“You’ve Got to Be an Expert, You Have to Be Able to Teach” — Alton’s Post-Star Rundown

by in Judges, July 27, 2014

Every 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.

Click play on the video above to find out why Alton voted the way he did. (Spoiler alert: The latest finalist sent home is revealed in the video.)


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“In the End, It Came Down to a Simple Question” — Alton’s Post-Star Rundown

Every week, Alton Brown is joining the Star Talk roster to talk about the most-recent elimination and the thoughts behind each difficult decision from...

Comments (181)

  1. Glenn says:

    I have really been disappointed in Alton this season. He certainly has come across as been very pompous and somewhat arrogant. Almost like he is looking down on the contestants. I am not sure why since in the past few seasons the Food Network has not exactly done a great job picking the right Next network Star.

    • Sam says:

      Sorry, I but I've always thought he was pretentious. That's putting it nicely. ;)

    • patricia says:

      Yes I agree Glenn -- other contestants were questionable last night -- especially the two "barbies". They are dull and I would not watch a show with either of them. Nicole is just another pretty face and I think she is lackluster, uninteresting and very boring. Think twice judges!

    • Judy says:

      I totally agree Glenn!! I think it's time to replace Alton!! Oh and the "Cowboy"...needs to go

    • Kathy says:

      I agree 100% about Alton!

  2. soloru says:

    Done...not watching anymore...Really you kept Sarah...

    • kat2 says:

      If I have to watch Sarah tell us her opinion on every aspect of the show I'm going to stop watching, too. Who cares what she thinks. Does FN want her to win?

    • Cathy says:

      Not only did they keep Sarah, they kept Lenny, who has no expertise other then chuck wagon cooking. Potatoes, carrots, celery and beef or pork. He is so full of himself and relies on his loud mouth and antics to get people to watch him. He has admitted, if he doesn't cook it on the chuck wagon he has no clue. His stunts are not funny or amusing, he culinary knowledge is lacking and he has no real personality except to try to impress, which, let's face, he is in love with himself. I would shut him off so fast it would not be funny! People want to watch creativity in the kitchen, sincerity and attracting personality, and most importantly warming. These characteristics are lacking in Lenny and others of recent years.

      • Cindy C says:

        Cathy, I'd take Lenny any day over Sarah. I think his food is honest and good which strikes a chord with a lot of people out there. He's a showman to be sure though!

      • Mike says:

        Nicole is the best. Really. In every way. Not just another pretty face. She has knowledge and she can share it and help us cook better. Killer smile.

      • guest says:

        What if Lenny couldn't use a frying pan?

    • kate says:

      i cannot STAND sarah. every week she is voted as the worst and every week squeeks by. i think if it so overwhelmingly obvious that the fans do not like her. shows need the fans ratings and i feel she is annoying, fake, and well no one is going to watch her

    • hjack says:

      If Sarah were to win this, I doubt I would leave Food Network on my Direct TV favorites list.

      Probably the most obnoxious contestant I've seen to date, and she talks venom.

    • Linda says:

      Sarah drives me crazy. I'm done.

    • terrence says:

      Yo baby. Sarah be da bomb. Ya dig?

    • Chris says:

      I think the judges and food network are not seeing what the viewers want to see. It's like the judges are trying to sabatoge the show because they don't want to do it anymore.

  3. Marie says:

    So disappointed with this weeks decision. They took a POV completely new to Food Network and threw it away for Sarah who is a bore and has a POV which would make me change the channel if she won. The winners of the last couple of season's have not been very engaging.

    • guest says:

      It would be a good POV if they could find a real butcher. I seriously doubt Loreal is a butcher, maybe she works in the meat dept of a grocery store or at the counter in a butcher shop or maybe in a meat packing plant. She did not cut her steak even, she never said she was "butterflying" her chicken and she called seafood meat....no self respecting butcher would do that. What about not being able to have anything worthwhile to say about a Boston butt? I don't buy her having any expertise with meat, sorry.

      • Marie says:

        But that can be said about all of the finalists. Jersey shore POV, seriously, she has no real point of view and struggles each and every week to support her POV and basically bombed again this week. Sarah was like a robot on tonight. The only two worth watching were Luca and Lenny.

        • Robert says:

          Marie - I would agree that ALL of the finalists failed in one way or another - but - the judges had to decide who should get 1st and 2nd place to be guaranteed safe for one more week and all else be up for elimination. Who knows how much better EMMA might have been over Nicole, Sarah AND Loreal COMBINED? Ultimately, Loreal failed the most of all this time because she is not a child-oriented type. Had Emma been safe last week, she might've won hands down THIS time. But that's only my speculation.

          • guest says:

            What does not being child oriented have to do with Loreals failure this week? She cooked for 2 adults who wanted quick,easy and cheap ideas?

          • Monte says:

            The issue was, I think, there was too much going on with Loreal's dish. Even the family looked a little confused. She didn't do a good job of explaining the what/how/why, and when she was later asked about the pork she selected during the live shoot, she couldn't explain anything about it.

          • MoHub says:

            It doesn't show in the edited version that aired, but in the full-length Rachael Ray presentation, Loreal handle raw chicken with her bare hands and then proceeded to handle other food without hitting the handwashing sink.

            She also reminded me of Stacey from last season in that—in both of her presentations—she seemed to have developed a script for herself but was unable to speak off the cuff and sound natural.

        • Howard says:

          Nicole is the best. Lenny is meat, carrots, onions, potatoes in a frying pan. Luca isn't charismatic. He has a nice smile but is kinda lackluster. Emma was too much of a granola girl.

  4. @hkinwald says:

    I would like Sarah's Taco Soup recipe

    • Buffy says:

      Here you are. Just substitute Sarah's favorite protein beef. http://www.mccormick.com/Gourmet/Recipes/Soups-St...

      • Buffy says:

        I only watch what is presented. I am not going to watch additional video all over the web.

        I apologize to Sarah for my mistake. The presentation was a bit muffled. I did not hear her mention that she prepared the taco mix from scratch.

    • goenba says:

      Look up Rachel Ray's Taco Stoup. It is so much better and doesn't use the packaged spice that you can't control the salt factor with.

      • guest says:

        Just a heads up when Sarah made the soup (and you could see the full video before fn edited it) she used the individual spices and added them from a separate plate. She went on to explain to the Mom that she could use a packaged taco seasoning if that was more convenient. Pretty good tip she gave I thought. I think the editing was designed to make her look negative, why else wouldn't they show that?

        • Just Sayin says:

          Fuel for her bashers so they can complain about her.

          Each season this show needs a bad guy..someone for some out there to heap their extreme dislike upon. Sarah is their choice this season. Last year they disliked Stacey--some disliked her for her looks, her smile--

          I think women contestants get slammed much more frequently and harshly than the men contestants. And sad thing is--the harshest slammers against the women contestants...appear to be ...women.

          I'm just sayin

          • Buffy says:

            I have noticed that women tend to slam women who want to look pretty.
            I have never seen so many ugly men on TV.
            Many people keep referring to Sarah as a blonde, however, I think if she was not born with blonde hair then she cannot be considered blonde.

    • curlyhairmom says:

      I agree the Taco Soup recipe sounds good, but that's the only thing I've seen her cook that I thought sounded good.

    • Donna says:

      I think it's posted on food.com

  5. msjs0315 says:

    While I agree Nicole exercised poor judgement in making her dish so spicy, what about Luca's decision to masquerade cauliflower as rice? Cauliflower doesn't have the same texture, smell, shape or taste as rice at all. And then slathering it in sauce bolognese, which he didn't explain or teach? And the kids didn't eat it, which was the whole point of the dilemma he was supposed to solve. I'm not sure why his performance was rated so highly.

    • Kate Morgan says:

      But the kids might have eaten it if they hadn't seen him prepare it. Those boys are pretty small. I doubt they'd have recognized the cauliflower in its final form, especially once the bolognese was poured on top of it. So without the kids tasting the dish, we don't know if they would or would not have liked it. However, Nicole should have known from jump that the kids wouldn't like such spicy food, and it was proven once the kids tasted it. Actually, the parents' facial reactions when she mentioned it should have been a clue as well. Still, her dish probably would have been fine if she'd left off the sriracha. Loreal, on the other hand, made something that the couple was never going to be able to execute. They said they had no time and wanted a quick, cheap alternative to fast food. And she gave them a complicated dish and never said whether it was cheap or not. Buh-bye Butcher Babe.

      • Larry says:

        How did Luca wind up in the top? and How did Sarah stay? Are the judges just pawns in the producers chess game? Really starting to question the validity of this show. I'm so glad other people caught the fact that the kids didn't even try Luca's food. Like you guys said above, that's the point. He might be nice and likeable, but his food hasn't been that good, and I have a hard time understanding him. He's not a star in my mind. I think the whole Star Salvation thing is bogus too. He never should've went home the 2nd episode, Chris and Kenny were both waay worse. I guess its all about the ratings. Seems like the producers want him in the top 3. Sarah made 1 good steak on the 7th episode. That is all she's done. Nicole's dish was for the family, so she put siracha on the side for the adults. The dad didn't have to put siracha on the kid's bite, and I'm not sure that he did. I'll have to watch the original RR footage again, I think was edited weird. Either way 2 year olds are finicky and Nicole gave the family something different than what they usually have. And, the judges loved the food. So how she was in the bottom I have no idea.

        • nico says:

          Sarah trued Nicole's dish and said that it was to spicey to serve to kids. Then she added an additional squirt of sirracha on the plate.

          • sickofsarah says:

            sarah has said many things to bolster herself and demean others throughout the entire competition. she wants to win and nicole is her biggest threat to derail her dream. i believe sarah would throw anyone under the bus to accomplish her goal.

        • egk says:

          Luca was totally sent home on purpose in the second episode. To not send home Kenny when majority people hate him is just stupid! Also, some of the challenges were silly and unpredictable, so eliminating him was just an excuse for Luca to conquer Star Salvations easy challenges. Also, if you watched last years Salvation, we know how great that went( and by great, I mean complete failure because contestant Lovely was sent home right again after she conquered Salvation. Luca has so much potential, and he's so engaging so why you guys say he's on the bottom I do not know.

    • betty says:

      I use cauliflower as a sub for rice, pasta and potatoes You just have to adjust your taste buds.

      • Cathy says:

        Betty, I totally agree with you. Cauliflower can be used however, the kids CANNOT SEE WHAT IS GOING ON. The sauce is perfect to disguise it and they would have no knowledge of it. I put every veggie I had in my refrig when the kids were young, they had no idea and still rave about my great my sauce is. I think Luca would be great with a little patience. Put yourself in his shoes, he has a language barrier and obviously is shy yet he has done damn well getting over both difficulties. Would definitely watch him over any of the others.

        • msjs0315 says:

          I'm glad some kids don't realize the switch. Some do (I speak from experience here).

          Either way, Luca never got around to discussing the sauce, which is critical to help disguise the cauliflower. If Alton's reason for eliminating Loreal is she didn't teach, well, we didn't learn much of anything about Luca's sauce.

          I like Luca. My question is whether the judges apply their stated judging criteria evenly across the board. I'm not convinced that underneath the judges' alleged reasons for who stays and who goes there isn't an iceberg-like collection of attitudes, opinions and politics that viewers don't see.

          • MoHub says:

            Luca mentioned the sauce in his unedited presentation, even if he didn't define Bolognese. He even mentioned that one could sneak vegetables such as squash and eggplant into the sauce, and the kids would never know.

            FN has been using its editing to play with us.

          • msjs0315 says:

            But is mentioning the sauce teaching us anything about it? Presumably he made it from scratch, given his background. Yet all we got was a mention. What type of meat did he use? What herbs and spices?

            Yes, FN edits the footage to get the spin it wants. But is it also applying its judging criteria unevenly?

          • sickofsarah says:

            excellent questions! our inquiring minds would love answers to the components in his bolognese sauce. mine comes from a jar. lol

    • Gail says:

      Very good points. That is why Luca really should have been on the bottom instead of Nicole.

    • Jonathan wald says:

      Because he's romantic and handsome and that results in high female Q ratings in the proper age range category. You see how after they brought him back, he's being sort of treated like a golden boy despite his many faux pas. Chris, who easily had more food chops, but was slightly green, but with oodles more potential was just swept away with no second chance given. Why?

  6. Joyce says:

    Judges have to know that Sarah' likability factor is at rock bottom. Don't you read the polls taken during the program? Sarah should have been ousted weeks ago; instead, she's been given more and more screen time. I'm weary of that star-struck act of hers. She is the least authentic of any other contestant. I won't be watching any more shows after this week's fiasco. The network really needs to take a hard look at the whole judging process, because, in my opinion, there hasn't been a real "star" chosen since Guy won. After his season, no one has been chosen who has that magic entertainment value that keeps viewers watching.

    • MoHub says:

      The show is in the can except for the finale. The polls are post filming and editing and are strictly for the viewers' enjoyment. It's too late for viewers' opinions to influence anything that we see on the air.

      I can't understand why so many folks don't get the concept of prerecording.

    • Linda says:

      Guy who?

    • Donna says:

      I'm having a hard time with ALL of the contestants. I can't stand Lenny- the "over-the-top" act of his is not entertaining at all. I would turn the channel before watching him or Sarah. Luca, while nice to look at, is too hard to understand. Nicole seems the best out of what's left. Sadly, I'm losing interest. :(

    • Debbi Rose says:

      Although I agree with your comments on the year as a whole, I really like Aarti Seguera and Jeff Mauro from prior seasons. I also liked Justin, but they haven't really given him anything to do.

      • Casey says:

        Ugh. No way on all three of those. Mauro is a total ham on camera. Aarti had a poor idea for a show and Justin was a disaster. Strange dishes and a flat, dull personality while trying to act hip. The public must've been out of their minds to ever vote for that. Food Network was crazy to let them.

        • sickofsarah says:

          you are right, i think we were. in our defense, they were the best candidates during their seasons. alas, hindsight is 20/20. :D

      • sharon says:

        Man! Talk about picking total losers. Aarti was too sugary sweetness. Jeff is too much of a clown. Justin was so dull that food network should never have let the public vote.

    • Jonathan Wald says:

      Yes. She's very high strung, and always visibly worried or at the verge of coming apart. Hence my complaint again of why they let Chris Kyler go. He had a very sparkly personality, whereas Luca is very mellllloowwwww. And FN needs a male personality who is just pleasant, like Tyler, without being pompous, smug, a tool, etc. You gotta admire Alton's intelligence and perception, but he telegraphs this heavy malevolent energy lately, that makes for bitter viewing. Something must be going on in his life... FN lately doesn't seem like a carefree and happy place to be anymore, by and large. Too much competition with the edge and air of judgmental self-importance and brow-beating tedium. They seemingly must think the younger generation is unwilling to be taught, but only entertained by endless repetition of Chopped! and the douche-baggery of obnoxious clowns like Guy FERRY, his REAL name.

      • sickofsarah says:

        wow! you hit the nail on the head with this spot on post.

      • Buffy says:

        Mr. Wald
        I have given more thought to people's comment regarding Alton. My thought comes as some people recognize the farce of this season. Perhaps, he realized he would have to present a lie through this entire season and it is not something he wants to do. As a result, we are witnessing his distaste for this façade. I don't offer this as an excuse.
        As viewers we do not know what has gone with the planning of this program. I just know this season was presented as if their viewing audience is not intelligent and not capable of reading between the lines.

  7. Tina says:

    get rid of that texas trash, she didnt deserve to make it back to this show

  8. cheryl says:

    Please let us know, is Loreal really a butcher at all? And is Lenny really a cowboy cook? Or, do the contestants just make up a label for themselves, true or not?

    • MoHub says:

      Loreal has more experience as a pastry chef, but she evidently took up butchering a couple of years ago. Lenny has really been a chuck-wagon cook and now works at a dude ranch, where the food is more upscale.

      Both have overexaggerated their schtick, although Loreal's seems more consciously developed. Lenny is not bad when he tones it down, and if he'd just wear scaled-down Western wear and lose the giant belt buckle, he might be easier to take.

    • Julie says:

      I live in Indy and Loreal is a butcher at Kincaid's. There was a great story about her on Sunday in the Indianapolis Star. She has had a very rough life.

      • Buffy says:

        I did recognize some threads of this on camera. However, I keep my comments to what is presented. I hope she continues to work on her craft. Sincerely, reading books on the subject and life experience will help her to excel in this area if this is her choice.

  9. Konia says:

    Giada's fav... Italian boy needs to go.. Don't find him fit for a t.v. show at all!!

  10. Abdul says:

    I am so disappointed Emma was eliminated last week. She is so much more authentic and warm than Nicole, Loreal and Sarah combined. Emma is just a little soft spoken, but she probably is one of the most fun and inspiring to watch. Nicole is hot, probably the only reason shes on, all the males love her.. However, I don't think she has much authority. Nicole also just seems to want the job badly and trying to impress very hard, but doesn't seem very genuine. It seems Nicole's POV is just an act and doesn't sincerely have anything to offer. She just wants the $ and fame. But i think Luca and Lenny are more genuine, especially Luca. I think Luca is the most genuine and fun to watch.

    • Larry says:

      You're a jackwagon. Have you watched the show at all? Nicole has had some of the best food on this season, is warm, likeable, and has great camera presence. Her POV is crystal clear. Shut off the computer Abdul.

      • MoHub says:

        Larry, can we please dispense with the name-calling and agree to disagree with one another in an adult manner? Abdul is entitled to his opinion, and so are you. And I agree with your assessment of Nicole.

        However, I try to refrain from childishness whenever possible.

        • Larry says:

          Mo, everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion. Agreed. However, Abdul's assessment seems like unjustified, blind attack, without any evidence to support it. 'She just wants $ and fame'? Are you kidding me? One of the most SEXIST, inappropriate statements I've seen on this blog. I could have called him much, much worse names. So I'm sticking with Jackwagon. Its my opinion that Abdul is a Jackwagon.

          • Just Sayin says:

            Is a jackwagon like a chuckwagon? Are there frankwagons and tomwagons? I dont know but I'd wager they ALL want the cash and fame. What? They just got a dire need to help us all cook better?

            I'm Just Sayin

          • Larry says:

            Let's face it, all these people are going after their dreams. Good for them. But there is no cash prize for winning this show. So why single out Nicole for only wanted $ and fame? Is there any evidence from the show to support that? Can you reference anything?

          • shannon says:

            JS, you make a very good point.

        • shannon says:

          MoHub,Thanks for chiming in in a reasonable responsible way. Kudos.

    • howtocook says:

      I agree Emma was my favorite because she is genuine and can cook. Sarah is horrible but it seems that they
      want her to win.