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!

Cooking

  • 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.

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Comments (320)

  1. BillO says:

    Something to consider? On the page of featured recipes from the contestants so far, there are 12 recipes. Three each from Chad, Nikki and Stacey. One each from Demaris, Russell and Rodney.

    • Becky in 'Bama says:

      You mean we're supposed to be learning/cooking new recipes? WHHAAATT? I thought this was all about personality, product placement and star quality. Dang it - you wanting to complicate the issue with food?

      • Kraj says:

        Don't forget getting pigeonholed into a POV/gimmick!

      • BillO says:

        Ha, of course you're right. Just consider my comment food for thought.

        • guest says:

          Do you think it means that FN thinks they are best or is it more of a sympathy or consolation gesture?

          • BillO says:

            If you mean does FN think those recipes/chefs are the best, that's hard to say. I don't know who picked the recipes. If it was the judges and Suzie and Bob, it would certainly be significant. If it was just some employee involved with the show, it would be less so.

          • Becky in 'Bama says:

            When it comes to recipes: if I have in a mind a particular appetizer or main meat dish I have gone to FN MULTIPLE time for recipes - mostly Pioneer Woman and Paula Deen. Obviously I'm from the south and these two are known for food more recognized in this part of the US.

  2. ImaUzer says:

    Is it just me, or is there no longer "excitement" with this show. At this point, I'm not really "pulling for" anyone. There are a couple that jump out at me (Chad being one) who seem like they may be competent cooks, that I may enjoy watching, but I don't know that I'd get overly excited about it.

    The wife and I basically watch this for the "train wreck" and "oh man, what's gonna happen next?" value...

    • Uncle Vito says:

      I wouldn't go looking for Doc Gibbs & the Emeril live band. They don't need to be loud like Guy Fieri. Someone who knows what they're doing and is fun to watch works just fine.

      • ImaUzer says:

        I hear ya. I'm not saying that they need to be loud and obnoxious like Guy Gieri. I'd prefer that they be someone who knows what they're doing, engaging (no personal stories though, please), and can actually teach me something. That's what I loved about Alton Brown.

    • Jennifer says:

      I agree. There's no one I really, REALLY, want to win this year. So much for the "train wreck" - they are going to resurrect them, it seems. Bad idea. It is sometimes such a relief to finally get rid of one, and now they are going to start bringing them back. Not really fair to the other contestants.

  3. Tyler says:

    I finally got caught up after missing all 4 episodes...I think the people eliminated were the right choices. I expected danushka to be the Nikki of this season, so I'm glad they didn't keep her simply to be the "villain" of the show.

    I actually like most of the remaining contestants. Last season I was watching to see how far my favorites would go, but this year its more about the tough eliminations for me. Should be some difficult decisions in the future.

    Also, love that Justin is doing recaps. I laughed out loud a few times reading this one. We need more rebel eats!

  4. msjs0315 says:

    There's new info out pointing to evidence that Deen got let go for...wait for it....declining ratings. Viewership down 15% from last year, costs to produce the shows up.

    Pretty standard reason to drop programming. Makes sense given that Deen's agent and FN had yet to renegotiate her deal so close to the 6/30 contract expiration date. The controversy made it easier for FN to do what the ratings and financial figures were saying it should do anyway.

    Guess a lot of her 'fans' didn't actually watch her shows.

    • BillO says:

      What a happy coincidence for FN :) I wonder how her ratings are compared to Sandra Lee?

      • Becky in 'Bama says:

        Sandra Lee is LAME-O. I have to wonder how much it was costing to produce her 'semi home made' program with all the elaborate props, costumes, etc.. Talk about an odd program. I don't recall a single episode that inspired me to do anything: food was average, and the cost of some of those props was not in my budget.

        • Judy says:

          I would ditch the tablescapes but I love her dishes. She helps me to have faith that I really can cook something good. We need shows like her without the props. I miss the 5-ingredient girl, too.
          I was learning.

          • Shannon says:

            I also gleaned a thing or two from Sandra Lee. Some dumb little tricks and substitutions I had never considered. Hated the table scapes, love the costumes! 5 ingredient fix..I was always longing for ingredient 6 or 7, recipes just never seemed quite complete to me.

          • BillO says:

            Unless you're just short of cooking time, you can always find a better recipe, with more ingredients, than what Claire made.

          • BillO says:

            Unless the negative comments are for things that I don't find important, I don't often try a recipe that's less than 5 stars. Sandra, and for that matter, Alton, have too few 5 star recipes for me to continue watching. I'll watch some episodes of Good Eats for Alton's tips, but I don't cook his dishes, except for very few.

          • Brad says:

            5 stars is good but it must be a limited menu if everybody did that.

  5. Joel says:

    After reading this, I can only dream the possibilities that could have been if Team Musical would have been given to Justin, Emily, and Martie.

  6. cornjob says:

    caught an old 2009 episode of "hell's kitchen" with...guess who? lovely!

  7. Wil says:

    I don't need this show to copy Top Chef. I have Top Chef to be Top Chef. I want Food Network Star to be Food Network Star. Two different animals.

  8. Crouton40 says:

    Pondering it all. How does this seem to you?

    Some people, like say, Viet or Russell--CAN-- make a great dish and/or win--A-- challenge, and then later do quite poorly. Up-n-downs.
    Question: Which is worse?--to be up and down, big highs and low low's...or to never really be spectacular but never really all-that-terrible, either?...i.e...middle of the pack folks. Any thoughts?

    If I were a Chef, I would prefer to suffer a loss or two and have other times where I knocked it outta the park and the judges were amazed at my performance. At least I wouldn't be just average and they'd know I CAN do it....but---isn't it kinda funny, that the middle of the road folks seem to be in less trouble as far as being sent home?....i.e...Chris vs. Viet.

    • BillO says:

      If I went to a restaurant or used recipes from a show, I would not be happy with really poor food every few times. I'd want a level of consistency that I could count on. If a chef, especially someone who could be the eventual winner, is just at the level of "not that terrible" they have no business being on FNS and the producers should be ashamed for not doing their homework. Your choice is not one we should to make.

      • Crouton says:

        I completely agree! A STAR should be a "rockstar" 99.9% of the time (even an Iron Chef occasionally loses). The choice above isn't one we should have to "settle" for but was more intended to talk about just where we are so far. Some are about average (so far) and some have been very good and then not good (so far). In my opinion, the not good but not terrible, is the worse of the two....but I want someone much better than either of those! And they should be, if they wanna be Star Quality. Just looking at things so far...
        Curious to see this Sunday if those who are ahead will stay ahead, if if anyone will break out of the pack and catch-on and who will still be in the middle.

        • Shannon says:

          Crouton, To your question, I think we have to remember these are supposed to be "spectacular" cooks/chefs to begin with, no, not Iron Chef status (maybe with the exception of Viet) but we are to believe they are exceptional. Otherwise why would they have made it to the finalists. Taking that into consideration I think middle of the pack is not a terrible place to be. Actually a quite good place to be, if you think about it.
          If you are consistently at the bottom and have one "W'OW" dish, that does not redeem you.For me I think you got lucky.
          At this point in the competition my money and time would be for middle of the pack ..with occasional bursts of "WOW" if possible.

          • Crouton40 says:

            Hoooo boy! Perhaps I gave a wrong impression.
            I agree that anyone on the bottom with one victory may have merely been lucky. I have always said that I look for 4 things in a Star:
            1. Awesome food
            2. Great personality
            3. Clear, simple teaching
            4. Not hyper, dull, conceited or freaky
            I still wholeheartedly believe that.
            Absolutely! I am wanting the winner to be Spectacular! No way do I want to settle for merely average. Not at all.

            I'm thinking more of...take, say, Russell. He has been on top and won. Maybe he was lucky. But--suppose he were to bounce back and be impressive. If someone were good, bad, good again...vs...say, Chris, who hasn't lost like Russell, but who hasn't been in 1st place in a challenge, either. Or say, Stacy vs. Viet. Viet is the better cook but last time he really fell short. Stacey made a good burger and good s'mores. What if she makes another good dish and Viet has another bad night? (This may not be my shining moment in topics to bring up).....
            Anxious to see if those who are ahead will stay there, if anyone will break outta the pack and impress us, and who will be going home.

          • Shannon says:

            Crouton, No wrong impression on this end. I was just giving my opinion of middle of the pack folks. I understand what you were saying and agree! I think we look for the same things. I value your 1. 2. 3. 4. steps. It's a clear concise description of what I want in a FN Chef. I was simply saying that at this point in the competition, to me (and it's just my personal opinion) if you are in the middle of the pack you are still doing just dandy, some highs some lows (just no epic lows). It's not the final stretch yet where someone will pull ahead as a clear winner. I also grade their failures, harshly, that's the most important thing for me right now in my decision making process. To me under salted grits or a non exciting berry desert ( as those can come down to personal preference) is not the same thing as an uncooked pot pie or a pizza dough doughnut. Also thinking of "redemption rehab" I would like to add uncooked shrimp to my list of no-no's. At this stage you can't always win ..but you should never serve something I would throw in the trash if it turned out that badly. That brings me to another point I also use my cooking as a reference, I am simply a moderate (compared to many others) home cook. If you are doing/serving something I would know better than doing/serving..then can I really ever trust you to teach me anything?

  9. Karen in So Cal says:

    I don't know if anyone has thought of it, but do you suppose that Paula Deen was taped in one of the upcoming episodes? She's been in quite a few of the FNS seasons. Maybe that's why we haven't seen Bob and Susie - they're frantically trying to come up with something to replace that episode. Hahahaha.

    • MoHub says:

      There's been a lot of speculation about this and how FN will deal with such an episode if there's one in the can. The best guess is that the episode will be re-recorded with whoever was in the mix when it was originally taped, and another senior FN chef will be the guest, with the content tailored to his or her specialty. The only issue with this is that whoever was originally eliminated will have to be eliminated again regardless of the quality of his or her performance.

      The other possibility is that the episode will be shown with Paula's face pixilated and her voice electronically altered, and any mentions of her name will be bleeped. Quite frankly, I'd pay to see that.

    • Adam says:

      I don't see how they could avoid showing it as taped... or why they should. The Paula Deen thing is a tempest in a teapot, much ado about nothing! (Bonus points to whomever catches THAT movie reference). I don't think there will be a much (if any) negative reaction to an appearance by her on FNS, any more than I think there would have been if they'd kept her. And it's not like they can't show her if she's no longer under contract; they own the show, period. I think people need to chill on all sides with this. What's done is done. I don't think dumping her for this was fair, and I don't. think she's a racist, but at this point the die is cast. All concerned -- pro or con-- should just leave the poor woman be. I'm sure she'll land on her feet. (My only question is about Bobby and Jamie's shows on Cooking... don't they feature her regularly? Will they be taken off too? THAT would be just wrong.)

      • Shannon says:

        Adam, I had never thought of that. People have been questioning if FN would pull Bobby and Jamies shows altogether, I had to say a strong No, how could they possibly break those contracts and not be sued. I had never really actually thought of how Bobbys show focuses on Paula..I wonder how they are going to handle that one..it seems Paula is completely Taboo at this point. Well, that sure is going to make for interesting watching !! I feel they have gone too far already at this point...but if they pull Bobby or re-work his whole show..well c'mon!!!

  10. BillO says:

    I heard there was an episode in the can and everyone prepared crow for her to eat. Rodney had the edge for dessert, it was humble pie.