“He Missed Major Opportunities.” — Alton’s Post-Star Rundown

by in Judges, June 15, 2014

Alton's Post-Star Rundown, Episode 3Every week, Alton Brown is joining the Star Talk roster to talk about the most-recent elimination and the thoughts behind each difficult decision from the judges' perspective.

It's no surprise that this is my favorite episode this season — it's Food Network Star, Cutthroat style! The evilicious game play conjured new weaknesses and strengths from the finalists, and when the smoke cleared from both heats, Emma and Christopher were clearly at the top of the heap while Chris, Loreal and Kenny were sucking wind and hoping for survival. Each had serious issues on the plate and in their presentations, but it was clear to Bobby and I that the time for Kenny to go had come.

Based on previous evaluations, he knew he needed to stretch himself culinarily and he did dare to be different with his breakfast parfait. Problem is, it just wasn't good despite the fact that Kenny was facing zero sabotages. His story was equally disconcerting to me, as he missed major opportunities to bring it to life with positive emotions and memories. I can't speak for Bobby, but I just don't feel Kenny has enough culinary skill to be a Food Network Star no matter how great his "front of house" skills may be.Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Jet Tila

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Comments (59)

  1. Debbie Zarzecki says:

    This time the judges got it right. Kenny does not have the culinary skills to teach anybody how to cook.

    • Robert says:

      Right on, Debbie. Kenny's time to go was this week, although last week's performance was a real disaster in and of itself. Let's hope that this decision will send the right message to all the rest of the FNS competitors - anyone could be next to go home soon, and I'm afraid Chris may be next.

  2. Cherise says:

    I don't think anyone will miss him.

  3. Diana says:

    I cannot stand the cowboy. And I cannot for the life of me, figure out why everyone is so enamored with him. He is arrogant and whiny. And that whole cowboy schick is enough to make me puke. Why do they always pick the most unlikable person to dote on?

    • Buffy says:

      Yes, he can cook. Why is he allowed to present his exaggerated expression of cowboy that is no better than The Beverly Hill Billies and Hee Haw?

      Perhaps, he is like the clown in the rodeo to distract the bull.

      • MoHub says:

        Oh, I think he is the bull.

      • Dennis says:

        Oh, pleeease. People are exaggerating about how he is exaggerating the whole cowboy thing. OK, his first shirt he wore, yes. But that's about it.

        • MoHub says:

          What about the massive belt buckle?

          • Michelle says:

            OK, that. But so what? Suppose he won and had a show tomorrow. Would it ruin his ability to explain, entertain or cook? I think not. So who cares about a belt buckle? If it were flourescent orange hair or a bald head with thick tattoos from his wrists to his shoulders, then I'd be turned off. I am also beginning to wonder if Emma may morph into too much of a yoga instructor or rock climber. This is a cooking show, not national geographic.

    • Barry says:

      I agree about the cowboy. If he gets a show on FN I'd avoid it like the plague.

    • Peaches says:

      I agree 100% with you. He is obnoxious and the whole cowboy schtick would only appeal to Texas/SWest viewers and turn the rest of the country off. But it is so obvious he will make it to the finals. They are pushing him on us hard.

      • Edubya says:

        Speaking as a Texan, I can assure you that many people down here are not fans of "cowboyness" as schtick. His caricature is overdone. But I don't see any evidence that FN is "pushing him on us hard." He's pushing himself. He'll survive or he won't.

      • TJH says:

        FYI - I live in Tx Peaches & I don't like him either. Maybe you should think twice about putting down an entire state based on one person. You do realize there are cowboys in every state right? Very closed minded of you.

    • Sheri Scott says:

      I don't think Lenny is "the most unlikeable person to dote on." Sarah is. Then Loreal; then Lenny.

    • Edge says:

      He's basically the Pie Man from last season reincarnated, they held that guy too long also.

      • Lori says:

        I can't agree with that at all. For one thing, Lenny is a far better chef. He does a better job of being clear when he is in front of the camera. The pie-man was much worse. I could learn lots more from Lenny than anything pieman did.

    • Kim says:

      I don't think it's fake. I married a cowboy and it is for real. I think Lenny has a place on FN and a different point of view. Loreal would also be a something new and fun too

      • MoHub says:

        Isn't Ree Drummond's thing about cooking for cowboys? That's what she says in the intro to The Pioneer Woman.

        • guest says:

          If FN is looking for a POV that isn't already being done, then Nicole and her coastal cuisine is a very welcome thing.

        • preciousoils says:

          Ree's show always makes me wonder why she doesn't include vegetables for her family.

  4. Crouton40 says:

    I agree with the judges. Kenny was the right one to be eliminated. He "just doesn't have it" with his cooking and while he may be outgoing, there is nothing about him that makes me want to "tune in next week."

    In other news--
    1. surprised to see Lenny on the bottom. Had it not been for the sabotages, I doubt he would have been there.
    2. Aryen--I think she should have been on the bottom. She's traveled and has a good smile but her food is nothing to write home about. Bland last week and this week much too hot/spicy. Was hoping she would've pulled it together this week. Still hasn't happened. Just not impressed at all.
    3. Chris Kyler. On the bottom twice in a row. Others are passing him. He needs a huge victory, immediately...or it's lookin' bad for him. That's a few thoughts for now. More details and more thorough review in threads tomorrow.

    • shannon says:

      I agree Crouton,Kenny was the right one to go. He needed to do something this side of amazing this week to redeem himself, unfortunately all he did was confirm his cooking skills are not up to this competition. Areyen's dish this week made me cringe and reach for an antiacid, however she is just middle of the road for me, not good not bad just there, know what I mean? Poor Chris k, I think you are right,he is in their radar. It's a shame,yep, he's flawed but he is engaging to me. He just comes across as happy and joyfull.
      Lenny!!!! I was shocked, his cooking won me over the last 2 episodes. Was that a scam? Is he not as good a cook as I thought or was it the sabotaged as you said? Makes me wonder. Your right, more tomorrow. Can't wait to see your take on everyone else. I'll share mine too. Can't wait to see what everyone is thinking.

      • MoHub says:

        Lenny may have been targeted for sabotages, but what put him in the bottom was strictly his own doing. His heavy masa cake, which he also misidentified as a sopapilla, wasn't needed for his dish and literally brought the whole thing down. Bobby spitting the thing out certainly didn't help.

        In fact, this very much reflected a common occurrence on regular Cutthroat Kitchen, where the sabotages often have less effect on who is eliminated than things the contestants do to themselves. Not grabbing any pasta for spaghetti and meatballs comes to mind. And I liked how Alton made sure the judges knew that the lack of pasta was a self-sabotage.

        • Shannon says:

          MoHub, So, do you think that we are going to continue to see that Lenny may not be the culinary artist we were led to believe he was in the first 2 episodes? I have a serious problem with someone serving food that is so apparently inedible. Reason being, this was not Choped he did not have to serve it, as you previously pointed out. Where do his skills rank if he could not determine prior to serving it how terrible it was?

          • MoHub says:

            Hard to tell. I think Lenny has the cooking chops but perhaps is doing too much to validate the "gourmet" aspect of his POV, and his overreaching may well get him booted—especially as he continues to dress like a clown.

            I was actually more concerned that he didn't see to know that what he produced wasn't even close to being a sopapilla, which I think seriously undermined his credibility.

          • Crouton40 says:

            Good point about the sopapilla.

        • Barry says:

          Forgetting the pasta puzzled me also, seems like a no brainer. After all it was spaghetti and meatballs.

          • MoHub says:

            Happens frequently on regular Cutthroat. Competitors constantly miss picking up the prime ingredient for their dishes when you'd think that would be the first thing they'd grab.

      • Liz Cantu says:

        Crouton and Shannon, once again you are both very right on in your assessments. Kenny was totally the right choice last night, and even in Star Salvation it was the same problem tying food and presentation in a coherent and watchable way. He doesn't have the right kind of energy for me, he seems kind of all over the place and hasn't been able to get it together. I do think Chris K needs to bring his A-game next week or we may see him in the bottom again. and unless Aryen gets a grip on the simple art of seasoning she will be right there with him. I got an early start today and my comments and opinions are over on Justin's recap :)

      • Crouton40 says:

        Read your review on Justin's recap thread. Nice job!

  5. cheryl a murphy says:

    Don't know how the rest of the viewing audience feels but this years' competition just isn't the same!..I want to see the judges doing some serious "coaching". The "slapstick" crap is enough for me this early into the show!!! Move on already! And for god's sake would you please pick someone who brings something different to the Food Network!!! While I like Guy he is being way over-marketed and most of the others are becoming "predictable"! That's why I am leaning towards Lenny, L"oreal, or Luca!

  6. Michael says:

    I tuned in to watch the The Next Foodnetwork Star. Instead I saw an hour long promo for Alton's show. The idea that this challenge in any way shows us who would be the best to have his or her own cooking show is ludicrious, and brings the program to a new low.

    The pretense that the cameras keep rolling is bad enough (see the weekly outtakes on Sandwich King). Now we are suppose to believe that you may have to stop cooking in the middle of taping to crush grapes with your feet (or whatever).

    • Elderleigh says:

      Maybe I missed it, but has Alton gotten some kind of promotion in the Food Network organization?
      Not only does he seem to be acting as head judge, he is writing a weekly reaction piece for this blog and as noted by Michael, his Cutthroat Kitchen got a big promo this week. I hope this does not become an annual part of TNFNS.

      I have not watched Cut Throat Kitchen because the entire premise is not my cup of tea. I really don't think we need to create an atmosphere where already competitive people are "pitted" against each other to see who can be the most underhanded and just plain nasty in the name of entertainment.

      • Kevin says:

        Well said!

      • Helen says:

        also agree.

        Cutthroat Kitchen is just not that interesting and doesn't belong on TNFNS. love Alton and look forward to almost anything he does EXCEPT Cutthroat Kitchen.

        • MoHub says:

          Just wait. I'll bet dollars to donuts that there will be a Guy's Grocery Games challenge before this is all over—and maybe even a Rewrapped challenge as well.

      • Robert says:

        Elderleigh - I agree definitely that Cut Throat Kitchen isn't worth promoting as a FNS episode but I guess it will be quite a while before we get to see who the REAL FNS contenders REALLY are after all this. And for the time being, my predictions are that the remaining top 5 will be Lenny, Christopher, Emma, Nicole and Loreal. Then, it will be interesting as to who continues on to the finale.

    • CVeraS says:

      Food Network promotes Food Network. The season Amy Finley where Amy Finley won, they did a whole episode around the Iron Chef show. I thinked they have played Chopped too. My 19 year old son thinks Cuthroat Kitchen îs the most hilarious show on TV and the humor is about on the level of a teenage boy. He's an engineering major, and finding creative ways to overcome obstacles is right up his alley. Their are lessons to be learned about the depravity of man and what people will do for a fame, power and money, so he and I have some discussions about this. I agree that Alton seams to be climbing in the Food Network ranks. He acts like Cutthroat Kitchen is just all in fun. Just lately though he seems to be relishing his role of playing the bad guy just a little too much. I read somewhere that he is a Christian. So am I and I am not I am not ashamed to say so. I just kind of wish he would go back to Good Eats and stay there.

      • CVeraS says:

        Pardon the grammar in my second sentence - should have proof read.

      • Kevin says:

        I think the success of the Cutthroat Kitchen show has perhaps given him a sense of too much authority or power. Does anyone ever disagree with him?

  7. Kathie Bauer says:

    I love Alton, but not so much a show that encourages competitors to beat the crap out of each other. Therefore, I wasn't crazy about the whole premise of last night's show. I think Lenny has "it", but I do not think I could tolerate his arrogant nonsense on a regular basis. There are other very viable candidates. We shall see!

    • Judy says:

      Well said. I will be glad when the next challenge is over. They will never do what they do in next challenge in their show if they win. So I will be glad when we get back to cooking. Just the fact that I say - get back to - shows how the challenge looks irrelevant and overly focused on entertainment or too much reality tv rather than showing me how to cook new recipes.

  8. Mary says:

    I love Cutthroat Kitchen so I seriously looked forward to this episode. I love Lenny, so I was scared he'd be the one cut. I think the judges got it absolutely right. The other three have shown both cooking and presentation chops. Kenny demonstrated neither. If you can't get at least one thing right by episode three, it's time to go.

  9. camseyeview says:

    Personally, I think Kenny was the right one to go home. However, I do not hate Lenny as much as everyone else does. Can the cowboy persona get a little annoying? Yes, but I think out of a lot of the chefs there, he at least has a concept down and ready, a chuck wagon chef. Some other chefs don't have a solid concept down. I at least know what kind of show Lenny will have. I was also surprised to see the butcher girl on the bottom since I think she is also one of the stronger contestants, but as last night's episode showed, she doesn't have a full concept down, which bums me out.

    On the other hand, throughout the past couple of seasons, I have noticed that a lot of the contestants don't really bring a full fledged concept with them before attending the competition. it's like, why get on the show when your concept isn't fully fleshed out? This results in the chef having to scramble to find his persona while having to cook and act well on camera at the same time, giving them a little too much on their plate. For the most part, the one person who wins is the one who has his concept from day 1 and runs with it while being a good cook and having a likable personality.

    • Ranger says:

      Lenny is not this year's Pie-man. No comparison. For one thing, he is much more coherent and well-spoken. He's warmer. He's without a doubt a much better Chef. He's somewhat loud but less than Guy Fieri. Those who don't like him are just reaching for anything they can find. Aside from the sabotages, they can't fault his cooking or his ability to give good instruction. So they pick on his shirts. JMO

    • James says:

      I like Nicole and her Coastal Cuisine point of view. She knows who she is. More than just fish. Italian family background too. Great smile and knows how to cook.

      • camseyeview says:

        that's true! I think Nicole also very likable, but it is interesting that she didn't pick up the pasta and like the judges said, make meatballs out of some kind of shellfish or fish. She is also in my top 3 right and and we will have to see how she handles the different situations throughout the season

  10. Kim says:

    It was Kenny's time to go. Unfortunately, I wasn't a fan of his from the start - he seemed to have nervous energy and wasn't pleasant to watch and that trifle looked like it had been eaten already. I think it would have been a wonderful breakfast had he put it on a plate. Lenny earned his place in the bottom, but I knew neither he nor Loreal would go - they still have a lot in them to give. They are my favs and I am looking forward to seeing them win