Crushing It Like a Can of Pinto Beans — Justin’s Rebel Recap

by in Recap, June 24, 2013

Chris and Lovely - Food Network StarFrom my experience on Food Network Star, I can tell you with authority that team challenges, and teams in general, are double-edged swords. A good team works harmoniously like gin, quinine and lime. A bad team? Well, read on to see why team-work, sharing and cooperation are things that were drilled into us in kindergarten.

The Planning Process

Team Western: Russell conjures the ghost of Fellini (not to be confused with Leone, the director most associated with the genre) to inspire a Spaghetti Western dish (not to be confused with my Spaghetti Midwestern recipe).

Team Musical: Rodney and Chris suggest that Lovely make a New Orleans beignet for the dessert course, but she doughs nut wanna do it. I'd pay any price to see a riff on Les Miserables, with Chris playing the role of Fantine, Rodney as Jean Valjean and Lovely as Cosette. Sing it with me! “Do you smell the tartlets baaake? Wafting the smells of meat and cake, it's the music of the stars of which Bob Tuschman surely maaakes! When you're speaking from your heaaart, and you are tasting with your tongue, it is a life for whom Food Network stardom will coooome!”

Team Romance: Romantically, the team goes for the KISS strategy (keep it simple, stupid), and makes a menu consisting of a chicken wing, shrimp and grits, and berries with whipped cream. This is why I didn't watch The Notebook.

Shooting the Movies

Team Romance

  • Nothing says “romance” like a robotic sticky chicken wing. I can't believe Chad kept a straight face during his shoot.
  • Team musical comes up with a ditty describing their food. Chris and Lovely seem to have it together alright, but Rodney sounds like the shouting man in at my local subway station.
  • Nikki gets cranky about Russell fumbling over his lines, complaining that she doesn't want to be dragged down by Russell. Yay, teamwork!


  • Lovely fries premade pizza dough and calls it a doughnut. As her doughnuts are coming out of the fryer, they bounce like golf balls.
  • Stacey bangs out a popcorn graham cracker coffee s'more, which I thought was the most creative dish of the entire group.

The Humiliation

  • Team Western crushed it like a can of pinto beans. The Nikki/Russell crankiness wasn't apparent at all on the big screen. I actually re-watched the trailer to watch them gallop on their fake horses. So awesome.
  • Team Musical's jingle went kinda like this:

Justin's Rebel Recap Song

  • Maybe Rodney shouldn't have tried to eat one of Lovely's doughnuts before singing.
  • In the parlance of the kids these days, Team Romance was “Awk. Word.” Although, Damaris' little wink at the end was pretty cute.

Cue the Scary Music

Team Western, with the best performance of the day, would have made Fellini and Leone proud. Oddly, Nikki's veggie chili was deemed better than Russell's giant double-barreled meat blaster spaghetti cannon. They were permitted to ride off into the sunset.

Even though Chad's robo-sexy program malfunctioned, and Damaris and Chris made “serviceable” food, they were freed, as well.

Threat of the Week: There's a new sheriff in veggietown: Nikki meat-on-the-side Dinki. Her role in "Western" was perfectly executed. She reminded me of Bonnie McFarlane in Red Dead Redemption. If only The Pioneer Woman didn't have this market cornered. Nikki already has a bulletproof POV. If she can continue to cook and stay away from cute as well as she did last night, we may have the first semi-vegetarian Food Network personality.

Lovely, Rodney and VietUp for elimination: Rodney, Viet and Lovely. Rodney's pie was not pie-style at all. And his performance? Well, we all know how that went. Viet made meek food with a meek presence. Lovely, while slick as a Teflon pan, hasn't made a good dish yet.

Lovely's asked to pack up her Coach bags. She maintains her poise until the door shuts.

The Moral of the Story: Teamwork, annoying as it may be, is how you get ahead in life. The path to being a Food Network star is no different. Being stubborn only makes defeat more painful. Professionally and personally, a Food Network star should try to avoid “you should have made a beignet” situations.

But wait, there's more. What? A second chance? Online only? OMG. Maybe Danushka is coming back.

More posts from .

Similar Posts

Ask Yourself These 10 Questions Before You Vote — Justin’s Rebel Recap

Congratulations, Star fans! You've waited 10 weeks for this moment. Indeed the power to transform the life of a formerly ordinary cook into a bona fid...

Comments (320)

  1. FNGossip says:

    Did you see Giada has recipes for doughnuts made of pizza dough on the Food Network site?

    • David says:

      That just sounds disgusting....A real chef makes their own dough!

      • BillO says:

        Is that the same Giada who doesn't like Demaris to act sexy? I noticed even Giada's t-shirts show cleavage.

        • geri says:

          I'm afraid if any woman is attractive that Giada or women online will attack them like vultures. Strange that you don't see men doing that to other men near as much.

          • BillO says:

            I don't think Bobby or Alton are going to make any cracks about Robert Irvine, lol

          • Kraj says:

            And if they do, his wife Gail Kim will suplex them.

          • Tucker says:

            When you're already at the bottom of the hunk heap, you're in no position to make cracks about any guy!

          • MoHub says:

            Bobby's actually kinda cute, but Alton could pass for the Crypt Keeper these days.

          • Kraj says:

            LIES! He's mad stylin', yo! And Vanity Fair agrees!

          • College grrrrl says:

            Move over George Clooney, Alton is the Man. He has brains. He can cook. He's buff. And he knows Calculus. Vanity Fair fans can't be wrong.

          • Rhonda says:


          • Colleen says:


          • MoHub says:

            I don't remember whether it was more Susie or Giada, but evil Penny was made to change her sexy "Stillettos in the Kitchen" POV to the more family-friendly "Middle Eastern Mama." I guess Giada's tatas take up enough space so that there's no room for any more sexy on the network.

          • Sally says:

            Her smile is too teethy and pulled clear back to her molars from ear to ear. Who would have thought that a smile could be too extreme?

          • MoHub says:

            Agreed! He smile often reads more s a grimace. And I sometimes wonder whether she's had extra teeth implanted. There have to be more than 32 in there!

        • Roger says:

          Damaris is quite good-looking. See her thumbnail pics and the one where she is standing up in the kitchen peeling a red onion, I think. A perfect picture. Unpretentious and just plain pretty. She doesn't need act it. She is.

  2. Tucker says:

    The series is interesting this year. The writers are eliminating all the irritating characters, um....contestants first and leaving the good ones. This will make the eliminations that much more frustrating when you really don't want to see anyone go. Now that Lovely is gone, let's set the crosshairs on pie man!

    • Alysoun says:

      Yeah, the cooking singer aspiring to be a TV presenter -- who can't sing, present, or (apparently) cook ;)

      • Crouton40 says:

        I always have some fun trying to figure it out in advance (of course, I don't know, but it's still fun). It's Friday. This sunday: If Russell does bad again, I'd say he's out. If Viet doesn't seriously do better this time, he could be going. And Rodney, quite a character but nothing to write home about on his cooking. Could easily be him. Some folks don't have confidence in Stacey do the whole Restaurant Impossible thing. But what if she makes a really good dish and Viet does poorly? Do you think the judges are giving *more* weight to "on-camera" or cooking? Should it be that way? What can I say? For me, questions are fun.

    • Adam says:

      What is with this "writers" thing with you? As a writer, I can tell you, this ain't scripted.

    • Shannon says:

      I think you maybe right. Rodney has put out bad pies for a pie man POV. Sang terrible for a professional singer. Does not do a thing for me in style. I would hope he is next to be gone.

  3. danooooshka says:

    i'm voting for danushka to return...fer sher...

  4. Isabelle says:

    Loved Team Western last night, the skit was cute, the menu worked and Russell's hat was a hit. Can't wait to next week, 45 minutes as if you have a real show. This should be a winner for Stacy and Russell!Isabelle

  5. Nancy says:

    I can't stand Danushka! I would never watch a show with her in it! She is a prima donna with a monotone voice and questionable cooking skills.

  6. Barbara says:

    Have not waatched any of this year's Food Network Star as last year's still annoys me. Won't watch it again. But that is not what I came here to say. This is my last comment on this site so I want it to be clear and precise. I am disappointed in FN's decision to drop Paula Deen. She wasn't one of my favorites by any means, but I think she is being treated unfairly. Who is there that has never made a mistakie? Are the FN staff and chefs perfect? Are all their viewers perfect? To quote a very venerable Book....."let he who is without sin cast the first stone". Where is the forgiving heart? All I see from FN is judgment and the typical unforgiving coldness of today's society. This is a reflection of the world we live in people. Gone is Christian charity, love and forgiveness. May God have mercy on us all.

    • LizzAnya says:

      And racists have always shown such christian charity, love, and mercy to everyone else.

    • msjs0315 says:

      Smithfield Foods has dropped her too.

      FYI. This is about an alleged pattern of behavior over a multiyear period at one of her restaurants. It's about a hostile work environment. If you think Deen's being treated unfairly, what about the woman who's filed the complaint about sexual and racial harassment? Was she treated fairly?

      • MoHub says:

        And QVC is considering dropping her as well, And thank you for stating—as I have done repeatedly—that the N-word issue and the Plantation wedding idea were just the icing on the cake. There has been a pattern of issues that is only now rising to the surface, and companies are wise to disassociate themselves from the controversy.

        • Jake says:

          Am glad you're all so perfect and never said something you shouldn't have. Just saying that I think MOST people are quilty of making some kind of remark that was not appropriate to some one, some race, some anything. I hate the "N" word myself, never have used it, wasn't raised hearing it, but to beat the poor woman to a pulp over something 30 years ago is a bit much, don't ya think??? Hey.....people like me have been called racist because we didn't vote for Obama. So really....what's the difference? I was and still am offended by being referred to as a racist, but nobody seems to care about that!!

      • Alysoun says:

        Yes, thanks for mentioning that. Too many people are trying to make it into a "one-time comment" kind of thing. To make it easier to sweep under the rug. Stove. Fridge. Blast chiller. Whatever ;)

      • Kraj says:

        Eve Wal$Mart has dropped her.

    • dtb says:


  7. CarrieAnn says:

    Justin , love the coach shout out lol ! I agree with you. . Rodney should have made a pie . But I loved Nikki and Russell . The veggie chili was a great idea .
    Later , since I commented already in Star Salvation last night !

  8. susie says:

    sick of guy and his DDD

    • guest says:

      Danushka and Guy in black leather on motorcycles as co-hosts.

    • guest says:

      sick of Giada and her DDD's too. Isn't this a cooking show? Somebody buy her a t-shirt!

      • CVeraS says:

        I've lost all respect for Giada after seeing that dress on the Emmy's on-line. They have no business criticizing Demaris for anything she says or does if Giada is allowed to wear that. Granted she was not cooking in that thing, but she still represents the network. I won't watch her show again.

  9. susie says:

    not very suitable haircut for food network....our kids today cannot wear Mohawk haircuts to school...why should Russell be on a FOOD NETWORK show with one??

    • LizzAnya says:

      Because schools can be fashion Nazis but adults don't have to put up with that boring crap? Seriously, what's the worst that can happen because someone has a haircut you don't like?

      • Joan says:

        Some banks may not want them as a loan officer and they might scare the kids.

        • Alysoun says:

          Russell's not applying for a bank job, he's aspiring to be a TV personality.

          BTW, mohawks became popular because of "kids". They're more afraid of vegetables.

          • MoHub says:

            My high school in the late '60s was known as the Indians. The entire wrestling team wore Mohawks, so it's nothing new. However, political correctness in recent years resulted in a name change to the Gladiators.

          • Ann says:

            It may not be new but its still gross.

          • Kraj says:

            How is Russell's hair gross? It's clean, well-styled and practically tame as far as mohawks go. You might as well complain about Iron Chef Marc Forgione's mohawk while you're at it.

          • Shannon says:

            I would complain about Mark Forgiones's hair, but that's because I would complain about anything to do with him. I think Russell looks fine..edgy as Anne B..not as horrible as Guy F.

          • Alysoun says:

            Yeah, I mean it's long un-tied-back hair that's bad in the kitchen.

          • lisa says:

            Why do the men have those yucky tattoos and Anne Burrell's hair looks like she got stuck in a light socket.

          • susie says:


      • Elderleigh says:

        Apparently hair correctness doesn't apply to Guy or Anne to name two other personalities. Do you have to reach a certain level before it become OK to be an individual?

        • Alysoun says:

          When I was a kid it was never ever OK to be an individual - so I guess there's some small progress there ;)

        • susie says:

          cannot stand Guy either,,,,sick of watching him in DINERS,...ALL WE SEE ON WEEKENDS....WATCHING HIM GOBBLE THAT FOOD IS REPLUSIVE.

        • Heather says:

          if you really believe that then run for office in 2016 wearing facepaint, a tattoo on your neck and a dbl-pierced eyebrow, When people don't vote for you, scream that they were "judgmental". Get a clue.

  10. Jessica Sanford says:

    I've missed the first few shows for this season - Justin . . thanks for your recaps