So it is time for the new season of The Next Food Network Star and I am all ready to go. I am looking forward to a great season after all the hype. Here is my live blog snark and all;).
So all our contestants arrive and all seems pretty normal but there were a couple of notable things. Kelsey is really perky and is Lisa really that “fabulous” or is it a put on? I also have to say that for the most part I dislike that there are so many actors. That said, I really like Shane Lyons. He graduated CIA at just 18 and has already acted pretty big and isn’t trying to break in.
They all seemed so shocked that Alton Brown (my favorite!!!) comes out and has a little challenge. Why are they shocked? They are meeting in a lit studio and Alton Brown had this role last season. BTW, he was merciless in this position last season;). I think everyone forgets that AB has a theater background and does his own show from the ground up so he knows about the production value not just the cooking. So the challenge was to give 1 sentence to the camera that summarized their culinary point of view. There is also a table of food props they can hold if they need to have something.
Jennifer needed to take her own advice and just said, “Keep if simple”. The majority of them were fine, most had something cute but nothing that bad. I really like the part that Shane said about French food without the attitude. It was hilarious that Adam thought he would grab the “milk” off the table and then end his bit by taking a swig . He was lucky it was just whipping cream and not fake food, it was sitting on the table after all.
Corey was bad, just bad. She seemed to have stage fright but she is a comedian. Unless she can really pull it out, she won’t be long for this show. The other one that was bad was Lisa. “Designer Dining with the 3 C’s, cooking, community outreach and culinary crafts.” What the Heck?!?!? She used a ton of props and was just snooty. AB tried to explain that it was very foreign sounding but I really think that is what she was going for. The whole I am so complicated I must be good thing.
So everyone was paired up and they had to cook a dish each and a team dish that affirmed their culinary point of view all in 30 minutes. They were going to present their food to 9 people that included the judges and some Food Network stars. They also had to make a beauty plate for the camera.
Corey & Jeffrey: Honey Glazed Poached Salmon, Deviled Eggs Provencal, Parsnip Potato Cakes
Kelsey & Aaron: Orzo Salad with a Lemon Vinigrette, Cajun Salmon Sandwich, Tomato Soup(T)
Shane & Nipa: Pork Tenderloin, Suki Bhaji(Curried Potatoes), Curried Squash Soup
Lisa & Kevin: Arugala Salad, Olive Oil Poached Salmon, French Kiss Onion Soup
Adam & Jennifer: Potato Gratin, Honey Dill Carrots, Meatloaf
So in the menu creation Lisa tries to prove she is as pretentious as I think she is by telling Kevin they need to do a Degustation. That is French for small tasting portion. Now, I like big words I really do. But that was just obnoxious and NerdDad does too! I have watched a lot of cooking shows and I have never heard that term and then she seems shocked he doesn’t know it.
So in the shopping phase Nipa can’s find the spices she needs for her curry. Nipa is planning on using curry as a substitute for turmeric. Then Shane and Nipa go first. When Shane went to do the beauty plate the pork wasn’t done. The pork for the judges was done and in the tasting they found it good. But pork wrapped in prosciutto has to be good. They found Nipa’s curry lacking well, curry flavor or heat.
Next up comes Lisa and Kevin. Lisa says how she did it all in a beautiful dress and heels (to the kitchen camera). Dress in what you want but don’t expect a hand for it. The table thought the salad was over dressed and pine nuts were over toasted. They also thought Lisa talked in circles.
Then up was Adam and Jennifer. They had issues getting the meatloaf done though they did seem to get it done. To top that problem, the judges thought there were to many meats (Lamb, beef, pork, etc). The potatoes in Adam’s grating were not done. Bobby Flay liked Adam.
Kelsey and Aaron were just overwhelmed and frazzled. Kelsey had planned on lemon cups and didn’t have enough time to do them. Aaron didn’t have bread for all his sandwiches. The table was split about Kelsey’s energy. Giada was overwhelmed by it whereas Sandra Lee seemed to like it. They were real honest about time getting away from them and how that happens to real people. The table liked the salmon.
Corey and Jeffrey were last. I think Corey was going down a bad road when she mentioned repeatedly how trendy her salmon was. These are not people who are going to be swayed by trends in food. Corey choked again but Jeffrey seemed to step in to some of her holes. The table found the deviled eggs salty and the salmon too sweet.
The judges didn’t seem to feel that Adam wasn’t taking it seriously enough in his attitude. The judges told Lisa that they just didn’t get her point of view and they told Kevin he was just to generic. Of course they told Corey they had expected more out of her presentation and that her salmon was to sweet. The judges seem a bit shocked that Nipa doesn’t get nervous at all. They also held Nipa accountable for doing a dish that she knew she didn’t have the ingredients for. I think I am falling for Shane as a contestant. The judges had hoped to see his youthful exuberance. But he wasn’t happy about what he had put on the plate because it was a little piece of him and not his best. He was feeling self conscious in the presentation because it didn’t meet his standards. He was tearing up and looked to Bobby to understand what he meant about the integrity issue of the food. Bobby Flay couldn’t even look at him (I think Bobby totally understood). Mirror that to Jeffrey’s shoulder shrugging that he knew his eggs were salty with no regret.
Nipa, Shane, Corey and Lisa were in the bottom 4. Corey needs to have fun, Nipa was over confident. Shane needs to show his personality and tighten up the cooking. Lisa is rigid and overpowering and needs to show who she is beyond style. Not shockingly, Corey is the first finalist eliminated.