Monday, May 21, 2012

The Next Food Network Star Season 8 - Episode 2 Recap

Next Food Network Star - Season 8 - Episode 2This week, we were treated to a 'special 90 minute episode' of The Next Food Network Star, meaning 'there are still 14 people left and there is no way we can edit this into 60 minutes.'  This week, the contestants needed to give food bus tours of New York neighborhoods known for their food culture.  Team Bobby was assigned Harlem, and the food theme to go on was Soul Food.  Team Alton was assigned the Lower East Side and a Jewish food theme.  Team Giada seemed to get preferential treatment with the assignment of Little Italy and an Italian food theme.  They should have assigned Team Bobby a BBQ/chipotle pepper theme and Team Alton a food science theme to make it even.

Team Bobby Highlights:

  • Michele Ragussis - Cooked catfish sliders and collard greens.  Said multiple times that she hated catfish, but still tried to sell it to the judges.  The judges were not impressed with her food and not as impressed with her performance from last week.
  • Eric Lee - Made a cheese turnover, once again creating an item from scratch.  Judges were impressed with his food and he also made a pretty good presentation to the judges which he impressed himself with, although the judges didn't comment much about his presentation.
  • Malcolm Mitchell - Made ribs and beans and rice, which impressed the judges and people on the tour bus.
  • Kara Sigle - Made chicken and waffles, and during her presentation referred to the woman she met at the restaurant as a 'black' lady, and then stumbled and tried to correct herself by saying 'African-American.'  Pretty cringe-worthy moment, and the judges were cringing when this happened.  Also, her chicken and waffles didn't taste good at all, which also didn't satisfy the judges.
  • Nikki Martin - Cooked BBQ shrimp and did a decent job with her food and presentation, but seems to be forgettable.

Team Alton Highlights:
  • Justin Warner - Looks like he rode the bus with his window down to get his hair in place and the judges like his presentation as well as his food.
  • Martie Duncan - Made a puffed pastrami sandwich, that the judges liked, and they also liked her presentation, but Martie is another contestant that is forgettable for me.
  • Emily Ellyn - Made meatloaf, but got motion sickness in the middle of her presentation.  If I were to guess who would have gotten motion sickness before the episode aired, I probably would have went with Emily.
  • Judson Allen - Made coleslaw 2 ways, but stumbles some in his presentation, which had the judges unimpressed.
Team Giada Highlights:
  • Josh Lyons - Made a sausage and peppers crostini, and had a horrible and long-winded presentation.  Told a long, boring story about Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro in which he said their names about 100 times each, which had everyone on the bus cringing and hoping he would wrap his story up soon.
  • Martita Jara - Made seafood ceviche which was average, but the judges liked her presentation.
  • Philip 'Ippy' Aiona - Made and eggplant soup which was a play on pasta fagioli and the judges loved the food and the presentation.
  • Yvan Lemoine - Put a piece of mozzarella, tomato, and basil on a stick, which a 3rd grader could do, so that didn't impress the judges at all, but they did like his personality.
  • Linkie Marais - Redeemed herself this week with a cannoli cheesecake that tasted much better than last weeks cake. 
So after all this, the judges had to pick the winning team.  I would have thought Bobby's team would have won, but with them winning last week, maybe the judges didn't want to give him another victory.  So, Team Giada was awarded the victory after having the Italian theme advantage, as well as Josh rambling horribly, and Yvan's elementary food.  The bottom 2 from Team Alton and Team Bobby were Judson Allen and Kara Sigle.  The challenge for those 2 to avoid elimination was to create a memorable dish using potatoes and do a 1 minute camera presentation to introduce their dish.

Judson did salmon encrusted in potatoes, which the judges thought didn't follow the goal of making potatoes the star of the dish.  They also felt in his presentation that he was trying to sell them something and wasn't genuine.  Kara did a mashed potatoes that were a play on a twice baked potato.  Her presentation was a little better, but she used the words 'great' and 'fantastic' a little too much.  Judson started crying when he was being criticized and Kara promised to bring everything she had if she was saved.
Kara Sigle Next Food Network Star
After deliberation, the judges decide to eliminate Kara.  I would say this wasn't based solely on the 1 minute video prepared, but rather the last 2 weeks as a whole.  They probably also saw more potential in Judson for the rest of the competition or maybe the crying helped.  Funny that Kara got beat out by a 'black' person after her slip up in her earlier presentation... Karma.

Predictions for next week:
With Team Giada having 5 people left still, they will not win the first challenge.   If Josh is in the bottom of Team Giada next week, he will go home no matter what.  If someone else is in Team Giada's bottom three, they will still probably be eliminated so teams are even again. Any predictions from your end?  Do you like the new format of the show?

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