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Jul 9, 2007 08:16 AM

Down to 3 - TNFNS- What do you think?

So now it's down to Amy, Rory and JAG.

I can see why it was a tough decision between Paul and JAG - they both did poorly. But I suppose the judges felt that, since JAG had "held back" in order to try to comply with their insistence that he tone it down and make simpler food, they had sort of set him up and owed him another chance.

And Paul, well, he truly did blow the commentary in particular. I felt like Alton wanted to walk over and bash him in the head with whatever blunt kitchen utensil or pan he could get his hands on. He had begun to turn into some sort of caricature of himself, the nervousness taking control. Too bad.

Rory was lucky her food was well received, since her behavior as a commentator had become annoying. And Amy did really come through on both tasks, getting past her emotional meltdown of 2 weeks ago.

So we'll see.

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  1. My goodness was Paul awful all-around last night. JAG wasn't much better at all.

    I think it's between Rory and guess is Rory.

    3 Replies
    1. re: QueenB

      Whoever wins won't be on the air long anyway. I wouldn't want to watch any of them and none of them can cook.

      1. re: RBCal

        I could say that about a lot of the current "stars" who have shows.

        1. re: RBCal

          I'm with you, RBCal and QueenB. In fact, it's such a waste of time to watch their disasters that I just read this board to find out the latest body count.

      2. Somehow Amy's commentary last night made me remember Sara Moulton's Live show -- she was so adept and gracious with her guest chefs as well as her callers. Overall, I thought the commentary was one of the better challenges of this entire (joke of a) season -- we really got to see their food knowledge.

        I agree that Rory's food saved her, plus the fact she finally pulled together a cogent POV. I was, I guess, relieved that JAG got to stay in despite stumbling -- it would have just been a shame to send him home when he was already devastated, and he was trying to address the judges' previous input. I'd rather watch JAG or Paul than Rory, FWIW.

        This week, the editing, at least, showed the most positive feedback these poor contestants have gotten all season! I'm glad for their sake that Jeffrey Steingarten wasn't a judge ;-)

        21 Replies
        1. re: momjamin

          But don't you think that Rory's "Backyard Bistro" is a little too much like Amy's long-established "Gourmet Next Door?" Backyard Bistro is a looong way from the Texas-style approach she first claimed. I think she saw the positive feedback that Amy got on her POV and decided to go in that direction. I'm just surprised that the judges didn't call her out on it. Or am i the only one who feels this way?

          I also really found myself annoyed with Rory during her turn as a commentator - especially when she was so snide with Alton. He clearly didn't enjoy her either...too bad he wasn't in the evaluation room, that would have been fun to watch.

          1. re: heathermb

            I think that although the concepts are similar, the food that should fit under those two names should be different. When I think gourmet next door, I think gourmet style food that isn't extremely expensive or hard to make, kindof like a cheaper version of barefoot contessa. When I think backyard bistro, I think more casual style food dressed up - like grilled meat and summer salads. That could be giving either or both of them too much credit, but I think that it would definitely be possible to make those two ideas pretty distinct.

            1. re: Adrienne

              Gourmet next door.. you mean like the Frugal Gourmet?

              Sounds like a fresh concept (/sarcasm). Can't we get something new on food TV?

              1. re: holy chow

                Frugal Gourmet with the molestation charges. That would be fresh.

                1. re: NewSushiFiend

                  that should read withOUT the molestation.

                  1. re: NewSushiFiend

                    It should also read, "Innocent until proven guilty."

            2. re: heathermb

              Yeah, wasn't she "blue collar dining"? Now it's "Backyard bistro"? What happens when the weather is not so nice, is she still "backyard bistro"?

              I don't want to see Rory win. Another toothy cleavage host and she's not witty or cute.

              1. re: Cat Chow

                Perhaps it's then "Backyard (Under A Tent) Bistro"? Or "Backyard (Whoops, We Moved Into the Garage) Bistro".

                I know this is wrong and shallow of me, but I really can't get past those choppers. When I see her face all I see are teeth.

                1. re: QueenB

                  I plead guilty to that as well QueenB. I know I probably sound petty but I do find her smile too Gummy toothy for my likes!

                  1. re: QueenB

                    I'll second or third the theet/gum aversion. I have posted elsewhere that everything I see her the theme from JAWS comes to mind...

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      Have we really reduced ourselves to making fun of people because of their physical characteristics?

                      1. re: pgokey

                        Nope, it was the first thing I noticed about her on the first show. I watch this show with my mother and she comments on Rory's teeth or gums every week. Is it really a good thing for a TV host when all you pay attention to is their mouth and not what's coming out of it?

                        It's probably no worse than your wondering if you were a bad person for being annoyed with JAG ;-D

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          Actually, there is a world of difference. With Josh, he was being unprofessional and immature. I was criticizing his behavior - something he can control. People can't help their physical features, which is why it's not only petty but mean to pick on people for it. It's sort of junior high-ish, frankly. We're to be evaluating their ability to cook and present food - not "read" them like we're drag queens.

                          Truth be told, I hadn't noticed Rory's mouth, teeth or gums at all. I was too busy focusing on how she was acting.

                          It's one thing to complement someone for looking nice, and we expect people to have a professional appearance on TV. But picking on their gums? Really? This is a website about food. Let's focus on that.

                          I'd also like to reference the "less bashing of TV hosts" header on this page. I think it's fair to give opinions on contestants, but focusing our opinions to their actually cooking and personalities (the two criteria for the job, mind you) seems at least minimally consistent with the spirit of the board.

                          1. re: pgokey

                            Pgokey, I'm with you for the most part, It's just that Rory (and this is my own personal opinon) is mediocre at best kitchen wise, she can't present, I don't like her personality as it comes across on the TV AND (in my opinion) has the gummy toothy smile that I find unappealing. I'm sorry that I am fixated on it but I don't see it as bashing, just as stating the fact. I'm feeling like Simon Cowell right now.

                            I'm sure all of us have physical things we wish we could change or do without and I'm the first to admit what my shortcomings are (see below)...someone with a gummy smile can tone it down and show more teeth vs. gums.

                        2. re: pgokey

                          Doesn't Tom Cruise have a toothy smile? I don't like him either.

                          I'll be the first to make fun of my big lopsided smile (although I confess, I don't have gummy teeth) and the freckles across my nose. However, I am not out there trying to make a living on the packaging of looks to help sell a product/be a TV host. It is distracting, however you want to put it.

                          1. re: Cat Chow

                            That's the crux of it, IMO. These people are putting themselves out there to be a 'celebrity' of sorts and opening themselves up to this kind of scrutiny. In fact, Rory has made a point of commenting on the facts that she is not against using her looks to get ahead so that, to me, makes it fair game.

                            If you can't stand looking at someone, for whatever reason, then you're not going to watch their show.

                            1. re: heathermb

                              OK. Here's my pettiness for the day:

                              I'm not a fan of Rory's gums OR Amy's crooked talking. JAG is hard to look at too. His smile seems incredibly false and his forehead puckers oddly.

                              1. re: mojoeater

                                RE: Amy's way of talking - it bothers me enormously b/c it comes off as "I'm stating the obvious but you clearly haven't picked up on it so I have to TELL you" Drives me nuts. And yet, she's still my favorite which tells you how I feel about the caliber of contestants overall. Thank goodness for Top Chef!

                    2. re: Cat Chow

                      OOOH, I agree about the teeth. Can't deal with that many teeth...and gums

                  2. re: momjamin

                    The judges have as much as acknowledged that JAG is the only contestant with cooking chops, but they've also done their best to destroy those. He's the only contestant that's had a consistent POV since the beginning - Latin Fusion.

                    He gave the judges what they asked for and what they wanted...dumbed down food. Had he stuck to his guns and done the challenge the way he wanted to he most likely would have blown everyone away. His speech about why he wanted to stay came from the heat and had a ring of sincerity about it, Paul's did not.

                    My guess is Amy and JAG for the final, with Amy eventually winning. JAG can cook but his drama queen act is wearing thin. Amy is malleable and coachable, JAG not so much.

                    Rory's too needy.

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      That drove me crazy! Whenever the panel makes suggestions about what the person needs to change or do, and they change it or do it, the next judging they get taken to task for that very thing! They don't know what they want IMHO.

                  3. So I am a bad person for getting annoyed when Josh (I refuse to call him JAG) started bawling like a baby? I just wanted to slap him. I get that doing a show like this is very emotional, and that there is a lot of stake, but man oh man did he make a spectacle of himself on national TV, or what?

                    I am normally a pretty empathic guy but that maudlin display drove me nuts.

                    I think Josh was picked over Paul (sad to see him go) because Paul just didn't seem to have the culinary expertise. He didn't even know what San Marzano tomatoes were.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: pgokey

                      Of course you're not a bad person. But let me reframe things a bit. Do you have something that you're passionate about? A hobby? An advocation? A skill or trade? Do you have someone in the field that you really respect because of what they've been able to achieve in that field? If you do, how would you feel if you totally flamed out in front of that respected person? In essence because you weren't true to yourself.

                      Josh, or JAG, is a very good cook. He identifies very, very strongly with food, in fact, I strongly suspect he gets a great deal of his identify from food and the fact he's good at cooking gives him some personal validation, probably something he hasn't gotten a lot of in his young life. He needs the positive feedback, he needs to know he did well because he derives a lot of his personal identity from it..okay, call it what it is, his ego needs the boost from the validation because it doesn't, or hasn't gotten it other places. He has huge respect for Bobby Flay (an acknowledged slacker when he was young) for what BF has managed to achieve.

                      JAG needed validation, he needed it from a chef he respects and idolized, he didn't get it, he didn't get it because he sold out to the whims of the judges, so his sense of self and self-esteem took a beating. Look, this guy has a HUGE chip on his shoulder and needs to prove something, anything. He should have easily won the IC challenge, but he didn't. What he did show, however, was his vulnerabilty, something we've not seen before. And then again, the whole thing could have been staged for the cameras, we don't know ;-)

                      That's my armchair psychology of the episode. But no, you're not a bad person for being annoyed. This entire show is annoying, but we still watch and still get frustrated with what we see.

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        I do think that it's possible Josh had a meltdown. HOWEVER - he chose to air his problems in a public part of the apartment. He knew the cameras were there and, in my opinion, purposefully wept with the intent of getting sympathy and attention. If anyone wants privacy they can go in the bathroom. I think it was staged either by him, the producers, or both.

                        I actually was a bit impressed with Rory's food (not her commentary). Up until now I doubted if she had any chops at all. But even though she admittedly was unfamiliar with the fish that was her main ingredient, she impressed the judges. Amy had it easy with chicken. Paul and Josh flailed.

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          Josh is just too immature to watch. That's my armchair psych. Just because we can understand why someone does what they do, doesn't mean it's excused. His ego is too fragile, he's too insecure, and too immature. That's, I think, why his tantrum rubbed me the wrong way. It might have been sincere, but it's reasonable to expect more maturity from a TV host.

                          1. re: pgokey

                            Excellent points, I would agree on the maturity angle. Having just dealt with an employee with anger management issues, I'm more concerned about his clear inability to control that. He's got 'em and unless he finds a way to deal with them he'll find his path in life much harder.

                        2. re: pgokey

                          I get what you mean but i think the guy has a true passion for food and like Chef Flay said if he doesn't he should win an academy award. But if what he says is true then i understand where the guy is coming from i truly want him to win but i think Amy is gonna win the food network doesn't like the complexity of Jags food. I wish him and the rest of the finalists the best just like if one of us was in the same situation i would want support too.

                        3. I wanna know what kind of screening process Food Network went through to find these contestants. A lot of the candidates were/are just flat out awful. The commentary part was an eye opener...I bet most viewers felt they knew more about the food then either Paul or Rory, and they're supposed to be on Food Network's short list of candidates to have their own show, expecting people to learn something from them? I think the only candidate left that would fit in, is Amy...I think she'll be fine hosting her own daytime half hour show. She also had good chemistry with Alton on the Iron Chef commentary, I think she would do a great job taking over Kevin Brauch's spot on the floor.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Bunson

                            Alton did sum it up nicely last week "Can't we just send them home and start all over?". I'm with Alton.

                            I did somewhat like JAG at the beginning but he's clearly an angry young man and the world does not need another angry/smug/chip on shoulder chef to look at on TV. He's got a disturbing tick that makes him look nastier, if you notice how he manages to "scrunch" the corner of his eyebrow (his left one?) when he's talking, dead giveaway he's angry or something else. Angry guy wielding a knife, no thanks, I don't want to watch.

                            Amy finally pulled it together but after last week's histrionics and waffling about my family first, no my career as a cook first etc. I doubt her sincerity.

                            Rory I never liked

                            Paul was dismal in the IC challenge. His spaziness morfed into sheer goofiness and stupidity. No thanks.

                            At this point, it's about the train wreck for me. After this season, I would not watch any of them in whatever format they end up with on FN

                          2. Even more than their food knowledge, Amy showed far more host skills in her commentary, by admitting her lack of knowledge and locating an answer to the questions she was asked, this made her seem far smarter than guessing or joking like others did.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: dagoose

                              Amy's the best of the lot, but she's still annoying.

                              I think the whole concept is flawed. The next FoodNetwork Chef should be someone picked for being very skilled, entertaining, and with a slant not alreadly occupied, NOT the last one standing from a bunch of losers.

                              1. re: Claudette

                                I'm just going to say "forget it" to this bunch and try out the new "Giada" Latina they're already pushing.

                                1. re: aurora50

                                  No kidding...considering Ingrid was an established food host over at Univision/Galavision. At least she's got the experience (food and TV wise!)

                                  I'm not crazy about her pushing Guavas for everything that going to be her "cookphrase" GUAVISIMO!??? LOL!

                                  I'm Central American and I'm not crazy about Guavas. She makes it sound like we put it on everything. I certainly don't. I'll just about want to put Limon (our lemons which are more like persian limes) on just about anything but certainly not Guava-as-Limon.

                                  That being said, I'll give her a whirl (since I will admit I do not watch much Univision anymore, and certainly not in the AM when she's doing the cooking segment on Despierta America (the Today show in Spanish, if you will). I'd like to see what her proposition for the FN market is.

                                2. re: Claudette

                                  There's the rub. You used the word CHEF, which is nowhere in the name or intention of the show. It's the Next Food Network STAR. Chef skills are obviously not needed.