Monday, June 24, 2013

The Next Food Network Star 9 Episode 4 Recap

I've had a morning already this morning and the coffee hasn't kicked in yet, so this recap is going to be short and sweet. Maybe not sweet. Ok, maybe not so short, either.

Giada and Alton meet up with the Wannabes in the Star Kitchen. It's dinner and a movie night!!! (I'm not really that excited. The caffeine is finally kicking in.)

The nine remaining contestants are divided up into three teams of three, each representing a movie genre.

Team Musical is Rodney, Chris, and akaLovely.
Team Romance is Viet, Damaris, and Chad.
Team Western is Russell, Nikki, and Stacey.

They'll have to prepare an entree, appetizer, and dessert for moviegoers with sophisticated palates. That's the easy part. The hard part: they have to shoot a 60-second movie trailer to go with their theme, to entice the audience to choose their menu. The team that sells the most food wins and the other folks are up for elimination. Or something like that.

Right away Damaris worries that Romance is going to bring out the awkwardly sexy side of her again. Awkward--definitely. Sexy--she probably doesn't have anything to worry about there.

The teams have 30 minutes to develop their menus and plan their trailers. Russell, over on Team Western, says the first thing that comes to his mind is spaghetti westerns. When Nikki asks him to explain that term, he hems and haws because he has no clue. He just likes spaghetti.

Over on Team Musical, Rodney suggests that akaLovely, who is doing the dessert course, make a "big-nyet." "Beignet," corrects Chris. akaLovely is going to do donut holes, despite the glam factor of a donut hole with a fancy French name. They're writing a 60-second musical about food, by the way.

Time is up and Team Romance is first to film their trailer. Predictably, it's painfully awkward. Damaris likens Chad to a "stiff, robotic Fabio" and I assume she means the long-haired, big-boobied, romance-cover model, not the charming Top Chef that we all know and love. You know, if the Food Network really wanted to attract the ladies, they'd give Fabio Viviani his own show. He wouldn't even have to cook.

When Team Musical gets up to film, we see that Rodney can't play gee-tar and enunciate at the same time. And on Team Western, Russell can't remember his lines.

The Wannabes are then whisked by Flying Carpet to Cinépolis, which everyone pronounces "sin-OP-o-liss." Shouldn't it be "seen-ay-po-lees? Anyway....

The theater has a nice kitchen and the contestants are let loose on the equipment. They have an hour to prep their dishes before the audience comes in to watch the execrable trailers.

After the patrons/focus group files in, Alton tells them they'll be using the Dials of Doom to indicate which performances they like best. The Western trailer airs first and it's not as bad as it could be. Nikki is perfectly comfortable in front of the camera and does the best job. Russell remembers his lines. Stacey seems a bit awkward, but is otherwise ok.

Team Musical's trailer is next, and it's awful. The singing is enthusiastic but off-key, and Rodney is still hard to understand.

Team Romance's is the last to air and it's cringe-worthy. Damaris is fine, despite talking about shrimp that "burst." (I didn't realize "Scanners" was a romance.) Viet is awkward, but Chad is downright creepy. Alton thinks it's 50 shades of hot sauce. Giada is speechless, but I think she's just turned on.

The Wannabes run back to the kitchen to anticipate orders flooding in. Team Romance seems popular because they get six orders right off the bat, but then Team Western takes over and gets a slew of their own. Team Musical is worried that nobody loves them--there are no orders for several minutes. Finally, the orders for lobster mac and blahblahblah pie come pouring in. But now Team Romance is twiddling their thumbs, with no orders coming in.

The judging panel--which once again does not include Tushface or Susie--tries Romance's food first. Despite the creepy factor, they enjoy Chad's wings, which are not as overly-sweet as other food he's made in the past. Damaris' grits need salt. And Viet's berries with sparkling yogurt cream are unimaginative and a disappointment.

The panel loves Team Western's veggie chili and Stacey's coffee-popcorn s'mores, but they think Russell's spaghetti is lacking in flavor.

Team Musical's meal is a mess. Chris's mac and cheese with lobster and chorizo and goat cheese and tomatoes and... has too many competing flavors, and some guests get chunks of lobster that are tough. Rodney's steak, cheese, and mushroom pie is just bad. And akaLovely's donut holes are tough and impossible to bite through.

Back at the Kitchen, the contestants are told that Team Western won the audience vote, so Russell, Nikki, and Stacey are safe. Chad, Damaris, and Chris are also safe, because they didn't suck. On the bottom are akaLovely, Rodney, and Viet, who did suck. Though Rodney's pie is bad (he's not made a good pie yet according to Bobby), they feel he's got a good look and can be a contender. Viet they like as a chef; perhaps he can grow more comfortable in front of the camera. Perhaps. But akaLovely hasn't impressed them yet, and her donut hole was a real bomb. Literally. You could have thrown it at people and done some real damage.

Much to my great pleasure, akaLovely is now akaDunzo. Sadly, however, this leaves no one that I truly dislike.

Next week: "live" 4th of July broadcast! In March, or whenever it was they filmed this show. And no recap, since I'll be in New York for the Fancy Food Show. Maybe later in the week, if I'm feeling up to it....

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