The Infamous Shimmy: Duck Fat Will Never Be the Same Again

by in Community, Videos, June 13, 2013

After watching Damaris Phillips' premiere performance last week, judge-mentor Bobby Flay had but one piece of advice for her: "Don't try to seduce us." It appeared as though she took that instruction to heart, but, unfortunately she let history repeat itself this week during the Burger Bash challenge, and it almost forced her week-two elimination.

Not long into her live cooking demonstration in front of the Selection Committee and an audience of 100 guests, Damaris once again resorted to uncomfortably suggestive body language as she described a key ingredient in her dish. She revealed duck fat to be the must-have addition to her pimento cheese burger, and she accompanied the announcement with a shoulder shake and shimmy that left the audience both grimacing and laughing — "at her," no less, according to Alton Brown.

Damaris realized almost immediately the mistake she'd made, explaining, "When I get nervous, I default to being awkwardly sexy sometimes." Come evaluation, she knew she'd be in for harsh feedback: "My presentation was crap. I went up there and did exactly what the Selection Committee told me not to do." Bobby indeed doled out hard-to-hear criticisms, among them that her demonstration was "a little off-putting," and Damaris was simply unable to hold back tears in front of her peers and the mentors.

Click the play button on the video above to watch Damaris' now-infamous shimmy, then tell us in the comments below what you thought of her performance. Did it seem distasteful, or do you think it was all in good fun? Should Damaris have been sent home on account of her presentation?

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Comments (34)

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  2. Carl says:

    Mountain out of a molehill.
    After it aired there was barely a mention of her shimmy in these discussions. People hardly reacted so now FN has to play it up to the hilt. I would ignore people who complain about it now because if it were really that bad it would have been what everyone was buzzing about the next three days online right after it happened and it wasn't even close to that. I'm sure she will take the evaluation to heart. Will FN be equal-opportunity and put up other things that other chefs do? I can think of far worse things a person could have done. A little spunkiness beats boring any day. FN is just stirring the pot because it was hardly talked about online at the time.

  3. Steph says:

    She could have left it undone but I'm not worried about it. I thought she was having a good time. She's vivacious. I want to see if she can show us some good recipes.

  4. Shannon says:

    Watching this back on replay, she lost her way a bit, other parts were very well done. She has potential. I hope she improves greatly and gives everyone a run for their money. I am only afraid she won't make it because I bet FN is not in need of another "southern style" cooking perspective. We have Paula, The Neeleys (I know they are not taping currently-still on replays), Trisha Yearwood and Ree (I know she's Texan). We will see. I'll be watching!

    • Crouton40 says:

      That gets me thinking. We see this every year.

      If someone does southern, people will say we already have Paula.
      If they do Barbecue, they'll say we already have Bobby.
      If they cook Italian, people will say we already have Giada.
      If they make Mexican (and people said this last year), we already have Mexican Made Easy. And on it goes.

      (shrug). What's a poor Chef to do?

      Have we now reached a point where the only way for anyone new to break in -is to cook something really exotic, like new zealand bird-eggs with influences from Bombay and cooked in a Wok and filmed on location live in Antarctica? (grin). OK. That was just a playful exaggeration. Delibertely so, just to make the point, but you get the idea.

      From what little I've seen so far, I like Damaris's friendliness and I'm a hoping that with a culinary background that I can learn something from her. But there are others, too. It's early and there is still the road ahead. I'll keep watching. Whoever wins and whatever they make, I just hope it has some staying power and won't be some trendy fad that fizzles out in 6 months.

      • Shannon says:

        I just want to be clear, I feel Food Network is the one that is going to say "we already have (inset show type here)".
        I am an avid watcher of the Network, I LOVE to cook and I don't base the show 's that I watch on whether or not there is a similar type show on the network. I watch if the show is entertaining, interesting and if it can teach me something new and creative.
        To address the rest of your comment, it sure does seem that FN is only looking for as you put it "new and exotic". I for one am tired of it.
        I knew without a doubt that when Justin won last year I would have zero interest in his show. He may be a nice guy and as I said I love to cook however I knew I was not making anything like fried fish bones, for anyone.
        I think they need to stop the furious focus on POV's. Single cuisine based formats get boring and predictable.
        How about if the competitors just show us that they can cook delicious food and that they are VERSATILE. I would rather watch someone that cooks many types of cuisine. After al,l home cooks such as myself mix it up on a daily basis. Chinese one day, Mexican the next, French, Italian, German get the gist.
        Perhaps if they focused on versatility it would in fact lead to longevity, the ability to morph as trends come and go. Just a thought, but that is what I would like to see.

        • Crouton40 says:

          Exactly! Couldn't agree more.
          I said way back in the beginning that (for me, anyway) the question was: Who can do it all? Variety plus excellence! Or as you say: Versatile.
          I've said that POV is a good thing to have, but that it should not end up being too restrictive or confining.
          I would prefer someone who can take darn-near anything that you throw at them and make it delicious. Someone who "just-doesn't-know-how-to-make-a-bad-meal."

          If they are so concerned about "something new", I say they had their chance with Ippy last year.
          I do think that anyone who can do alot of things well will have more staying power, whoever it is.

          • Tom says:

            I hear you but I don't see it as clearly. I agree about Ippy. This year's "something new" Andres just got tossed. If someone had pulled him aside and said, "hey, you can win if you'll don the "weight loss cooking POV" it may have made him think differently but he obviously didn't get the bottom line. Go figure. As for the "We already have ______, idea" makes you wonder who does the contestant vetting and why do they bring in "someone they already have". And what the hell is Danuska's POV? Don Rickles of Food Network TV? Really, she's the worst.

          • Callie Carver says:

            I agree about the weight loss show. Last year one of the people who got kicked off didn't talk about his huge weight loss and his cooking good food help him get there. The same as Andres this year. Why do they shy away from that. I thing that POV would get you far and maybe a show.
            The POV about getting men to cook doesn't fly as over half the cooks on the food network are men, and I don't think men are afraid to cook or afraid of the kitchen.

          • Deanna says:

            Danushka wants to be YOUR private chef.

          • Big-Daddy says:

            Imagine Danushka being hired by Austin Powers.

          • Julia says:

            I agree with you Tom. Why is Danuska still there? She has been on the bottom since this started.....the focus groups clearly don't like her and her attitude sucks!!!

        • BillO says:

          I have no objection to a versitile chef winning. That said, I think that having a POV not currently represented on the network gives you an advantage. I think the Pie Man is the only one who brings that this year. But he needs to have great food and an inviting personality on top of that. Don't forget that the network can also give a show to one of the losers if they choose. Kelsey didn't win and she got a show. I thought they might do that last year with Martie (home entertaining) and/or Michelle (New England). Btw, I think Ree lives in Oklahoma now and comes from Connecticut.

          • Crouton40 says:

            I will agree that having a POV not already represented can be a welcome thing.
            But it's also very tricky. Last year, all people could think about was "original". Well, here we are, next year and.....? It doesn't seem to have gone over too well.
            As far as some Niches not yet represented, we could use a seafood show, a chinese-food show or something from another country (Hawaii?). I feel that doing something like those would have a better chance of success than just seeing how unusual the network can make it.

            I have no axe to grind, as I enjoy a variety of shows that are different from each other...i.e...Bobby's new Barbecue show, Sandra Lee's Semi-home made, Ree Drummond, Barefoot Contessa, Giada at home..and more. All different.
            All good!

            But the quest for ground-breaking, revolutionary and avant-garde can go over like a limp spaghettti noodle if the public wont eat it.

          • BillO says:

            I don't care for Hawiian, so I wasn't pulling for Ippy. Michele would have had a lot of seafood on her show, I'm sure. Emeril does seafood on his Florida show, too, but being in Utah I can't get much fresh seafood. If you like Chinese, especially with a little kick, Easy Chinese with Ching-He Huang on Cooking Channel is a great show. Btw, Viet Pham had a restaurant here in Salt Lake (the website says he left last fall to pursue personal projects). His food was very New Age, very expensive and tiny portions. So he may have a bit of Justin in him.

  5. Boblynn says:

    I've watched "STAR" since the first season it premiered and I think I may not make it to the last episode this season because the show's format and the contestants are beyond boring. I'm even finding my beloved Bobby Flay a snooze. Shame on you FDN!

  6. Lyn says:

    I think the judges should stop pretending they're so prude. We already know that's not the case! I find Giada's show of her chest more offensive. In fact, I wish I never had to see any of Giada....the self-entitled spoiled brat. Sick, sick, sick of her.

    I'm also sick of the Point of View. I agree....just show us some good food!

    • Elaine says:

      I couldn't agree with you more. I am sick of Giada's low cut, too short outfits/dresses. She's too old for that!!! Yes, there is such a thing as too old versus good taste and classy. POV drives me crazy!!!

    • nickie says:

      so much emotion for some one on a show = change the channel

  7. ECB Portland OR says:

    Sorry - I find her very annoying - one of my least favorite contestants.

  8. Bob L. says:

    I want Danuska to disappear. She acts as though she is above the pressure of the competition. That translates into obnoxiousness, not the provocative angle that she seems to be selling the judges. I wonder if Danuska acts this way with those she serves as a private chef.

    • Drew says:

      The judges will have to go to bat for her tonight. It's the only way they can even hope to quell the public's dislike. That means someone else will get the axe.

  9. nickie says:

    Andres needed to go - talk about creepy - everytime he said he wants to teach young boys to cook --- oohhh no!

  10. nickie says: