Live It Like You Love It, and Love It Like You Live It — Justin’s Rebel Recap

by in Recap, June 16, 2013

Russell and DanushkaIt’s the third week of a live-action job interview. Ten contestants arrive at the Food Star Kitchen. We’re reminded by Danushka very early on that she’s been eligible for elimination for the past two weeks. I smell one of my favorite literary ingredients: foreshadowing.

Mentor Challenge

  • Chad’s been smoking (get it?) the competition for the past two weeks, but salsify’s subtle flavor isn’t listed one bit in the big book of baller barbecue, and that’s confirmed as Chad comically mispronounces it.
  • Danushka, the challenge is to showcase the bonkers ingredient, not use the dragon fruit as a duffel bag. Do you pay more attention to the filling of the taco or to its shell? If Danushka was a taco, would she have filling at all?
  • Russell's arrowhead root has more starch than a French cuff and is about as fun to eat as one, as well. Russell attempts to trick out this plain white T of an ingredient with his seven culinary stains sins.

  • I'd pay a Buick's worth of bucks to see Russell and Viet throwdown like Superman vs. Doomsday. There's actually a little resemblance, stylistically.
  • Viet's dish is freaking beautiful and highly technical — a dish worthy of presenting to the House of El, which we all know is the royal family of Viet's home planet, Krypton.
  • Lovely, on the other hand, channels her inner Ron Browz. I would have called it Glambutan Bread Pudding.
  • Rodney treats the karela to a day at the gin and berry spa, which is just what its bitter, wrinkly body needed. π-style indeed, as π-style is synonymous with excellence.

Alton and RodneyStar Challenge: π-Rod and Damaris, having laid waste to the rest in the Mentor Challenge, sat on the judges' table with guest judge and newest Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. Whoever thought of this gruesome twist was a real genius, and I’d like to shake that person’s evil hand. Shoving the already bruised, battered and deep-fried competitors into a Chopped challenge is brutal.

  • Want to know a secret? Chad made a waffle. A man who can make a quick bread like a boss will always keep his family fed and his wallet nicely leavened.
  • If there was ever a Casey at the Bat moment in Star history, this is it: Russell, mighty Russell, added tofu to his dish.
  • Danushka gets fired up when Damaris tells her that she’s too apathetic about being involved in a competition that could alter her life’s trajectory forever. That’s the fiery Danushka I wanted to see so badly last week, but, again, she didn’t burn brightly when it counted the most.

Food Network Season 9The second batch of finalists is pummeled with the delectable detritus found under the back seat of an active mom’s minivan — or SUV, in Stacey’s case.

  • Chris: What a stand-up guy all of a sudden. Is this what Chris was talking about in round one when he said he wanted to help people with food?
  • Stacey’s pot pie and presentation both got rear-ended on the way to the soccer game of destiny.
  • Chris' breakthrough: Dr. Flay is like, “Zis iz zee breakthrough vee haf been looking for!”
  • I’m still drooling over Nikki's dish and will probably attempt to re-create it after a long night out with the boys.

Damaris Stormborn TargaryenThreat of the Week: Damaris. Damaris Stormborn Targaryen: The mother of sauces, the liberator of flavors and the rightful heir to the culinary throne. Her presence at the judges’ table was so stately and so powerful. According to Chad, it was like she was a different person. She’s used to sitting on that side of the culinary desk, red-checking pencil in hand. If she can maintain this poise, she will walk through fire.

Cue the scary music: Lovely, Danushka, Russell and Stacey were up for elimination. Lovely lacked depth, but the judges let her float to the surface of safety. Russell’s head-scratching food and performance, as well as Stacey’s pot-pie flub, were also forgivable. What couldn’t be forgiven was Danushka’s nonchalance and simple food. Seeya. I had high hopes.

The moral of the story: Something Alton told me and a lesson I live by: “The camera is always on.” Want to be a Food Network Star? Live it like you love it and love it like you live it even when you’re sleeping.Danushka

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Comments (276)

  1. Me says:

    Food Network, honestly, you just made the best decision of your life by eliminating Danushka. Seriously. You will not regret this.

  2. Anastasia says:

    Really enjoyed the episode last night even though I have never watched even one episode of "Chopped". Starting to figure out who the contestants are and they are all so unique it's refreshing. Was a bit put off by the remark Viet made that it wasn't "fair" that Demaris's basket had such an easy ingredient while everyone else's where more complex. I couldn't disagree more, I though they all had difficult ingredients and wouldn't have wanted to have to figure out what to do with any of them. Yeah - Danushka is gone! Game...on :-)

    • Brie says:

      If you ask me, that "not fair" comment by Viet sounded really scripted. Methinks FN is behind it as a means of creating some unnecessary animosity.

      • Theresa says:

        Gee, Officer. He was always such a quiet man. I am tired of the drama. One villian was enough and they should focus on honest competition.

      • beachinfrizzy says:

        Looked and sounded that way to me, too. Maybe Lovely wasn't the only one 'reading off a cue card'.

      • MoHub says:

        Someone on staff probably prompted him by asking whether he thought it was fair for Damaris to get the mango pickle, so he had only two possible answers. Airing only his answer made it sound as if he were complaining rather than responding.

    • lcsa99 says:

      I kinda feel the same, however I also felt that Bobby judged Viet's dish a little more harshly than the others. I really hope that if they do teams again, Viet gets anyone but Bobby. Think he may have been a tad bit partial because of the Iron Chef thing

      • Shannon says:

        I felt the same way about Bobby being a bit overly critical. I thought I was the only one who picked up on that. I wonder how THAT is going to pan out the rest of the competition.

  3. steve says:

    I've seen him smile but more importantly, you forgot to compare their presentation, culinary knowledge and abilities.

    Hosting a TV show involves speaking to an audience for 30 to 60 minutes. Danushka's presentations sounded like those of an elementary school child. Do you honestly think shge could host Good Eats or anything else as sucessfully as Alton?

    • DanuskaFan says:

      I agree but don't forget to include the scripts. Knowledge is acquired or can be read from a book/script. Abilities, well have to go on hear-say since I can't go down and buy an Alton Taco to taste it. Hosting a show is up to the directors to get what is needed out of the actor/chef so the viewers can enjoy what they present. Did you notice that the presentations of the sort spots before or after commercials where Danuska seems to breeze right through them like a professional? Why is that do you think?

  4. beachinfrizzy says:

    If you think she'd thrive with a fan vote format, maybe she'll try out for American Idol next! Seriously though, I didn't mind her. I knew she wasn't going to win or even be a top contender, but I thought it was kind of fun wondering what ridiculous - or not - "bon mot" she'd come up with next.

    • Amy says:

      I agree. My husband and I got a kick out of her. What a crazy character. She honestly doesn't understand that no one else thinks she's as amazing as she thinks she is. It was hilarious! Of course we think she needed to go home; one person can have only so many second chances, and she is not FN star material whatsoever. But we'll miss getting a laugh out of seeing her reactions to things!

  5. flourchild says:

    Justin Warner IS grown up! And savvy. And a fabulous writer! I really look forward to his fresh takes (as a former contestant and a genius). His astate reviews really make me laugh! Good job, Justin.

  6. dnb says:

    I saw Danushka on an episode of chopped and OMG was she difficult to watch! If she had won, that is one show I would have never watched. It seemed as though It was a pain for her to talk and an even bigger pain for her to be on camera and explain her dish. She needs to stick to modeling where she doesn't have to open her mouth and speak! Food Network! We need down to earth shows with ingredients that are available to the home cooks who live in small towns! Kelsey, and others like her simply cook good every day food. Wake up Bob and Susie! We have enough Gourmet cooks.

  7. Nila R. Perez says:

    All I can say is(cue Wizard of Oz music): "Ding! Dong! Danuscha's dead!

    I normally try very hard to give all the contestants the benefit of the doubt in the beginning, but Danuscha just did NOT have the personality to be on TV. Even if she could cook the pants off of everyone else, her dislikability would keep most people from watching her show.

  8. Nila R. Perez says:

    Opinion on the remainder besides Danuschka: don't see Lovely lasting much longer. She hasn't wowed the judges with her dishes and they seem not to like how she presents herself. I actually don't have a problem with her presentation style, but I feel like the writing's on the wall for her. Chad is very appealing (even though I'm not a fan of barbecue) and I would watch his show. I also love Nikki's meat on the side POV (something I would love to learn to do more of), but don't feel she's going to last, either. Stacey - the fact that her restaurant almost failed and needed Robert Irvine's help makes me suspicious of her abilities.

  9. Nila R. Perez says:

    To continue: I like Russell a lot, but he needs to solidify his "7 deadly food sins" concept, which is at least original on FN. Chris also seems to need a little more "seasoning" (for lack of a better word and PLEASE pardon the pun!). He is likable. I could see him doing a show with "at risk" youth, helping them grow through the art of cooking, especially with his past. Viet's a little too closed up, which will not garner him points with the public or the judges. Too bad for him, as he obviously can cook very well. I also like Rodney, but don't know if he can pull the "Pie Guy" shtick. FN already has a "Sandwich King", so not sure they want another pigeon-holed cook. Do not have a strong opinion of Damaris either way yet. She seems competent, but not too comfortable on camera. The sensual shimmying is not going to do it for her (though I agree it's probably something she doesn't even realize at times she's doing). Anyway, those are my two cents' worth.

    • Nancy says:

      The food sins may be his undoing. Why would you promote Salt, Fat, etc.
      We dont want cottage cheese and tofu either. How about hearty & tasty without all the sugar?

    • Nancy says:

      Viet should let his hair down and come out of his shell. Damaris improved markedly on camera in the chopped challenge. Chris hasn't been able to break out of being middle of the pack. Nikki is upbeat but they sent Andre' home, too. If Stacey and Lovely suddenly do exceptionally well next time will it be enough? They are already behind.

  10. cynthia smith says:

    i think the judges on the chopped channel 97 is very prejudice against black people.because the judges are always sending them home.thats in my opioion.