All Posts By Grant Dudley

Man on the Street

by in Food Network Star, June 8, 2011

Star Finalists

I’m a fan of Food Network Star and reality TV in general. And, I write this blog post as just that – as a Star viewer sitting at home in my pajamas watching this new season unfold. For in-depth analysis and behind-the-scenes Star news, you’ll want to watch the web-exclusive videos, read the other blogs or peruse on-set photos available at FoodNetwork.com/Star. For the rest of you who enjoy silly observations and baseless information, I’m your guy – you and I will get along beautifully.

So, I just watched the season premiere and here are several of my standout observations. After you read mine, please share yours.

1. We have major tattoos going on this season. Howie, Justin and Vic all have sleeves. Vic is an overachiever and even has ink on his neck. I respect tatted people. An inked person is saying to the world: “Hey world, I’m decisive and committed. I’ve made this lifelong decision and I am good with it.” As a person who will change his shirt five times before settling on that day’s attire, I admire this kind of stick-to-itiveness. Because of their tenacious spirit, I believe the inked finalists will go far in this competition. Now, you may be thinking, “Um, hello – Howie was just eliminated.” Well, the only explanation I can come up with for that is his tattoos must be henna and removable (like Madonna’s).

2. Alicia cries an awful lot, which is very irritating. Do you think she plans on turning the water works on every show? Personally, I could do without it. When the judges noted her way of speaking, she seemed to really take that criticism hard. Why, though? She’s from Missouri and lives in New York – has no one ever made mention of her accent before this show? Speak slower and more clearly – that’s all they want. Use your accent to your advantage. Paula Deen’s accent certainly hasn’t hurt her career.

3. Penny. I liked her. Reading through the comments left on Bob Tuschman’s recent blog post, I see that she has irked many of you. Some are calling her downright “mean.” I don’t see that. Actually, I find her refreshing. I like people who are upfront and direct. People who say one thing to your face and another behind your back are the ones who are trouble. Penny lays it all out for you. You know exactly where she stands. She wants to win this thing. I say, “Go, Penny.”

4. I hope Orchid is reading this. Hi, Orchid. You’re my favorite finalist. I want to hug and squeeze you and put you in my shirt pocket. You can cook, you’re sweet and the camera loves you. I think I may, too. Are you single?

There are plenty of other topics to cover, but I’d like for you to jump in. Need some help? Mull these over. Why does Jyll spell her name with a “y"? Don’t you find that suspicious? Doesn’t Jeff remind you of someone famous? Is it Vince Vaughan, perhaps? And finally, Juba. He made me very nervous (in an embarrassing way). I actually pulled a blanket over my head so I couldn’t watch him. Did he make you tense?

Chatterbox, Episode 9: Iron Chef-Style

by in Community, August 8, 2010

Did you watch? This was the last episode before the finale. The four remaining finalists were inside the famed Kitchen Stadium being judged by their toughest critics to date (the Iron Chefs, themselves).

I'm not going to give anything away here (look around the website or read the chat replay below for answers), but it has now been announced who the final three are to head in to the finale. Exciting stuff, people!

For the finale next week, Star judges Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson will be chatting live. Be sure to join us.

We are only one episode away from knowing who will be The Next Food Network Star! Pretty amazing, right?

Tag, you're it. Start commenting!

 

Caption This: Episode 9

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Star, August 3, 2010
Alton Brown
Alton Brown

Sunday's episode finds the remaining four finalists (Aria, Herb, Aarti and Tom) in New York competing in an Iron Chef America Challenge. Alton, Morimoto, Cat Cora, Michael Symon and of course, Bobby, will all be there inside Kitchen Stadium.

In the episode, Alton has an "interesting" exchange with one of the finalists.

How would you caption this photo?

 

Chatterbox, Episode 8: Giada and Eva

by in Community, August 1, 2010

Tonight! Wow, I can put the evening in to one word: "Exciting." Eva Longoria Parker jumped in as our celebrity guest judge (I'm still laughing at her question to Timberlake) and Giada De Laurentiis stepped in to the Star Lounge to answer some of your questions. In my humble opinion, Episode 8 and tonight's chat were the best (and most surprising) we've had this season.

What did you think of Timberlake's elimination (and the episode overall)? Review the chat log below and let me hear your thoughts.

 

Watch/Chat With Giada

by in Behind the Scenes, July 30, 2010
Click Image to Chat Click Image to Chat

Can you EVEN? The very first email I read this morning informed me that we had confirmed Giada De Laurentiis to participate in our live chat on Sunday night. I’m excited!

Bring your food questions, your thoughts on this season – Giada will be discussing it all!

If you haven’t chatted with us before, it’s easy – it’s fun, and if you love watching The Next Food Network Star, why wouldn’t you watch (and chat) with Giada?

See you Sunday at 9pm/8c – Giada will be expecting you.

 

A Love Story or Two (OK, Maybe Three)?

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Star, Recap, July 19, 2010

NFNS6_Brianna-Grating-Cheese_s4x3_lead
My first love was Dzintra, but as with all great love stories – ours was cut short far too early. After the enviable Dzenis-Dudley romance of 2010 ended, I knew I must move on and find my next reality star romance. Serena and Brianna both fit the bill perfectly. But, who would I choose? To love one meant I would have to hurt another. I’d been left so heartbroken before, I couldn’t stand to hurt one of them like that. Oh, how I’ve been conflicted!

Serena and Brianna have made the decision-making process very difficult. In my reality (yes, it’s a bit skewed), both have been competing for my affections. Serena with her unintentional comedic timing, Brianna with her diva-esque quality – both have been screaming, “Choose me! Choose me!” It has been embarrassing, actually. When the ladies argued a couple of episodes back, I knew that I was at the root of the tension. I hate it when ladies fight over me.

This sordid love triangle brings me to last night’s episode. Again, watching the two of them cook at Frank Sinatra’s house to win me over – or the judges, whatever – was difficult to watch. Even though Brianna was very hard on tuna casserole (a fave meal of mine), I knew the tuna hostility was really misplaced anger – she wanted my decision, and she wanted it NOW.

As Herb, Aarti and Brianna were left standing in front of the judges – one of them about to be eliminated – I finally made my decision. As I watched Brianna in her blue dress bravely stand before the panel, I knew she was the girl for me. The thought of losing her was terrifying! I couldn’t withstand that kind of pain. And once she survived this elimination, she and I would move forward with our relationship. She would forgive me for having been so confused for so long and Serena? Well, she would come to understand that cupid’s arrow had struck – and once that little dude strikes, he can’t be stopped.

And then, it happened. They sent my girl home! Can you EVEN? I threw my shoe at the TV! How dare Bob, Bobby and Susie, yet again, come between me and love?! It’s like they have a personal vendetta against me and are determined to have me die alone. Bobby, if you’re reading this, can’t you help a brother?! When did you turn on me?

Brianna, my love, I must let you go. I will always carry you (and Dzintra) with me.

Serena, you lucky girl – I’m all yours! Honestly, now that I sit and reflect, it has been you all along. Seriously. NF0607_Serena-Preview-Feature_s4x3_lead

 

Dazzled

by in Food Network Star, June 28, 2010

NF0604-BTS_DAS-Feature1_s4x3_tzDAS. I’m not exactly sure what to say about his elimination – other than for the judges, he clearly lost his dazzle. For me, I was never all that taken with Mr. Smith. He seemed like a nice dude and someone you’d totally want to hang with, but for this competition, I just wasn’t wowed. The one thing about DAS that will stand out to me? He always looked so tired. Now, I can relate, these days so do I, but for TV, looking like you’re on cold medication just isn’t going to work. So long, DAS. Go get some rest.

NF0604-BTS_Herb-Feature_s4x3_tzLet me speak a bit about Herb. Like me, he’s from Atlanta, and I absolutely hate to speak ill of one of my own. But, Herb! All that crying and sobbing was a bit much. We all have our sad stories and we all have times when our emotions get the best of us. But, this week, Herb was letting it all hang out and this wasn’t the place or time. He was so emotional that at one point he made Susie tear up. Yes, I understand he misses his family – however, you know what you’re getting yourself in to when you sign up for this competition. Herb, calm yourself down, wipe those tears away and get your head back in the game. You’re representing the ATL – so, represent!

0137558_Brianna-wins-challenge_s4x3_tzAs for Tom, he was on fire this week! I enjoy watching him come alive in front of the camera. He seems like he is quick on his feet and very witty – two qualities that I believe will serve him well. And, he and his big hair seem to be having genuine fun (or, either he’s faking it very well). My girl, Brianna, won the competition to have a recipe featured on Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill menu (Chile Chicken Skewers). That is a huge honor! I’ve been a Brianna fan since day one, so I must admit, I loved seeing her win this challenge.

That’s my quick take on Episode 4. Tag, you’re it!

From Where I Sit: Episode 3

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Star, Recap, June 21, 2010

I'm going to miss Dzintra. I must admit, I cringed with the rest of you when she shushed Aria – but, come on, you couldn't take your eyes off this finalist. Her unpredictability was fascinating. She was a pistol and the show won't be the same without her theatrics. I've written so much in previous blog posts about Ms. Dzenis, that now, I'm simply going to let Dzintra leave and stop talking about her. She has moved on and so must I. Farewell, Dzintra.

Brad (aka Justin Timberlake’s Lookalike) took his hat off in a few scenes this week and it totally threw me for a loop. I almost didn't recognize the guy. If Aarti stops wearing her flower I’m really going to be in trouble. I'm certain both Brad and Aarti wear these items to help them stand out from the crowd. I like these little added touches and think they shouldn't be filmed without them. You know how restaurant waiters have a pencil stuck behind their ear? I'd like to see DAS carry a utensil behind his. Perhaps a spoon? Yes, that should be his thing.

Herb. I dig him. He's an Atlanta boy and so am I. If for no other reason, I have to cheer for one of my own. However, if I could speak to him before Episode 4, I would offer my brother this advice, "Be authentic." Herb's enthusiasm, his smile and often times his whole demeanor comes across as forced to me. Be yourself, Herb. We Georgia boys have enough genuine personality – we don't have to be fake.

I did not care for how Paul treated Serena in the team challenge. I found him to be obnoxious, overbearing and a bit sexist with his comments. He needs to dial that mess down. He has a comedic, stand up background and maybe his shtick is funny in one of those venues? But, in this format, he's coming off as a big jerk. And, I like Serena too much to see her treated like this. Stop it, Paul.

Tom. I think he may be a sleeping giant here. He seems like that kid who sits in the back of the classroom all quiet and elusive, and then he graduates and invents something the world can't live without. Sure, his hair makes me nervous, but like Aarti's flower, Brad’s hat and DAS's spoon, it's his thing. Don't get a trim, Tom. I'll get used to it with time.

Clearly her teammate didn't want to hear anything she had to say (first paragraph), but Aria's voice comforts me. She has been told that she speaks to people like they are kindergartners (and she really does), but there is something about this cook that draws me in. I would so watch a show starring Aria. Perhaps more than any of the other finalists, I find Aria very easy to relate to.