Monday, June 29, 2009

The Next Food Network Star Episode 4

There are seven wannabes left at the start of this week's show. We can only hope for a multiple elimination (like - 6 of them) so we can get this debacle over with...alas, the Food Network counter says we have more than a month of agony left.

After wakey-wakey scenes of toothbrushing, we hear Jeffrey confidently claim "I do believe I'm going to win," and Teddy say "I realize my mistakes." Well, we'll see about that. Plenty of time to make new ones!

On to the Food Network kitchens!

Oh yeah, redheaded chefs are scary people. Especially when they're wielding knives. Or wearing purple ties.

Bobby, who has gone burger-mad along with a plethora of other chefs such as Hubert Keller, Spike Mendelsohn, and Richard Blais (hmmm...all Top Chef contestants...), reveals the mini challenge for the week:

Hard to do. I hear she can unhinge her jaw.

This week is all about American food. The wannabes first have to create the ultimate regional burger; the winner of this challenge will have their burger featured on the menu of Bobby's Burger Palace. And every cent of the profit will go into Bobby's pocket.

Katie, of course, simply has to make turkey burgers. Which I guess is better than tofu burgers, except that tofu doesn't take that long to cook. Oh, and did I mention they only get 20 minutes to conceptualize and prepare the food?

Michael goes for a Mulberry Street burger. At first I thought it was going to be some sort of weird Dr Seussian creation of jing tinglers, trum tupers, flu floopers, and roast beast, but then he mentioned Little Italy and I realized he meant the street in that part of New York. Color me disappointed.

Jamika did a New Orleans burger, Debbie chose to do a Cal-Asian "bulgogi burger" (because she can't cook anything that's not Korean-inspired) Jeff also did California but with a Mexican flair (ditto, but Mexican-inspired), Teddy chose Pennsylvania (he apparently has an Amish fetish), Kate San Francisco, and Melissa did Burlington, Vermont.

Once the cooking is complete, the wannabes have to make a 30-second on-camera presentation.

Michael has charm but is too nervous, but his burger gets raves.

Melissa scores well on both presentation and flavor.

Jeffrey has that charm/nervous thing going on too. However, from week to week it's the same thing and Tushface wants to see some growth.

Teddy is as fake as a game show host.

Debbie had a good presentation but her burger wasn't exactly flavorful.

Jamika once again urged the audience to "take advantage" of her food (slutty, slutty, slutty!).

And finally, Katie served raw turkey burgers. Not only that, she didn't finish her presentation in the allotted 30 seconds.

Here, let me help you....

Because she served raw lamb two weeks ago, and now raw turkey, Fogelstein questions her culinary ability. Hell, you should do that for all of the wannabes!

After all is said and done, Bobby decides he wants to serve Michael's Mulberry Street burger at Bobby's Burger Palace. Congrats, Michael! (And congrats to Bobby's 2 ex-wives - he's going to make his alimony payment this month!)

The next morning, the wannabes are shuttled to the USS Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, where they are greeted by a color guard.

Wait, you'll find out soon enough. it comes...

Let's make our grand and honorable military personnel stand with flags and pomp and circumstance for Guy Fieri! Personally, I think that's grounds for war.

For this "party," each wannabe has to create an all-American home-cooked dish. And here's the catch: they have to use all of the regional ingredients found in a basket that will be assigned to them. Shades of Chopped! The FN has so few original ideas, it even copies itself! In addition, the wannabes have to present their dishes to the servicemen and women who just want to go home and have a *real* home-cooked meal.

TJ Walter from USA Weekend then pops up to tell them that the winner of this challenge will be featured on the cover of the mag.

The chefs get their baskets and have 1 1/2 hours to prepare. Because the kitchen is small, they cook in shifts. Teddy gets a New York-style basket and decides to make a DLT, with duck substituting for the bacon. Sounds good, but I'm sorry - there is no substitute for bacon. End of story.

Alongside Teddy is Jeffrey, who freaks out over a Maine basketful of live lobsters and blueberries.

He makes a "pot pie" by mixing the berries with some chipotle to make a spicy/sweet sauce and then slopping it into skillets with a cream sauce and lobster chunks. I hope PETA didn't catch the wild machete action on those poor lobsters.

It comes out of the oven looking like hell.

During the presentation portion of their trial, Teddy comes out shaky and acts weird, checking the notes he wrote on his palm like a third grader. His presentation "bummed out" Fogelstein. But his DLT was tasty.

As for Jeffrey's pot pie:

Yeah, it was that bad. And his presentation wasn't much better. He even called it a "shpiel."

Next up were Melissa and Katie. Melissa got a New Mexico basket full of chiles and skirt steak.

Dumb and smart at the same time. It was funny to watch her set out a line of peppers with her hand shielded by a paper towel, as if the chiles were toxic waste. And then she put some of each in her mouth? I'm suprised she didn't use condoms....

Yeah yeah, we've heard that before.

She did a great job with both her presentation and her food. The servicepeople and their families seemed to enjoy her dish quite a bit.

Katie, who got a basket full of Georgia, made a healthy meal of catfish and greens and got weepy during her presentation. Bobby Flay felt she was "middle of the road" but he really meant "on the bubble." In other words, she had equal chances of being asked to leave or being safe this week.

Jamika was next, cooking up goodies from Wisconsin. She got a basket of beer, cheese, and Polish sausage, so she decided to make a casserole with potatoes. Because they had to use electric burners, she couldn't seem to get her potatoes to cook, so she threw the mess into a food processor and hoped it would do the trick.

Yup. You know what happens when you mix potatoes + food processor, right?

And here was the audience's reaction, in a nutshell.

Fortunately for Jamika, her presentation was good.

Finally came Michael with Basket o'Hawaii and Debbie with Basket o'Cali-for-nia.

Rather than beating Debbie with delicious food and a dazzling presentation, Michael takes no chances and beats her over the head with his sheet pan, calling it an "accident." He feels terrible, but goes on to do a good presentation about his love for macadamia nuts (and nuts in general); the judges think his food "tastes like Hawaii."

Debbie, despite being in pain, delivers her "shpiel" competently, but her food is bland and the judges think she could have used her pain to lift herself to a new level. Bullshit. I'm pretty sure that if I hit Tush in the face, only his cursing would reach new levels of creativity.

After the whole cooking/presenting/hitting people over the head ordeal is over and everyone is allowed to escape from the horror that is Guy Fieri, we get a nightime shot of the wannabes' residence, with the rooftop flag flying at half-mast. Because someone is going down. (Possibly Michael, Teddy, and some sailors.)

At the Screaming Yellow Room of Judgement, the lights are up and the wannabes are squinting. We are told that this week's challenge was to see if the wannabes have a grasp on regional cuisine. Each are called out and critiqued.

Finally, we get the verdict. Melissa, who is getting close to finding good energy in front of the camera, and who prepared the favorite dish of the night, is declared the winner.

And Teddy, despite his good-tasting food, was just too nervous for our panel of judges and is given the boot.

Not suprising - it was either him or Katie (who I predict will go next week).


Michael J said...

Absolutely hilarious. Nuff said.

Miss Ginger Grant said...

Teddy is gone and Edward went last week- there is no one cute left on this show!!!! That's the only reason to watch it, and now they're gone!
I glad some hates Guy Fee-eddy as much as I do!

John said...

So THIS is what I missed while waiting for my burger and hash browns at the Waffle Housa.

I agree: the cute guys are almost gone (except for Jeffrey, who is do-able). Really, Teddy was the only thing getting me through this live blog (but only 'cuz he was nice to look at).

Why the HELL is Katie still around!?!?!?

Couldn't they all just go home? But especially Katie?

Oh, loved the condom crack by the way.