The Epic Battle of Stacey vs. Nikki — Justin’s Rebel Recap

by in Recap, July 29, 2013

The Epic Battle of Stacey vs. Nikki - Justin's Rebel RecapA week ago, we watched as our six hopefuls scraped through a foodie field piece. This week, with five left, the tension is higher than Anne Burrell's hair. I think we've all been waiting to see this year's Donner Party moment, and it's finally upon us: the epic battle of Nikki vs. Stacey.

Mentor Challenge

This is a challenge I can get behind because I love playing MacGyver in my pantry, and I feel that home cooks don't do enough improv cooking.

  • Nikki: From minute one, Nikki's been able to climb out of any culinary ditch with her golden stepladder of camera presence, and today was no different. You should go back and watch the look on Stacey's face.
  • Rodney: Rodney uses the sweet 'n' salty chips to make — wait for it — a pie crust. On camera, Rodney was as controlled and un-shticky as we've ever seen him. There wasn't a guitar in sight.

  • Damaris: Instead of pointing out that the cereal fixes the problem of wanting immediate French toast when it should have been soaking overnight, she highlights its texture. Regardless, AB digs the French toast and her on-camera vibe.

Alton and Russell

  • Russell: Being the chef-of-chefs' chef, Russell wants to create a dish reminiscent of a late-night pantry raid after a long day at work, which somehow means a rib eye with potatoes coated in sea-salted popcorn chips. When it came to the camera, it looked like Russell was reading tiny cue cards held by a tiny man in the corner of the room.
  • Stacey: In between laughing fits triggered by Nikki's cubes of smoldering cereal, Stacey bangs out some vanilla-almond crusted chicken. I dig these flavors together, and I think it's a winning combination. Alton warns Stacey to turn down the perfection in her presentation and get intimate with the camera. Stacey managed to do just that, much to the chagrin of Nikki.

Star Challenge

Filling in for Bobby is none other than Robert Irvine. As a living testament to how powerful Robert is, Stacey flashes back to the time Robert mouth-to-mouthed her restaurant in San Diego.

Rodney - Food Network Star Season 9

  • Rodney: Pie style at this juncture involves covering yourself in flour. He manages to entertain the judges, but the concept of cacciatore pie doesn't sell. A cacciatore calzone might have been a winner, but, alas, I am not pie style, so I wouldn't know.
  • Damaris: While her dish is tasty, it remains meat, potatoes and a vegetable. There was no twang in her dish, and that's what the Selection Committee wants most.
  • Stacey: This challenge fits Stacey like tailor-made suede. It's really hard to put on a sweet face when total annihilation of competition is what you're hoping for. Stacey does a decent job of masking this, but the judges and even old Phil Trani can tell that it is just that — a mask.
  • Nikki: When Nikki's dish is presented, it looks a dinghy of salmon in a sea of red rice. Therein lies the problem with being a self-taught cook. Sometimes you skip one page of one chapter and then someone calls you out on it. It happens to me more than you'd think, or I like.
  • Russell: When Russell isn't reaching or preaching is when Russell does best. Instead of trying to lead a revolution, he wanted to teach. When Alton met me for the first time, he said he wasn't looking for a star performer; he was looking for a star teacher.

Cue the Scary Music

Russell, the phoenix of culinary sin, is now leading the pack going into the final challenge of this season. This man has had so much growth, I'm afraid he might come after my Miracle-Gro partnership. I said it six episodes ago: I've got my eye on you, Russell.

Damaris - Food Network Star Season 9Damaris' food was a snooze, Rodney's cacciatore pie was good on paper but not on a plate. The stoic sentry that guards the tender Stacey seen in Restaurant: Impossible would not stand down yet again this week, and Nikki's pilaf problem portrayed her as greenhorn.

Sadly, the girl with the golden POV, our semi-vegetarian heroine, was shown the door. I was bummed. I think America needs her POV, and I admired her tenacity throughout this competition.

The moral of the story: If you don't know what you're doing, don't pretend you do. Has that ever worked out for anyone outside of Congress?

Threat of the week: Stacey. She drops hammers like a clumsy carpenter. Her food and POV are more solid than a frozen pork butt. If she dismisses the guard at the gate, drains the moat and lowers the drawbridge in the final challenge, it could be big. The previous challenges don't matter anymore. Whoever wows us next week will be the next Food Network Star.

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Comments (688)

  1. victor says:

    Pie Style. UGH!!!

  2. Rosemarie says:

    I was thrilled to see Stacey eliminated this week. While in real life she might be all smiles and bright eyes, on screen it comes across very fake. Two weeks ago Nikki saved her butt and she repaid her last week by giving her the one dish she knew she hated. Hard to believe that she's this sincere, caring person with that kind of behavior. The audiences are that stupid, let's hope the network isn't either.

    • Rosemarie says:

      OOPS meant to say the audiences aren't that stupid.........................................

    • Rosemarie says:

      OOPS meant to say the audiences aren't that stupid..................................

      • Pie Man says:

        Ahhhhhhhh you don't know what the heck you mean. Pie style is bringing it home jack.

        • Rosemarie says:

          How would we know - you can't understand the "Pie Man" half the time. It would be nice if he could put two words together that sounded like he was half intelligent.

  3. Rosemarie says:

    BTW - half the time I don't understand the Pie Man. I can't imagine watching him on a weekly show with how he talks and acts. Really - mentors - you couldn't have found someone better.

  4. Sonia says:

    So sad seeing Stacey out of the competition and going home without having her the chance of having a pilot. I will have given the 4 the finalists the same opportunity. For me that will have been fair. It was obvious that one judge never feel to like Stacey since the beginning—no connection with her personality. I think that that was so obvious and was finally seen in his final decision, so he chopped her. So sad! So clear! So obvious!

  5. Heather says:

    Damaris, Damaris.... This chick could have a talk show! She's a star! She is a breath of fresh southern air.

  6. Nathan L Morrison says:

    The judges got it RIGHT by sending Nikki home! She faked an answer to a question about her dish, and even stated on camera that "most people don't know what a rice pilaf is" as justification for her flub. She was presenting a dish to the management of that restaurant as well as the mentors, all of whom are "food authorities" and she faked an answer. The mentors had been telling her all along to "be a food authority" and she proved she really wasn't and thought she'd get by off the ignorance of most people. That means, she would have given you the viewers of her show a false answer to cover up her mistakes. In a world where we can look up "rice pilaf" and know the correct answer in seconds from our couch, she should have known what her own dish she was serving was called!

  7. Darlyne says:

    Stacey is such a phony and thank goodness they cut her tonight. The Food Network Star show is hard to watch, because year after year they have always picked the wrong person to win. A panel of people who have no experience in cooking could pick a better person to have their own show. The same is so true of Design Star.......they always pick someone who is terrible. Can you name one person on the Food Network or the Design Star who still has a show on that people watch??????

  8. teena says:

    As we all sit here today doing our Monday morning quarterbacking, I cant vote for any of the finalists and will not be. In ll honesty, FN last really good, (IE excellent) decision was The Sandwich King. I love Jeff's show and even watch the reruns. Not being hateful but I thought Justin (aka self admitted colored lip gloss wearer) was supposed to get his test run??? I havent seen it happen. Not that I', missing it. So anyway in conclusions kudos again to Last Great Pick, Sandwich King... .

  9. guest says:

    Honestly.... I can't deal with the wacko mentality of these PIE people posting here! People have lost it. Trying to shove PIE-STYLE down our throats as some kind of "Way of Life".... ????? What is it, your new religion? I'm under-whelmed!!!!!!!!!! Give me a break!!! I can only stomach so much.

  10. JoeSaid says:

    Why vote, FN obviously did not pay any attention to the polls taken during this series.