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. Crouton40 says:

    Finally!!! after endless re-tries.....and many hours.

    • sdeheer says:

      Hi Crouton40: So sorry for the delay. The word count on your post required us to approve it and we just noticed. Have a good day, Sarah.

    • plainwayne says:

      Hey sheriff, thanks for sharing! Hey sheriff, thanks for sharing! hey sheriff, thanks for sharing! Hey sheriff, never mind.

      • Crouton40 says:

        Was never intended as spam. Kept trying because it hadn't gone through. Grateful to Sarah/admin.

        • BillO says:

          Obviously Spam is looked down on on a serious cooking network. Bacon on the other hand is worshiped.

          • Crouton40 says:

            ....(but I love a good bacon-cheese burger with white onion and dab o' yellow mustard).

          • plainwayne says:

            That 'splains it!!! Yellow mustard!!! spoken like a true gastronomic Neanderthal!
            a true Steelers fan says corse stone ground only! Early your could be too crazy to know you're crazy!
            Your friend

          • Crouton40 says:

            Pffft. Hang in there, Wayne. The pills will wear off soon for you.

            I never said JUST yellow mustard.
            If you were more perceptive, you wouldn't have assumed that. But--perhaps yer just too crazy to know yer crazy, etc..,etc....(all in fun)....Touche'!

          • plainwayne says:

            I would have to be crazy to think you're right !:)

          • Wayne's friend Don says:

            My pills have worn off too soon - your seem to be just kickin' in. Lively conversation about NOTHING.

            What's your food point of view . . . it's very evident that you don't have anything other POV.

          • FriendsOfCrouton40 says:

            Crouton40 is specific.

            Thanks for contributing such an informative post. lol

          • jalp says:

            But bacon doesn't make quite as funny a lyric. Just try it and see:

            "Bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon,
            bacony-baaaake, wonderful baaaaake. . . ." :D

          • Shannon says:

            You guys are crazy. jalp, after reading your little ditty..all I keep thinking of is that dumb commercial for Beggin' Strips with that dog that keeps saying "bacon,bacon,bacon gotta get some bacon"

  2. LynninBR says:

    Justin, it's only your blog posts that keep me at all interested in Star. It seems to have become a personality contest. The competitors have nothing much to say, and the food doesn't inspire. Food Network seems more committed to the drama of competition than in creating a star, someone who brings something new and interesting, who I would think about watching. If they wanted interesting programming, you would have a cooking show on Food Network. Disappointed.

    • FNS Editor says:

      Justin does have a show. Rebel Eats. He won the competition last year.

      • LynninBR says:

        That was a "special". One episode. It didn't appear until the following spring, and it was a travel show, with minimal cooking. Not what the Star audience was promised.

        • jalp says:

          Maybe we're all over-assuming. Justin got a *show*. He just hasn't gotten a *series* yet. . . . : |

    • Davout says:

      This year's competition does indeed seem to be a personality contest and the food doesn't inspire, but I wouldn't say these people started that. IMHO this lack of personality and poor food and boring people started at least two years ago with people like Jeff and Justin and Justin is proving with his recaps that he can't write either.

  3. hand on the dial says:

    stacey's googly eyes, insincere "aw shucks" smile and lacquered presentation give me the creeps...

  4. Richard says:

    I feel confused. I thought the contestants who received the highest bids were safe from elimination yet Russell and Chad brought in $150 I believe and Nikki and Damaris brought in $130; did the bidding matter at all? If anyone understood this, please explain! Thanks!

    • BillO says:

      Only the very highest person was safe. That was Stacey with $190

    • FNS Editor says:

      Apparently, the people in charge of this show thinks the viewers are so stupid that we can't notice their dumb mistake. They were being lazy.

  5. Becky says:

    The only FNS that is still an actually STAR is Guy.. So why don't they go back to the 1st season, see what they done to get such a star and try that again? I have watched every season and they seem to get worse every year...

    Wasn't Chris on last season? Seems like I remember him from somewhere...

    • Becky says:

      NVM.. Chris was Food Truck race.......Knew I seen him somewhere... And Guy was season 2.... But whatever.. Still the only FNS worth watching

  6. David says:

    By the way, how the hell are Rodney and Stacey the top two in the fan vote? They seem to be getting the most venom on this blog, and are generally not very likable.

    Something tells me food network is fudging around with the percentages!

  7. Tyler says:

    Chad going home was a bit of a surprise, but I can see the reasoning. When you're looking for a real star....take a chance with the higher potential guy. Chad is better all-around now, but there's that small chance that it clicks with Russell. I think Chad has the right to be upset, since he was better than Russell throughout the competition. In the end, however, it's about the bigger picture. SMALL PICTURE: Who is better now? Who is doing well on the challenges? Which contestant is the most ready? vs BIG PICTURE: Who has the most room to grow? Who will grab the attention of the audience and keep it longer? It was a tough call.

    • guest says:

      3rd picture: who IS growing right now and will they also be interesting later?

      • guest says:

        There is a good chance that if they are good now, they will still be good in the future, unless they are too average or gimmicky or the novelty wears off.

        • Tyler says:

          I get what you're saying but my point is that I think Russell could potentially be better than Chad will ever be. Chad is good now, but doesn't grab your attention the way Russell and his food can. I actually doubt that Russell will improve that much, but at this point in the show, might as well go for the higher ceiling. That's my logic at least :p

  8. Tyler says:

    I also want to understand everyone's view of Rodney....I see a lot of criticism (and agree with much of it), but I don't feel such strong negativity toward him as most. I actually like him as a person. He seems to love what he does and has a good time doing it, even when others don't share the same view. I really admire that. I do think that hurts him in this competition, though. While he may enjoy it, the purpose is to make sure everyone else does as well. I personally don't think he should still be on the show based on his efforts so far, but I never know what crazy thing he's going to do (good or bad) which adds some entertainment value to the show. So I guess my question is this: Do you truly dislike HIM (his boldness, ideas, attitude, etc.) or do you simply think he doesn't have what it takes?

    • guest says:

      Obviously, you are more into entertainment than cooking.
      Alton told him we ALL had a blast or a good time. That wasn't the point.

      • Tyler says:

        I wouldn't say that. I just try to factor in the things the network is looking for. Cooking is obviously what the show/channel is about, but it is TV after all. By the way, I didn't mean to imply that he deserves to stay. I just find him interesting to watch on this particular show and wondered if people really dislike Rodney himself or just his performances.

        • Wayne says:

're funny. Those were Altons exact words. Alton is so great with words. Me. Not so much.

          Sooo.. Tyler, to answer your question....As for me, Rodney seems to have picked up what he thought would be key words to make a crowd go ga-ga all the time--almost like those words are a crutch to get your attention or get you to want to watch him and eat his food. Something there seems insincere.....if he just cooked as he did on Iron Chef or in his restaurant without a gimmick.... I dont like gimmicks that are supposed to be a 'guarantee to make you win.'---a 'sure thing.' I'd rather a boring person that is sincere (Viet) than a trumped up phony. Just be you.
          I dont like Guy Fieri but I think he is sincere being who he is so even tho I dont like him, I feel he is being sincere. Something about Rodney makes me feel he is just performing to get the response he wants instead of just being himself. Thats why he forgets his week its sins,next week its culinary rebel....throw everything on the wall and hope something sticks!

          • Guest64 says:

            I think you have confused Rodney with Russell. Otherwise, I agree with what you said. Cheers!

          • Tyler says:

            Yeah, Russell definitely needs to pick his POV (I'd go with the sins), but if you were talking about Rodney's slang, I think that's just him being himself. At some point in his life, he probably picked up the "boss", "jack", "killer" type words because he thought he'd sound cool, but you can tell that he just automatically uses those without even thinking about it now. I keep thinking back to the first challenge where he knew he wasn't supposed to use that vocabulary but it kept slipping out as he spoke. It is kind of gimmicky though, so I agree that he needs to bring a lot more to the table.

    • BillO says:

      I don't dislike him. At the start I thought his pie-man thing would be a huge asset. He seems to have 3 facets- his pies, his singing/playing and his humors. The only problems are that his pies have been of very mixed quality, his singing stinks and he's not funny. So for me his show has gone from The Pie Man to Pie In The Sky. I think he's gone in the next 2 weeks.

    • NoMoreConnie says:

      I personally think he is trying too hard with the music and gimmicks. I think that is a turn off or most people. I think the guitar and the "slang" talk ( sorry dont know how else to say it) overshadows his cooking and sometimes just gets in the way.

      • Tyler says:

        I agree with the last part. Not sure if he's really trying too hard as much as just doing what he likes. I can definitely see why people might think that though....I might feel the same way, but he's been pretty consistent with that whole personality so I'm convinced that's just how he is.

        • Tyler says:

          I just realized I wasn't too clear with that answer haha...I should have said that the music and jokes and other gimmicks are fun to him, so that's why he does it. I don't think he's doing it just to cover up his cooking.

    • Shannon says:

      Tyler, I thought about your question, which I think is a good question by the way !! Do I truly dislike Rodney or do I simply think he does not have what it takes. I have read a lot of what people say on here, some say he seems like a great guy who they would like to hang out with, some say he would make an amazing show. Others, not so much. Personally, I applaud Rodney for being himself. I think his gregarious bigger than life personality is genuinely who he is. It is not an act. In that, I think he is a genuine guy, and probably nice to boot. But now the down side (for me anyway), I don't think I could handle him except for in small doses. I am not one of those people that would want to hang out with him and have a beer, I would like to meet him sure, but move on. I think I might like to "people watch" him from afar but not be involved with the circle (if any one understands what I mean). I do not think he would make a good host of a show, actually the opposite, he would be awful.. he is never on a medium or lo setting, I am also not sold on his cooking skills nor his communication skills for this format.

      • Tyler says:

        I can definitely agree with that. I never thought about it the way you described him....constant "high" setting...definitely a good point. If he could learn to tone it down and bring out the bold Rodney personality when it's appropriate, that would be huge. I don't see any reason for him to have his own show based on what we've seen so far, though.

        • Crouton40 says:

          I don't dislike Rodney. To answer your earlier question, I just don't think he has what it takes.
          1. He ignores advice.
          2. His food isn't near good enough, often enough.
          3. His presentations are not lucid, insightful or informative enough.
          4. Sometimes he's just obnoxious.
          He probably has a decent sense of humor and is a kind man in real life. He's obviously quite comfortable just bein' Rodney....but he just isn't cut out for this. (my opinion).

          • Shannon says:

            Crouton, I just read what you wrote. It made me LOL. You are right, often times Rodney is not lucid. He sure dances to the beat of his own drummer. (Smile)

  9. guest says:

    Look at Rodney's pic on here. Put a very fine dusting of powdered sugar all over his face. Then, think of the end of the Star Wars movie when Luke pulls off Darth Vader's mask and he looks pasty white. Rodney? Not sure why I connect those two but it comes to mind.

  10. Kay Sharp says:

    Chris is probably the only one I would watch, and he is gone. Stacey?? Ugh. Boring, redundant, smiling too hard. Nikki maybe I could watch. This season sucks basically.