by Justin Warner in Recap, July 14, 2014
by Justin Warner in Recap, July 7, 2014
Last Sunday the gang of seven stared into the greenscreen of death with their POV-packed products in hand. Only six survived, and they headed to Las Vegas. Insert obligatory "steaks/stakes" joke here!
Salvation: If you didn't know it, over here on the Internet, Luca has been on a rampage in Star Salvation. After plowing through two fan favorites from previous seasons and the rest of the eliminated finalists, Luca walks back onto the set. The gang of six is now seven, and everybody's looking like they might get an endorsement deal for adult undergarments.
Nicole points out that Luca hasn't had as much of an opportunity for growth. While I agree to some extent, Luca has the confidence boost of personally slaying every other competitor.
Bacchus and Havoc: Giada offers to take the gang out to eat at Bacchanal Buffet. What sounds like a fun afternoon turns out to be Giada chewing up the contestants like they are linguistic linguini. Indeed, the crew must taste multiple dishes and articulate to Giada what makes each so tasty. Describing food is crucial to the career these cats covet, but only a few have a tongue that can taste and talk.
by Justin Warner in Recap, June 30, 2014
One week ago, eight Food Network Star finalists made their way to Knott's Berry Farm for a live culinary demonstration. Everyone had their fair share of hiccups, but Christopher was the Charles Osborne of the bunch. With Christopher's culinary chops stuck in Star Salvation, the gang awaits another challenge.
Your Very Own Product
Remember last year when Rodney made that pie kit out of a coat hanger and gaffer tape? It looked like a Mason jar and a sumo wrestler mated. That's what I was hoping to see this year. Instead of pitching to supermarket execs, the gang is to make a commercial incorporating their POV. Because absolutely nothing is ever as it seems in Food Network Star, the gang will also shoot their commercials in front of a green screen, with a randomly selected location as their backdrop. Whose product will fly off the shelves? Who’s product will be in the bargain bin? Read on, Star fans.
by Justin Warner in Recap, June 23, 2014
Remember that time the Food Network Star hopefuls had to make viral-marketing videos? I bet you are LOL-ing right now. That was last week, and with that episode we saw the elimination of Aryen, who could almost cut the mustard on camera, but had a dull blade in the culinary department.
After that so-bad-it's-good challenge, the gang heads to Knott's Berry Farm. Where there was once a patch of beautiful berries, there are now roller coasters and funnel cakes. With eight left, the once many-sided dice of elimination rolls closer to doom for the gang. Read on to see who got jammed and who was preserved in the Knott's Berry Farm Corral.
Mentor Challenge: The finalists are to cook some real American dishes for the 4th of July.
by Justin Warner in Recap, June 16, 2014
A 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.
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."
by Justin Warner in Recap, June 9, 2014
Last week the camera shy Luca was sent to battle it out in Star Salvation. Kenny and Chris were up the creek without a plated dish — and they were assuredly nervous about the next challenge. Will Lenny hold tight to his reins or ride off in to the sunset? Read on, Star fans.
If you haven't seen this show, stop reading right now and click one of the many banners to the left or right that will take you to the hottest (and most-evilicious) program on Food Network. Watch it now.
I'm so glad CTK wasn't invented during my season of Star. The concept is terrifying to me. Not only am I a bad gambler, but I'm also a bit OCD. Sure, I can make some creative dishes, but not having the right tool, protein or appendage for the job would irk the heck out of me. The claws will come out, but when the claws come out, they sometimes get stuck on curtains or shag carpet.
by Justin Warner in Recap, June 2, 2014
Last week we saw the first elimination of Season 10. Donna was shown the door, while Emma and Sarah were dragged to the next round, like babies attached to the wedding dress of stardom.
Alton's Teacher Challenge
The gang is split into two: Team Green Bean Casserole and Team Chicken-Fried Steak. The kicker is each finalist must talk Alton through a few steps of the recipe. I anticipated a few hiccups, but what ensues is embarrassment and certifiably awkward moments:
- While Mr. Brown is Hulk-smashing green beans and throwing them into boiling water, Lenny, who sees through Mr. Brown's shenanigans, delivers a smart tip: "If you are going to chuck things in to boiling water, chuck them away from you, so as to scald your competition."
- I would like to adopt Christopher for the holidays and show that man what a can of French's French Fried Onions looks like. Diced and sauteed onions on a green bean casserole is like putting ketchup on a hot dog in New York.
- Seizing the opportunity, Sarah Zambonis Christopher's mistake and leaves a glistening, slick recipe for Luca.
- Reuben forgets to make a roux. Rouxben. I bet he rues this mistake.
- Aryen has to deal with Rouxben's folly. Lenny talks her through it and she overcomes, but Lenny is bummed she's getting credit for his clever solution.
- Nicole navigates the sometimes-tricky world of breading a country-fried steak. She advises that Alton keep one hand for eggs and another for flour. I kind of wish she didn't because it would be very funny to see Alton with battered clubs for hands.
by Justin Warner in Recap, August 10, 2013
Welcome to the Rebel Recap. I'll give you so many juicy details of what went down in Star Town you will think you are eating an alphabet steak covered with speculation sauce — all washed down with a glass of refreshing bubbly humor. I'd sure love to hear what you think about the plate of prose before you, so make use of that nifty comment button.
Thirty-second pitch tapes: Most of America would do unthinkable things to get 30 seconds of face time with Giada, Alton and Bobby. With their firstborns sold (kidding, you just have to fill out an application or two), our hopefuls have this exact opportunity.
Read on for some highlights ...
by Justin Warner in Recap, August 5, 2013
10. In the first episode, Chad crushed it right out of the gate. For those of us who have now watched nine seasons of this program, it's kind of a tradition to get a rush of excitement about one of the contestants in the first episode. Chad had it in a Cryo-vac'-ed bag.
Get Justin's top moments
by Justin Warner in Recap, July 29, 2013
Ladies and germs, the time is upon us: the final showdown! We've seen this batch be flummoxed by chips and dip, serve golf balls as doughnuts and get tipsy on the Fourth of July (don't we all, though?). Indeed it's been one heck of a ride for our final four, and now for just one of them, the real road trip is about to begin.
Giada, Bobby and Alton have been sitting on these eggs for 10 straight weeks. After one final meeting with the mentors, it's time for these eggs to hatch and meet the big birds, Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, one more time.
Stacey has seen firsthand the transformative power of a helping hand in the kitchen. Stacey was a woman who was once in debt, running a restaurant and raising a family. Robert Irvine jump-started her stalled vehicle on the road to success, and it hasn't stopped running since. Now at the top of her game, Stacey wants to help transform the dishes and, ultimately, lives of Americans by throwing some rims on their hoopty recipes, and turn their stroganoff into a fashionable hand-bag pattern. Obviously I can get behind that. Heartbreakingly, her pitch was too melancholy to sway the selection committee. Regardless, I do not see Stacey Poon-Kinney slumping in a corner in San Diego. I see Stacey kicking butt, as she's done for 10 weeks now.
A week ago, we watched as our six hopefuls scraped through a foodie field piece. This week, with five left, the tension is higher than Anne Burrell's hair. I think we've all been waiting to see this year's Donner Party moment, and it's finally upon us: the epic battle of Nikki vs. Stacey.
This is a challenge I can get behind because I love playing MacGyver in my pantry, and I feel that home cooks don't do enough improv cooking.
- Nikki: From minute one, Nikki's been able to climb out of any culinary ditch with her golden stepladder of camera presence, and today was no different. You should go back and watch the look on Stacey's face.
- Rodney: Rodney uses the sweet 'n' salty chips to make — wait for it — a pie crust. On camera, Rodney was as controlled and un-shticky as we've ever seen him. There wasn't a guitar in sight.