Monday, June 08, 2009

The Next Food Network Star 5 - Episode 1

Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages! It's time once again to find out who will become the next Food Network Tool! I mean..."star!"

Let's meet the contestants. First, the ladies. This is Jen Isham, a sales manager from Orlando. But can she sell herself? (Yes, you may interpret that any way you wish.)

Next we have Jamika Pesoa, a personal chef from Atlanta

Not really. She reminds me more of Sandra Lee :::shudder:::

Next is Katie Cavuto, a chef/dietician from Philadelphia. Her eyes give me the creeps. She reminds me of the Runaway Bride.

Melissa d'Arabian, a stay-at-home mom from Texas

...and Debbie Lee, a restaurant consultant from West Hollywood, CA.

Now the guys: Brett August from New York

Teddy Folkman, a chef/restaurateur from Alexandria, VA.

The aforementioned Jeffrey Saad, owner of a real estate brokerage firm in Los Angeles and the only contestant for whom the preview I screen capped didn't have a snippet of confidental....

Eddie Gilbert, a sous chef from Manhattan Beach, CA.

And finally, Michael Proietti, an executive chef from New York.

After the contestants are gathered at their apartment, Jeffrey finds a not-so-mysterious note:

Time for the very first challenge! Everyone heads to the Food Network Kitchens to find Bobby Flay with Food Network execs Tushface and "Bride of" Fogelstein. Tush addresses the group:

"Each of you has some of the qualities that we're looking for, but none of you has it all."

Then why, oh why, did you pick this group of 10 if none of them have all of the qualities (douchitude, x-treme obnoxification, cutesieness, ridiculous facial hair, annoying catchphrases, and a fondness for using pre-packaged ingredients) you seek in a Food Network Tool?

Bobby then dismisses Tushface and Fogelstein because they annoy the hell out of him, too, and gives the contestants their first challenge. Because TNFNS is trying to hard to be Top Chef, the chore is a doozy:

Cheapskates - with all of the chefs employed by the Food Network, they get the rookies (who so far work for free) to do the heavy lifting. The "party" is a staged fete celebrating the Food Network's 16 years on the air. It's such an important occasion, Access Hollywood will be there! Ooooohhhh!

The chefs were divided into two teams, imaginatively named "Green" and "Red." Team Green is comprised of Teddy, Jamika, Jen, Melissa, and Captain Brett. Team Red gets the rest: Eddie, Michael, Katie, Jeffrey, and Captain Debbie. Each team has a budget of $1200 to feed 75 people. At Whole Paycheck.

Two contestants from each team then go shopping. Did I mention that there are only 5 hours to shop and cook before the "party" starts?

Back at the Food Network Kitchens, there are some issues. Katie has to borrow dijon from Team Green because Debbie either didn't buy it or left it behind because she was over budget at checkout. Melissa is cranking out miniature apple tarts and is worried that she won't get them prepped in time to get 30 full minutes in the oven.

Hey, now that's someone douchey enough to be a Food Network Star!

Luckily, Team Green has Brett, who likes to tell people what to do. Tarts make it into the oven in the nick of time.

To make things worse, Bobby Flay comes in, dressed in chef's whites. Time for a Tom Colicchio-esque Sniff 'n' Sneer!

Finally, time is up and the contestants head to Butter, Alexandra Guarnaschelli's restaurant. (Watching her on Chopped makes me think "Bitter" would be a better name.)

The restaurant is full of Food Network personalities: Giada, Alton, Duff, etc. Nancy O'Dell from that very important news outlet, Access Hollywood, is also there.

Before anyone gets to eat, the chefs from Team Green introduce themselves and their dishes.

Then the guests swarm the buffet in order to get a taste of Team Green's dishes. Brett makes a tiny comment about a dish being served cold because of having to work in a strange kitchen and Guarnaschelli gets all defensive.

After eating, the FN chefs give a critique of both the food and the presenter. Melissa's apple tart was a hit, and they liked her personality, but she may have talked too much; Jamika's shrimp was called a "gatekeeper of badness" by Alton Brown, but they liked her otherwise; Teddy's potato gratin tasted wonderful, even if the potatoes themselves were raw; Jen's green beans were unpleasant; and Brett's meat caused Duff to utter this line:

Was it really the meat, or the fact that he had to go all the way to NY to be at a pretend birthday party and wasn't asked to make a $5000 cake shaped like Rachael Ray's ass?

Team Red was next. While Team Green was presenting, they were in the kitchen prepping their food. Which means tearing up a disgusting angel food cake and dolloping it with ricotta cheese and jelly. Katie thought she'd gussy things up a bit.

You'll probably wish you only had a gunshot wound at the end of this.

After Team Red presented and served, the FN luminaries once again critiqued the chow.

They liked Captain Debbie's sauce and her personality; Michael's "from Bed-Stuy to Bangkok" speech was appreciated and his spicy steak was enjoyed; Jeffrey's dish, despite not having ingredients he desperately wanted to use, was well-liked, as was his delivery; Katie's salad and Swiss chard dishes were deemed safe and too much like food a dietician would serve; Eddie had a good idea but he needed to put his personality in it a bit more. He also needed to grow a personality.

Back at the FN Studios, the contestants enter a loud yellow room to find Tush, Fogelstein, and Flay seated on a dias as if they were Supreme Court justices. Tush tells the contestants what was expected of them in this challenge: 1) show us who you are; 2) demonstrate the culinary expertise we demand in a Food Network star. Wait - culinary expertise? So how did Sandra Lee make it?

After giving the contestants their strong and weak points, Jeffrey, Michael, and Melissa are named the top three, and Jeffrey the ultimate winner of the night. They are dismissed and Brett, Jen, and Eddie are called out as losers. Jen, with her unpleasant green beans and nothing personality, is given the boot.

Guess there's no room for "Housewife 2.0" on the Food Network. Thank God.


Mr. Minx said...

Really hilarious! The Alton Brown/Nancy O'Dell bit was the best! It's only been one episode, but I wouldn't want to watch any of these idiots in their own show. The train wreck has left the station!

LauraK said...

Fabulous recap, Minx. Now I have to watch the show - you've sucked me in!

John said...

Your recap definitely has better graphics than mine :). Really, Jen gave me that Elle Woods/Legally Blonde vibe, though she wasn't around long enough for her sheer Barbie-ness to sink in. I could see her as Sandra Lee 2.0.1. Like a Linux version.

Only now do I realize this: does Melissa give off that "Stepford Wife" vibe, or is it just me?

As for Teddy: Hell, the man can hit on me all he wants. I won't stop him, honest. And the way he hit his head when they said "undercooked potatoes"? Hilarious!

The Scarlett said...

I never thought about how much douchbaggery was necessary to be TNFNS. Loved the episode and I'm thrilled that this is available On Demand because I always manage to miss it when it first airs.

Miss Ginger Grant said...

I can't stand Sandra Lee, who can't cook, she can only mix; or RACHEL RAY (why DOES she always SHOUT when talking?!); and I really hate the ultimate of all douchebags, Alton Brown. Come to think of it, I really can't stand the food network! I'll read your recaps and save myself and hour of abject horror each week!
Meanwhile, I'll just sit here and wait for something decent to come on Bravo!It certainly is "the Fashion No!"

Gypsy29460 said...

Thank you for recapping this show! I love your style! I think Michael's just adorable...I hope he wins, I'd watch him every day! :)