The “Mama Orchid” Fan Club

by in Food Network Star, July 12, 2011
We'll miss you, Orchid.

Early front-runner and Star fan favorite Orchid Paulmeier was driven out of the competition on Sunday night after a sub-par food-truck performance. Judge Bob Tuschman told the barbecue-loving, restaurant-owning mom of three that she tends to “simmer” while other finalists “are at full boil” in the competition.

Immediately following the shocking elimination, comments on Food Network’s Facebook page and our Star blog indicated that you devoted Star fans questioned whether or not it was really her time to leave. Many wrote that “Orchid was robbed” and that the judges made “a bad call” in sending her home. Others “expected her to be in it pretty much until the very end” and were simply confused by her departure, noting that “Her food has been lackluster the last few weeks, but the judges still seemed to favor her.”

One viewer wrote that “Orchid was a pleasure to watch and her food appeared to be something I would be willing (and frequently eager) to attempt,” though others were not as enthusiastic about the Southern "Mama." Several commenters noted that “she hasn't blossomed and seems to lack confidence in herself and her cooking abilities.” Another felt that it “shouldn't have taken this long to get rid of Orchid.”

Hear from Orchid in her Exit Interview and learn her plans for the future. How do you feel about Orchid’s elimination? Should other finalists have been sent home before her? Join the conversation on Facebook and Star Talk, and tune in next Sunday at 9pm/8c to see who goes home after the season's midterm.

Who’s your favorite finalist so far? Cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.

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Comments (157)

  1. cooking_girl says:

    We were indeed surprised (make that shocked) to see Orchid eliminated on Sunday night. She may not have continued to be a forerunner in this competition, but she far exceeded the culinary efforts of Chris during this challenge. When someone's food is universally deemed "nasty," as opposed to someone's dish which was just so-so - who would you really choose to eliminate from the competition? It is a cooking competition, after all. I know displaying a strong presence and personality is also a factor in deciding who stays and who goes, but what does Chris REALLY bring to this competition other than a juvenile frat boy mentality and questionable culinary skills? His dish was much worse than Orchid's, Mary Beth's and Whitney's combined. Here is something else to ponder...if Chris HAD been eliminated, that would have only left Vic (who I adore) and Jeff as the only male competitors left. Was Orchid sacrificed to balance things out just a bit?

    • onehottita says:

      I totally agree with you...why Orchid?? Chris hasn't won any of the previous challenges. Too bad Orchid is not part of their drama. BIG mistake in sending Orchid home...Food Network lost their audience. Remember, Orchid had consistently been in the 1st and 2nd lead of the fan votes. Don't really care anymore who wins....not watching the show anymore.

    • JimH says:

      I don't buy the equal male-female argument. I am just not sure what to make of all this because there is no logical reason why Chris is still there. NONE! He is so BAD it defies any logic. These judges have gotten themslves into a corner with keeping Penny, Mary Beth, and Chris. Although Penny can cook she is so disliked almost universally its hard to imagine how FN is going to save her and a potential show. Before they can even deal with Penny's problems they still have two extremely weak contestants in Chris and Mary Beth. This is why I just don't get the Orchid cast off. She despite her problems was still more popular and could have lasted another couple of weeks and people would have been ok with it.

      • Diddle says:

        Orchid may not have been the best competitor but I would watch her over Chris, Penny, Mary Beth, JYll or even Jeff any day.

    • Robert Ostrowski says:

      Cooking-girl - I wholeheartedly agree that CHRIS - NOT Orchid - should have been eliminated - in fact, I fail to see how his "nasty" food could not have been good enough to send him home. But in reality, the WHOLE TEAM of Mary Beth, Penny and Chris should have been voted off as the WEAKEST LINKS - IMHO, THAT would've solved the problems everyone has had so far with all three of these contestants. Right now, if I understand from the preview of next week, there will be TWO eliminations - and VIC may be one of them because HE reportedly FAILED this time on food - I can hardly wait for a heart attack!

    • attheamericantable says:

      Yep - you got it! Get rid of a female, because then the field would be entirely too lopsided.

    • Julia says:

      Bobby Flay was OUT OF LINE in swearing on tonight's show. Couldn't that be edited out? What gives him the right to swear in that way so that we all have to hear it? Totally disrespectful of other people. Has he gotten too big? He has always been one of my favorites, but I will never watch him or buy any of his products again.

      Have you noticed that when he was assigned to counsel the finalists, they all did worse? He isn't qualified to be a judge, to teach or counsel. A total disappointment. Watch - he will loose a lot of viewers over this. What a pig.

  2. alice says:

    Oh, M Russell, I totally agree with you! Penny, Jyll, and Mary Beth ought to have gone home before Orchid did!

    • Diddle says:

      TOTALLY! I mean I liked watching FNS because it wasn't like other reality shows that had SOOO much drama and FNS could just focus on what the show was really about: Finding someone who could really benefit FN and would draw in more viewers. But this season has changed everything and it annoys the crap out of me!!!!!

      • Anon says:

        Penny being on the show is horrible. I'm surprised the judges completely ignored how she completely failed the challenge, which was to cook for a food truck. Sure, her food was great, but it also took way too long, leaving a lot of people standing around waiting. If everyone else took as much time as her, then their food could have been just as good. That is something they would have at least mentioned in previous episodes. She has been scraping by on just having good food, but she is not fun to watch. Really, she should just publish a cookbook and get of the tv.

  3. Paul T. says:

    It's telling that Bobby Flay spent his entire video blog about this episode talking about how bad Chris' food was. Somehow Chris was safe even though his commercial was awful, he had no control over Penny, Mary Beth had to apologize to the people waiting for food from Penny, he was on the losing team and hist food was awful. I would call that a raw deal for Orchid.

    • Joyce says:

      I have to agree with you! Chris definitely should have gone...probably a few weeks ago. He just keeps slipping by. I cannot remember him ever being praised for his food or even close to being praised. Then his food is called nasty and Mary Beth gets tagged with the bottom out of his group.

      Even Penny who I have no support for (nasty lady) at least sometimes serves good food (except when she burns mac & cheese). Why wasn't Penny nailed for being so slow and making people wait so long. I think the rules and the judging is different for each contestant. Some get a walk and Chris has received plenty.

      • MattN says:

        I also agree. Chris's food has never been on the top, and somehow he won in the dessert challenge even when his "leadership" was a disaster. He's a frat boy clown and I despise him even more than Penny (at least Penny can cook most of the time). I don't know how Chris was safe when everyone described his lobster roll as disgusting while Mary Beth's food was described as "a bit bland".

    • JimmyJack says:

      chris must be bobby's boy.

    • Ann says:

      totally agree with you- Orchid got shafted

  4. frankie says:

    I think Orchid got the shaft man! Chris should have gone home, I don't see him with his own show and his food for the last two episodes has not been good. Orchid was placed with two giant personalities so no wonder she didn't shine as much as usual. Penny's food always looks awesome but it takes more than a talent to cook your native food to be a Food Network Star. She has a bitter personality and visually she is not appealing to watch ( she needs to take care of the clevage , just saying..) Chris brings more drama and chaos to the show which is a draw for some viewers so maybe thats why he's still there. So sorry to see Orchid go, I'd watch her show as opposed to Arti Party any day!

    • Diddle says:

      Yeah i think someone should tell Penny about the new invention called a bra.

    • Agreed, I would watch Orchid's show over Artie's, I could only stand watching five minutes of Artie's show, not my cup of tea.

      • luvcookin says:

        Right there with you regarding Aarti. Does she have to giggle after almost every sentence?! She doesn't come across as an authority like the judges constantly say they want. She comes across like a 15 year old that knows she doesn't know what she is talking about!

        • Lilly says:

          Oh I am so glad I'm not the only one who feels this way! Aarti comes off as such a phony. I can't take the cutsie phrases of hers, either.
          Please, Food Network, choose someone who is educated and can speak well. These catch phrases, cleavage, and over-enunciation make me tune out. Give me someone with some depth.

          • luvcookin says:

            Right there with you Lilly!

          • Katrinka says:

            Do you remember when she competed and how she seemed so awkward and bumbling and had so little confidence in herself? So is her new show personality the result of FN coaching her, or was she merely acting during her competition season? Is anyone on FN genuine?

          • Emani says:

            I think that Orchid coming off the show was a big mistake, yet I saw her as Aarti a good chef. I think that the judges loved aarti as the did orchid in the beginning. They are both taleneted cooks and I dont think it matters how cutsie they are or how serious. It matters how they cook.

  5. terichef says:

    It should have been winning "trailers" and Orchid should not have been cut. Balls was clearly the worst marketing and the worst food was Whitney- My thoughts on Penny; does Food NWork keep her around for ratings? I "thought" this was a show of cooking talent and future food personality who would teach be fun and demonstrate cooking talents. Penny is just a middle aged pile of negativity that needs to die a quicker death on the show; the quicker the better for the few of us who will continue to watch this saga unveil a new star: if it's a copper color as in "Penny" you guys lost me forever.

    • FNFAN says:

      This is my first time checking out the Food Network Star Blog. It seems as though we the viewers are all on the ame page! I agree with what you said about Penny being on the show for ratings. The show this year reminds me of all those reality shows with the loud-mouth annoying people who cause drama. I began to think that perhaps Penny is really an actress. Who could possibly be that rude in real life? Not to mention the fact that she is hard to look at.

  6. mindixy says:

    It seems a little ironic to me that I'm watching Eat Street and tonight's episode included a truck that serves....balls. Yep, Great Balls On Tires. Lot's of raving about the terrific concept. Maybe the producers didn't the memo?

  7. tanyadeiss says:

    Orchid just got unlucky, I have no idea why they picked a winner from each team, even though this was team event. Usually if it were an episode like that, they would have called it a group and not team.. I was a little surprised by that.. Undoutbtedly Chris should have been the one to be eliminated... He has zero personality and 'nasty' food and still is here! Penny was not penalized at all for the time delay... Sadly, I see that Penny is going to be around for a while, even if judges can see her rude behavior through out!

    • maria says:

      i agree with you. the challenge before that when everyone was also in a team, the judges chose the winning team as a whole even though there was a weaker link in that team. orchid definitely deserved to stay until at least the top 3...although i thought she was going all the way!

  8. Drew says:

    Who should have gone home on Sunday instead of Orchid?

    Chris - everything was awful: the concept, commercial, his ability to get orders out on time, team cohesion and especially his food. By far the performance so far from Chris.

    Mary Beth - was on the losing team and her food was described as "bland" and "leftovers."

    Penny - lent nothing to the commercial, held Chris and Mary Beth up with her food, tried to deny that Mary Beth helped her and acted horribly during judging. If this was done in front of regular company looking to hire, she would have been shown out by security.

    Whitney - again the snobby, pretentious judges looked down their noses at something from a can. If you want people to make the recipes the right way then give them the time to do it! This isn't "Chopped".

    That's four people for you!

    • alice says:

      in total agreement! Penny is the most repulsive contestant EVER!

    • JimH says:

      I agree with everything here including the order. Whitney has been jerked around some by the judges especially Giada and she deserves to have another look or two. Here's the sad part. Orchid goes and we still have to deal with Chris' non-sense. FN WHY IS CHRIS STILL AROUND? HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN GONE!!!!

    • Okra says:

      What Mary Beth lacks in food she makes up with personality. What Penny lacks in personality, she COULD make up in food. However, who will watch her show? I would guess nobody. She has done nothing but bad mouth all of the other women from day one. I would not give 5 cents for 1 Penny!

      • luvcookin says:

        And someone should tell Penny that she is too old to go without a bra wearing a tank top! She's not sexy like she thinks, she's droopy! And please someone, take away the Sharpie she uses as an eyeliner!

    • marvelous says:

      I agree with everything you said, with the exception of Whitney! As I understand it, the contestants had a choice in what they made. If she chose to make her dish with canned goods rather than the way it should have been made, then the fault is hers. Maybe she should have chosen a different dish! I, too, am very disappointed that Orchid went home today. I also think that Food Network needs to have 1 or 2 Joe Blows off the street be up there judging the contestants, in order to represent the other Joe Blows who will be watching the show!! Sometimes I think the judge's tastbuds are way too refined to really judge what's good and what's not good for the common person. It's as if their way of doing something is the only way to do it!! Just let a common street person be a part of the judging to get a better cross section of opinion.

  9. MissyR says:

    This is just bullsh*t all around. FN has become a mockery of itself. Which is why, I now watch the cooking channel more now anyway. (I know its by the same producers but it doesnt have the same highschool crap) I ask- why-o-why do they even HAVE a "fan vote" if they don't even care or listen?!?!?! It is obvious that this competion is fixed. I'm sick of it. Now that TruBlood is on at the same time slot- I'm happily watching THAT drama instead.

  10. michelle says:

    Mr. Bob Tuschman.......YOUR BELOVED PENNY IS REVILED BY 99% OF YOUR VIEWERS!!!!! the 1% that would watch.....well we all know Penny isn't the ony person in the world with her reviled personality. Im wondering which one of you FN staffers are gonna have the guts to address this fact.

    • Drew says:

      I agree 100%. Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson don't know what their viewers want. Simple as that, and that's a problem when it's your job to know what Food Network viewers want.

      • Denver, CO says:

        Is it possible they already made up their minds? They don't have a middle-eastern chef...i can't think of any other reason why they keep her on the show and it's obvious they favor her...she got a free walk on the slow service last week and the week prior they let her serve lamb as her version for sausage and peppers...how do you explain that?

        • Diddle says:

          They praise Penny constantly!!! Its like they are trying to convince us viewers shes not that horrible........

    • alice says:

      Yes, Michelle! Are these judges imbeciles? They surely act as if they are!

    • JimH says:

      What a mess for you producers. Two of the people you still have in this competition are near the bottom of the voting. By the time these polls are taken the competition is alreayd over and now you have to live with wahtever decision you,ve made. Both Chris and Penny are in this as we view it but both of them lag FAR behind the voting with people who have long since been eliminated from the show ahead of them. Are you embarrased yet? You should be!