Certifiably Awkward Moments — Justin’s Rebel Recap

by in Recap, June 9, 2014

Justin's Rebel Recap - Episode 2Last week we saw the first elimination of Season 10. Donna was shown the door, while Emma and Sarah were dragged to the next round, like babies attached to the wedding dress of stardom.

Alton's Teacher Challenge

The gang is split into two: Team Green Bean Casserole and Team Chicken-Fried Steak. The kicker is each finalist must talk Alton through a few steps of the recipe. I anticipated a few hiccups, but what ensues is embarrassment and certifiably awkward moments:

  • While Mr. Brown is Hulk-smashing green beans and throwing them into boiling water, Lenny, who sees through Mr. Brown's shenanigans, delivers a smart tip: "If you are going to chuck things in to boiling water, chuck them away from you, so as to scald your competition."
  • I would like to adopt Christopher for the holidays and show that man what a can of French's French Fried Onions looks like. Diced and sauteed onions on a green bean casserole is like putting ketchup on a hot dog in New York.
  • Seizing the opportunity, Sarah Zambonis Christopher's mistake and leaves a glistening, slick recipe for Luca.
  • Reuben forgets to make a roux. Rouxben. I bet he rues this mistake.
  • Aryen has to deal with Rouxben's folly. Lenny talks her through it and she overcomes, but Lenny is bummed she's getting credit for his clever solution.
  • Nicole navigates the sometimes-tricky world of breading a country-fried steak. She advises that Alton keep one hand for eggs and another for flour. I kind of wish she didn't because it would be very funny to see Alton with battered clubs for hands.

RoboChef Star ChallengeSarah Penrod

The gang gets a hodge-podge of pantry ingredients, which they use to make what the industry calls a "stand and stir" instructional video. Because nothing is ever as it seems on Food Network Star, Alex Guarnaschelli is waiting in the wings. I thought maybe Alex would be guest judging or sabotaging the kitchen. Not so! Chef Guarnaschelli follows every instruction the hopefuls give her. Some dishes are worthy of the Iron Chef, while others would be better suited for a show called Rusty Tin Fry Cook.

  • Lenny and his plate-size belt buckle get really "swanky" with a crab cake. Not only is the dish replicated with ease by A-Guarn, he is funny as heck. If anyone has any doubts about authenticity, get your DVR out and look at that man’s face when Bobby says he's a serious cook.
  • Loreal dials it down too hard and we are treated to a brunch salad with Ambien dressing. Luckily it's tasty.
  • The "Star de la mar" (who did swimmingly last week) is Nicole. I was stoked to hear her tip about "using your ears" in the kitchen. I feel like a lot of home cooks don't think about this unless they are microwaving popcorn. Unfortunately, listening to popcorn pop is more fun than watching Nicole cook.
  • When I see Luca, my head sings Right Said Fred, but my heart sees a good chef who happens to be the Adonis of Season 10. I think what makes him so approachable is that he isn't a prima donna. Somehow this manifested itself as shyness, and Luca couldn't look at the camera. It's one thing to be a head-down cook, but Star town isn't the city.
  • For real, I could listen to Emma talk all day. I don't care what the judges said. I felt like I was in some sort of egg being incubated by that warm voice. When it was time to hatch, I was born smarter and with a delicious plate of pasta before me.
  • N'awlins Chef Christopher is quickly becoming too "chef-y." I live in his world and speak the same jargon, but without a primer for words like "a la minute," "S and P," and "GarMo," a home cook feels "eighty-sixed" from the equation.
    • Kenny doesn't plate his dish, and to make matters worse, he tries to talk his way out of fault. As in life, when you screw up on Star, it's best to own it.

Kenny Lao


Cue the Scary Music: Lenny wins the challenge with his swanky crab cake and gen-u-wine personality. In the bottom of the barrel are Chris and Kenny, who didn't plate, and Luca, who didn't engage the camera. One of these things is not like the other, and Luca is shown the door.

The Moral of the Story: Food Network Star has never been about being the best chef on Earth, or René Redzepi would be on 24/7. Food Network Star is about finding a person who can be beamed from a studio to a flat piece of glass and still touch your heart, mind and stomach. If Luca could have looked us in the eye, he might have found his way to our living room, and we could have found our way to Luca's Italy.

Threat of the Week: I didn't include a TOTW last week because I was just getting to know the tenderfoots. Lenny brought out the quirt and made the other koozies look like real hat-benders. That's all the cowboy I speak, but if Lenny continues to bust broncos like he did today, we'll see him and his big belt buckle on the Jumbotron in two months.

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Comments (61)

  1. gambler says:

    Making a wager. Next to be eliminated or bottom three for next show are Kenny, Aryen or Chris L.
    Kenny, for poor cooking and being scattered. Aryen if she makes any more bad food at all. Chris Lynch for being forgetable as practically no one says anything about him good or bad or his I'm better than all of you attitude.

    • Liz Cantu says:

      I would agree with all of those. Chris L is one of the most annoying people to watch. Aryen could go places, but bland food will get her sent home. Kenny better bring it and earn that spot.

  2. Liz Cantu says:

    Chris L--- teaching part- way to confident for no apparent reason. cooking part- Food looked good. but I can't watch you when you are talking over people's head, you need to remember that not all of us at home have a culinary background. If you are going to use abbreviations, make sure you mention the full word first so we know what you are talking about! (Rachel Ray "EVOO") and use quantities. I personally, like alot of people, cannot eyeball amounts based on what im watching you do.

    Sarah--great job in the green bean casserole round. I like what you did with the onions. cooking part- You seemed confident on camera, and some people might count turkey burgers as date night food. when you're busy and have kids you make the most of what you got! You can turn any night at home into datenight if you have the right attitude. Throw some candles out there, put the kids to bed early. it works for me :)

    Lenny- Great job getting the green beans started, but don't get mad if Aryen took your advice. It's a competition, if you didn't want her to do well you should have stayed quiet. cooking part- funny!!! slightly awkward but that's what makes it great, glad he toned down his outfit a bit... and damn that crabcake looked great! and seriously, I didn't want to like you last week. I thought you would end up being annoying and over the top. Keep the wardrobe toned down but still in your style, let your food speak and not the outfit and keep your energy and quirkiness and you may give everyone a run for their money.

    Aryen- --should have acknowledged Lenny's help, clearly she didn't know how to proceed.-- cooking part- good idea bringing up time frame with kids, but it did not sound like something I'd feed my family, so at that point i'd change the channel unless she can keep me interested with personality.

    Rueben- Didn't talk to fast in the beginning, excellent. SLOW DOWN! You are fun to watch, but not everyone speaks spanglish :)

    Luca- Great bringing up Grandma and making Alton feel confident. cooking part- Gotta look at the camera. Easy to understand your instructions but smile and look up!

    Chris K---Energy was good first round. cooking part- energy and style are great, but let's get cooking a little faster. I would watch him for a while, but if he didn't get to the cooking part any faster i'd flip channels and get the recipe online.

    Loreal- good energy, didn't specify what alton could have done differently with the beef. seemed a little petty in the confessional. cooking part- I understand slowing down, but you looked very tired and slightly bored. the food looked great though.

    Nicole- Great tips, very clear, good energy. cooking part- Great tips. I thought you smiled well but maybe perk it up just a bit.

    Emma- Good beginning tip about being careful, but slightly awkward with the silence. cooking part- very clear, I could follow the instructions, I like your voice, but I want to see the energy from your audition tape! Dance around the kitchen, smile be a little goofy!

    Kenny- Yeah the cornstarch thing was not cool. If i did that at home I would have gross gooey clumps. :( Alton didn't even want to look at the pan. cooking part- good tip in the beginning, but way too slow. should have figured out the burner issue earlier. a little over confident at the end when speaking. you gotta roll with it, don't make excuses.

    As for the judges choice, I don't agree with the bottom 3. I think yes, Kenny should be in bottom, he didn't finish, had poor time management and messed up the gravy.
    Chris K i can see why they put him in the bottom 3 because of time management.
    Aryen could have been in the bottom due to bland food again.
    Chris L could have been in bottom 3 because you can't follow instructions without quantity.
    Luca in the bottom 3 would not have been my choice, yes he had issues looking at camera, but that can be taught. he admitted he had zero experience with it, and his food was good and he was very easy to follow.

    That being said, maybe one of the reasons they chose to drop Luca was so that Star Salvation would get the viewers, and he totally rocked it! I think if any of the others had been sent down, they would not have done as well on Salvation. I just hope Kenny and Chris K earn their place on FNS.

    • shannon says:

      Liz, I was just thumbing through the posts again and found yours. You nailed it. Why didn't I think of that. (Hand smacking my forehead here for effect)!! I am betting you are 100 correct, Luca was eliminated to drive up the viewership of the redemption episodes. You are one smart cookie!!

      • Liz Cantu says:

        Lol, thanks Shannon :) I hope Luca sticks around for a while, and we will see what tomorrow's episode brings. Although i'll be catching up monday morning due to the Spurs game lol.

  3. Crouton40 says:

    Liz, thanks for adding your comments. Looks like we agree on - ALOT. :)

    I recently checked, and saw Kenny dead-last in the fan poll. So....unless he totally rocks it next time, I'm betting lots of folks will be ticked if he doesn't get sent home.

    A little thing, but....so many people say Lenny should quit whining about Aryen getting credit for his tip, which he didn't have to give at all, true, but....I find it puzzling that I don't see more folks a lil' miffed at Aryen for not giving any credit/acknowledgement to Lenny. Yes, it's a competition, but...whatever happened to "good sportsmanship"?
    and so...as our exciting drama unfolds.....

    WILL Kenny go home nest?
    WILL Chris Kyler and/or Ayren make a comeback?
    WILL Emma come out of her shell and delight many?
    WILL Loreal resume her playful spunkiness and show us good tips?
    WILL the cowboy take a nosedive, or rock-the-house yet again?
    WILL Reuben do much better next time?
    Mwuuuahahahhaa! Tune-in SUNDAY, for another exciting episode!

    • Liz Cantu says:

      Thanks Crouton..... you know, I was thinking right now. I honestly don't think people realize that the Fan Poll has zero effect on who the judges send home. The show has been taped and edited already. We are watching something that happened weeks ago. So the Fan Poll is just for our amusement and a way to make people feel like they are contributing to the show. I am sure there will be a Big Reveal of the fan fave on the season finale, but no guarantee that the Fan Fave will be the same as the winner. So people getting upset because the network doesn't take into consideration who they will send home is kind of silly. I would understand if this was a live show or based on everyone's votes like "american idol" or something. but anywho :) Just my thoughts.

      • Crouton40 says:

        I think you're right about the poll. Many people last year, said they didn't believe it and that they thought people were moving up too suddenly...also that at times they felt the poll should have budged more, but didn't....and/or that the poll simply didn't jive with the comments people were posting on the Blog. And, thinking about it a bit more, it's too surprising, for as you point out, the show is already taped and edited. They already know (except finale'), so yes, it's basically just watching viewer-reaction "after the fact". Even so, seeing how fans react to each elimination/show, is good feedback the network to have and use, for next year's season. But you're right.

      • MoHub says:

        I've been saying this repeatedly, but somehow, many viewers seem to be weak on the concept of videotaping. They really can't understand that everything but the finale is in the can and can't be changed no matter what the viewers' opinions are.

        It seems to be an exceptionally tough idea to grasp for way too many people.

        • Liz Cantu says:

          America now is so used to everything being at their fingertips, it is still very hard for some people to grasp. I understand more fully now only because I have some experience with the film industry and the way TV shows are shot. They are all used to American Idol and other reality shows that weigh votes, that alot of people don't stop to think about the logistics of what it takes to put a regular tv show together. Thanks for weighing in with me MoHub!

          • Crouton40 says:

            We do live in an high-tech, push-button, I want it NOW kinda world. Even though it's true, I suspect alot of people just ignore it because, once *could* make the case and say:

            "well, then. Since it's already in the can and there's nothing we can do about it anyway....why not just close down this down this Blog and have everyone stop writing immediately?" Why bother at all? One could say we're all just spinning our sheels and wasting time writing about the episodes (they're already done)...and FN can just open-up the BLOG during the finale, we can one vote, and that's it.

            But it's so much fun, anyway. To sound-off. To see what others are thinking. It's like getting caught up in a good movie, hoping the bad-guys are defeated and rooting for your hero. Will it do any good? But we still love to do it. I've always said: Food Network can use all of these blog-posts, every season, as very good feedback for the next season. Example: last year many said they hated having teams. This year, so far, we don't have them. I know this started out as Voting rather than posting, but I think the same principle applies (at least until the very final finale & vote). No offense....

  4. Foodfancier says:

    Luca was the ONLY one worth watching and should have stayed. Giada, if you recall, didn't feel comfortable in front of the camera when she was starting out with her show. It took a number of episodes before she became more confident. How quickly people forget! None of the others appeal to me at all. There are enough country cooks already on FN. The date night thing has been done before and didn't exactly go over that well. None of the others have that 'edge of specialty' like Luca has. JMO.

  5. Linda says:

    Sorry Justin. I find Lenny really annoying. I don't see myself watching a show he does. I hope Luca gets to come back. He is a real charmer and he knows how to cook. REALLY cook

  6. Doctor Wilson says:

    Buzzwords. They're so overused and they say nothing. Annoying, is the new buzzword of 2014. Half the planet is annoying these days. Somehow. No one will ever quite tell you how. People just are. As we get close to this year's last four contenders standing, I wonder how many more times I'll read that someone that people don't want to win, is described as annoying. We have no idea what makes them that way. People just say they are. But I guess the right to be fuzzy and vague is also a right.

  7. [...] Read Season 8 Winner, Justin Warner’s Rebel Recap. [...]

  8. Elderleigh says:

    I know the "show" is history and we can't change what happened - weeks, if not months ago, but maybe the Network will pay attention to some of the comments if Lenny is the winner and they begin packaging his show.

    I just re-watched the 2012 Chopped Grill Masters - and rediscovered the perfect chuck wagon chef in Kent Rollins, the runner up to that show. He had his boots, his hat his jeans and lots of good ol' "Au Shucks, Ma'am" charm, BUT Kent came off on screen as personable and genuine - The Real Deal. He looked like he could have just walked away from his chuck wagon to compete.

    I think Lenny has some of that "Au Shucks" realness - but he has to dump the Rhinestone Cowboy look. He can be a character without being a caricature.

    Lenny seems to have a wider cooking back ground than Kent - but Kent had the genuine look and attitude that might appeal to more viewers. Just sayin'

    • Humphrey Bogart says:

      Useful comments, thanks. I don't know why some people feel it's so important to keep reminding everybody that the shows are already a done deal. So what? All feedback, even after the fact, is good info.

      • Elderleigh says:

        Thanks. I honestly hope viewer feedback is considered for future seasons. I know I learn from reading other people's opinions and just hope that is true of the Network.

        • Humphrey Bogart says:

          I believe feedback is used for future seasons. People did not like dials of doom or teams. They said so. This year we haven't seen them.

          Now, if we could just get people to stop using the word, Annoying. Total buzzword. What does it even mean anymore? Almost every third person and their dog, is annoying but no one tells you how. They just are. Somehow. Anytime someone doesn't want someone to win FNS, they just call them annoying 150 times and hope it sticks.