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. KatieGrace says:

    Russell. Russell. Russell. Russell.
    You bother me.

    First off, why anyone would want to eat (or even have the means to eat) his food is beyond me. His two P.O.Vs disengage me in every possible way. The culinary "sins"....a.k.a- the fattiest and unhealthiest food he can think of. A culinary "revolution" (um...what are we revolting from? Has anyone asked themselves that?) basically means the most expensive products you can buy at a grocery all thrown together on one plate.
    Besides from his disengaging P.O.Vs, he routinely performs lackluster presentations. He appears distant. I have serious doubts he will ever find the ability to connect with a camera, a live audience, any audience...the judges....the viewers...my dog....the ceiling..etc.

    Rodney is a clown. Half the time you can't understand him, and when you can, it's usually not something you want to hear (talk about the food, Rodney! The food!). He has delivered one or two good pies. It seems like he should be able to routinely make wonderful pies, since he has the good fortune of having owned a pie shop for years and years. He's currently at the top of the polls, which amazes me for a variety of reasons. A- His unintelligible rambling I have previously addressed B- His inability to regularly perform well on the sole baked good that is his entire P.O.V, and C- If he even won (God forbid) how many episodes of "Pie Style" can be filmed without Rodney flat-out running out of pie recipes? When you can only bake one thing, the options for different episodes are going to be fairly limited. It's a waste of a winner.

    • Michael says:

      I agree with you on everything you said. Russell isn't going to appeal to anyone as far as his food content is concerned. His show would be completely redundant since he only seems to be able to use a few ingredients.

      Rodney is a joke. For someone who has such a narrow scope of "expertise," he sure has failed to demonstrate the authority that would be necessary to merit an entire show over it. He has showed in several episodes that his vocabulary is lacking badly and he can't seem to provide any insight that the viewer himself couldn't derive.

      These two definitely should be the next to go!

      • Crouton40 says:

        It looks like the women have it over the guys this year.

      • Winnah12 says:

        Totally disagree! Rodney is by far the most entertaining of the bunch. And are you seriously asking how many different pies you can make? Clearly your palate - and imagination - are a bit limited. A show with Rodney would be constantly different and entertaining, not the same old 'welcome to my kitchen' dreck that some of the other contestants are pitching.

        • Michael says:

          @Winnah12

          Let's not start criticizing people's culinary creativity and knowledge behind the anonymity of a computer screen. This is a forum to express opinions about the show, not make condescending remarks to other viewers.

          I never once implied that there aren't many types of pies that can be made. What I was stating was that if FN is going to give a show to someone that only focuses on pies, I would want to learn from someone that has consistently made extremely good pies; to this point Rodney has only produced a couple of pies with which the judges were happy. Bobby is constantly preaching the necessity of being a food authority and that sentiment seems to be echoed on these message boards.

    • lizzy says:

      I also agree with you. This is at least twice that Rodney as gone with a berry pie. The freakin easiest pies to make. He hasn't shown any culinary depth or unique baking skills.

  2. BillO says:

    How the heck did the "great" Viet get beaten by Lovely in the Losers' Round? I don't watch it but I just noticed that it's down to Lovely and Chad on another blog

    • roxy07 says:

      You are absolutely correct. There is no way a really good chef like Viet could possible lose to someone like Lovely ... makes me wonder.

    • MoHub says:

      Maybe they're letting Lovely win the Salvation rounds with the idea that her returning will be no threat to the remaining competitors—unlike Viet, Chris, and Chad. She might outlast Russell and Rodney, but I think Nikki, Stacey, and Damaris will give her a run for her money and get her booted once and for all.

      • Jack says:

        huh? Run for her money? She Lost! You make it sound like she'll come back and kick all their butts. No way.

        • MoHub says:

          That's not what I said at all. I'm saying that Lovely is being manipulated into winning Salvation for the precise reason that she cannot beat Stacey, Nikki, or Damaris, while Viet, Chris, or Chad might have been able to do so. Lovely is a sure-fire candidate for a second elimination, making it safe for Irvine to send her back into the competition.

      • NoMoreConnie says:

        My problem with the salvation round is that the "competitions" aren't equal. And that it looks rigged, but besides that, Connie wouldn't/couldn't have made it through the events that got Viet, Chris and Chad booted. So why let her "skip" the actual competitions and bring her back?

        • MoHub says:

          This is essentially the same problem as with Top Chef's Last Chance Kitchen. Competitors participated in what were more like head-to-head Quickfires rather than actual challenges in crowded kitchens, and—also as with Salvation—there was a single judge who obviously tilted the victories towards the competitors he liked better, even when his reactions to the dishes said otherwise.

    • LinNj says:

      You should have watched the whole Salvation episode where Viet and Danielle(?) lost to Lovely. Viet, unforunately did not cook his finest...I forget all the details but I think for one thing his food was highly over cooked...dry? Anyway, I don't like Lovely either, but I have to admit, that Viet messed up in that challenge, unfortunately.

    • Crouton40 says:

      Every other show/competitIon that I have seen Viet on, he has been better on camera and shown an excellent high-level of skill. It is truly amazing that the likes of Lovely, Russell and Rodney have outlasted him. He may have gone home later anyway due to camera performance, but they should at least worked with him awhile. Viet gone, Rodney still here? Who in their right mind is ever going to believe this?

  3. mindy says:

    I couldn't agree more, BillO. I'm hoping that Chad makes the cut as opposed to Lovely, but that seems unlikely. She's really irritating, and doesn't seem to be much of a cook. That potato chip challenge looked disgusting! If only Viet were still in the mix!!! How could Robert pick Lovely over Viet? Actually, the only thing I am enjoying this season is your fabulous, insightful recap, Justin. Now if we could just get your show on the air ...

  4. Marge Schrempf says:

    Honestly - when Justin has a show and makes food we can all prepare and eat - I will think about his recap. otherwise was is the rocker still there? He has only made two pies all these weeks that got any king of good reviews - you can't understand him at all.

  5. Shay says:

    I think Stacey might win the whole thing. She has been at the top almost every week. As for Russel, why is he still on the show? I think he's been on the bottom almost every show.

    • Asdfghjj says:

      I don't think Stacey would last though, as far as a show. She is boring. And I really liked her at first, but she has become flat.

  6. Michael says:

    It blows my mind that Russell has made a living in the bottom of this competition and still finds ways to stay in it. Every week it's some different combination of bacon, butter, and bourbon that is somewhat intriguing but never the dish he intends.

    Chad has a bad week and doesn't cook his potatoes as much as he wanted, and he goes home. At least Chad seems to know ahead of time when his dish isn't going to be all he hopes. Russell never has any idea that his dish falls short until the judges tell him. It sickens me that he has outlasted both Chad and Viet.

  7. Jessica says:

    I'm kinda tired of Stacy. She's so boring. I wouldn't watch her show.

  8. guest says:

    test...for like the 11th time..

  9. Wayne says:

    Damaris is kinda pretty. And straightforward too. Also seems compassionate as she was comforting Stacey in the preview of the next episode. Plus she has a good sense of humor. I dont want any more boring FN hosts. Course it doesnt matter because they'll only give the winner 1 show & that's it, right Justin?

    And who in the world would have the nerve to cook green bean casserole when its up for auction unless you are CERTAIN its delicious?

  10. Wayne says:

    Rodney is pleased with being Rodney. He likes his own style whether hgtv does or doesnt. He'll be a 100 year old man probably acting the same. One can say he is truly at home in his skin. Whether he wins or loses...and he will lose...he happy he followed Sinatra's trademark song...."I DID IT MY WAY."

    He laments judges rough comments...but sometimes he says yeah but I had a ball....they can't jerk him around like they did Damaris---i dont think he's capable of being molded into anything else.

    • Shannon says:

      Wayne, that was a very good assessment of Rodney. He is his own person. I personally don't care for his style for a FN cooking show host. Some times he does or says things that just make me cringe. You did nail it though, he is who he is and makes no apologies for being him. I do give him credit for that.

      • Crouton40 says:

        I'm trying to imagine, when the day comes, his exit interview.
        "It's PIE-STYLE, baby! Rock on!"
        At least he's comfortable bein' who he is...

        • Wayne says:

          Thanks Shannon. Appreciate that.

          And you nailed it Crouton40....those will be his exit words, as they are his entrance words and in the middle words. He's probably got a whole lot of other words too that they beep out.