It is time for a new season of The Next Food Network Star. I love me some AB (Alton Brown) so I hope he still has a major role but other than Bobby Flay, I haven’t really seen any other 1 person highlighted as a major contributor.
So lets buckle in and see if this year’s crop has what it takes.
Right off the bat Jen bothered me a little. She is a “housewife 2.0”? Is that cause she works too? If so, she better step back because this 1.0 gets a little edgy when I am told that I am out of date. I will try not to hold that against her. I am excited to see a housewife in the bunch with Melissa. They overall look pretty good. But we won’t know until we see the food.
As soon as everyone gets there the contestants are summoned to the Food Network Kitchens. Then we get the selection commitee who walk us through the intro and basics. Susie seemed to stress integrity so I am interested how that will come in later.
First challenge is catering a party celebrating Food Network’s birthday with 75 guests and Access Hollywood. All the big names will be there including last year’s winner, Aaron McCargo. They were split into 2 teams, green and red. The green team is Teddy, Jamika, Brett, Jen and Melissa. The red team is Eddie, Michael, Katie, Jeffrey and Debbie. They have $1200 to shop with.
Brett(Captain): Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce and Butternut Squash Soup
Teddy: Herb and Truffle Infused Potato Gratin
Jamika: Floribbean Shrimp Cocktail with Mango Jicama Slaw
Melissa: Apple Tart with Carmel Drizzle
Jen: Green Beans with Walnuts and Grape Tomatoes
Debbie (captain): Red Curry Crab Cake with Spicy Mayo
Michael: 5 Spiced Tenderloin with Pickled Vegetable Slaw
Katie: Beet, Pomegranate, Orange Salad and Sauteed Swiss Chard
Jeffrey: Achiote Grilled Zucchini Mushroom Ragu
Eddie: BLAST balls (bacon, lettuce, avocado, sprouts, tomatoes)
They get 1 hour to shop and each team sent 2 people. Michael was sure that the Red Team was going to have budget issues. Whole Foods didn’t have the pre-made biscuit dough that Eddie was going to use so Debbie made an executive decision to change the dessert. When the Green Team checked out they have $200 left that they didn’t spend. The Red Team put a lot of stuff back because they didn’t have enough money. Jeffrey ended up getting almost none of what he needed. The dessert that Debbie decided to make was angelfood cake layers with a riccotta cream mixture.
Brett is a high energy type of captain. Whereas Debbie is a bit happy go lucky. Melissa is a bit overwhelmed. She keeps saying that she is home cook and that the commercial kitchen and quantities are overwhleming. Katie was shorted her dijon but luckily the other team had some she could use. Melissa is really worried about her crust.
Then the finalists got to go and talked to all the party guests to intro their foods. Brett kind of froze. Brett didn’t say he had a team but the staff. Teddy was coming from the mind of a chef. That is great because I am sure that no one there from Food Network knows anything about a chef’s mind.
Then we got to the eating for the Green Team. Melissa’s tart was a hit. They liked Jamika’s slaw but not her shrimp. Jen’s green beans bombed and they didn’t like her personally either. Teddy’s gratin had great flavor. They didn’t like Brett’s meat or the mushrooms with them. Duff said it made him feel like he was in jail or the army.
We are onto the Red Team. The Angel food cake is a nightmare. Debby is very entertaining. Katie seemed a bit chatty and nervous. Before we get to the eating let me say that I think pickled veg on filet mignon is so disrespectful to the meat!!!!
Onto the eating! Duff asked if they really wanted to give him cake. The crab cake wasn’t perfect but the sauce was good. The filet had a lot of spice. The zucchini was good with texture and good flavors. Alex thought the salad was safe. Ann Burrell said the salad and swiss chard seemed to be from a dietician. The BLAST balls only talked of bacon. The cake was a complete disaster.
I think the top contenders for going home at this point is Debby for the cake, Jen for the green beans and Katie for the salad.
So we start with the Red Team evaluation. Bob questioned Debbie as to why she said that they were under budget when they had been grossly over. Then they hit the angel food cake and Debbie said it was a team decision. That is such a lie!!! But they liked her mayo and her presentation. They liked Michael’s meat and his presentation. They felt Katie’s swiss chard was a throw away dish and they felt she came off a girl without authority. Eddie’s BLAST balls bombed and he seemed too corporate in his presentation. Jeffrey’s food were a hit and Bobby really liked his presentation.
Onto the Green team. Brett’s food took a hit and his presentation also stunk. Jamika’s slaw was really good but the shrimp wasn’t. Her presentation went over well. Melissa’s tart was a big hit and she needs to temper her excitement. Jen’s dish wasn’t worthy to be served at the party according to Bob. He thought her presentation was a good start but it didn’t go well. Teddy’s gratin wasn’t cooked all the way but the flavors were good. He needs to amp up the presentation.
They didn’t pick a team to win. Instead they pointed out 3 individuals who shone: Jeffrey, Michael and Melissa. They winner was Jeffrey. Jen ended up being the first person sent home.
This season seems to be interesting. I wonder if there will be integrity issues with Debby. I am disapointed because there isn’t enough Alton Brown but maybe that will change. But over all this is a big hit not only with me but the 3 older Nerdlings!!!
See you next week.