“There Is Nothing Textbook About Being a Food Network Star.” — Justin’s Rebel Recap

by in Recap, June 23, 2014

Justin Warner's Rebel Recap, Episode 4A week ago we watched the culinary sabotages of Cutthroat Kitchen get the better of the remaining finalists. Fast-casual Kenny’s wonky breakfast parfait sent him to Star Salvation. On the other side of the spectrum of success, Christopher and Emma were scoring high marks for their Bloody Mary Pasta and ChocoBacoBurrataBomb, respectively. With nine finalists left, tensions are high.

Selfie Challenge
The gang gets hand-held cameras with the assignment of making a video incorporating their POV from their POV. The whole set is opened up to the contestants, and they can shoot what they please. Who will get the most "likes" from Chef Flay? Read on.

Nicole: The Star de la mar channels a surfer bro for the first half of her selfie, calling the kitchen "sick." It was pretty refreshing to see her drop the "professional" shtick for a second, but a typhoon of "polish" wipes her out in the end.

Reuben: A sofrito is a pretty cool thing to know about, but Reuben falls into his old (meaning from birth) habit of speaking with the same clarity as Miami Sound Machine's "Conga."

Sarah: A self-proclaimed Star superfan, Sarah is super comfortable showing the world how those evil doors work. It's a smart move, but her egg-cooking tip is a no-brainer.

Chris: Having suffered in the past for timing issues, Chris energetically shows us around the Star set, but he forgets to make his presentation personal. Without the context of knowing that he's a contestant, it might as well have been a PA showing us how to cut a bell pepper.

Lenny: Maybe not the best candidate for selfie-director of the year, Lenny is nearly out of breath by the time he gets to his tip, which I guess was about seasoning a cast-iron pan. Maybe it was actually about washing dishes. It's hard to tell, and Bobby was lost as well.

Emma: NPR-voiced Emma calmly crushes the challenge. She's quick, creative and comedic. Read on to see what the victory earns her in the next challenge!

Christopher: "Never gonna be a Lenny or Loreal," Chris doesn't need song and dance to get his POV across. He confidently assembles a spice rub with much authority. The "never" statement, though, does not a Star make.

Loreal GavinLoreal: Delightfully weird, Loreal shows us how to literally break down a bird. The tip is perfect. It's actually how I learned to break down birds. Where did she learn this? Nobody knows, because when she was putting on lipstick, she could have been telling us that she's the butcher babe of our dreams.

Aryen: Although she's polished from her work in broadcast journalism, Aryen sets up the camera for an IMAX-like presentation from Chef Godzilla. She has none of the confidence of the kaiju, and she's even more nervous going into the next round.

YouTube Space LA
The hopefuls pile into Buicks and roll up on YouTube's LA outpost. They are split into teams of three and tasked with creating a marketing video for a Hershey product. For those of you who remember, I'm a huge fan of Hershey, and I would have loved to be on team PayDay. I actually eat a PayDay before any big gig. Are you listening, Hershey? Anyway, Emma gets to pick the teams, which means she is going to put all the nuts on team PayDay and Team Almond Joy, and she'll recruit the silky-smooth types for her own team: Reese's. Lastly, they will be mentored by Shay Carl, a YouTube legend.

Team Reese's: Emma, Reuben and Nicole end up in a classroom setting. They quickly sketch out a skit involving a Spanish teacher and two very different students. Reuben has trouble getting wacky, but Shay shows up and defibrillates the whole team.

Team PayDay: Assigned to what looks like the set of Good Eats 2 is Lenny, Christopher and Aryen. The gang makes Lenny into PayDay-stein, taping my favorite candy bar all over his body. Christopher has problems loosening up in front of the camera, perhaps because there is a half-naked Lenny on a table in front of him, and Aryen is Igoring all over the place. Shay reminds them to make the last line stick and make PayDay the star.

Team Almond Joy/ MoundsTeam Almond Joy/Mounds': Chris wants the lead role real bad — to the point that he looks like a rejected character from an early Dave Chappelle Show. Sarah wants to present the classic angel/devil/shoulder routine. Nothing gets done until Shay shows up and organizes them into a wacky dating scenario.

The Review: Bigwigs from YouTube are brought in to weigh in with Giada, Bobby and Alton. Team Rrrreese's fares well, as Nicole delivered like Food Network's Sarah Silverman. Reuben and Emma did fine, but Reuben's face was obscured with his massive beard (not his real massive beard), and Emma's role was more of a supporting one.

Team Almond Joy/Mounds nonsensical "we date candy bars" sketch is weirdly funny, but Loreal and Sarah play second and third fiddle to Chris. Unfortunately the candy bars were fourth.

Back in the lab, team PayDay shocks the judging panel with nekkid Lenny, but Chris looks more like a Tribble in a lab coat. There's a lot of yelling and screaming, which makes for a largely inaudible show.

Cue the Scary Music: Team Reese's gets dinged for not getting to the point, but the finalists earn safety with their funny Spanish sketch. Team Almond Joy/Mounds didn't share enough spotlight with the product, and the rivals' lack of teamwork was evident. Somehow, they are spared. The PayDay gang made an impression, but it was too "cray cray" and inaudible. Out of Christopher, Lenny and Aryen, the judges felt like the biggest fault landed on Aryen for not nailing the tagline at the end.

The Moral of the Story: Just like the Adidas slogan for the World Cup says, if you are going to compete on Food Network Star, you have to be #ALLIN. Aryen never brought it all, and Food Network just doesn’t have a recipe for weak sauce. Her POV was interesting, and she was pleasant and polished, but without the oomph and enthusiasm, it became an old geography textbook. There is nothing textbook about being a Food Network Star.

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Comments (74)

  1. [...] is accurately described by a Food Network blog post as a “YouTube legend,” but his appearance on a cooking show initially seems a bit [...]

  2. Laura says:

    Every "Chef" on FN does not need to present a "Dog and Pony show". Some of those Chefs and their shows can be exhausting to watch. The number one goal should be to teach the viewer new techniques, new recipes or just how to cook. I believe that should hold true even for Food Network Star. I have never missed a show, and even as an experienced cook, I have always learned something. You are where you are today, because of all those "regular" cooking shows.
    On a personal note: Alton is the best "teacher". I wish I could have used his videos in the classroom. I can watch them over and over, and learn something new every time. Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman are pleasing to watch and consistently have excellent recipes. The travel cooking shows (mostly on Cooking Channel) give me a whole new and exciting array of spices and menus to choose from.

  3. CarrieAnn says:

    Loved Emma , Reuben , and Nicole s Reese s marketing video ! This challenge will be close to my heart for a long time. Because Justin and I first met on twitter . Over time we've become vastly supportive of each other . He celebrated my 30 th birthday in the grandest way , so I'm doing the same for his . I studied marketing in school, and think that social media are the adds of the future . I think it's the way we communicate . Whether on computers iPads or our cell phones .
    Thank you to food network for choosing a modern branding approach
    Carrie

  4. Let's all remember that Aryn wasn't just eliminated based on this episode's challenge, but also because she has not provided any impressive food in the cooking challenges so far. Really, how long was she going to last based on that?

  5. camseyeview says:

    I have to say, I am not surprised at who got kicked off. She has been failing to bring anything to the table week 1 of the competition. Sure, her personality might have been on point, but like Alton said, they haven't had one GOOD thing from her. As for Christopher, even if he is playing up this "I know everything persona," it's really obnoxious and doesn't really make me want to watch his show. He comes off entitled and thinks he doesn't need to do anything to be a star on Food Network. Listen Christopher, you might be a good cook and that could get you places on shows like Top Chef, but here, you need to have a likable personality and that is something you don't have.

    As for some other contestants, Reuben had a beard that could make Duck Dynasty blush, and I honestly don't think Chris wouldn't have been safe if they just chose individual contestants to be on the chopping block. I don't think his team would have been safe if they weren't given the advice of how to go through the skit. He seems like a good cook, but I don't get much of a personality from him. Chris comes off as kind of cocky and he is also not very pleasant to watch on TV.

    Solid episode, but I wish Food Network star wouldn't do these really gimmicky episodes like the one from last week (not a huge fan of Cutthroat Kitchen). I know it would get kind of boring if they didn't jazz things up a bit every other episode, but I love the episodes where its all about the cooking, and giving positive vibes for the camera.

  6. camseyeview says:

    I have to say, I am not surprised at who got kicked off. She has been failing to bring anything to the table week 1 of the competition. Sure, her personality might have been on point, but like Alton said, they haven't had one GOOD thing from her. As for Christopher, even if he is playing up this "I know everything" persona, it's really obnoxious and doesn't really make me want to watch his show. He comes off entitled and thinks he doesn't need to do anything to be a star on Food Network. Listen Christopher, you might be a good cook and that could get you places on shows like Top Chef, but here, you need to have a likable personality and that is something you don't have.

    As for the rest of the contestants, I don't think Chris's team would have made it if they weren't given the advice about how to tackle the skit. Chris has so far not been that interesting to me. He comes off a little hyper and slightly cocky. I keep feeling bad for the butcher girl because she is slowly becoming one of the weaker chefs because she is slightly boring to watch during the episode. I think she has one of the more interesting ideas, a female butcher, which is something you don't see that often and would be awesome to see more of, but it's like she forgets about it half the time and doesn't implement any of her knowledge of butchering and other cooking experiences into what she does in front of the camera.

    I think the problem with Reuben team's skit was that it overstayed its welcome. Sure, for a joke to be really funny, you need to have some build up to it, but since the build up took too long, the pay off was already known before we even got to that part.

    Plus, what is wrong with just doing a personal Youtube commercial that is all about them? Why not give them a boat load of props and let them choose the ones that fit them? Heck, I think doing a youtube ad that shows how to implement the candy into every day dishes would have been much more interesting since it would connect with the first challenge of the episode about having a good cooking tip

    I enjoyed the episode, but I hope the contestants I do like get better and push on through to make it to the finale. This episode felt a little too gimmicky to me. Just like the last episode, I wish it was more about them and the cooking and not the challenges themselves.

  7. jordan elise says:

    I just have one question: Is Good Eats 2 a real thing????????!!!!!!!!!!!! (Co-starring Justin Warner)

    • Tongs says:

      It depends. If they make Fish Skeletons, Octopus or other exotic odd stuff that would only appeal to a very small few, then it might be a real thing but I wouldn't call it a good thing.

  8. Katrina says:

    My family felt the judging was completely backwards regarding the viral videos. The Payday commercial with Lenny as the monster will always stick in my head. The one we liked the least was the one that won. We were discussing it with other people this weekend, and they felt the same. We also felt that Aryn was understandable when she spoke but felt she should have gone home based on her cooking.

  9. cheryl says:

    Justin Warner, where is YOUR show??? You won Food Network Star, we all loved you, were looking forward to your totally new/innovative POV show, and.............. where IS it?? anybody know??