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. Wayne says:

    Stacey seems like a nice lady but reminds me of the kind of mom that everyone raves about her cooking so she feels she can really cook great great meals enough to have a tv show. I know she has a restaurant and i hear its successful since Irvine came and helped...she can probably make some nice dishes but I guess I thought whomever had a tv show was supposed to be really outstanding in the culinary world...not an Iron Chef but waaayyy better than the average good cook at home...maybe I got it wrong.

    She's sort of like that other mom lady who i never watch but seems like a nice lady...$10 dinners or whatever is her schtick.....melissa somebody?...

    • Guest says:

      It should be renamed to $20 dinners, due to inflation...Melissa D'Arabian is just as annoying as Sandra Lee, the blonde that uses prepackaged items and redecorates the dining room everyday with her *tablescapes*.

      • guest2 says:

        How is she annoying?

        • Wayne says:

          I dont care for her show. Nothing I can put my finger on. I guess sometimes you just dont care to watch a particular person. HOWEVER....she was on Chopped and speaking of how her mom committed suicide and my heart went out to her.

          • guest2 says:

            You can't put your finger on it. You don't care to watch her but you don't know why. Your just out of touch with yourself. Vague.

          • Myra says:

            I think guest2 was replying to guest's post about Mellisa. Also, $10 Dinners was the Networks's idea, not Melissa's, her show was going to be about tips and food fixes, I was really looking forward to it, but the network thought with the recession she should do a 'frugal" themed show.

    • connie t says:

      I like Melissa D'Arabian and here show and she is quite a good cook, having lived in France.

  2. Wayne says:

    I for one am really glad Bob and Susie aren't around this season. They had an air around them that was a bit snotty.

    At least Bobby, Alton, and Giada can together focus on mentoring everyone and not compete against each other in order to help ALL the contestants.

    However all of them have confused contestants at one time or another telling them one thing then another thing different later on.

    I hope they keep this format. Bob n Susie seemed too distant and disconnected from the average person trying to win...at least Bobby and Alton and Giada can relate.

    • karen says:

      Giada is the biggest snob there is. She iritates me no end, also does she ever where anything that does not show her cleavage.

    • jalp says:

      I agree that the judges are in better position to relate to the contestants' journeys and what they're going through. I'm not sure they're doing nearly as much mentoring this year as last year, though -- unless it's off-camera or on the cutting floor. (Actually, I tend to think they may have been more motivated to mentor last year, when they were helping their own team members . . . though I agree that there were aspects of the team format that weren't ideal, either.)

      But then again . . . if we want judges who know what the contestants are facing, and can offer them concrete advice . . . maybe we have an ideal judge in the person whose comments along those very lines we all come here to read. Justin for Judge, anyone? :D

      • Shannon says:

        Amazing that you put that to here. I was thinking the same thing. Why not? Maybe the realistic breath of fresh air this competition needs?

      • Donna says:

        No. God save us all. It would usher in the Invasion of the underground rebel hipster freakazoids.

  3. Rodney says:

    mumblemumblemumblemumblemumblemumble

  4. Junie says:

    It's time to stop being impressed by people who use the bacon crutch. Tired.

    • Wayne says:

      Yeah it is. Enough already! Bacons been around forever! Why everyone oohs and ahs about it is weird....its not a new meat that just came on the scene.

      • Shannon says:

        I like Michael Symons quote "Bacon is the Duct Tape of food".

        • jalp says:

          That sounds like Terry Pratchett's comment in a different but parallel context: "The reason that cliches become cliches is that they are the hammers and screwdrivers in the toolbox of communication."

  5. guest says:

    REPAIR this Blog.

  6. guest says:

    FIX this blog so people can use their online name and post more than 20 words.

  7. SouthFNViewer says:

    My problem with Stacy is that she has not proven she can actually cook on FNS or on Restaurant Impossible. Lest we forget she murdered chicken pot pie like it was a chicken crossing that proverbial four lane highway against the lights. This week she went to cheese in a pork blanket and I can tell you as a person that has turned out a triple chocolate delight cheescake with German chocolate icing that you can't set a cheesecake in 60 minutes when it takes 30 minutes at least to cook the cake. Massive failure in two challenges and then she was not dinged for her Pork disaster (overcooked pork tenderloin is a carnal sin in Q land to me) and she has not proven she can cook worth a fried fritter. If all it takes to become the next FNS is to smile, look pretty, and give us stories about your mom and dad teaching you how to poach an egg, I have hours and hours of them!!!!!!

    • Crouton40 says:

      test. can I post? will a reply work instead of new post?

    • Crouton40 says:

      Interesting.
      Nothing against Stacey personally. I am always wanting to hear: "on the one hand this, and on the other hand, that." Pro & Con. Shannon, has pointed out very similar things to what you say. She was accused of having a personal thing against Stacey. But now, you also point things out--and--I am unable to counter-argue it. Therefore, unless and until someone can and does....you have valid points. And yes, those are serious concerns. I want better than that, from anyone! If anyone thinks you are unfair, let them disprove it, or present a better case for their favorite.

  8. Crouton40 says:

    Trying again. Hope it gets through...

    Part TWO. The Auction Challenge.

    NIKKI: I like Nikki. Outgoing. Can talk. No arguing she did a very nice job last night. Her mushrooms and shrimp went over good. Thinking about it now, if they woulda gave Nikki last night's win, I wouldn't have minded. It would have been less controversial than Stacey's cheesecake. In one way, Nikki seems a wee-bit like Russell (but I admit, to a quite-a-bit-less extent), in that, she seems to do very well, or...not so hot. But Russell is worse that way.

    DAMARIS: For those of you who might think I like Damaris too much, let me say that I, myself, was a little disappointing, at first, when she did the thing with Bobby in the beginning. On the good side, she got that Buzzer from Bobby -less- than most of the others, but I thought she needed to perk it up a bit (so there! something a lil' negative). And--Green Bean casserole may not be the most exciting dish (so there! another negative. No one is immune. Not even if I like them. I'm trying to be fair.) Happily, though, there is another quite positive side to this:
    1. I will even say, that I myself, don't like green beans. However--she DID stay true to her POV and you can bet yer bottom-dollar if Susie Fogelson is watching, that matters. Further, it was not just some basic run-o'-the-mill dish. She jazzed it up with some tricks of her own and for me not liking green beans, I would have wanted to try it. Alton liked it. It was said (in a good way) her goat cheese was sophisticted.The judge said her sauce was good. So, you don't even have to take my word for it. But there's more:

    Elsewhere in this Blog, someone named Elderleigh has commented about Damaris getting contradictory advice from the judges. I agree. And it's nice to see someone else say it. But let's give Damaris credit where it's due, also. She *has* done a faithful job of listening to the mentors, and following, their advice. I say they need to just give her some room to breathe and let her, be her.....which leads me to another positive that we can all see and verify---when Damaris was finally in front of the audience at the Auction, she had a good smile and looked more relaxed and confident! I am not over-praising her. Bobby Flay said she: "improved GREATLY from one challenge to the next." We can see it. One of the things (besides her cooking) that I really like about her is: when she gets to be herself she always has a happy smile, never strikes me as fake and just seems fun and real. I am not saying she is the only one. Nikki is outgoing. Stacey is too, but more subdued. But Damaris can cook and keeps getting better. My opinion.

    RUSSELL: What was he thinking? Trout eggs?? If I'm in a competition! --and I want you to like my cooking best---I certainly am not gonna try and wow you with fish roe. Its gets worse. And what was that yucky bread-stuff he included? Ewwww. Not appetizing. And then---i gave him credit last week, when his speaking was better, but tonight, way too many Ahh's...umm's...being stuck.

    Your mileage may vary. As we get nearer the end, I suspect more emotions will come out online and we may see more slams against who we don't want. I am hoping most of us will take a more positive approach and say what makes your favorite, better.
    Crouton40--creator of http://www.top5best.com

    • Elderleigh says:

      Thanks for finally.... getting your second part posted. I always enjoy reading your pieces; they are well thought out and I usually agree for the most part.
      Last week I was in Russell's corner believing he had hit his presentation stride and was going to continue to improve and end up a presentation star, not a cooking star. This week he took several steps backwards and is lucky to still be in the running.
      I think Russell sized up the auction audience as pretention foodies and tried to play to that type of crowd. Unfortunately he was unable to deliver successfully to that crowd or any other.

      • Crouton40 says:

        Thank you, Elderleigh! I appreciate the kind words. I've been reading and enjoying your posts, as well.

    • Shannon says:

      Crouton, It was nice to see that Sarah apologized and explained why there were problems with your postings. Your back! (smile)

      • Crouton40 says:

        Yes! I'm quite honored. (smile) Never expected to hear from an actual network person no less. Getting a response from her was way-cool. I thanked her.

    • beachinfrizzy says:

      Hi Crouton. Glad you were persistent. I'm glad you mentioned Nikki's mushroom pasta. It sounded REALLY good and the judges said they liked "the whole thing", which didn't apply to several of the others. Definitely what I would have bid on. And she was the ONLY one who successfully did what Bobby told them to do in the mentor's challenge...that is, centered her presentation on giving a vivid description about his salmon dish so that viewers could get an idea of what the dish TASTED like (as opposed to how it's plated - we can see that - or what her neighbor's name is or which relative it reminded her of). Good to see her bounce back from her stumbles of last week, I was afraid she was a goner.

      • Crouton40 says:

        Thank you, Beachinfrizzy!
        The ranks are thinning. The battle is heating up.
        Onward!--to next Sunday.

        • beachinfrizzy says:

          Won't have a computer next week but will try to catch up the following! Wonder if it'll be a final 2...or 3...or even 4 this time?

  9. guest says:

    Part TWO. The Auction Challenge.

    NIKKI: I like Nikki. Outgoing. Can talk. No arguing she did a very nice job last night. Her mushrooms and shrimp went over good. Thinking about it now, if they woulda gave Nikki last night's win, I wouldn't have minded. It would have been less controversial than Stacey's cheesecake. In one way, Nikki seems a wee-bit like Russell (but I admit, to a quite-a-bit-less extent), in that, she seems to do very well, or...not so hot. But Russell is worse that way.

    DAMARIS: For those of you who might think I like Damaris too much, let me say that I, myself, was a little disappointing, at first, when she did the thing with Bobby in the beginning. On the good side, she got that Buzzer from Bobby -less- than most of the others, but I thought she needed to perk it up a bit (so there! something a lil' negative). And--Green Bean casserole may not be the most exciting dish (so there! another negative. No one is immune. Not even if I like them. I'm trying to be fair.) Happily, though, there is another quite positive side to this:
    1. I will even say, that I myself, don't like green beans. However--she DID stay true to her POV and you can bet yer bottom-dollar if Susie Fogelson is watching, that matters. Further, it was not just some basic run-o'-the-mill dish. She jazzed it up with some tricks of her own and for me not liking green beans, I would have wanted to try it. Alton liked it. It was said (in a good way) her goat cheese was sophisticted.The judge said her sauce was good. So, you don't even have to take my word for it. But there's more:

    Elsewhere in this Blog, someone named Elderleigh has commented about Damaris getting contradictory advice from the judges. I agree. And it's nice to see someone else say it. But let's give Damaris credit where it's due, also. She *has* done a faithful job of listening to the mentors, and following, their advice. I say they need to just give her some room to breathe and let her, be her.....which leads me to another positive that we can all see and verify---when Damaris was finally in front of the audience at the Auction, she had a good smile and looked more relaxed and confident! I am not over-praising her. Bobby Flay said she: "improved GREATLY from one challenge to the next." We can see it. One of the things (besides her cooking) that I really like about her is: when she gets to be herself she always has a happy smile, never strikes me as fake and just seems fun and real. I am not saying she is the only one. Nikki is outgoing. Stacey is too, but more subdued. But Damaris can cook and keeps getting better. My opinion.

    RUSSELL: What was he thinking? Trout eggs?? If I'm in a competition! --and I want you to like my cooking best---I certainly am not gonna try and wow you with fish roe. Its gets worse. And what was that yucky bread-stuff he included? Ewwww. Not appetizing. And then---i gave him credit last week, when his speaking was better, but tonight, way too many Ahh's...umm's...being stuck.

    Your mileage may vary. As we get nearer the end, I suspect more emotions will come out online and we may see more slams against who we don't want. I am hoping most of us will take a more positive approach and say what makes your favorite, better.

  10. Crouton40 says:

    Part TWO. The Auction Challenge.

    NIKKI: I like Nikki. Outgoing. Can talk. No arguing she did a very nice job last night. Her mushrooms and shrimp went over good. Thinking about it now, if they would've gave Nikki last night's win, I wouldn't have minded. It would have been less controversial than Stacey's cheesecake. In one way, Nikki seems a wee-bit like Russell (but I admit, to a quite-a-bit-less extent), in that, she seems to do very well, or...not so hot. But Russell is worse that way.

    DAMARIS: For those of you who might think I like Damaris too much, let me say that I, myself, was a little disappointing, at first, when she did the thing with Bobby in the beginning. On the good side, she got that Buzzer from Bobby -less- than most of the others, but I thought she needed to perk it up a bit (so there! something a lil' negative). And--Green Bean casserole may not be the most exciting dish (so there! another negative. No one is immune. Not even if I like them. I'm trying to be fair.) Happily, though, there is another quite positive side to this:
    1. I will even say, that I myself, don't like green beans. However--she DID stay true to her POV and you can bet yer bottom-dollar if Susie Fogelson is watching, that matters. Further, it was not just some basic run-o'-the-mill dish. She jazzed it up with some tricks of her own and for me not liking green beans, I would have wanted to try it. Alton liked it. It was said (in a good way) her goat cheese was sophisticated.The judge said her sauce was good. So, you don't even have to take my word for it. But there's more:

    Elsewhere in this Blog, elsewhere in this blog, its been commented about Damaris getting contradictory advice from the judges. I agree. And it's nice to see someone else say it. But let's give Damaris credit where it's due, also. She *has* done a faithful job of listening to the mentors, and following, their advice. I say they need to just give her some room to breathe and let her, be her.....which leads me to another positive that we can all see and verify---when Damaris was finally in front of the audience at the Auction, she had a good smile and looked more relaxed and confident! I am not over-praising her. Bobby Flay said she: "improved GREATLY from one challenge to the next." We can see it. One of the things (besides her cooking) that I really like about her is: when she gets to be herself she always has a happy smile, never strikes me as fake and just seems fun and real. I am not saying she is the only one. Nikki is outgoing. Stacey is too, but more subdued. But Damaris can cook and keeps getting better. My opinion.

    RUSSELL: What was he thinking? Trout eggs?? If I'm in a competition! --and I want you to like my cooking best---I certainly am not gonna try and wow you with fish roe. Its gets worse. And what was that yucky bread-stuff he included? Ewwww. Not appetizing. And then---i gave him credit last week, when his speaking was better, but tonight, way too many Ahh's...umm's...being stuck.

    Your mileage may vary. As we get nearer the end, I suspect more emotions will come out online and we may see more slams against who we don't want. I am hoping most of us will take a more positive approach and say what makes your favorite, better.
    Crouton40--creator of http://www.top5best.com

    • Crouton40 says:

      omg!
      Hey folks...only once of this post woulda been just fine with me.

      ...absolutely NOTHING worked...for hours...even overnight....many tries....nothing at all....suddenly BAM...i hope this it on copies...just glad its here at all.