This week we were
The eight remaining Wanna-bes find Giada and the Bride of Fogelstein waiting for them in the Food Star Kitchen. This is the half-way point in the competition and the contestants should consider the day's challenges as a "mid-term."
For the "Camera Challenge," the Wanna-bes will need to start thinking about their brand by creating a food product which they will prepare, package, and present on camera.
After 30 minutes of shopping with $300 to spend, the Wanna-bes race around the kitchen and prepare their products. Aarti is making a tandoori paste. Aria is making a family recipe for apple pear chutney. Tom is making a marmalade that he plans to serve on brussels sprouts and chicken livers (!?). Paul has come up with yet another POV, this time "Blue Collar Dollar" and is making a tomato cream sauce that somehow works the theme. Brad is making an onion marmalade. Serena is of course doing a pasta sauce. Brianna is making a chocolate raspberry dessert sauce. And Herb is mixing olive and coconut oil together and calling it a food product although it sounds more like something he would wear in his hair.
After prep time is over, the Wanna-bes are given some bad/exciting news.
We then see the contestants at home. Brianna and Serena have an altercation because Brianna doesn't want people underfoot in the kitchen when she's making dinner, and Serena insists on being underfoot in the kitchen while Brianna is making dinner.
Serena stalks off, leaving Brianna wishing she had stepped on her head rather than just her foot a few weeks ago.
The doorbell rings, and it's Giada. She's come to play mentor by having a one-on-one with each of the Wanna-bes and giving them mentorly advice. She speaks in a whispery voice and is entirely too nice. I would have been cracking heads together, but then I'm big on Tough Love. Or in this case, Tough I-Can-Barely-Stand-You.
The next day, the Wanna-bes pack their shit and head to the Grove Promenade to do their presentations. Predictably, Serena was confusing and garbled.
Here's how the rest of it went down: Paul tries to be cute by telling jokes and mugging and runs out of time. Brianna stands frozen like a moron for a few seconds before being a hot mess and finishing 30 seconds too early. The crowd loved Herb even if his dish was overly-complicated and his product was a nothing. They adored Aarti though she didn't get to finish or taste her food, and the judges loved her tandoori paste. Tom really turned himself around and wowed both the crowd and the committee with his presentation, but not his product. Brad forgot how to smile again. And Aria was ok, but didn't have a lot of energy.
Despite their shortcomings, Aarti and Tom did the best job overall and were chosen as the winners of this contest, getting an advantage in the Star Challenge. Brianna and Serena ended up dead last. Which didn't surprise me.
The Wanna-bes then board a trolley and ride through the Grove. They get dumped off next to four lunch trucks from which pop Bobby Flay and Paula Deen.
For the Star Challenge, the contestants must partner up to operate the lunch trucks.
Paula horrifies all present by threatening to show up in a string bikini.
The first step for each team is to decide what sort of food they'll be making and what their truck will be called. The Bickersons decide on international foods and Brianna comes up with the name "Superfly." Serena is all "what is the superfly?" They eventually settle on Serena's suggestion of "2 Chix in a Truck."
Tom takes the lead in his team and decides they will do American comfort food with an Indian twist. And they will call their truck "Dick Bombay," which for some reason cracks me up. Mr Minx thought he said, "Dick Flambée," which was even funnier. And painful. What a delightful mental image!
Brad and Aria, both from Wisconsin, decide to call their truck the Great American Cheesehead Grill. They're making sliders, hot dogs, and strawberry milkshakes. ZZZzzzzzzzz.
Finally, Paul and Herb are doing wraps and calling their truck "Paul & Herb's Wraps." Double ZZzzzzzzz.
The teams then go shopping and hilarity ensues, mostly on the part of Serena who doesn't know either Sriracha or Worcestershire sauce, which provokes a lot of eyerolling from Brianna. Tom wants to buy leg of lamb, but the only lamb available is frozen so he decides his team will substitute beef. The Bickersons also want lamb, and Brianna is fine with the frozen stuff. Dun dun dun! This could be their downfall. Or not.
The next day, the Wanna-bes head to Venice Beach and find their trucks all ready, with names painted on the sides and kitchens ready to go. They commence to prepping their food. Of course Brianna finds her lamb is still frozen, but decides to dump it in a hotel pan and pop it in the oven to defrost. Aarti and Tom cook all of their beef at one time and nearly die of smoke inhalation. Paul and Herb pound their chests and shout at each other.
Even though Brad and Aria are basically only making cole slaw and burgers with everything else store bought or stupid easy (iceberg wedge salad, strawberry milkshake), they are caught with their pants down (well, not literally, thank God) when time is up and a herd of people suddenly shows up and demands food.
The Selection Committee appears with Paula Deen and they go about tasting all of the food.
They find that Serena and Brianna actually worked really well together and produced some great food, with the frozen lamb dish ending up as the judges' favorite.
Tom and Aarti also made both a good team and great food. The committee liked Paul and Herb's wraps, too. Slowpokes Aria and Brad didn't fare as well, with overcooked burgers and unimaginative hot dog toppings.
After feeding the hoardes, the Wanna-bes get cleaned up and face the Selection Committe. Tushface was very impressed with Tom, who in his estimation has risen near the top of the pack over the last few challenges. Aria has done the opposite - she started out strong but has ended up being pretty mediocre.
Because they overcame their dislike for one another and because they served the best food of the day, Serena and Brianna get the surprise win. Surprise because I thought for sure one of them would be leaving this week.
Aarti and Tom are also safe, as is Herb. On the chopping block are Paul, Aria, and Brad.
While Paul and Herb were on the same team and got favorable reviews for their food, as a mid-term challenge, I was pleased to see that the judges were given a good excuse to get rid of Paul. He still hadn't nailed his POV and couldn't even explain his newest one to the judges.
While Brad was once again boring and Aria was a disappointment, Paul got the boot. Finally.
Seven Wanna-bes left and I can't say I hate any of them. Either I'm getting soft or this season's batch isn't as stupid/obnoxious/boring as in the past.