The Dial of Doom Is Back — Do You Approve?

by in Food Network Star, July 17, 2014

The Dial of Doom is BackThis week the remaining finalists and fans of Food Network Star saw the return of a Season 9 regular: the Dial of Doom. At a pool party on the deck at Caesar's Palace, finalists were tasked with making their best bites and tempting guests to try them with an engaging presentation. To help gauge the crowd's interest in each presentation, Alton introduced the Dial of Doom.

Star Talk caught up with Mr. Brown on set and asked him about this gadget. "I would like to have the Dial of Doom in personal life every day. It would make everything so much easier to dial up or dial down, and we’d all be done," he joked. "Honestly, I think that it’s good because it means that a bunch of people that really don’t know the finalists get to immediately react — immediately respond in a way that a TV audience would respond if they were just happening upon their show. So I think that it gives us a piece of information that we don’t ordinarily get, which is an immediate, raw, visceral response to somebody’s presence."

Do you agree with Alton? Tell us below.

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Comments (31)

  1. guest says:

    The dial of doom doesn't bother me so much, but I do have to wonder about the TV guests selected for the episode. Obviously, for the pool party they chose young and attractive people, but are they really interested in TV cooking shows? Maybe we the TV viewing audience should be given a little background on those using the dial of doom so we could judge just how valuable their opinion of each contestant really is for us.

    • guest says:

      Ugh, sorry, poor sentence structure - the first "they" in the second sentence refers to the Food Network folks, the second "they" to the pool party guests.

    • Agent Mulder says:

      If we really wanted to get probing about it we could ask: who's to say that even when food network plays a comment from someone in the audience, that that person isn't just a "plant" they show to us to support whoever FN wants to win all along? A slick way to mess with us tv viewers and our perceptions. Maybe. Maybe not. Bur we'd never know.

    • hankster says:

      My biggest thing was when Giada said that anybody whose has an education does not know what viscosity is. Stupid blond.

  2. Bunnie Watson says:

    I don't watch the competition at all any more. You've gotten too kooky and vindictive for my tastes, and I've been watching FN forever. This mean streak is even more obvious in "Cutthroat Kitchen" and "Guy's Grocery Games" so I never tune into those at all. I guess you need to appeal to male interests in your viewer base too, but you've lost this lady.

  3. chef anne watcher says:

    I like the Dial of Doom. It shows how strangers react to the contestants who, by week 7, should be energetic, persuasive, and entertaining. I also like the tokens because it gives other people, besides the judges, a taste of the food, and the best food gets rewarded. Lenny won both the Dial of Doom and the tokens, while Sarah was on the bottom for both. The Judges got it wrong when they sent Chris packing. His Dial of Doom reading was much better (in the green) and he had more tokens than Sarah.

    In the future, if the judges continue to use these devices to gauge the finalists' performances and food in a week's challenge, then they need to actually utilize the results and follow through with the proper contestant being eliminated.

    • shannon says:

      CAW, You are incorrect. The tokens are very misleading. The tokens do not in any way indicate good food. They are only allowed to taste 3 plates, they pay for those plates via tokens.
      IF, people were allowed to taste all the dishes....then give tokens to their favorite 3 dishes..that would indicate great food.
      I know....I think the network does this to trick the viewers into thinking that tokens= good food,that's a reasonable expectation.

      • MoHub says:

        That's precisely what I've been saying all along. The tokens buy tastings, not necessarily satisfaction. But you can't take your token back if you don't like the food you taste, so the token count is no indication of who is the better chef.

        • chef anne watcher says:

          Shannon, and MoHub, thanks for pointing that out to me. My brain was "thinking" that the finalists each had to prepare enough food for 100 people, and the folks who liked the 3 contestants the most put a token in as a "thumbs up" to their presentation and food.

          • shannon says:

            Totally understand, that's because that would have been the reasonable and honest way to do it.

  4. James says:

    Dials of Doom are too stupid. A bad idea!
    Do you really think for one minute that if it were Republicans vs. Democrats that either side is going to turn the dial in the favor of the other? No. There is no objectivity. People are turning these dials BEFORE they've ever had a bit of anyone's cooking. Bad idea. And if they HAD tasted someone's food, you wouldn't need a dial of doom. You could just ask them.

    It's based off of 30 seconds of did they make me laugh? More proof that it's just a giant personality contest more than a cooking show. Even if someone's loses on the dials of doom, the audience may be completely clueless that that "loser" may have had folks in stitches 2 weeks before. or that they have already made 4 excellent dishes in a row. Far too subjective and the audience does NOT know the whole story. No one's fate should be decided on something so brief.

  5. Annette says:

    I disagree with Chef anne watcher.
    Many people complained about these dials of doom last year. After all of the negative comments, I am surprised that Food Network used them at all this year.

    There are still wrong, anyway. You might as well call it the Get up there and see if you can tell a joke or get me in the audience to crack a smile...GO! Too much of a stand-up comedy challenge. People didn't like this last year.

    Another thing. Too much of a tendency to simply vote down whoever makes a genre of food you don't like, even if they did an excellent job of it and the finalist has a great smile in front of a crowd. Why not just have people come over to your booth and ask you what you make and them offer them a sample? Then they are talking top "you" - the finalist, and actually experiencing the food. Far better than turning a know from 150 ft. away.

  6. Buffy says:

    At this point in the program, the only thing that will make me laugh is a chimpanzee or monkey cooking and doing their skit. I know the program will not hire the chimpanzee or monkey, because they will deal with the judges quickly for dismal remarks.

  7. Rory says:

    I can't begin to describe what a disaster Lenny is. His annoying, phony cowboy act got old in 5 minutes. His creepy grins and clunky, ingratiating BS make my skin crawl. If this waste of space gets a show be prepared for a ratings disaster.

    • Noose Yorker says:

      Lenny is a better entertainer than Luca. Lenny has done very well in his cooking.

  8. Rory says:

    Exactly who would be the audience for Creepy Cowboy?

  9. GUEST says:

    In another thread, I explained to Chef anne watcher what I thought of the Dials of Doom and Lenny. Since the topic is Dials of Doom, here, I thought I'd share my side of the story.

    ...There is a distinction to be made here. You are right, and I agree with you in that Lenny was "energetic, persuasive and entertaining". Yes, the dial of doom DID go to 100. But it went there through what amounted to pretty-much a bribe. And that's the rub.

    We could say, so what, he sold it. Yes, but it's a pretty "schlitzy" or almost underhanded way of doing it. It'd be a like if a rockstar cooked a dish and said: Hey! Drop a token here and I'll sing the hit song off of my new CD. THAT, would likely also get dials of doom going to 100 and getting tokens.
    But suppose he didn't offer a belly-flop at all and tried to be energetic with something like: HEY y'all, I'm Cowboy Lenny and we got a hot-dang party goin' on with a slam dunk burger like you haven't had before. This here baby's loaded with flavor as big as the Grand Canyon. So stop on by and get a taste of what a REAL Burgers all about! (OK, maybe that wasn't THE greatest choice of words, either). But the idea is, it woulda been the tone of his voice, etc. saying something like that...i.e..his energy, his persuasion, his camera presence and the actual burger....NOT..what he's offering to do. I grant that it "worked" for him. But I felt he was selling his antics more than his burger. That, was my point. Peace. (end)

  10. Rory says:

    Guest. What thread has your take on Lenny? I can't imagine there's a mass FN audience to continually watch his keevey crap.

    • GUEST says:

      In Alton's That's Why They Call It FoodNetwork thread. Page 2. In the replies, just before the post by "Portia."