicken, but can’t they offer a vegetarian one? Even Pink’s has veggie dogs, for goodness sake, but no veggie burgers either.

Katie’s all weepy. She’s probably outta here.

Cut to the next morning when they’re all getting up. WHY do we have to see that? They’re interviewing Katie so much that it’s clear this is her swan song.

They arrive at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. They waste the time of a real life color guard and Guy walks in. He tells them they’re going to be preparing food for a party of returning soldiers and their families and their dish has to tell a story. Oh goodness, let the poor military folks go home! Don’t make them eat this horrible food. Although maybe after what they’ve been eating, even Katie’s raw food would taste good.

They have to prepare a dish using all the ingredients from a specific state. TJ Walter, associate editor of USA Weekend magazine, comes out. He’s nice as he tells them the winning dish will be on the cover of USA Weekend magazine, which has 49 million readers. (I’m taking a big leap here and guessing that that’s the magazine that goes with USA Today, but on the weekend.)

They don’t say how each person is assigned to each state. I thought Michael would get to choose, because he won the other challenge. I guess not.

Teddy is okay with his duck and comes up with a plan pretty quickly.

Jeffrey is confused about what to do with blueberries and lobster. I don’t blame him.

Just for fun, I plugged Blueberries and Lobster into Epicurious. I got two unrelated recipes that came from this book. The only reason those came up was because THAT'S the name of the book. The recipes had nothing to with those two ingredients. Then I looked in Recipezaar and I found this. That’s a little better and I suppose you could use fresh, instead of dried, blueberries.

Suddenly, something comes to Jeffrey - Potpies. (I hate that word) But unfortunately the burners are really slow and he’s having a problem. He’s rushing, rushing, rushing.

Teddy goes first with his presentation to the military people and the judges, including Guy. He’s starts out okay, but he’s really nervous. Guy glowers at him.

One service person says Teddy’s presentation was bad, but he loved his food, so he didn’t care. Guy is still glowering. Bobby liked the food, though, and, apparently, that's just the way Guy looks, because he liked it too.

Jeffrey is horrified and embarrassed about his (Pot) Pie and he doesn’t know how to serve it attractively. So he drops the “glop into the bowls” and basically hopes for the best.

He starts out strong in front of the crowd, but kind of fades. It doesn’t matter, because Susie actually says about his food, “It’s disgusting. I would never eat this unless I had to.” The others agree.

Honestly, THIS is what I don’t like about this show. Why does it always have to be cooking against all odds? I know they all do it – Top Chef Masters cooking in dorm rooms. But does handling an unlikely situation well really equip you for a show on the Food Network? In that case, they should probably just recruit the military people in that very room, who could accomplish anything against great odds.

Melissa gets some state with skirt steak and chilies. She’s not familiar with the chilies, because the ball and chain back home doesn't like them, I guess. She tastes every single chili before she cooks with them. I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.

Melissa comes out all perky and talks about her single mother, who was a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy and died when she was 20. (I am NOT going to remark that that will get her some extra points for “sharing”.) She says skirt steak was their big treat growing up.

Susie thought Melissa's story was “lovely” (of course, she did) and Bob thinks her skirt steak with mango tastes like a good home cooked meal. Guy likes it the best, so far. Bobby agrees.

Katie is on. She’s cute, oh, she’s losing it. Oh, actually, she’s still cute. She’s talking about her cousin in the rangers and she knows how their families worry about them.

Guy likes her catfish, Bobby says she did okay, but she’s “middle of the road”.

Jamika is having stove problems.

OH NO! She’s putting her potatoes in a food processor. NO, THEY’LL TURN TO GLUE!!!

She says (after the fact) she knows what’s going to happen. But she’s hoping that when the potatoes go into a casserole-type thing and are covered with cheese, no one will notice that they’re “a gluey mess”.

It’s a commercial and the coming scenes look good. Michael punches Debby in the face with a baking sheet and she gets all dramatic, holding ice on her face...not a good look for most people.

Jamika says her (Jamika's) dish looks like slop. That’s not good. She comes out and does a good job in her presentation. Bob says it felt like a party when she was up there. Guy likes the flavor, but says the texture is horrific. Bobby agrees and says it’s very gluey. A military person didn’t like it.

Now I’m nervous watching Debby, knowing that she’s about to get bashed.

Michael bangs his sheet pan right into the corner of her eye or it may have been her cheekbone..."by accident". She’s “in so much pain she can’t think straight”.

Michael feels so horrible that he has to force himself to concentrate on his presentation. And he was so assured before. He’s making Hawaiian fish with a macadamia crust. He’s funny out there, as he says he grew up in the Bronx with peanuts, so he was excited to get macadamia nuts.

Bob says Michael makes people feel good. Susie says he has trouble in front of a camera, but in front of an audience he’s good. The judges like his food.

Debbie goes on and says something about being Korean and southern and how that makes her particularly understand what the troops are doing for our country. Huh? Susie looks confused.

Debbie wasn’t evil or bad, she just didn’t make any sense. She made chicken breast and I have no idea what state she was supposed to be representing.

Bob says she did a fantastic job considering that Michael had just hit her in the eye with an oven door. (Get your facts straight, Bob.) Bobby says the food is bland. It seems as if Melissa’s food will win the day and Michael’s presentation will, but Melissa will probably win.

I hope Jamika doesn’t go home. Oh, I forgot they showed Katie at the beginning, it’ll be her... Buh-bye.

Back in the judging room, Susie says they have to be prepared to share something of themselves at this point in the competition. They loved Jamika’s presentation, but Bob says he “was shocked that that dish could come from her.”

Bobby says Katie’s catfish was very good, but her presentation didn’t really talk about the food. When he brings up her raw lamb AND her raw turkey, Katie starts weeping. I’m getting a little over this show. In the real world, do people cry during job interviews? Maybe after, but not usually during.

Susie loves Michael’s dish, but Bob says he hasn’t made friends with the camera yet. Michael says he’s going to work on it and next week he’ll be 100% better. How’s he going to that? Is he going to get some coaching? Obviously, not from the FN folks. They never seem to be teaching them anything. If they already knew this stuff, would they even be on this show? It’s kind of annoying.

Bob says Jeffrey seemed different this week. Jeffrey says he was embarrassed by his food. Bobby says it was awful. He agrees. Bob says Jeffrey’s “flirting right up against the edges of blandness”. Bob wants to see more edge.

Predictably, Bob LOVED Melissa’s presentation. I’m not being horrible, but it almost seems as if they want to hear about personal tragedy and how the finalist overcame it, before they’ll consider the person for TNFNS. Should that really be necessary? Susie says “Great, great job.”

I'm just thinking what if Emily had cried about how she had stubbed her toe as a child, would she have won her Ultimate Recipe Showdown? Try that, next time, Em.

Bobby likes Teddy’s very delicious sandwich, but says Teddy makes him nervous when he gets in front of the microphone.

Bobby says he was little concerned about Debbie. She said it was rough.

Bob says he thought Debbie's presentation had warmth. It did? AND that it brought out her graciousness. Heh? I think he's grasping at straws.

Bobby says her chicken had no flavor. She says she wasn’t 100% herself, but that she’s not saying that was an excuse. Oh, I think she was.

Bobby doesn’t let her get away with that and says, “Sometimes when you have adversity, you can turn it into something positive.” Thank you, Deepak Flay.

Then Bobby tells the group that not one of them is hitting ball out of the field, or words to that effect, and that there’s a fantastic opportunity for one of them to grab the title. “You gotta knock everybody out.”

Okie Dokie…The winner, and the one who gets the cover of USA Weekend Magazine, is…Melissa. She can leave the room. She says to us that they underestimated her. Michael and Debbie are safe. They leave.

The others are sent out while they discuss the others. Susie says Teddy is fake and nervous in front of the camera and Katie has unforgivably served them raw food.

Bob says at least a couple of Teddy’s dishes have been good, but not Katie’s. I’m sure she’s out. C’mon, move it along. Then, they pick TEDDY to leave. That is a surprise. He said he kept digging and digging and he just couldn’t figure out how to give them what they wanted.

Let that be a lesson to you, Teddy. Either be yourself and be prepared to take the consequences of people thinking you're a jerk; or do a better job at pretending to be likable.

Oh, next time is Rachael Ray. That’ll be entertaining and painful at the same time.

Last week, my Bookmaker.com buddies thought KATIE would be leaving this week...with Teddy close behind, but they weren’t too far off.

I’m not sure why Michael isn’t at the top of the heap, but he still has time. And why isn’t Melissa ahead of Jeffrey? Those three have been at the top of the pack in the same order, since the beginning. These odds-makers…they’re an unusual bunch, but they’ve been pretty accurate.

Next Food Network Star Season 5: Round 4

Contestants: From Most to Least Likely To Win

· JEFFREY SAAD -170

· MICHAEL PROIETTI -120

· MELISSA D'ARABIAN +120

· JAMIKA PESSOA +165

· DEBBIE LEE +180

· KATIE CAVUTO +270

PS Check out these odds:

Black Eyed Peas Vs Perez Hilton

Punching Perez Becomes A Trend +300

Perez Or Will I.Am Discuss This On A Talk Show -200

They Will Admit It Was All For Publicity +100

5 comments:

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I really thought the contestants had some really unfair conditions. Between the bad kitchen and the weird ingredients (lobster and blueberries) it really put some folks at a disadvantage.

I don't watch the FN to learn how to cook for 100 people. Why do these contestants have to cater these huge parties? Unless they are going to do a "How To Be A Caterer" show, then why make their future hosts do this? Also, one would assume that the studio kitchen that this star will cook in will have a stove that works well.

I was shocked at the departure of Teddy over Katie, but I realized something. Teddy has toned down the douchebaggery and is just pathetic. The drama is gone. Katie cries all of the time and messes up everything. There is the constant sense of fear of her being eliminated and then the relief of her being saved once again. That's good drama. No wonder they keep her.

I thought Debbie would go before Jamika, but not I'm not so sure. They love Jamika's personality, but her food seems to be hit or miss. They like Debbie's personality, but her food always seems to be in the bland-but-not-bad category.

I still believe Michael, Jeffrey, and Melissa will be the in the top 3, but now I know Jeffrey will go first. They seem to really want to love Michael, so it's hard to say if he'll triumph over Melissa - camera-ready or not.

Sue said...

Gosh, Rach, how's about you take over for me? That is an EXCELLENT point about the catering AND that would make a GREAT show. In fact, all those wedding shows are fun to watch with the food in mind...as well as the insane brides, of course.

Pathetic is the perfect work for Teddy. But still, I would rather watch HIM stab people in the back than listen to Katie's whining.

And, by the way, I'm sure she's a fine cook "on the outside". Probably they all are. THIS is not a test of how good a cook you are.

This is a test of can you make something edible, appear unflustered, please the masses AND the judges, all the while cooking out of a garbage can AND sharing the story of how you triumphed over adversity. Whew! I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

I think you're going against the tide of public opinion (and the bookmakers) when you say Jeffrey won't outlast Michael or Mel. (She's SO not a "Mel".) Me? I disliked him intensely the very first week.

Nandini Vishwanath said...

I agree about the unfair conditions. I just don't get it.

And thank heavens you said Teddy got it ok with his preso on burgers! I thought I was mad to have thought he was pretty good. Improvement no?

And Debbie - I 'HATE' her. I just can't stand the pseudo behavior!

Keep the comment ;) Hi!

Shays’ Rebel said...

I hate Debbie too. Maybe her saying “Kree-in” for Korean is her “Southern-style” side (as she calls it), making a three-syllable word into a two-syllable word, as in “I had the Kree-in couple over for compny today.” And don’t the judges know that when she’s not “presenting” she has a permanent sullen expression on her face? She’s just mean.

Jeffrey is a sociopath. The look he had on his face when he congratulated Melissa was just scary. I developed an intense dislike for him last week when he felt it necessary to prompt Michael during their presentation. “This green stuff will be bitter if you don’t boil it.” Who DOESN’T know that? I mean, besides me?

I guess Teddy thought no one would notice his READING HIS HAND! Sheesh.

And what’s with the two-handed wave all the girls have affected? STOP IT!

(Wow. Talk about mean.)

Sue said...

Hey Nandini,
Thanks for stopping by. I haven't liked Debbie since the beginning, but I did find her a little less offensive in this past Sunday's show.

Hi SR,
You're funny. I usually reserve the word sociopath for someone truly evil (Sandra Lee, for example), but I get what you're saying about Jeffrey. He seems so fake to me and almost mawkishly sentimental at times. Ewww.

I've got to check out the wave you're talking about.