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

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

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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

 

Exclusive: Bobby Dishes on Aarti and Aria

by in Behind the Scenes, July 19, 2010
WWBD? Watch Bobby's online-only vlog.
WWBD? Watch Bobby's online-only vlog.

After shooting episode six at Frank Sinatra's former home, Bobby recognizes that Star is falling down to the wire. "Consistency, to me, is very important when you're trying to put forth what your food point of view is," he says in a FoodNetwork.com exclusive vlog, reacting to Aarti's Camera Challenge and explaining his appreciation for her smoked salmon canapes.

Less impressed with Aria's shrimp-as-pig-in-blanket (she threw the pig out the window!), Bobby knows what she should have done--or at least he is sharing what he might have done, his Re-Flay. "Imagine pork belly wrapped in phyllo or puff pastry or something very light, and then..." Watch Bobby now, in his own words. Cue the mouthwatering.

Chatterbox, Ep. 6: Hat’s Off to Running With Knives

by in Community, July 18, 2010

Maybe it was Frank Sinatra's swank piano-shaped pool or the breezy Palm Springs air. After teetering along in past weeks, as Bob Tuschman said, Brad the Tin Man got his joints oiled, showing off a newfound swagger. As he wrapped up his reinvention of chicken cordon bleu, he sprinted across Sinatra's lawn with a knife (don't try this at home!) to finish on time, but then was cool as a Rat Packer before the Selection Committee, Ted Allen of Chopped and Food Network Magazine's Maile Carpenter. Fans chatting with us liked what they saw--though the jury's still out on the Justin Timberlake lookalike's "Pro" moniker. Former finalist and funny guy Adam Gertler, host of the sweet new show Kid in a Candy Store, stopped by to chat again, this time not only, ahem, complimenting Serena's pout but also sharing his awe at Susie's perfect hair. Don't doubt it, Mr. G, it's coiffed daily in a way that dazzles. Less perfect were performances by Aarti, Herb and Brianna. Unfortunately, Brianna's distaste for tuna noodle casserole showed even after she amped up her own version with crab and Brie. Poor diva downer--if she had gotten a different dish or minded her toasty 'shrooms, would she still be around? Smart cooking tips and techniques, creativity, salesmanship and a positive point of view aren't too much to ask more than halfway through the competition. (Who's doing all of the above best? Vote for your favorite finalist daily.) Check out the chat archive below, then watch our vlogs to see what Bobby would have done differently this week and what Bob, Susie and Giada had to say about what and who got burned--and whose cooking simply sings.

Sunday Sneak Peek: Brad in a Boa?

by in Food Network Star, July 16, 2010
Brad in a boa
Will this episode bring out a new side of Brad?

Things are heating up, folks. Just seven finalists left. Not long to go before one of them has a new show premiering on Food Network. So why’s our usually-too-serious boy next door Brad playing dress-up with a pink boa?

It promises to be a fun episode. Tune in on Sunday at 9 pm/8c and head to our virtual Star Lounge to chat live with us during the show. Our favorite Kid in a Candy Store, Star veteran Adam Gertler, will be back by popular demand.

After the show, head over to Cooking Channel to join in on the first official Next Food Network Star: After Party at 11pm/10c. Rehash all the details with Adam, Cooking for Real’s Sunny Anderson and Season 4 finalist Kelsey Nixon. They'll chat with finalists and judges and get you the juicy inside dish on all things Star.

In the Stars’ Shoes: What’s You In a Jar?

by in Behind the Scenes, July 16, 2010
Brad Sorenson's Three-Onion Cherry Jam
Brad Sorenson's camera challenge effort: Onion Cherry Jam

During this week's camera challenge, Susie asked the finalists to create a food that was "you in a jar." Some finalists had more success than others cramming themselves into said jar. Brad's 3-Onion Cherry Jam shined at the judges' table, but he forgot to flash his million-dollar smile for the Venice Beach crowd. Meanwhile, Tom made the audience crave his Citrus Marmalade (even on yuck-factor foods like brussels sprouts and chicken livers) but the taste made Bob shudder, "He made me want to buy 12 jars…but I would have returned them all." And poor Serena! Before her big comeback, the granddaughter of the "patron saint of marinara sauce" botched her bottled Amatriciana sauce and gave a nerve-filled presentation.

The moral of the story: It's easier said than done. So, what would you make? Would your jar be butter-filled like Paula's, as spicy as Bobby's or totally off the map?

TELL US: What's you, in a jar?

Foes, Frenemies, BFFs: The Many Faces of Serena and Brianna

by in Behind the Scenes, Community, July 15, 2010

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Is the Serena-Brianna dramarama done? Have they reached detente? Not that long ago Serena was in tears after a kitchen collision and a foot injury--with Brianna to blame.

When the pair partnered in a food truck challenge this week, they fought like sisters, "but in a good way," Brianna told the Selection Committee. They hugged it out, learning that their dishes--empanadas and panini and gyros--scored a win. As the intensity is upped, can they keep it civil?

NF0603_TS-StarChal-4_s4x3_tzBrianna's facing heat for her cool approach. Bob T talks in his vlog about how the audience in the live demo simply disengaged: "Brianna was probably the biggest offender there; her presentation just left them flat." But in her vlog, Giada counters that Serena "is stuck in what she wants to do," rather than connecting with the audience and judges. (Funny, that's not the impression you get over on Food2, where Serena debuted, in a way, before Star was a twinkle in her eye.) Given that they both, like the other finalists, have work to do, it might be best for them both to go ahead and get along instead of resorting to schoolgirl spats.

NF0605_BTS-Serena_s4x3_tzThen again, maybe not. Don't you get fired up by people who rub you the wrong way? Doesn't the next Star need passion and intensity and strength? Could it be strategic to set your competitors off their game by distracting them with faux, or real, ire? I'm guessing I'm not the only one who is hungry for more, because it is, after all, entertaining.

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Hug. It. Out.

Now it's your turn. You make the call: Should Serena and Brianna stay frenemies or foes or become BFFs? We want to see your comments (though the comments you've shared toward them in the past few weeks indicate you prefer warm and fuzzy to too cool for school). Tell us what you think.

Then check out the fan vote and vote for your favorite finalist--last I looked, Brianna was the favorite of 2 percent of voters; Serena was at 7 percent. Tough times with each other but limping along together?

Star Cooking: Lunch Truck Empanadas, Y’all

by in Recipes, July 15, 2010
Empanadas
Brianna and Serena buried the hatchet to make these tasty empanadas

Two Chix in a Truck (Serena and Brianna) hit it big this week. The ladies put their catfights aside to strive for redemption, and they delivered. All of their food truck lunch dishes won praise from the judges, but when it came time to cook a winner, picking one standout was a no-brainer: Brianna’s Empanada with Serena’s Chimichurri sauce. I listened to Paula and was instantly sold: “The empanada, y’all, is really good.”

I ran into a roadblock when my grocery store didn’t have empanada wrappers. With no time to hightail it to a Latin market or to make my own dough, I scoured the frozen food aisle for a good plan B. I decided to improvise with wonton wrappers. My two-bite empanadas would just have to be an appetizer version of Brianna and Serena’s lunch pocket.

Read more

Caption This: Episode 6

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Star, Judges, July 14, 2010

This week on The Next Food Network Star, Bobby gets – well, let's just say he's not all about a few of the finalists' offerings.

How would you caption this pic of Bobby?

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Bobby Flay Energizes Herb and Takes On Cheeseheads

by in Behind the Scenes, Recipes, July 12, 2010

Cooked: Herb and his oil blend run out of gas. Bobby tells him what he should've done instead.
Cooked: Herb and his oil blend run out of gas. Read on and watch to see how Bobby would've made it work.

Energy Chef Herb was crestfallen when he and fellow finalists failed to beat the three-minute buzzer during their cooking demos. Stage right, enter Grill It Guy and all-around Superman Bobby Flay. In less than three minutes, Flay troubleshoots a trio of Star hopefuls' dishes, transforming them from meh to masterful. And he shows off some dapper duds, to boot.

In this week's Re-Flay, he jazzes up Herb's cooking-oil stir fry conundrum in a flash, then takes on Team Wisconsin. The king of Bobby's Burger Palace tells Brad and Aria they needed fattier beef (20 percent fat!) for better burgers. And if your marketing plan includes boasting about being Cheeseheads, he advises, skimping on the cheddar is a bad call, no matter how you slice it.

Listen to Bobby's advice before the next episode.

How can Bobby make it look so easy when the finalists look so tortured? C'mon, did anyone look good? Vote for your favorite. Then check out this week's scrapbook starring Dame Paula Deen. And no, Aria's injury was not Brianna's fault.

Chatterbox, Ep. 5: Paula, a Sweet Treat, a Catfight and Girl Power

by in Community, July 11, 2010

Midterm exam time. Who sailed, who failed? And what made Paula Deen bring up her string bikini and the quality of her grandchild's cooking ability? Who came out on top--Team Serena or Team Brianna? Did Herb get back on track or crash and burn? Oh the suspense! There was too much drama to fit into an hour this week, so we got extra time and a bonus live chat with season four finalist and Food Network star and funnyman Adam Gertler. Like a Kid in a Candy Store--that's his sweet new show--Gertler zinged fans with running commentary and an admiration for all things Serena. Even Mr. Flay joined the fray with live tweets. The finalists faced two challenges: First, create "you in a jar" and present it to a big-ole live audience. Then they had to team up and run a food truck. That's when the twists and turns arrived. Some happy surprises--two chicks seemed to reach detente ("The empanada, y'all, is really good," Paula said), for now, which bizarrely disappointed chatting fans. Check out the chat below for details, then jump behind the scenes for Bobby's recipe makeover of finalists' dishes (would love his pointers!) and vlogs from Bob, Susie and Giada. Then vote for your favorite finalist, up to ten times per day. Meantime, I'll be wondering if Brad should let dark horse Tom borrow his lucky hat, and if Adam might borrow one of Bobby's ties. A+ episode, everyone.

 

 

 

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