“This Was Especially Disappointing” — Alton’s Post-Star Rundown

by in Judges, June 8, 2014

Alton's Post-Star Rundown - Episode 2
Every week, Alton Brown is joining the Star Talk roster to talk about the most-recent elimination and the thoughts that went behind each difficult decision from the judges' perspective.

Moving into the second episode, Bobby, Giada and I decided to switch the emphasis to communication and teaching skills. For the Mentor Challenge, I revisited a scenario I used to select my team for Season 8 in which the finalists had to walk me through the preparation of a couple of dishes. You'd be surprised how tough it is to get a dish on a plate when all you can use is words. That said, most of the finalists managed to get through it, but when faced with the Star Challenge, three finalists quickly sank to the bottom of the pack.

Either Kenny or Chris could have gone down, but during evaluation they both owned up to their issues, and we felt that they had the self-awareness to improve. Luca, however, had a really difficult time connecting with the camera and, frankly, his dish was underwhelming. This was especially disappointing because during the first episode, Luca radiated charm and seemed to pack some significant Italian culinary know-how. I don't know if Luca's issues stem from the fact that English is a second language for him or if he simply can't look down the lens and deliver, but it was clear to me that it was time for him to exit the competition.

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Comments (58)

  1. maxwell says:

    What an unbelievable decision as Luca is eliminated.....he completed his dish. He has the best camera appeal & who do they keep......it is truly UNBELIEVABLe and I for one wil Not watch this silly show again.

    • Buffy says:

      It is amazing. How much time are they going to spend training the guy who speaks fast and runs his words together if he wins?
      I know the Abraham Lincoln beard is in style now. However, I only see young guys who look like old men. My gosh, I was really hoping that a super nice looking man with skills would win this season. I am not inclined to follow the man from New Orleans because I don't really trust him.

    • Guest says:

      Totally agree with you. I'm through with the show. Don't ask for votes from viewers if it means nothing.

    • CandiSla says:

      what happened to the full episode online? they only have last weeks posted-they tell you who lost and show the salvation-but not the episode? what's that about ...

    • Guest says:

      I agree he had the best camera appeal of the three. Even though he did not look at the camera, he still had the best appeal. Ha-ha. It was only the second episode. Surely he could have learned the camera skill in the next few episodes and I am sure he too would have acknowledged that not looking at the camera was his fault if asked. Would that have left him off the hook like the other guy, who didn't finish and would never hold my interest as a cooking show host? Yuk. I watch the food network and cooking channel every day. Lucas of the three would have been the only one that would have my viewing time. The after the show elimination showed Lucas looking at the camera quite naturally. I hope they get him back in the competition that way. Big mistake to eliminate him so early. Some of the other contenders are just painful to watch.

  2. Guest says:

    How will Alton explain this one?

  3. Debbie Zarzecki says:

    I can't believe they actually booted Luca over Kenny. He didn't finish his dish and from what I've seen he can't cook. The judges really blew it this week.

  4. Tari says:

    The one that most of us women would watch just to watch HIM, and they drop him. That was not thinking of what the audience wants to see.

    • Janelle says:

      It's not about who makes viewers hearts go pitter-patter, it's about who has ABILITY.

      • Buffy says:

        De Luca has skills and a nice swagger, De Luca is inviting

      • Jennifer says:

        Well, as neither one of the other two have any apparent ability, what next? At least they could have given Luca a second chance. He seemed to do okay talking to the camera between shots - at least you can understand what he says. Like Alton, I don't speak Spanish, so I'm going to have a real hard time warming up to the one that can't make up his mind on which language he wants to use. And the other one - can't remember names - is apparently a whiner. Pleeez!

  5. Shannon says:

    Interesting episode. I have to say I am shocked they sent Luca home. True, he did not look at the camera during his presentation. However he has in the past and he did again in Star Salvation, so he has the ability. What I don't understand is why Kenny was not sent home. Owning up to your mistakes does not take them away. I was shocked that he made cooking 101 mistakes twice tonight. Not adding a thickening agent to hot liquid is a basic cooking principal that novice cooks learn. I honestly don't think he can cook -certainly not enough to teach anyone anything by watching his show.

    Sarah was great, I have to say I was wrong in thinking she was going to go home this week. She pulled it together and seemed like an entirely different person. So much so that I now remember her from the last time she competed (I liked her then too). It was cute when she realized she was cooking in "mom" mode and not in "date night" mode, she owned up to that mistake with dignity. That, I appreciate. I also like the fact that she had the wherewithal to acknowledge Chris cut the onions wrong and to do them over in her "directions" segment. However she did not say anything negative about a mistake she felt Chris had made, she just rolled along.

    Chris L remains full of himself, stating he is the best cook there. In my opinion he is not very engaging. Yes he was smooth and can talk on camera however he does not come across as very warm, I saw not one smile into the camera. After Alex followed his verbal instructions making the dish she asked him "How did I do ?" He honestly was about to critique her. C'mon that is very ballsy. He thinks he's a better chef than she is. I almost choked at that. He reminds me of Tyler Florence, very dry.

    Loreal , I know people love her. I cant say that I do. I lost tons of respect for her tonight. She is a very cocky individual. First she felt the need put down the way the meat was cut by Chris, she did not have to point out a mistake that did not affect her. She was not being judged by the overall dish, just by her verbal instructions to Alton. Then I thought she was an incredible "Mean Girl" when she did that sing-song thing saying "he can't co oook". That was not necessary (we all have eyes). I think her overblown sense of self may be her undoing. I think of Aria in a previous season, the judges loved her, then she got cocky and failed to continue to grow. We will see.

    Aryen, Lenny saved her with his awesome knowledge. I think the respect was mutual between he and Alex.

    Nicole, She is doing really well. Engaging, smooth on camera and seems to be able to cook.

    Emma, I like her. She is comforting. I actually like her delivery and personality. She is not a jubilant jokester. That is ok with me. She reminds me of Sarah Moulton, who is engaging, warm and easy to understand. I know the judges said she is too laid back. I like that.

    Reuben, he really does talk fast. He should enter the verbal Oympics, he would take the gold. Alton said he did not understand him when he switched back and forth English to Spanish. I did not catch half of what he said in English.

    • MoHub says:

      I'm not sure what the judges' issue is with people they considered too laid-back. I remember them delivering the same criticism to Ippy, whose show I'd have watched in a heartbeat.

      And this on a network that gives airtime to Ina Garten, perhaps the most laid-back cook ever to grace a television screen—and that's not really a bad thing.

      • Crouton40 says:

        Very true. Ippy was awesome. I was OK with his being laid-back. I think it was a case of he started smiling much *less*. Why, I don't know. He could light up a room with it. 30% less than the most over-the-top is fine with me. I dont want dull, but there's still plenty of room to be engaging.

      • Guest says:

        ippy was AWSOME and a show needed on this network. Bad choice in elimination.

    • Pat says:

      Kenny should have gone home. He talked back to the judges and didn't complete his dish. Luca is charming and certainly deserved to stay. I watched the star salvation and he is a natural. I would definitely watch his show

      • Shannon says:

        Pat, Luca was in a 2 words "pretty awesome" on salvation. I was VERY impressed. It leaves me wondering what actually happened and why he was so awful and camera shy during the competition. It will be interesting to see how long he sticks around.

    • Crouton40 says:

      Shannon, Nice review! Alot of my feelings are quite similar. I just posted them on the Recap thread/discussion.
      Like you, I also think Chris Lynch is full of himself, I like Nicole, and Rueben talks much too fast.

      • Shannon says:

        Thanks Crouton. I think their true natures are starting to come out as nerves are starting to dissipate.

  6. joan1215 says:

    Note to the judges.......Kenny has turned off the audience. I know I would never watch a show he is on. You sent home someone who can cook because he didn't look into the camera---which is probably an easy fix. My gut feeling is that you sent him home because you didn't need another Italian cooking show on the schedule.

    • TashaaD says:

      I completely agree about Luca getting eliminated. He completed his dish and camera skills can be taught within the weeks. And I think its more about stepping on Giada"s territory then on Italian cooking. For some reason food network doesn't like to give us variety. More than one person can teach a category. :)

  7. Jennifer says:

    I agreed with the first week's cast off, but not this one. Kenny and Chris both needed to go, as they are both incompenent. At least Luca can talk, and has a certain charm about him. It was just his first time before the camera, for goodness sake. There is no appeal whatsoever to the other two. I also am getting waaaay tired of "The Sarah Show", as the producers apparently want us to gush over Sarah this season. I'm sick to death of her Giada immitation (all cheesey smile), and the more they push her in my face, the less I like her. Give the others a chance once in a while!

    • guest says:

      Who is your favorite so far? What do you like about them?

    • Lynn says:

      Give the others a chance? OK, fine. When the network does that and we see whoever else get their commentary time, will you at least be consistent and also say you're tired of the ___________show, too? Whatever's fair.

  8. Suzy says:

    Once again, another season of Alton's petty dictatorship. Kenny was the one to be eliminated. But the great forgiving Alton showed mercy. What, are they afraid of Luca? I don't think I can take another season of BS from these judges.

  9. Michelle Davis says:

    I was never more disappointed in the show as I was Sunday night. Perhaps you should have looked at who the audience wanted gone. Luca, I would have definitely watched. Alton, you need to go. You do think a lot of yourself. Too bad your ruining the show. I'm done watching.

    • MoHub says:

      All but the finale is in the can. There's no way the viewing audience's after-the-fact opinions can alter what happens. The eliminated, bar the final three or four, have already been sent packing.

      • Crouton40 says:

        So then...the Finalists, must already know, who wins and who goes home, in all challenges, right now (except the finale). What an experience this must be for *them*--knowing what they already know, and reading viewer-reactions to it all, as we see it unfold challenge by challenge when they already know. One more thing--(maybe it's just me) but when I hear someone say: "I learned alot about myself"....I tend to think: Hmm. Sounds like that person probably didn't win. But I admit, that's an assumption.

        • MoHub says:

          Not only that, but they have to sign contracts saying they won't tell anyone anything about an episode until after it airs. And they don't go home when eliminated; they're usually sequestered elsewhere until filming is complete, and they sometimes have to parade around and participate in challenges after they're eliminated so the live audiences don't know who's in and who's out before the show airs.

  10. Patricia Pryke says:

    The judges missed on this one for sure. Women would tune in in droves just to look at Luca, but I am sure he can also cook. With so many losers to eliminate, they get rid of Luca. I will not be tuning in again.

    • steph says:

      In this challenge where he was eliminated, Alton didn't think his food was that good. Just to play devil's advocate, think about this: could it also be, that women are so captivated by his good looks, that if he won, he could make mediocre dishes and people would be so enthralled with him, they'd let it slide? You might say who cares. Ratings are ratings. But it would be bad for the networks credibility. By the same token, to attract more male viewers, why don't they just hire some smokin' hot fitness model who's cooking is good, not great, as long as we would tune in to watch her? That wouldn't work either.

      • Louise says:

        The Food Network has NO credibility as far as I'm concerned considering all the trashy shows they've put on the air just to get ratings.

        • MoHub says:

          The real credibility issue to me is when every "restaurant rescue" program berates the owners for using frozen and prepared foods and extols the virtues and superiority of fresh ingredients. Then, the network reaps beaucoup advertising dollars for purveyors of processed foods containing who-knows-what chemicals. In that light, maybe Sandra Lee is the only FN personality who doesn't come off as a hypocrite since she's the queen of the can opener.