Star Commentary: Aaaaand She’s Out

by in Food Network Star, July 20, 2011
It’s been fun, Penny.

Well, it finally happened. The moment many of you have been waiting for came on Sunday night: Penny Davidi, the Middle Eastern Mama, was sent home. But not necessarily because of her food. After seven weeks of mostly stellar dishes that the judges described as “great,” “very well-seasoned” and having “lots of great flavors and textures,” the likeability factor — or lack thereof — sent Penny packing.

While the comments on Food Network’s Facebook page and our Star blog are largely in support of the judges’ decision to eliminate Penny, many of you cannot deny her unique culinary point of view and have expressed interest in learning Middle Eastern recipes. One viewer wrote that she “felt sorry for Penny last night,” while another thinks “it [is] a shame that Penny had to go home” because she has “warmed up to her over the past few weeks” and because “Penny brought something Food Network is lacking.”

Other commenters noted that despite Penny's “awkward personality,” she may have been “worth keeping around,” given the judges’ apparent praise for her food. Another viewer wrote that she “would appreciate some education” on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors but “couldn't imagine watching Penny to receive that education even though her food was so appealing.”

And then there are those of you who are simply gleeful over Penny’s departure. Viewers wrote that “Happy days are here again” and that “It is about time,” while another told Food Network, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for getting rid of Penny!!” It seems that Penny’s “penchant for drama,” about which you have been complaining since the second episode, is what most viewers found so frustrating and unappealing. Many wrote that “she was harsh,” “her attitude stinks” and that she showed “disrespect to all those around her.”

Given her previous tense moments, many of you were shocked at how Penny’s demeanor seemed to have changed during her final week as she handled her own dismissal. Several of you wrote that she “was a good sport,” showed “grace,” “behaved civilly” and was “more compelling this week than ever.”

Do you think that this week could have been a turning point for the Middle Eastern Mama, that, if given just a little more time, she could have become more personable, both on camera and off? Hear from Penny herself in her Exit Interview and learn her thoughts about viewers’ perceptions of her. Then, join the conversation on Facebook and Star Talk, and tune in next Sunday at 9pm/8c to see who has what it takes to make it in New York City.

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

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Comments (180)

  1. Legal American says:

    As an American, I will not root for that illegal Susie.

  2. Guest says:

    She was unlikable to the end. Although I do want to learn Middle Eastern recipes, Penny was unappealing as a host. I hope Food Network can find a likeable host/hostess to do a Middle Eastern show.

    • MsJS says:

      Guest, there lots of easy ME recipes on the web. Go for it!

      • LindaSta says:

        You are right. The thing that is missing from the recipes is the 'my mamma taught me' kind of hints and tips that make some of those recipes go from 'really tasty' to 'absolutely delicious'. There is a lot about Middle Eastern cuisine that is not obvious in the recipe information. It's kind of like answering the question "which cheese works best for Mac 'n' Cheese?" Some don't work at all. But the recipes don't tell you that you can't sub provolone for white cheddar. I know... that'sa bit simplistic, but I think you know what I mean. And a given recipe generally won't tell you what kinds of things you serve as sides and 'go with' items.

    • chickaboomia says:

      I couldn't STAND this woman.......I had stopped watching this show and was on the verge of completely overlooking food network because of their decision to keep this woman around. Now that she has been booted, I can finally get back to watching a show on Sunday night that I enjoy. Since I didn't see the show...........THANK YOU TO WHOEVER IT WAS WHO FINALLY COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE........neither could many of your viewers. I'm sorry if this is coming off a bit strong, but I simply can't overlook how the other contestants were treated over the course of the last few weeks by one of their colleatgues.

      • KnittingChick says:

        Until Penny showed up I thought Giada was the most irritating person on the show. I have taken to taping the show so I could fast forward past Penny. I would never watch a show with her, abrasive, rude overbearing and just plain awful. Granted her food was probably great, but she is so nasty, I could care less what she was cooking. Sooo happy she is gone!! Now if they will only get rid of Seth on Top Chef Just Desserts, I will be a happy Food Network viewer :)

        • Guest says:

          Top Chef is on Bravo! And Seth goes out in a blaze of glory

          • KnittingChick says:

            Oh yeah! Hate that I am behind on both shows, do not get Bravo where I live, so have to watch that I do not read anything on the web site, to spoil what is coming on future shows :)

    • guest says:

      I totally agree. I never did warm up to Penny, but Middle Eastern recipes like those she presented are something I would love to learn more about.

  3. vert2013 says:

    I don't really think she would have changed in the long run. I personally think she settled down a little because the judges were starting to realize that she's not exactly food network material. Even if she were to have seen the light and changed her ways, too much had already happened for her to win over the majority of viewers.

    • Camy says:

      I T-TOTALLY AGREE!!!! I COULDN'T STAND HER FROM THE START AND FRANKLY, INSPITE OF WHAT SOME SAY, GAVE THE SHOW SOME "DRAMA DRAW", I WAS ABOUT TO JUST STOP WATCHING THE SHOW ENTIRELY BECAUSE OF HER. AND WHO IN THE HELL IS GOING TO COME HOME AT THE END OF A LONG DAY, PULL THEIR HAIR BACK, AND FIX A GREAT MEAL IN THEIR "STELLETOS"????? C'MON, IS SHE FOR REAL? I COULD GO ON AND ON, BUT I' 100% WITH YOU, THERE HAS TO SOMEONE ELSE OUT THAT CAN COOK HER CUISINE WITHOUT THE TUD. I'M FEMALE AND I THINK, ACCORDING TO HER VIDEOS ANYWAY, SHE IS HOT ONLY IN HER MIND!! I PERSONALLY THINK SHE LOOKED DIRTY. SHE CERTAINLY WOULD HAVE NEVER WON ME OVER NO MATTER WHAT SHE DID. YOU GO VERT2013

      • Steph says:

        No one reads anything you say in CAPS thumbs up or down. Please consider regular type.

      • luvcookin says:

        Thumbs down because your post is unreadable in all CAPS! It's like you are yelling at your fellow posters!

      • JimH says:

        FYI using all caps in emails and discussion boards is considered the much that same as yelling or screaming out in public and is considered inappropriate.

  4. billsgirl says:

    I just listened to Penny's exit interview and my only suggestion is for her to purchase a dictionary and read the definitions of all the adjectives she's used to describe herself and finally come to the realization that she is none of those things. As for being a role model for her daughter, I hope not.

    • alice says:

      I totally agree! Nurturing, my foot!
      She is not a good role model at all! The way she talked about the other contestants was awful.

    • sunniemom says:

      I agree. When she walked out of the room and told Mary Beth that she was in charge of the 'drama' now, it showed me nothing had changed. Mary Beth never created any drama, and I think she tried to make the best of it even after Penny had obvioiusly painted a target on MB's forehead.

      • LindaSta says:

        I saw that and thought, 'Ugly and mean to the end!" That was only slightly more mature and age appropriate than her screeching 'Meooorrrrrrw!" at Mary Beth in the evaluation during a prior episode.

    • IrishEyes says:

      A role model for her daughter? As what? A backstabbing bitch?

  5. Annie says:

    Please, Food Network, if you are thinking of giving her a show like you do other TNFNS losers...DO NOT DO IT. She is not the type of person I want to learn anything from. She was not gracious in her exit interveiw and in fact said she would not change anything she did during the competition. Hello, maybe she should rething the meowing at another contestant during judging. She also thought she was a wonderful role model for her children. She is brash, rude, obnoxious, not a team player, demanding, and basically has an attitude of a prima donna or in other words a b****. She is not the top of person that can change who she is. You would lose viewers in droves if you give her a show.

    • JimH says:

      I agree, her comment about not learning anything totally floored me. I could not believe she had the gall to ignore what she was told and continue her arrogant attitude. Chris was much the same way, he thought he was right to the end and refused to learn anything. The difference is that Chris was more stuipd and immature. They needed to go and leave some room for those who would listen and learn from the experience.

      • Diddle says:

        I disagree about Chris b cuz at the end of the last episode he did say he plans to get more work cooking on the line as Bobbby F suggested.

  6. Rocco says:

    Penny knows food and knows how to keep viewers interested with her drama and sharp tongue.
    She made TV viewing intriguing and fun. She is rude, cocky, domineering, loud, opinionated and unpredictable. Everyone else is bland and uninteresting by comparison. She is no Rachael Ray - nevertheless, FN could have used her unique personality in some other capacity. Your remaining contestants having nothing interesting and unique to contribute to FN. FN made a mistake. Suzie and Bob should be fired for letting go of a superstar.

    • English says:

      Well, Rocco, are we watching the same network--The Food Network? While you applaud someone who is "rude, cocky, domineering, loud, opinionated, and unpredicatble," I do not. If the FN offers her a show, I will never watch. Yes, I am only one person, but there might be a significant number of one persons who can affect a network.

      • Diddle says:

        I agree with English. Rocco you said it yourself!!! Do you see any of the qualities you see in Penny in any current FN stars( besides Giada who doesn't really count cuz she is such a pathetic human being)?

    • tanyadeiss says:

      Rocco, I think you have got it wrong with the TV intriguing fun. While the audience will crack up if a cooking host is funny and joking, the same audience will boot the host out in case they find him/her rude, condescending, snobbish or loud! That will be so off putting! I wouldn't want to learn anything from some one who has no respect for others! Those stuff make for good drama in other 'reality shows' like 'housewives' not for a cooking show!

    • Joyce says:

      Rocco,
      I don't know if your post is trying to get a rise out of someone or if you really believe what you wrote. There is a difference between a unique personality and just plain rude and condescending! I for one am glad that she will not be the next food network star.

    • JimH says:

      Rocco,

      Your last name wouldn't be Davidi would it?

    • dee says:

      you sound lie promising husband materialfor penny She is a single mom go for it

  7. Food Lover says:

    Viewers wrote that “Happy days are here again” and that “It is about time,”

    Hi Maria. Thanks for quoting me and I also said "Yeh". I watched Penny's exit video and I think she confused word uses. Maybe instead of saying that she is "confident", she should of said "delusional". It also appears that her "stratagy" meant just being herself - mean, angry, and vindictive. And I don't know if buying a pizza franchise with your divorce settlement counts as being a "restauranteur". She is "creative" though, I'll give her that. She deconstructed sausage and peppers into lamb kabobs - just what I would like to eat on the 4th of July.

    And what's with the humogous gigantic necklaces, heavy makeup, and stilettos anyway.

  8. terichef says:

    Thank you for the removal of Penny; I could not digest her any longer-reminded me of too many obnoxious people that we already have to be around (bad drivers, neighbors, work mates)-don't want to watch "behavior" on food network; but rather really good cooking talent presented from a respectable authority on food. I am hoping that in the next few weeks that one of the remaining contestants really brings forth a shining star for all of us to watch-isn't that what it's all about?

    • MissyB says:

      She definitely reminded me of a former colleague. Maybe that's why everyone reacted so strongly to her; we all have had a "Penny" in our lives and felt that little prick of the knife in our backs.

  9. Guest says:

    Penny lost me at "Stilettos In The Kitchen".

  10. Linda S says:

    Penny had shown too much of her real personality to recover respect sufficient to attract a real following. Best she is gone