This is Show Biz, Kids; It’s Gotta Sell — Justin’s Rebel Recap

by in Recap, July 8, 2013

Justin's Rebel Recap - Episode 6After the "shocking" and "tragic" (all of cyberspace's words, not mine) elimination of Viet, it's now clear that one misplaced pepper can spell doom for anyone, even an Iron Chef competitor.

Whoever thought up this week's challenge was a real smart prepackaged cookie, because a good POV should be able to be easily printed on a label and slapped onto whatever cooks create. A crystal clear POV is essentially your brand, and without a crystal clear brand (I make rebellious cuisine: It's my right and duty to do so), you're going to end up being just a lonely piece of eggplant in the ratatouille of life.

  • The barbecue guy, Chad, dreams up "Big Boy Baked Beans." These aren’t your ordinary beans, no sir; these are for Big Boys. Perhaps Chad's POV is still wearing pull-ups.
  • Stacey - Food Network Star Season 9Taking hoopty recipes and throwing some rims on them is Stacey. She pitches a hot-rodded version of butterscotch, amped up with cayenne.
  • What Chris didn't realize is that this challenge was about selling himself, not the product. People don’t buy a Guy Fieri knife set because it’s the sharpest blade in the store. They buy it because it’s Guy's knife and they like Guy. When I come out with my squid de-tentacler, you'll probably buy it because you like me and my blogs, right?
  • I think a cooler name for Nikki's product would've been Nikki's Vegged-Out Sauces, and its placement in the store would be on shelves above the meat case. Imagine the logo: a steak sitting on a couch made of peppers and tomatillos, or an armchair of eggplant. Nikki, that's for you, for free. You can have it.
  • Russell begins his pitch with, "I'm here to start a culinary revolution. I'm here to get you to embrace sins. My culinary sins." BOOM SHAKALAKA. That's all it takes. Whatever comes after that is gravy.
  • Damaris wants to find a balance between Karaoke Damaris and Drone Damaris.
  • And now Rodney. With a guitar. And a quiche kit made out of coat hangers and gaffers tape. That's all I have to say.

Cue the Scary Music

Food Network Star Season 9Damaris, Stacey and Russell were the complete package this week, while Chad, Nikki, Chris and Rodney were all recalled goods. Chad has whooped it up from the get-go, but this week his beans were as pretty as, well, a pile of beans. Nikki's awesome POV lacked depth and articulation. Chris had as much authenticity as a three-dollar bill. Rodney was an entertainer as opposed to an expert.

In the end, the judges couldn’t see the connection between the person Chris is and the food Chris cooks.

The Moral of the Story: When I was in high-school journalism class, the school newspaper needed some extra funds. Someone came up with the idea of having a bake sale. It was a flop. Why? Nobody trusted the journalism kids to cook good food. It wasn't our forte. There was no connection. The bake sale was canceled.

Chris, with a little more packaging, could have been just the man for the job. Imagine a show called The Bake Sale, wherein we are taken to Chris' kitchen as he cooks up a Food Network Star version of regional specialties, like, say, the apples in Ohio. From here, Chris sells the goods to people on behalf of a charity in need of some cash flow.

Chris had an uphill battle from the start. It's clear to me what the transformative power of food can be and Chris could definitely spearhead said movement, but alas, this is show biz, kids. It’s gotta sell.

Threat of the Week: Russell. Rewatch his first pitch in Episode 1 and compare it to last night's. This is what Food Network Star is about: growth. Forget the veggies, embrace the sins.Russell - Food Network Star Season 9

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Comments (259)

  1. ImaUzer says:

    Rodney should just go ahead and let Calhoun Tubbs do his presenting for him...

    Mentor: So, Rodney, what did you make for us?

    Rodney: I'm gonna let my good friend Calhoun Tubbs answer that.

    Calhoun: Thank You Very Much! Ya know, Rodney here made ya a pie. He put all kinds-a tasty stuff in it! Wrote a song 'bout it! Wanna hear it? Here it goes...

    Rodney done made another pie!
    Too bad he's inconsistent!
    Thank you very much!!

    • BillO says:

      I see why Rodney had to quit the band. And his TV show is starting to look like Pie In The Sky. From last night, I guess his next job could be in Loews or Home Depot.

    • Elderleigh says:

      And the song is not longer than 13 second. David Alan Grier is smiling.

  2. Jake Stanford says:

    This is a very hard season . . . no one seems to take the reigns. I think I'm warming to Chad but he seems to be a thinner and less confident version of Dean McDermott from the Celebrity Chef show.

    The Pie Guy - really??!!?? I don't know what he's selling but I ain't gonna be buying.

    Damaris - it's like she was a Stepford Wife this week. Yikes

    I don't even need to comment on the others - too boring. . .

    • Shannon says:

      I see your comparison of Chad to Dean McDermott. I thought I was the only one who saw the similarity.

    • joyce says:

      Who is voting for the Pie does he stay consistently ahead of everyone else when he cannot even speak clearly! ARGHHHHHHH!

      Chad is consistent but he is being bullied out. I hope that he can last another week! I would love to see him in the final!

      • MoHub says:

        The problem is that the survey question on the site keeps changing each week, but the results are cumulative, so there's no legitimacy to the published info.

        • Shannon says:

          Exactly, I had not even noticed that they were not being re-set.(I call foul). Are these the supposed results that will be used to pick the winner? If so, this is a sham.

  3. mhasegawa says:

    I agree. Why is Rodney still around? At least I could understand what Viet said.

    • like2eat says:

      Rodney has character and it adds to the "show", although he doesn't seem to really grasp what the judges are looking for and who really knows what "pie style" means. He doesn't put everything in a pie crust. I don't remember what Viet's POV was but I don't see any Asian cooking shows in the current lineup and maybe its time for one.
      With Salvation - "Lovely" must have some bribes in somewhere if she won based on a mustard that tasted good to RI. Her POV makes no sense to me. Either that or they are making damn sure the "salvation" winner won't have a chance in the final. Seems like that's a token thing only to compete with the other master chef and top chef competitions.

  4. Guest1 says:


    1. Why so much emphasis on 'selling stuff'? Isn't there enough Chef-ware, ripoff product lines and kitchen crap in all the stores already? I want a show with someone who can show me recipes, tips and tricks, not sell me their Ginsu Knives.

    2. Not related to FNS: Why don't any of the contestants on Cupcake Wars get scolded for hygiene? If I see another long-haired, bearded or scraggly-clothes wearing person making cupcakes, I am going to vomit. Get a hairnet! Or at least pull it back in a ponytail! YUK!!

    • tinker says:

      Scolded? Penny Davidi can get the whip out. That'll teach 'em.

    • RoH says:

      oh absolutely!! First rule of the kitchen - keep it clean, folks! and safety first! SO not professional having your hair dangling down in your ingredients while you're cooking. Or wearing a ton of jewelry either. Even Guy Fieri de-blings when he's cooking.

    • Elderleigh says:

      THANK YOU! I thought I was the only person that picked that up. I tried to find a spot to make a similar comment on the CW site last year and never could find one. Most of the time, it looks like the bakers are vying for "cutest, coordinated" outfits rather than best cupcake and display.

    • AdamJBernay says:

      Because, this is about which of these people can make Food Network the most money, not who is the best chef. This is Food NETWORK Star. It's a business. This ain't PBS.

  5. Chris says:

    Not impressed with any of the food network "stars". I doubt I'd watch any shows of the winner. It seems the executives should be more selective in who they cast for this show. I agree on the comments being made about all of the contestants. As for Chad being the BBQ guy, don't they already have Bobby Flay and the Neelys. As for down home or southern cooking, there is Trisha Yearwood and Ree Drummond. It seems the POV of the current contestants are redundant. How about next year they pick a topic that is not being done and find the best chef for that show. I liked the POV of Andres of cooking to lose, or that of Nicki focusing on vegetables, but don't think they have TV personality for a show

    • ann says:

      I'm with you. I was really hoping Nikki would shine since her POV is unique and probably useful for the average home cook. I'm tired of competitions, hidden cameras and travel spots. I used to watch the food network with a pad of paper next to me in order to jot down ideas and recipes for the coming week. I don't really need any more recipes for cupcakes or ways to use pickled calf tongues in a dessert in less than 20 minutes. I guess I'm old school...

    • MoHub says:

      According to Eater, both of the Neelys' restaurants have been shuttered.

    • sublimelytragic says:

      I agree Besides Guy and Melissa where are all the other Food Network Stars shows? I saw a couple of episodes of Justin's show then never saw it again. I loved Aarti but they cancelled her show. The runnerup from last year Martie Duncan would have been someone I would have watched. I really hope they don't pick Stacy. Bob is right She definitely is BORING. Personality wise I like Russell and Damaris but don't know if they have a wide enough range to sustain a show

      • Teri says:

        Martie improved alot toward the end of the season. Damaris teaches culinary so I bet she can cover lots of different things foodwise.

        • Shannon says:

          Teri, I have to agree. I don't think we have seen even the tip of the ice burg of what Damaris food chops really are. I am betting she is diverse. She is trying to stay in her POV wheel house, but she has been creative and has jumped around with her ingredients. I definitely want to see more of what she can offer.

          • James says:

            You very likely right. Not only did she go to culinary school, she's good enough to teach in it. She never acts like she's better than everyone because of it, which is good to see. I don't think we've seen one-quarter of all she is capable of but foodnetwork keeps doing all these other things. With her background, I'll bet she can tell us much about ingredients and make all sorts of things. She is probably the most real out of those remaining, as I told Tyler on the last page of this thread. If you think about giving all of them a show, and then think about if they all did what they do, who would still be interesting and relevant 3 years from now, I think the network has a good thing going with her. They should stop freaking out over every little move she makes, though.

          • Shannon says:

            James, I totally agree. I f they lose her / send her packing I think that they have made a big mistake. I do have my doubts as to what the networks intentions are with her though, they have been very harsh with critiquing her. Harsh to the point of manifesting negative mannerisms that I don't even see. While on the other hand they seem to overlook and encourage blatantly atrocious mannerisms of other competitors.

      • Callie Carver says:

        Not only is Stacey BORING, she is ANNOYING.

        And as far as Martie, yes she was cute as a button, and she did improve, that is why I have no idea why they don't have the mentors working with them, like last year, instead of just giving a 10 second critique from the panel when they stand in front of them. Liked the format last year, this year, not so much.

    • Alysoun says:

      But Andres didn't want to use that PoV. He wanted to use "Guys can't cook, I'm going to show them how". Which wasn't going to fly with the network that features Flay, Brown, Irvine, and 90% of the Iron Chef Team.

  6. Michael says:

    It's disappointing to me that there was no weight on the second product that the contestants chose not to market. There is something to be said for a terrible cookie, unappetizing looking sauce, and alcoholic salad dressing.

    In my opinion, Rodney has got to be one of the next to leave. He as a person is rather inviting, but he is impossible to predict or understand. He is full of vague descriptions and has failed to show the unquestionable authority that one would expect from someone with such a narrow scope of interest. He has tried on multiple occasions to showcase music and has failed both times.

  7. asdfghjkl says:

    I think this is the first year I've really, truly wanted a certain contestant to win. I love that Stacey is concise, poised and graceful, her food seems to always be good, and I would absolutely trust her to teach me how to cook because she manages to run a restaurant, raise a family and still keep her cool.. she clearly knows what she is doing. I feel like I would really be learning something if I watched her show. As for the judges' comments on her.. "too rehearsed"? "too perfect"? a) they act like they're not scripted half the time... b) if "too perfect" is the worst thing you can find to say about someone.. why critique the person at all? It just makes them sound arrogant. I hope she makes it to the end.

    • 18wheeler says:

      she is so fake and as for running a restaurant she wasn't to hot at that and how do you know she runs her family well?? I wouldn't watch her on a bet>

      • Shannon says:

        Well said 18wheeler. As for her food always being good??? Have you watched the show? Her pot pie was hideous and the cookies she made this we even have to put a name to how inedible they were? She made campfire s'mores. I made them, they were not that good (they were rice krispy treats using popcorn instead, chocolate ganache and the whole shooting match rolled in graham cracker crumbs) they did not go over very well with any of my party guests..and yes I made them correctly they are below skill level 1 for cooking no room for error. She made durian pudding, a burger and wild man potato skins. Oh yea, and dried out pork on the grill..if she even cooked it. Sorry she has not showed me that she is even a skilled home cook.

        • msjs0315 says:

          Shannon, if you're going to put chocolate in popcorn, try a dark chocolate/coconut/almond mix instead of s'mores ingredients. More depth of flavors and textures, IMO. Your mileage may vary.

          • Shannon says:

            Thanks, I appreciate the suggestion! The coconut and almond sounds like a good match. I recommend NOT trying Staceys recipe!!

        • Callie Carver says:

          Not only did she have a failing restaurant and need to be rescued by Robert Irvine/Restaurant Impossible but she had ZERO willingness to add a dinner service even though Robert siad it would help out her restaurant (then she would be able to pay back her father and her staff could make more in tops.) Not once did she get in the kitchen. She had one cook, and needed to eventually hire another one to handle dinner service. Her main concern was to spend time with her family. So does her family no longer matter. Did she watch her cooks to pick up a few tips to go on this show so she could have time in front of the camera?
          To me she is not a professional chef, a seasoned cook, or even a good cook.

          And her faces she makes for the camera annoy the heck out of me and my friends when we watch the show. I would rather watch Penny from last season cook, at lest she has more cooking chops than Stacey does, and doesn't make strange faces for the camera.

          • BillO says:

            Penny was an ass

          • Callie Carver says:

            Penny did not have a great personality, but neither does Stacey, and Stacey is THE MOST ANNOYING CONTESTANT FOOD NETWORK HAS HAD. And at least Penny could cook, Stacey not so much, she cooks like someone who skipped her Home EC Classes in high school. And also Stacey had a failing restaurant. Why not get those that failed in their restaurant to have a show? Oh I don't know maybe it doesn't sound like a good format.

          • karen says:

            What if stacey has a good night this coming sunday? She has already been in the top 3.

          • Simone says:

            Some of those faces she makes are like a robot woman on saturday morning cartoons.

      • Tony says:

        Another thing. When she introduces herself she makes it a point to say she's a mother. God bless mothers. But, why mention it? This is a competition. Having kids is no guarantee whatsoever that you are somehow a good cook. I'm running for cover, now.

    • James says:

      Let's go through this. Concise, poised and graceful. Sometimes, yes. Other times she gets hung up on her own words. And while poised can be good, if everything goes according to plan and you get to use your rehearsed words, it can also sound boring or scripted. Not always, but enough with her that people judging her have said so. Then you say her food seems to always be good but her chicken pot pie isn't that difficult to do and Alton felt that even if she would have finished it that it would not have been good. You say running a restaurant. Running, yes. But Lisa is her cook and does the big majority of it. So then how can you say she clearly knows what she is doing? I'm not saying she doesn't know anything but I would think that Viet, Damaris, Russell and Chris know more.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I personally would love to see Chad win this thing. Bobby Flay has given us "Barbecue Addiction" but only for a very short period of time. It would be nice to have a barbecue/grilling show that is on year around which could give viewers a more complete guide and help enhance techniques. This may especially be appealing to men who can only cook burgers and steaks. There are so many niches that are filled full time on the network and it would be nice to have this one filled as well since Bobby does so many other things.

    • susie says:

      Chad needs to wash his hair and get it out of his face and he also needs to clean the hair off his face....doesn't look clean at all!

  9. Crouton40 says:

    SEASON 9. Selling the Product challenge.

    The bottom 2: Rodney & Chris.
    Chris--the guy has food knowledge but spends too much time talking about "passion", going on a "journey" and not focusing on here's what I made, here's why it's good and this is how I did it. It did him in.
    Rodney--He may be a fun guy to have a beer with but:'1. he doesn't follow judges advice, just doesn't have it on the cooking and isn't cut out for this. I could see one of the ladies nearly cringing over Russell's packaging of his product. I would have kept Chris this week.

    The Middle this week: Nikki & Chad.
    Nikki: If we say a person needs to be good on camera besides cooking great food, in Nikki's case we can say they also need to make great food besides being good on camera. Judges said her sauce had a bad color.And now it has been twice in a row where she has been told she "lacks authority". Not knowing where we might find her product in a store aisle wasn't good, either. I like her, but she is fading. Will she bounce back?
    Chad: He has been doing well on camera. Tonight, not so much. It seemed to me that the lady judes didn't like either his calling his beans "kick-A**" or his "big-boy" terminology. He is also running a risk of "pullin' a Rodney" by not giving more variety in his sauces. Too many of them are too sweet. The mentors have told him. He says he like 'em sweet. His product looked like sloppy joe mix. He has done better.

    The TOP 3. Damaris, Stacey & Russell.
    Damaris--the judges want her to be herself. I say, they should let her be herself. She follows the judges advice. She tones things down. Then, they tell her to go the other way. I liked her video (everyone is most-natural on their own video). I found her easy to listen to and vivacious. As for tonight, a lady judge said: "we liked her more as we talked to her more." Damaris had great labeling of her product. Her ginger & gin was really good.
    Stacey--Don't take my word for it, a judge called her "polished but boring." I grant that she was fairly confident even though she stumbled
    over her words. But she was too rehearsed and told she "needed spontaneity." Alton said her gluten-free cookie was "not for me." One more thing: was it when they were talking about spices, and Stacey said: like me....what do you suppose would have happened if it would have been Damaris who had said that? I'm just sayin' if it's wrong for one, it should be wrong for all, yet people are moving on. Hmm.
    Russell--He is getting more confident on presentation and he's likable (will he eventually pass Chad? Unknown.)--but---he has had some real successes and some real flops. Not consistent. Bacon & bourbon, and "revolution" will only take him so far. He seems to be getting better lately.

    That's my view as of now. Maybe you agree. Maybe you disagree. All I can do is give my reasons for my view. Glad to read yours, too. Discussion is good. It's what makes a Blog fun.
    Crouton40---creator of

    • Crouton40 says:

      Oops. Should be over Rodney's packaging of his product, above. No worries, I will never apply for a position of secretary/typist to the administrative vice-president.

    • Shannon says:

      Crouton, Good review. I agree re: NIkki and Chad, I think we are starting to see the downward spiral here. Both are going to have to do something pretty major to be able to climb to the top. Nikki is as you said getting lost in the "lack of authority" land. The mentors are not giving a whole lot of constructive criticism this year but.. on that point they were very clear. I think she had her last warning. I like her, she seems like she is a nice girl and I feel her concept is one that I could watch. She also showed a glimmer of being able to teach last week. In the judges eyes is that enough? I don't think they see it that way. Her weeks may be numbered.
      Chad, he is a likeable enough guy. He comes across well on the camera, as you said. I just wonder if he has enough "creativity" in his Bar B Que arsenal to maintain an entire show. I have my doubts to be honest. I think if he creates one more too sweet dish we may be seeing the end of him. He has not shown versatility.
      Rodney, every week I think Rodney is on thin ice and should be the one going home. But what do I know? Apparently nothing.
      I don't think Damaris, Stacey or Russell are in immediate danger of leaving. It is crunch time though, so they better pull out their best !!

      • Crouton40 says:

        Next week, they have to auction-off their food. So it's Cooking. Good!
        But do the Chefs get to decide what they will make and what ingredients to use?
        Let 'em all make something scrumptious and see who's-cuisine-reigns-supreme.

        • BillO says:

          Crouton, do you know the format for the final show? How many of the current 6 will go into the final? I assume they will be joined by someone from the loser's bracket.

          • Crouton40 says:

            BillO, I don't know.
            I am another normal viewer like all of you. I don't work for the network.
            I'm just "some guy out in washington state who has watched every season of this show." Glad we can all come on and express our views.

          • MoHub says:

            There's only one more Star Salvation, so the winner will likely rejoin the competition in week 8. Which makes me wonder whether week 7 will feature a double elimination.

            My guess is that the finale will be like last season: Each of the final two or three will film a "pilot." Viewer voting will be conducted on line and the results added to the pre-taped final episodes. The finale will not be truly live.

    • CVeraS says:

      I don't think Nikki will bounce back. She even said it herself - she is having a confidence problem. I'm more carnivore than omnivore, but I like her premise. So many vegetarians want to throw meat out entirely but she wants to teach a vegetarian menu without alienating the meat lovers among us. Anyone can identify with confidence problems - to be surround by the best of the best and constantly being critiqued and tested? You don't see me applying for the show. She seems to have let others convince her that she isn't ready for the big leagues yet.
      Demaris is still my favorite. As I have said before, the judges have treated her unfairly and accused her of "crimes" she has not committed. I don't ever want to hear the word "shimmy" again after this show is over. She has more class than Giada will ever see, and I really hope that jealousy is not affecting the judging.

      • James says:

        Very well said. I worry that Giada might shoot down any other women who may be popular. She can always taste the food and say she didn't like it. We'd never know. I hope she doesn't do that and realizes that there plenty of room on FN for many.
        The sad part is that looks as if others can crack a joke, do a little dance, or whatever and it's ok. But let Damaris do anything and they're on her like a pack o' vultures. No one deserves that! God forbid we might think it's funny, cute or just sincere, or that anyone could honestly be happy in their work. The lady has a great smile, is probably the most real out of all of them, and knows her kitchen. That gets my vote.

        • Elderleigh says:

          OK, I will start by saying I know I will take a few hits for being mean and I am sure someone will drop the ever popular " you're just jealous" bomb - but here goes....

          Giada annoys the heack out of me. She continues to come off as a real witch. She certainly likes to look down her sharp, pointy nose when someone makes a mistake and I did finally find where I have see her pasted, forced, smile.....check out the ads for Pedigree's doggie dental sticks where they put the toothy grins into the mouths of the pups.

          • John says:

            You're not jealous. She has a good figure and I don't think she wants any other woman getting too popular. Most of them are not Italian cooks like her so what is she worried about?

  10. Bubbette says:

    You have 1 hour to develop a product and present it to "mentors" who don't mentor. You're then sent to come up with packaging for a product 1 hour in the making. Present the 1 hour product in 5 minute packaging to 3 executives, who look as clueless as you do, as if this product was your life's work. And don't forget the 3 mentors/judges/executioners off to the side. Ditsy Nikki (marketing? what's that) Chad the one-trick , too sweet, pony. Chris trying too hard to pitch a product the execs actually liked. And Rodney, who seems too dumb or too arrogant to leave the song and dance behind, can't get an understandable sentence out. Mason jar and duct tape stays. Chris sent home. Bad mentors. Bad judges. I vote to send them home.

    • jalp says:

      Alternatively, maybe the ones who should be sent home are the FN PTB who decided not to have the mentors do mentoring this year. And maybe this ties in with the apparent trend, commented on above, forFN to want someone who is "camera-ready" . . . in other words, someone who don't need no stinkin' mentoring. . . .

      • Joe says:

        Some problems with that. If it's true, it makes FN sound lazy. Second, is FN really going to say they want a ready-made iron chef who needs no growth or development at all? If that's the case, it makes the judges unnecessary.

        • jalp says:

          I think that's quite possibly the point of this viewpoint -- that FN is acting lazy (and/or cheap) and wants someone they can spend the least possible time/money/effort developing. . . .