Tell a Story and Throw Some Rims on It — Justin’s Rebel Recap

by in Recap, July 15, 2013

Justin's Rebel Recap Episode 7With half of the hopefuls left, the crew returns to the Food Star Kitchen and sees Bobby Flay in chef whites, cranking out what looks like the best food I've seen on Food Network Star all season. I guess that's why he’s Bobby Flay and the other six people in the room aren't — yet.

Wonderful, incredible, delicious, sexy: These words don't provide any actual description of what's going on in one's mouth. I adore this challenge.

  • Rodney, the recovering rocker, has made it quite clear to us that he speaks in the parlance of his former profession. It's not a bad thing, necessarily, but the actual taste of a "boss," a "killer" or "dynamite" isn't very appealing. Poor Rodney got the cartoon music played on him. That happened to me on 24 Hour Restaurant Battle when I compared pancakes to modernist sculpture. I deserved it.

  • Our friendly neighborhood barbecue guy, Chad, came up short when hitting up his word bank.
  • Stacey was able to create a mental image of someone who cooks with painstaking care, authenticity and an unending desire to serve. Mo Rocca would be so proud.
  • Once again, Damaris reels herself in too far and spiels the dish like my doctor does when she lists off all of the maladies that affect a bon vivant like me.

Russell Jackson - Food Network Star

  • Speaking of clinical conditions, Russell flatlined. Maybe one too many culinary sins were clogging the arteries to his brain.

I couldn't believe that half of the competition has been canned and only two of the remaining six could deliver a palatable presentation. Stacey's story Cryovac-ed the deal just like it did when she made her son in to a potato ball in Episode 1, and I think it's clear as corn syrup that she's mastered communicating to the camera.

Star Challenge

The hopefuls are to cook a dish that will be bid on by the Gastronauts. Google them. I've dealt with them, and they live life like the judges on Iron Chef every day.

  • Green bean casserole doesn't even register on my "really fascinating" radar, but Damaris made me feel like it was OK for me to like green bean casserole even though I'm supposed to be in to rebellious cuisine.
  • Nikki has squashed her insecurities. She's no longer apologetic about her veggie-centric POV, and in this challenge, she hawked her wild mushroom pasta as though she already had the gig as the girl who goes gaga for greens.

I have to ask this question: Has anyone ever made french fries with any success on Food Network Star?

  • The ever-likable Chad made a barbecue brisket version of poutine, which I thought was the most inventive of all of the dishes presented. Unfortunately, when Chad got up to sell, his speech was saddled with "ums" and littered with meaningless catch phrases, including "explode in your mouth." Unless the dish contains pastry rocks or a pyrotechnician, nothing should be exploding in anyone's mouth.
  • In addition to Russell's curious case of multiple-POV-disorder, the vigor and conviction in Russell that was so present last week had withered. I felt like I was watching someone on C-SPAN attempt a filibuster by reading from Food Lover's Companion. Also: pureed bread.

Stacey - Food Network Star

  • Over in the vintage kitchen, Stacey's made her Maple Bacon Cheesecake sound like it was a baconized Hope Diamond.
  • Rodney was pure shtick. I like the guy, I really do, but being an entertainer doesn't mean you have to put on a show; it merely means you have to be a generally entertaining person, which he is already. Apparently, though, his pie was no laughing matter and was the dish most liked by the judges.

Cue the Scary Music

Damaris - Food Network Star Season 9Stacey is clearly the captain of this week's safety patrol, with Nikki serving as first lieutenant. Damaris showed tremendous growth from the first to the second challenge. Rodney fell off — hard, but his pie was a giant berry-laden safety net.

As there must always be two before there is only one, we are left with Russell and Chad. Russell's split-personality POV and weirdo liquefied bread sauce were the sins of his former performances revisiting him. Chad has been constantly constant, and the judges fear he has plateaued. There's been no "a-ha" moment like Russell had last week. What I fear has been happening is that the judges can't see Chad as anyone more than the "friendly barbecue guy."

In what I'm sure will be one of the most hotly debated eliminations of this season, Chad was sent home.

Chad - Food Network Star Season 9The moral of the story: Communication is key.

Being the a Food Network Star comes with responsibilities. We are ambassadors of the culture of epicureans: We must enthusiastically articulate what's so special about a life driven by the appreciation of food, cooking and hospitality. We must communicate in a way that entertains, enriches and educates the people who are paying not with their wallets, but with the most precious currency: their attention.

Also, really, most of the mistakes I've made in my life were over a failure to communicate. Ask my girlfriend.

Threat of the week: Stacey. As we move closer to the end, I foresee an intense pressure being put on with on-camera presence and POV. She's got no problem staring down that box of glass and metal. Her POV isn't complicated, either: Tell a story from the past to find inspiration, and throw some rims on it.

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Comments (362)

  1. ECB Portland says:

    I found the food description exercise interesting. I certainly understand the need to use descriptive words when talking about a dish so that people will want to try it. What I found most interesting is that several of the current FN "superstars" use words like, "Yummy", "Really Good", "Killer" and "Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner" whatever the **** that means. I recommend they listen to their own advice.

  2. bah0206 says:

    I like both Nikki and Damaris. Simple cooking with a nice POV and interesting personalities. Stacy is a problem for me. FN had a show (or maybe still does) with a woman (can't even remember her name) who was nutritionist talking about the nutrition and calories in her dishes. Her message really was good and her food was delicious. But she had the same type of delivery as Stacy. It felt canned and I simply couldn't watch. No matter how good her food was. And that's what I think may happen with Stacy. I watch the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. She's fun to watch, the format of the show is the story, the recipes are 80% Monday-Friday foods and she enjoys what she is doing and loves her own cooking. I think Damaris and Nikki can bring that naturalness and spirit of enjoyment to the show.

    • Jen says:

      They are both upbeat. Between the two of them, Damaris is the better cook.

    • Karen says:

      And it's a good thing that they do. The Pioneer Woman is unpretentious and relateable, two good things to have in the next Star.

      • Shannon says:

        Karen, Thats a really good way of describing Pioneer Woman. That is the style I prefer, relateable and down to earth. I agree Damaris and Nikki both fit that bill. I agree with Jen above, of the 2, Damaris may be the better cook . Damaris also seems to have a sense of humor that will keep me entertained.

  3. diamondfan57 says:

    The entire crop of contestants this year SUCKS. I really liked Viet and I hope he gets to come back. But the remaining ones are awful. Can't stand Damaris or Niki. Stacey is OK and probably the best of the lot. Rodney is getting on my nerves and Russell is just plain CREEPY. I honestly wouldn't watch any of them. I never watch Melissa or Aarti either. The sandwich guy was a real no-name too. Honestly, they couldn't find anyone else? Stacey should never have gotten on given the fact she was already on Restaurant Impossible. That alone should have disqualified her. Green Bean Casserole? Really? Pass the barf bag. I would have watched Chad, but the judges sent him home (wrongly in my opinion)

    • Heather says:

      This says almost nothing. You say who you dont like. You don't even say what you don't like about them. Just that you don't. It's hardly more than name-calling.They all had to be true to their point of view.

    • FNS Editor says:

      If you have problem with the show, why are you watching it?

    • FN Junkie says:

      I don't understand why FNS viewers give Stacy a hard time about being on Restaurant Impossible previously. Three other contestants were on FN shows in the past. Viet and Russell were on Iron Chef America and Danushka was on Chopped.

      • ElvisLives says:

        The difference is Restaurant Impossible is about failing restaurants. Someone who has been on Chopped or Iron Chef America likely has much higher skill.

      • connie t says:

        Viet was on an Extreme Chef competition show within the last two weeks.

      • Asdfghjkl says:

        Because RI isn't a cooking show. It is a business show. The others were on cooking shows. HUGE difference.

        • abcdefg says:

          No. Artificial distinction you are making. Robert always orders and samples things from any restaurant's menu. And it almost always sucks. It is about cooking. That's part of, the business. And they both need improvement.

    • LinNJ says:

      TOTALLY agree diamondfan57! I am not real excited about any of the contestants this time. I do like Niki's POV, but not sure if she can deliver week after week. Do disagree about Melissa and Aarti though. I really like (liked) Melissa's $10.00 dinners and cooked several of them And Aarti helped get me into some Indian cooking. I have nothing against the Sandwich King, who's name eludes me right now, but I am not big on sandwiches so I only watched a couple of the shows at the beginning. And yes, Rodney is also getting on my nerves!

    • connie t says:

      The Sandwich King is one of FN's most popular shows.

      • Joan says:

        Not in our house. No skill required.

      • Myra says:

        Sandwich King is horrible, that guy did not deserve to win, and I seriously doubt it's highly rated. I wouldn't be surprised if it was on the bottom. He didn't even have the common sense to remove the bones from a whole fish he put between two slices of bread on Chopped and Alton got a bone stuck in his throat. Yeah, sandwich man got chopped.

  4. guest says:

    OK, Rodney is unique (quirky, free-spirit, whatever)...but I was actually embarrassed for him last night. A really lame joke that went on too long and ultimately fell completely flat. At one point, it looked as if Alton was going to step in to save Rodney from himself. (at least he didn't sing this time!) Bad presentation...but the pie apparently rocked. Rodney is good at making pies, and probably has a blast doing so, but I don't think his personality translates well to TV. He's not a "star". Honestly, this year belongs to the ladies in the competition. They can cook, and they are far more interesting.

    • jalp says:

      I think *maybe* the joke MIGHT have worked if it had taken no more than 5-10 seconds.

      Has anyone got a count of how many pieces of advice Rodney has ignored now? (Hey . . . maybe there *is* more mentoring going on -- but we only get to see the "advice not taken"? As a way of foreshadowing who's likely to be leaving soon?)

  5. Elderleigh says:

    I am having a bit of a recall problem...was it Stacey's cheesecake or Rodney's pie that Alton actually said something about the item not being worth such and such an amount and then went on to press the auction crowd into bidding higher? I do no recall any of the other contestants being given that kind of boost - as if Alton knew something secret and special about that dish.....and I think it was Stacey's but I could be wrong.
    Could someone help me out?
    Thanks in advance.

  6. Marsha says:

    If Nikki wins, she can speak well. But after you have watched 10 of her shows about veggies, will you still have any interest? I wouldn't.

    • guest says:

      I would. That's exactly the way I want to eat - not going totally vegetarian, but cutting down on meat consumption. I would love to get some new ideas on how to do that. I would watch her show and Stacy's vintage remakes. Forget Damaris....we've had enough Southern cooking shows and enough is enough.

      • Callie Carver says:

        I would watch Damaris or Nikki's shows Also Viet's show.

        Vintage really? Na...would never watch Staceys show, ever. Her pot pie wasn't good, her cookie was dry, so if that is her vintage, she can keep it.

    • jalp says:

      I would still be interested -- at least, if the series lives up to the theme, and I think that's quite possible. I could also enjoy some other potential hosts.

      But I doubt that anybody -- much less anybody left in this competition -- can fascinate all of us commenting here. *Our* viewpoints are very diverse, too . . . not to say divergent. FN has to know they can't please everybody. (Maybe that's part of why they're worried most about pleasing themselves in this selection process of a show.)

  7. Lily Bell says:


  8. Crouton40 says:

    SEASON 9. The Auction Challenge.
    Let's dive in. LOTS to say. I made some notes.

    Tonight--Stacey wins. Chad gets sent home.
    I had thought, before this episode aired, that either Rodney or Russell would most likely being going home. I hadn't really expected it to be Chad. (More on him in a bit). But They finally liked one of Rodney's Pies. So, I hafta give the guy credit. A good pie is a good pie--but--

    RODNEY: It isn't personal. Really. He deserves credit for making something tasty like anyone else, even if he is not your favorite, or mine. That said, do any of us really feel that this guy is the Next Food Network STAR? I don't. Outside of his Pie this time, I think all the others are cooking better than him. And couldn't most chefs also make a good strawberry-rhubarb pie if they made one? It isn't *that* hard, is it?
    Even if he "rocked it" somehow next week, by now, others are just too far ahead of him in my opinion.

    CHAD: Before this chalenge aired, I had posed the question (somewhere in these threads)-"will Russell eventually pass Chad?" Tonight he did. In Chad's defense, I will say that I do think Chad should have stayed another week because if I look at *all* the challenges, I think Chad had a better overall record than Russell with his ups-and-downs. But there were 2 things that blew it for Chad. #1. Lack of GROWTH. Yes, he was confident (usually) on camera and his food was mostly good, but he didn't really get worse, didn't really get much better. And-#2. Going backwards on camera. Nervous. Too much of a hard time finding the words. I'd love to try his barbecue and I am optimistic I'd like it quite a bit if I did...but alas, he just wasn't "going anywhere."

    STACEY: Tonight's winner. Tonight she did a very nice job on presentation! Gotta give her credit. Her competitors acknlowledged it and I could also see it. I've been reading through these threads and there is no shortage of controversy over her. So, I want to make an effort to try and stick with *definite* things we can all see and point to. Specifics. That's fair. For whoever we are talking about. Furthermore--if any of you feel (in any of my posts, for anyone) that I am ever being unfair, or innaccurate, feel free to jump in and say how or why. Always love to share opinions. That said--
    on the plus side:
    I feel Stacey would be an easy person to talk to. Apparently she's been on camera before. This is good. But--
    on the negative side: Here's what bothers me. How do you feel?
    Some of you who are better cooks than I am can help out here:
    1. Yes, Stacey has made some good dishes--but--when she wins, were her dishes really requiring much skill? I kinda get the idea that "she did a great job of making a fairly ordinary dish well". Is this inaccurate? If you look at her most complicated dish she has made to date, how many ingredients did it take? I am NOT saying I want a Star to always make complicated foods, I just want them to be ABLE to. But that is the sense I get. If I am way-off, feel free to show me. And--#2. By-her-own-admission, Stacey said: (and I quote): "without Nikki, I woulda have been done for." That was last night. But if I go back and watch the previous week, she also seems quite rushed in the kitchen and perhaps just making it under the wire or maybe being a lil' scattered. In fairness, they are ALL pressured in the kitchen and rushed, but some others seem to time it and have a lil' better control with their time. And then: #3--(and I do this for others, too)--looking over their track-record to date, I'm a bit leery over a STAR who has trouble making a chicken pot pie, and, who's Cheesecake was as runny-looking as Stacey's was last night. I thought it a bit strange that the judges, when they say they liked it, talked about the CRUST...except maybe Giada. So....when I look at all this...while Stacey is pleasant and speaks well...I'm really wondering about the cooking being there. Some are also talking about being too rehearsed. We'll see where it goes next week. She's controversial. Any thoughts? (end of Pt.1 see pt.2)

    • Crouton40 says:

      its coming. I have it all typed, and now when I go to post it, I get, "must be approved bu site admin. OF COURSE! why not?? sigh.....I'll try agin soon.

      • Crouton40 says:

        left house. cooffe shop. wi-fi. still no good. no idea if why you get this but not part 2. will keep trying. I assure you i knkow how to use internet/compter.

        • Crouton40 says:

          except for worlds worst typing. Grrrrrrrrr

          • Crouton40 says:

            toooooo weird. just tried got the idea whats goin' on with this thing. why wont it take part 2...not givin up....

          • plainwayne says:

            Sheriff, you've outlived your intelligience...time to make preparations for early onset
            your friend

          • Crouton40 says:

            Nope. If this reply works, its darn fuuny that IT does, --yet I cant post the 2nd half of my review.
            Some others have posted, hours ago...and have still had zero responses to their post. Something wrong with the blog.

          • Crouton40 says:

            How incredibly weird. Just posted reply/comment above. Success. So, tried immediately to then post part 2 of review...must be aproved by site admin. been that way for hours. Even overnight. Tried, rebooting, anti-virus, re-typing and why does THIS work?

          • Crouton40 says:

            Think again, son.
            I'm just warmin' up.
            Part 2 is finally up--its about time the blog worked again.
            Suddenly Crouton40 and guest both appear....sigh...but at least the message got I'll see yer 3 queens and Raise ya 10.....see ya 'round the blog.

    • Callie Carver says:

      Not only couldn't she plate without Nikki last night, but a few episodes back she also needed Chris's help plating. To me being able to manage your time is also part of the competition. So why on earth would both Nikki and Chris help a competitor? Would you help someone else get a job you were interviewing for?"

    • David says:

      There comes a point where you just have to look natural on camera, and for me, Stacey just doesn't look natural out there. She kind of reminds me of a robot, and would you want to watch a robot? I think the stories she tells just seems forced when compared to contestants of the past.

      I do agree Chad should have stayed. Even though he hasn't "grown", he was still better than Russell, and I believe had a higher ceiling than Russell.

  9. BillO says:

    Bottom line is that these people are interviewing for a corporate job. Corporations expect employees to do what they're told and not be an embarrassment. Everything I've seen/heard from Rodney indicates he's going to do whatever he damn pleases. I don't see him sticking around for the final.

  10. Grammy says:

    What I would like to know is where are Bob T. and Suzie F. Last year and all of the other past shows they had the final say as to who went home. This year it's all been Bobby, Giada and Alton. I've only seen Bob T twice on the show and once for Suzie. What gives with that?

    • FNS Editor says:

      That's what I was wondering. now that bob and suzie don't appear much, Giada ,Bobby and Alton think they make great choices, but just make bad decisions and send the wrong people. No expertise about it.
      I feel bad for Chad and Chris . Well, Chad might get salvation.

      • Shannon says:

        FNS Editor, I liked it at first without Bob and Suzie, but now I am wondering if that is what is wrong. I am just not feeling the choices are on spot this year. Maybe not such a great idea to do away with them for the most part.

        • Crouton40 says:

 idea if its working again....still cant post part 2 of review after over 11 tries. maybe tomorrow works. So why does this work? does it?....

          I think it is fine without Bob T. and Susie F.
          Susie bored people to bouncing off the walls with ennnndless tell-me-who-you-are. Bob T., god love him, is ssoooo focused on energy-at-all-costs that it seems the rest gets swept under the rug.
          No pitch room
          No being rescued by teams
          Not near as many boring "stories" and for those of you who like them, there was a BUNCH of people that posted they were sick n tired of so much of it, last year. So, there are definite improvements this year. Its not like they are sending our favorite top 2 people home. We just disagree on the order they are sending home the bottom 3.
          If this goes through...still no idea why I cant send part two of auction challenge. Tried rebooting, whole thing....a seperate wi-fi....makes no sense. Maybe tomorrow...

          • Shannon says:

            Good points, I agree that the pitch room and team approach did not work. Thank goodness that is gone. I am also happy to have less focus on the who are you/ personal life stories this season. Maybe it's not specifically Bob and Suzie I miss. Maybe it's just a different view point, another voice in the mix I miss? I actually really liked the chopped week competition, I know it was fellow competitors doing the judging along with Alex. But I enjoyed hearing all the multiple varied critiques.

      • Erica says:

        But Tuschman and Fogelson aren't any better. Bob just wants larger than life energy and to heck with the rest while Susie wants a story for almost every dish. I don't miss either.

    • Wayne says:

      I'm sure they''ll rear their heads again before its all over.

      I for one don't miss em at all.