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.

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Comments (320)

  1. dtb says:


  2. Joyce says:

    Then Danushka deserves a show. Justin doesn't have the attitude but he has a flat voice like her and stared into the camera like her.

  3. mielegirl says:

    Why is Rodney winning the fan poll? He hasn't made anything likeable yet!

  4. Ricco55 says:

    Has anyone mentioned the fairly obvious reason that the romance team had so few orders? It had to be the shrimp and grits. Grits aren't that popular outside of the south, many people have never even tried them. No wonder people were afraid to order them. I have never had good grits in a restaurant, even though I was born and raised in the south and have eaten (and loved) grits all of my life.

    Also, grits aren't supposed to be smooth and creamy, they aren't cream of wheat, they are supposed to be, well, *gritty*, they're supposed to have texture. Grit purists will tell you, grits should be made from coarsely ground white hominy, they are not cornmeal. I have yet to see a tv cook prepare them properly. I'm pretty sure none of the judges have ever eaten properly prepared grits, I know Alton hasn't, yes, I watched his "grit debacle" where he didn't even know what grits were. He did amend his show after getting flooded with correcting information from grits lovers. Yes, I'm ranting, I *LOVE* grits.

    Anyway, it's a shame the romance team didn't think more about their menu and how people would react to it and not even give them a chance.

  5. Julie says:

    Much of this can also be personal taste in dishes. Some judges like things spicy. Some want salt. Some like refreshing citrus. Some like creamy or sweet or crunchy. That's different than raw uncooked shrimp or some cooking disaster. You may create a chicken alfredo that is very good even though Giada may have made hers differently.

  6. CVeraS says:

    Where's "BeachNFrizzy" been this week?

    • popper says:

      Or Eggpants.

    • Shannon says:

      Just after last weeks episode Beach posted "Jumping on a plane now!" So, I am imagining vacation.....laying on a Caribbean Island being fanned with palm fronds..or touring France on a food adventure. Ummm..those may just be my fantasies (smile). But Beachwas jetting off to somewhere.

  7. animal lover says:

    Lovely should have listened to her teamates and done a beneit. She got eleminated for doing a donut!

  8. animal lover says:

    Loved team western! I could almost taste the food! I know what menu I would have ordered!