Monday, July 19, 2010

The Next Food Network Star - They Actually COOKED Tonight Plus The Best Line Of The Night – “I Like To Play With Myself”

And I Can't Help Myself From Being Harsh With One Contestant In Particular

The Next Food Network Star - Retro Palm Springs

The contestants gather in front of Giada and Bobby to learn about the first challenge. They each get a bunch of different ingredients which they have to make into a little snack for a specific occasion – Birthday party, Bachelorette party etc.

The prize? They get to present entertaining tips on the Cooking Channel. As if reading from a script, Giada says, “The Cooking Channel is the network for today’s new food lover who’s lookin’ for even more.” (Yes, she said LOOKIN’ as if to make it seem like the words just casually fell from her mouth.)

But hold on! I was looking for more and all I got was a stale yellow cake from some British person, a boring bunch of too easy recipes from an Aussie and That’s Amore running through my brain as I watched David Somebody in a retro Italian inspired food show.

Back to the group. They made their stuff. Herb AGAIN overthought the whole thing. He is sooooooooooooooo going home. I would bet the farm that he’s on his way out. Oh, Brianna noise-dived too.

Aria? Not too good either. Bobby looks stunned by her actually. It wasn’t that bad. Oh wait, Bob says he likes Aria. OY, I have no idea what they want from her.

The one on the bottom – Herb and Brianna.

Who were the best? Tom and Brad both relaxed and both won. They will BOTH be presenting their tips on the Cooking Channel. Too bad I won’t be watching because I’ve completely forgotten what out of the way channel it is.

On to the next thing. Ted Allen comes strolling out and for some reason they seem flabbergasted to see him as they ooh and ahh!! He tells them The Star Challenge is to reinvent classic dish with a modern twist. And they’ll be doing it in Palm Springs in Frank Sinatra’s old house. That’s kinda interesting. I’ve driven by there.

Brianna gets Tuna Noodle Casserole that she’s not happy with. She’s going to make a Brie And Crab Casserole. That could be good or a gunky, gummy mess. Brad’s Chicken Cordon Bleu is going to be reinvented as Bacon Wrapped Chicken On Top Of Risotto. Why bother with the risotto? THAT could be a gunky, gummy mess.

The next morning they leave for Frank’s house. We see Brad without his hat (for a moment) and I totally don’t recognize him.

Ooh, they’re on Frank Sinatra Drive. (I love Palm Springs.)

Not Frank Sinatra Drive, but close by.

They arrive at Twin Palms and walk into the pool area (in the shape of a piano). I wonder if it’s open to the public. Oh, it can be rented. What a bargain! NOT!!!

Aria’s spin on Pigs In A Blanket is going to be Buttermilk Battered Shrimp With Crème Fraiche And Caviar. Is she insane? What do the two things have to do with each other?

Oy, I really think she’s going to have a problem this week. Aria actually tells us it’s NOT Pigs In A Blanket, it’s a modern twist. NO, it’s not a twist; it’s a complete u-turn in the opposite direction.

Brad also says he can’t figure out the connection between the two. Aria seems proud of the fact that she’s taking a huge risk. Well, actually she should be a bit more nervous than she is about their reaction.

6 folks sit down at a table set by the pool. Bobby, Bob, Susie, Ted, Maile Carpenter, editor of the Food Network Magazine and some other guy wearing a beat-up hat (AT the table) is there. Aria tells us it’s Cal Fussman. Who?

Anyway, she explains that Pigs In A Blanket are crispy with something salty inside and so is her shrimp. Bobby says, “You threw the pig right out the window.” She said she didn’t want to do pork again.

Ted immediately says, “It’s a strange choice to choose shrimp as the protein.” He doesn’t feel it pays homage to pigs in a blanket in any way. Susie kind of defending her, says she says she’d done pork a lot.” Bobby, almost nasty, says, “SO WHAT! Pork Belly would have been awesome.” Bob likes the dish however and Susie likes her energy. OH, Cal Fussman is from Esquire, they did say that earlier. He liked that she took a risk.

Tom’s spin on Lobster Thermidor is a Lobster Fennel Napoleon. At least the main ingredient is the same, but nothing else is. I don’t know if they’re going to buy the puff pastry idea.

Tom grilled the lobster without oiling the grill and he says it looks like a lobster massacre. Maybe that’s why he’s an unemployed chef. Can you imagine if he ruined a night’s worth of lobster?

He’s happy, though, with the way it looks. He presents it to the committee, thinking it would be good to tie in a Frank Sinatra story. That’s fine but he goes a little off the rails when he describes visits with his grandmother, his parents’ divorce, grandpa dying, grandma belting out Frank Sinatra (after a few whiskies) all in ONE SENTENCE.

Ugh, get to the food a’ready. He finally gets to the dish and he’s talking about how he likes to mix it up in the kitchen. He actually says, “I like to play with myself.” He stops short and looks appalled. Bobby says, “Thank you, Tom,” and he’s dismissed. They actually like the dish.

Lucky for Aarti, she got deviled eggs, which is easy-peasy to make in an Indian style. Plus she said she’s never even had the other dishes before. She’s making a Devil-ish Egg Curry over Red Rice Pilaf. But she has a lot to do and some of it is going wrong. She says she’s feeling a little bit out of her element as she walks up to the table. That’s never good.

Aarti’s spiel isn’t good. She says this is a good dish to make when you don’t have a lot of money. Bob says you’re at Frank Sinatra’s house in Palm Springs, maybe we don’t wanna be thinking about a budget. Good point. AND Susie got no curry on her dish. Not good either. Then Aria tells US that THIS could be HER chance to move ahead…Umm, I think not.

Commercial for an after party on the Cooking Channel. DARN! I would have loved to have seen that. Have they done that before? I’m watching on Tivo, so I had no clue that was on. Of course, it would have meant I would again have had to do deep research into exactly what channel the Cooking Channel is on.

Brianna has burned the bread crumb and wild mushroom topping for her tuna noodle casserole remake. She actually admits to the judges that she burned the crumbs. They like the dish, though. Cal says the dish sold itself. Bob says it had to since Brianna didn’t help it at all with her presentation.

Herb is making a healthy version of Beef Stroganoff. He feels good about it. The judges take a bite and really hate it, but they like HIM. Susie wants him to quit with the healthy food and go with his Cuban roots.

Serena is making an Italian puff pastry (frozen puff pastry) dessert. What does that have to with a Pineapple Upside Down Cake? Apparently it doesn’t, according to Bobby. And Maile says her puff pastry wasn’t even baked all the way through.

There are still more people?!! Oh gosh, Brad. His Bacon-Wrapped Chicken dish does sound good, but he’s got all the excitement of a wet dishrag. Seriously, HOW DID THEY PICK THESE PEOPLE?

The Food Network had to have gotten a bunch of videos from better choices than many of these folks. Do you have to sign so MANY disclaimers, and be available for SO long and agree to so MANY conditions that the pool of people becomes smaller and smaller and smaller until you’re left with an Italian lawyer (Does she actually practice law? At least that would be one thing she was good at.) Or a cap-wearing, bland, third tier cook? Really!

I’m going to be harsh here and say that there is nothing that could come out of Brad’s mouth that would interest me. Even Adam Gertler (HATE that last name) had some verve and elicited a reaction from people, even if it was negative. Brad doesn’t even register on the impression scale. Boring, bland and blasé.

The words “I’m excited” coming from Brad are like someone else barely registering a pulse. Okay, his presentation is good…for him. He has a couple of good lines where he says that he wanted to make Chicken Cordon Bleu HIS WAY. (Everybody should have said that.)

Brad said he’s had doubts, but NOW he’s confident. He’s also 5 weeks late and a million dollars short, which is what it would take to convince me to watch a show starring him on the Food Network.

They all liked his dish and his presentation. Bob says, “He was magic”. NOT!!! He was the way he should have been all along, but he was not magic. He was a soft-spoken, sweet, skinny, unexciting guy. Give me the beast any time!

We’re back in the judging room. Let’s find out who’s out of there. BTW, Brianna is wearing a beautiful one-shoulder dress.

They say Serena doesn’t seem like an expert in Italian cooking. Ya think?!!

Herb’s dish was unsuccessful and he should have gone where he felt more comfortable – Latin cooking, although he says that’s why he was a fat little kid. So stay Latin and cut the fat. What’s the problem?

Bob says Tom’s expertise is diminished by his rambling.

Susie says Brianna was so negative about her dish even before they even tasted it. Brianna admits she has a problem getting personal. Bobby says relaying tips within a personal story is the best way for people to relate. Yes and no, I think. If you give an exciting, informative cooking demonstration, I don’t think anyone has to know squat about your personal life.

Oh gosh, listen to this: BOB SAYS BRAD REMINDED THEM ALL OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD WITH HIS EFFORTLESS STYLE. Puleez! Just because he didn’t stare at them like a deer in the headlights (THIS TIME) does not mean he’s been transformed into Emeril.

They tell Aria they liked her food, but even though she tries AGAIN to make a connection between fried shrimp and a hot dog in pastry, they don’t buy it. I actually agree (for once)!

Bob didn’t like Aarti’s food or presentation. And the winner is…Brad...of course, it is. This is dumb.

Aarti, Herb and Brianna are in the bottom three. It’s gotta be Herb who’s going home. And the loser is…Brianna! Gosh, I’m so bad at this! I think that’s a big mistake. Herb is not going to win and Brianna I could see possibly pulling it out.


Sheila said...

I was with you! I thought Herb was going home. Out of all of them I guess I'd vote for Aria so far. But I don't know that I'd watch her. I don't really watch many of the other winners in previous years..

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

You are my link to this season since I've opted to not bother watching. I don't know why I was so into last season, but can't get myself interested in this one.

I don't know why Bobby Flay tells people they should tell personal stories. Does Bobby Flay ever tell personal stories? I don't watch his shows all that much, but I really don't think I know anything about his personal life. The only reason I know anything is that Food & Wine magazine features him a lot. I saw him travel through Savannah with his wife so I knew who his wife was (I forgot where I read that she was wife#4, but he doesn't share that info himself). Last summer they showed him hosting a party attended by his 13-year-old daughter. I don't think I ever knew before magazine that he had a daughter. I never heard him mention her.

Babka1 said...

I did not catch this past episode, but I am glad to see Brianna go. You would think that someone who obviously loves the camera would realize that a media chef has to connect with her audience and that is something that she lacked. Oh, now that I think about it, she didn't love the camera; she loved HERSELF on the camera. She was way too self- absorbed for my taste.

Babka1 said...

Is there anyone else out there that feels Bobby Flay is over-exposed? At my last count, he had 5programs shown on FN. I realize that perhaps most of them are reruns, but it seems everytime I turn on the channel- there he is.

Sue said...

Hiya Mama-to-be,
Shouldn't you be packing (or unpacking)? I really did think Herb was a goner. And you're right, the only previous winner I watch is Guy Fieri, because it's impossible not to! He's everywhere.

Hiya Rach,
You are soooo right about Bobby. He NEVER talks about personal stuff and he doesn't have to. But there is a big difference. HE'S a chef and HE can cook.

Hi Babka1,
You're not wrong about Brianna, but compared to Herb, especially, AND Brad, I would much rather see what she's cooked. She, was, though, surprisingly uncomfortable in front of the camera for someone who wants us to think she's so confident.

Bobby is omnipresent, but I've never seen him make a misstep (except maybe for his involvement on TNFNS). He is a sensational cooking demonstrator. He makes stuff exciting and he obviously has great skills and taste AND it doesn't hurt that he's cute.

Melanie said...

I wonder if the contract they sign doesn't contain some sort of non-compete agreement, such that people who are highly talented know better than to join the cast of a show like this one because when they lose they keep themselves from being able to start a TV career for x years. Didn't a runner up from a few years ago start a show on Discovery Health, Nathan Lyon or something? I bet if they didn't have a non-compete in their contracts in the beginning they definitely added it after that.

Bobby Flay has been around since the beginning of the network. I remember him on Grillin' and Chillin' when he was maybe all of 28. He probably owns a good chunk of Food Network which is why he's always involved with this program.

Babka1 said...

Hi Melanie. You know, I actually thought about that and mentioned to my husband that he must own some hefty shares in that network, which explains his high visability on that channel. I have seen him listed as executive producer of a few programs as well. Would like to see a bit more of Michael Simon. Love him and he's kind of cute too. Must be the baldness! (Laughs)