Monday, July 08, 2013

Next Food Network Star Season 9 Episode 6 Recap

First off, I want to say thank you to Bobby Flay who did not start the episode with "and then there were seven." Alton has been doing this at the top of every episode for both FNStar and Next Iron Chef, and even Giada felt the need to say it last week. It drives me c-r-a-z-y. Yes, yes, I know I'm already halfway there, but still.


This week the Wannabes have to come up with their own food products and market them. Because Alton, Bobby, Giada, et. al., have branded crap for sale. Paula Deen used to as well, only now nobody wants to have anything to do with her since finding out she's used the "n-word" in the past. Who knew Nutella was such a dirty word? But those folks are actual celebrity-type people and presumably there is a demand for habanero mango hot sauce and spah-git-ee and flavored butter. Said products must reflect the contestant's POV, something uniquely them. They'll get one hour to prepare two different items, after which time the mentors will taste and critique. The Wannabes then must choose one of the two products which they will pitch to bigwigs from Kraft, Kellogg's, and Target.

Cooking commences. With such a short period of time to both conceptualize a product and create it, the Wannabes are a bit flustered. Stacey is having issues with making both of her products come out right, and Nikki is making vegetable sauces that look like baby poop. Mmmm!

Rodney is surprising everyone by making...pie.

Time is called and Giada the Human Bobblehead, Alton (who appears to have won Johnny Carson's old wardrobe on eBay), and Bobby (sorry, nothing bad to say, although he is seeming a bit world-weary this season) are forced to taste the Wannabe's offerings. It's a thankless job, I must say.

They check out Russell's station first. He's made some flashy chocolate bourbon ginger ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Well, the liquid nitrogen was flashy, the ice cream was pretty bland. They loved his sugar-glazed chunks of slab bacon though, which he is calling "bacon candy."

Nobody wants to try Nikki's baby shit surprise, and after they do, they regret it. They think her pequillo pepper sauce has more promise than her eggplant spinach sauce (who would buy eggplant spinach sauce??) and tell her to think of some applications for it.

BBJew Chad has made his semi-famous-in-his-own-mind bbq beans and Memphis dry rub. Bobby dismisses the dry rub.

Alton says he likes the beans...a little. They are too sweet, as are most of Chad's preparations, but it's the product he should push.

Stacey has made a gluten-free, dairy-free cookie that causes Alton to make a face. More successful is her cayenne butterscotch sauce, which all three mentors seem to enjoy.

Chris has made a corn bisque that's too gosh-darn spicy, and something that he calls a smoked apple and red pepper jam. The mentors suggest that the word jam is misleading, so he changes it to "ketchup" as the product is more savory than sweet.

Damaris' whiskey honey vinaigrette is too boozy and one-note (kinda like Damaris), but her grilled peach pepper jam is spicy and definitely Southern.

Finally, we get to Rodney's pies. Giada is excited to try them, and I'm hoping she slops a bit of the berry pie on the white front of her dress, but apparently she's a neat eater. Of the two selections, the committee prefers the quiche.

Next up, the Wannabes take their selected product to a graphic designer who helps them design packaging. For some reason, everyone wants to put things in a jar, or maybe that's the only type of packaging available at such short notice.

Finally, the products are presented to a panel of bitches three women from Kmart, Woolworth's, and CVS who sit there in their conservative suits and make cranky faces at each of the Wannabes. Chad presents first, and he does well with the talking part.

However, the bitches don't get why he called the product "Big Boy's" beans. He tries to explain that they're like the big boy pants of beans, but they're not buying it. They also don't like that they can see the beans through the glass jar, which is exactly what he wanted.

Stacey's presentation is too rehearsed, and when she misses a word, she has to go over the entire script in her head before she can come back in again where she left off. Luckily, her butterscotch sauce is delicious with an unexpected twist of heat, and they seem to like the packaging.

Chris, whose family owns an apple orchard with the biggest applewood smoker in Ohio, and who just so happened to make smoked apple ketchup, doesn't bother to make that important connection in his pitch. He has some interesting stories - like the one about being a former addict - but he doesn't think to share them until it's too late.

Nikki can't answer a simple question about where her product should be merchandised. Probably because it's obvious - pepper sauce that looks like baby poop should go directly into the toilet.

Russell starts out well, albeit slowly, talking about his deadly sins POV. The bitches are excited at the mention of sin, although one points out that it flies into the face of the whole "wellness" shit that's so popular today. Another claims that the bacon candy tastes great, but she doesn't get that it's candy. Because, stupid, it's NOT candy. It's "bacon candy." Like bacon jam isn't really jam but who the fuck really cares? It's bacon and it's delicious.

Damaris has decided to channel Stacey in her presentation, so instead of being quirky and goofy, she comes off boring. However, the bitches love her peach stuff and think the labeling is pretty perfect.

About that labeling - the Food Network's printer is running out of black ink. Just sayin'.

Finally, Rodney comes out and sings a song about pie style. His product is not actually pie, but a pie kit. He wants the consumer to take the elements of the kit and put them together, to feel like he or she is doing the actual cooking, not just throwing something in the oven. I don't really understand how a mason jar of liquid quiche with a blob of pie crust taped to the side is going to entice anyone into buying it. Not to mention - will it be refrigerated? Frozen? Seems like salmonella waiting to happen.

In the end, Damaris, Stacey, and Russell are the most successful. Nobody is crowned a winner, but they are safe. Chad, Rodney, Nikki, and Chris are on the bottom. So what's the most egregious sin - oversweet beans, duct taped pie, baby poop sauce, or delivering a product that has little to do with the presentation? It would be the latter. Chris' withholding of the most interesting stuff about him gets him the boot, which I think is overdue. The guy might be a good cook, but he just doesn't have a tv personality.

Next week: adjectives and auctions!

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