Monday, June 10, 2013

The Next Food Network Star 9 Episode 2 Recap

This week, the Wannabes are loaded into the Food Network Starships and are taken to Culver Studios. The historic, colonial-style studio was the site for filming such movie and television classics as Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Batman, and the Andy Griffith Show, among others. And now its status has slipped so far that Food Network Star is filming there.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

The Wannabes are shown an array of meats and condiments and Alton Brown announces that they will be participating in their own mini Burger Bash, a competition that is a fixture during the Food Network-sponsored South Beach and New York Food and Wine Festivals. The Wannabes get to make the burgers, and the Selection Committee gets to bash them.

In the past, Rachael Ray was a winner, and this year, Bobby Flay emerged victorious, despite competition like Tim Love, Stephanie Izard, and David Burke. No fixes in that contest at all!

There are two parts to this challenge. First, each FoodNetworkStartestant has to make burgers for up to 100 guests. And second, they have to make a two minute live presentation to the audience-- who will be twiddling knobs on those Annoy-O-Meters again--to sell their burgers. Each audience member will get one token, which he or she will use to "pay" for the burger of choice, based on the presentation.

The contestants get one hour of prep, during which time the Selection Committee makes the rounds.

Connie aka Lovely (or so the graphic says) tells them she's making a turkey burger, because her mama always made turkey burgers so her kids wouldn't get fat. Hmm. Didn't work. The Selection Committee warns her to make her burger flavorful, not diet, but of course she's going to ignore them.

The Committee is concerned that Danushka won't be able to sell herself well, so she tells them she'll just take her shirt off. Bobby seems totally into the idea, and even Giada doesn't try to dissuade her.

Andre doesn't really know what his angle is, even though the Committee thinks he needs to talk about his incredible weight loss. He still wants to try to teach men to cook. Because, you know, there are no male cooks out there. Personally, I think he can combine the two--he can teach young men how to cook and eat so they won't get fat in the first place.

Rodney is the Pie Man, so of course he must make a pie.

Oh, let's skip over all this boring preliminary stuff and go right to the action. Such as it is.

The audience files in and the Wannabes take their place behind the crowd, ready to be called up to make their presentations.

Viet goes first, and after telling us that he avoided public speaking classes in school, we gotta wonder why he wants to be on television. He tells the crowd that he beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America and gets a good response. His presentation is much better this week, and I love the idea of a banh mi burger.

Damaris promises not to be "awkwardly sexy," because apparently that's what she does when she gets nervous. And she gets nervous and does a shoulder shimmy. The audience laughs heartily. At her.

Connieakalovely gets the crowd on her side right away, but Giada ain't fooled.

Danushka tells the crowd that she used bison because she loves game meat. And we immediately believe that she killed the beast with her own hands and teeth. She claims to have been 100% herself during the presentation, so maybe she should try to be someone else?

The crowd loves Chad. But why? He's completely bland, and two weeks in a row he's made Memphis-style barbecue. If Rodney's going to make pie every week and Chad's going to put barbecue sauce on his food every week, I'm going to throw the remote at the television. Every week.

NikkiDinki, who did so well last week, doesn't rate well with the crowd. Nobody cracks a smile as she gives her dull presentation. Danushka, who clearly can't stand her, calls her a yappy Valley Girl. And then she puts a curse on her.

After the presentations, it's time to serve. There are lines in front of every station except Danuskha, who's scared everyone off, and Andre, who's bored everyone away.

The Selection Committee tastes everything. Russell's burger, is excellent, and they seem happy with Chad's, Chris', Damaris', Stacey's, and Viet's. Andre's burger tasted like condiments, and Connieakalovely's was one note--bleu cheese. She got a ton of tokens, but most of her customers left disappointed. Rodney's burger on a pie crust just didn't work. NikkiDinki's half-veggie burger was a pile of bland overworked mush. But, surprisingly, Danushka's tiny burger was simple and tasty.

The next day, the Wannabes meet with Giada, Bobby, and Alton. I am just noticing that Tushface and Susie have been conspicuously absent this week, and it was a welcome absence indeed. The SelectionCommitteeakaMentors take each of the contestants to task in turn. Russell was happy to hear that his was the best burger by far, and he also received the largest number of tokens--15. He's safe, as are Stacey and Chad. Danushka, despite making a tasty burger, ended up on the bottom of the focus group's list, so she was up for elimination.

Andre was in the same boat. Not only did nobody want to eat his burger, but he insulted all of the men in the audience when he insinuated that they couldn't cook.

Nikki was also in the bottom three because her burger was abysmal. And Danushka put a curse on her.

After a bit of deliberation, Andre is sent home. No surprise there. Or did you think he had enough potential to stay on?

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