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TNFNS Week 6? (spoilers)

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Okay, who is happy that Debbie got to stay? I for one am not. Since the beginning she has been out for herself - with that personality, I would not want to invite her into my home each week. What are your thoughts?

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  1. Did anyone else notice Ralph Pagano was one of the party goers? He had a quick line on camera about the party. I guess that guy has a knack for finding a camera.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Shane Greenwood

      Did Ralph really parlay his appearance on Hell's Kitchen into a career on TV? He's aggravating (almost as bad as Guy Fieri).

      1. re: Ericandblueboy

        He was a contestant on ICA and had a cooking show called "Pressure Cook" on some small time channel called MOJO TV, but I think that's been cancelled. Gotta give the guy credit for not giving up. But I guess he's reduced to the role of one-liner party goer now.

    2. Michael is a good chef, looks a little like Ernie from Sesame Street, but still a good chef. This is a difficult group to choose from this season. I say Melissa looks the best and the most comfortable and natural behind the camera. Debbie's daikon went over well this week and that earned her more time around. She's a good chef too but a tad selfish if you ask me.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cheese Boy

        I don't think Debbie is "a tad selfish." She has evidenced that she will say anything whether or not it has any basis in reality to cover her tracks if she thinks she is in trouble. How come she isn't smart enough to know she is being videotaped and that any lies she tells get shown for what they are.

        Her "good" food this week may have saved her, but I can't imagine how she can keep getting away with it. The judges have to have seen what we have seen.

        I, for one, would be horrified if she won, especially over Melissa or Jeffrey.

        1. re: chicgail

          One thought I had (and was surprised none of the judges mentioned it), was that perhaps her dishes were the best because she got to spend so much extra time on them?

          1. re: jgg13

            i totally agree. i can't imagine that they never discussed it - it was likely just edited out. i initially thought it *should* have been addressed in the part that viewers get to see, but then i realized it would look bad for TVFN if they acknowledged it AND kept Debbie on after the crap she pulled. it seemed like they were really downplaying just how selfish her behavior was, and how completely she dropped the ball. she was the expediter, for pete's sake! the woman didn't expedite a darn thing except her own dishes.

      2. I finally watched this week for the first time.

        Is Debbie the long lost foodie cousin of Margaret Cho?

        4 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          been thinking that since Day One...though i find Margaret Cho to be far more entertaining ;)

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Are you(s) implying fat Korean women all look the same? (okay, they do somewhat)

            1. re: Ericandblueboy

              LOL! you know that's not what we're saying :) you don't see the resemblance? seriously, the first time i saw Debbie i said she & Margaret Cho could easily be sisters.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                The first time I saw Debbie I thought that she *was* Margaret Cho.

        2. I have thought from the beginning that Debbie has been pre-picked as the winner. She seems to be a good cook but her actions have been less than honorable. The panel does everything possible to keep her.
          My pick is Melissa. She has the personality and potential to be a great TV star, but I wonder if the FN is looking for someone of a different ethnic background

          1. I'm sure that Debbie is being kept on as the villain. But the judges do come across as quite stupid in doing so. It certainly looks like Debbie is getting a free pass through most of this. Where other get chastised or thrown off Debbie get lot of praise and a pat on the back.

            Even Fn excs can't possibly be that thickheaded to give her her own show...can they?

            8 Replies
            1. re: Withnail42

              Well, I think she is skating by because they can only kick off one person per show. Also, they look for growth and she seemed to be developing for a few episodes, plus they love her food. I can't think of any episodes where she deserved to be kicked off more than the person who was. But the judges clearly said in the beginning that integrity is vital. And now she has been caught twice in lies. She'll be gone very soon.

              1. re: Shane Greenwood

                I think that it's inevitable that Debbie is eliminated for all the reasons stated. I do think that the network picked her to be the villain, but not to win the whole thing. She creates the tension needed to keep people tuning in and rooting for and against. It's just TV production trickery.

                1. re: araknd

                  bingo.

                  1. re: araknd

                    That makes sense. So do you think the entire show is orchestrated? Or did Debbie just hand them an opportunity?

                    1. re: h2Bn

                      I don't think that the whole show is orchestrated in favor of one contestant, but I think they probably look at the early "challenges" and reactions and see how they can edit the tape to create the tension to keep viewers coming back. The "story" evolves along with the eliminations. They do have a network and a show franchise that they need to support and they still need to pick the right "personality" to promote and to pitch to advertisers.

                      1. re: h2Bn

                        I think ALL of these reality shows with contestants are contrived in that the actual events have taken place quite a while before we actually get to see them. I'd like to believe that the outcome of each "test" is honest -- or at least as true to the concept of the show as the judges can make it. I have no illusions, however, about how the audience is manipulated by the producers by the way in which they choose to portray the events. How many times have we seen one contestant appear either inept at the beginning, or at the very least quiet -- only to come on strong at the end? It's all in the editing.

                        1. re: PattiCakes

                          We are in complete agreement, PC. The tapings are usually done months in advance, the contestants are legally bound by NDA and cannot talk about any of the details until airing. That gives the producers plenty of time to shape the story lines and make it somewhat entertaining. I know that this is a rather cynical viewpoint, but we are talking about American TV and their goal is to attract as many viewers as possible for the sponsors of this show and the potential advertisers of the "winner's" show. It is all business and entertainment.
                          I do hereby admit that I am a fan of this show because I enjoy watching people cook and be as creative as they can be under the stress.

                          1. re: araknd

                            In literary terms, I think it's called "the willing suspension of disbelief". We all KNOW that what we are seeing is contrived, but we choose to go along for the ride anyway in the interests on entertainment.

                2. Like some others on this board, I think Debbie has been pre-picked to win this thing. Personally, I don't think any of this season's contestants have/had what it takes to put on a popular food show. But Debbie, is most unlike any of the hosts that FN already has, and I think that's why she'll win.

                  Was anyone surprised that Michael got bounced? He's very entertaining, and I'll miss him in that respect, but the guy told the judges TWICE that he doesn't like to be on camera. Hello!

                  1. If you watch Judges' Table again, you'll see that they talk more about Melissa and Jeffrey's tv potential than they do Debbie's. Their words about Debbie aren't all that particularly glowing.

                    And, if next week's preview is an indicator (since you never really know if how they edit it is misleading), looks like Debbie has a real rough time of it. Perhaps next week she'll be bumped.

                    And remember, just because you don't win TNFNS, it doesn't mean you won't get a show. Cases in point - Adam Gertler, Nathan Lyon, and Kelsey Nixon (her web show for Food Network).

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: cmvan

                      What show did Nathan Lyon get?

                      1. re: kprange

                        He's had a show for some time now on Discovery called "Lyon in the Kitchen".

                        1. re: cmvan

                          and i love his show! lol his affinity for fresh vibrant food draws me in, i can't help it!

                          1. re: kubasd

                            i'm so with you on that one! big Nathan Lyon fan.

                      2. re: cmvan

                        If someone appears to be having a rough time during the previews that usually means they will make it through for another week.

                        I would not be surprised to see Michael getting a web show.

                        1. re: cmvan

                          Debbie has been pretty consistent with her food (most good, mostly Korean flavored). On the other hand, I have no idea why Jamika is still on the show. I think she's bad on camera, she frazzles easily, and can't consistently produce great food. Michael really does suck in front of the camera.

                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                            The two shows I've seen, that's the only time she's mentioned "because I'm Korean" - when she used garlic or ginger. Adding garlic or ginger does not make it "Korean flavored".

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Thank goodness; I am German and I have garlic and ginger; I was getting confused.

                              1. re: kprange

                                And I'm mostly Irish, German, Polish and Norwegian and use both as well - quite liberally. And it's rare that any dish I'm making automatically becomes "Korean flavored" upon use of either.

                        2. Can't stand her! I would never watch her show.

                          1. Just watched the video on the FN website where the judges discuss choosing who goes. It gives some insight into what's been talked about here.

                            What I found interesting was that Bob Tuschman says very specifically that he wanted to boot Debbie, but was out-voted.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: cmvan

                              Debbie doesn't seem to recognize/acknowledge her selfishness. I have to believe it will all come out in the wash or the episode would not have been editied in a way that really made her look foolish and sneaky.

                              Michael is quirky, and may end up getting some sort of special appearance on FN shows, but he is too over the top for me. If I had heard him say "Who loves you!" one more time, I would have run him through with a flaming tiki torch.

                              1. re: PattiCakes

                                "If I had heard him say "Who loves you!" one more time, I would have run him through with a flaming tiki torch."
                                ~~~~~~
                                LOL! that makes two of us. i was actually surprised that Bob was gushing over how much he loved Michael's personality, and his shtick at this particular gathering. i personally thought it was really obnoxious and off-putting, and i had to suppress the urge to throw something at the TV after about the 4th time Michael yelled out "Who loves you?!"

                              2. re: cmvan

                                If there's one person that makes me not want to watch the show, it's Bob Tuschman. Can't they boot him?

                              3. I agree with the poster who said it doesn't seem like Debbie is "a favorite" with the judges. Perhaps she has received a few glowing comment because she seems so comfortable in front of the camera.
                                But I think the judges have spotted her lack of integrity, more than once and I think that she won't last long.
                                I think it will be Jeffery, Jamika and Melissa in the final three, with Melissa taking the prize.

                                15 Replies
                                1. re: NellyNel

                                  Just wondering, why is integrity a factor in a contest to see who can host a food TV show? I fail to see the relevance....you can be a scumbag and still host an informative and interesting show, right? Simon Cowell comes to mind.

                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                    Perhaps because it smacks of not playing by the rules. If the other contestants need to demonstrate that they can cook as well as how they can fulfill an assigned role, then she should have to do the same -- just to make it a level playing field. Goodhealthgourmet mentioned that the reason Debbie's food was better than everyone else's was because she had the time to make it so -- she took herself out of the extra job of expediting and concentrated only on her own food. Then she lied about it.

                                    I think the "scumbag" reputation eventually catches up with you. Simon Cowell is reportedly not a scumbag in real life, even though his American on-air schtick is to be one. I also think that the last thing FN would want would be to have a fledgling on-air personality who appears to be all sweetness & light on air, but turns out to be someone who walked all over others to get there. That's just not what they want to portray.

                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                      Have agree with you about the integrity thing.

                                      But in in this case it became a factor when Bob made a big huge speech, after Debbie was caught lying the first time, about how integrity is first and foremost at FN.

                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                        Bob should stop talking out of the side of his mouth. That guy creeps me out.

                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                          Don't forget last season, when JAG lied about his resume. And Robert Irvine was forced off of his own show, Dinner: Impossible, for a season for similar reasons.

                                          Whoever wins will be joining a community of chefs and presenters, who do interact with each other, if at least on holiday specials and as judges on the contest programs. If there is a lack of respect within that community, it will show up on camera, and no editing will remove all of it. Better to have a winner who belongs in the community.

                                          And that person won't be Debbie.

                                          1. re: S. Woody

                                            And it's not just the chef colleagues they have to think about either. It takes a lot of people to make these shows. They have film crews, producers, assistants, stylists and so on. Treating the people behind the scenes with respect is super important in this business. If Debbie is the kind of person who will lie to make her teammates look bad, you have to wonder how she would treat the people behind the scenes. I am sure that kind of professionalism is part of the equation.

                                        2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                          It doesn't. You need to be able to cook, and you need to good on camera. You also don't need to be able to work with another partner creating food, either, but that's the criteria they come up with. I'm sure integrity/trustworthiness is something that you would want in a coworker, but that's not as important as food & personality.

                                          1. re: Reignking

                                            But you do have to work with other chefs. I also don't get that people don't have to have integrity to have a show. I guess you don't, but I don't think it should be something that is glorified and rewarded. What does that say about us? I for one will not watch a show of hers if she wins. I value integrity in a person, and if I know someone has none, I try to not support that person.

                                            1. re: kprange

                                              I know what you are saying, and if her food had been mediocre, I think she would've been gone.

                                              1. re: kprange

                                                It's also a reality TV show. Having high standards in a reality TV show is pure hypocrisy.

                                            2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                              I don't know about you, but I wouldn't hire someone for any job who during the series of job interviews lied or cheated or faked their way through something. That's just not the kind of employee I would want, espeically in the public eye.

                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                And yet TFN has history with doing just that with Robert Irvine. So hiring Debbie wouldn't be much different.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  The difference is that apparently RI can get the job done. Debbie can't, at least not without sacrificing part of the entire package of tasks. Sorry, but I find the Dinner Impossible show much more entertaing with RI than without. I also have a dog that I love dearly who sometimes poops on the rug. I'll admit it, I have a selective line in the sand.

                                                  1. re: PattiCakes

                                                    I was speaking specifically to the "hiring" of an employee who has lied repeatedly, not to whether a job can be done or not by that employee. TFN obviously has no problem hiring people who have lied. My issue, in this case, is with TFN.

                                                    1. re: PattiCakes

                                                      It's not about whether anyone watches the show the issue that is be refereed to is the grand standing by FN on the issue of integrity. Irvines presence is an (other) example of their hypocrisy.

                                            3. Debbie seems like an awful teammate, but I'm glad that Michael went before her. He is bad on camera, and his food wasn't very good, and while Debbie has some serious personality flaws, the show is about being good on camera and having good food, and she had both this week.

                                              1. Never worry... Debbie is the next to go. She doesn't have the looks for TV. She may have a great personality and good food, but FN will stick with their formula of hiring cute people... I think they call it "camera appeal".

                                                1. random thoughts:
                                                  - when they announced that the challenge was at a nightspot in Miami Beach, my first thought was "Let me guess...Nikki Beach?" Top Chef already did this one...though they had to cook & serve out of a trailer. the setup the contestants had for this one was luxurious in comparison.
                                                  - THANK YOU to Susie for voicing her frustration over the perpetuated assumption that women are the only ones who would order a lighter or diet-conscious menu item. i'm sick of it too!
                                                  - did anyone catch Susie's comment about how Melissa *always* has a great take-away or pointer to offer? if that's not the ideal quality for a TVFN star, i don't know what is. it really got me thinking that Melissa is Susie's pick to win this. and i have to admit, though i was completely unimpressed by Melissa in the beginning, she's totally bringing it now. i wouldn't be surprised to see her win.
                                                  - Jeffrey definitely showed more personality (finally!), but i'm not sure it's a personality i'd want to watch on a weekly basis. something about his delivery is starting to rub me the wrong way, i almost feel as though he's a bit condescending.
                                                  - Jamika needs to step it up. she's got a great personality, but i don't see her winning anything with her food or performance the past few weeks.
                                                  - finally, i would have been happy to see either Michael or Debbie go - i don't like either one of them. i was really bothered by Debbie's attitude, and i think we saw a very unattractive side of her this time around. i hope they give her the boot next week.

                                                  1. I liked mIchael better than Debbie too

                                                    1. And were they really going to send home the person that clearly had the best food, or the one that every episode says "I hate cameras."?

                                                      Anyone else catch the blond (Melissa? I never bother to remember the names) said that her "pollo a la plancha" means chicken on a plank? That's some bad Spanglish, there (it means grilled, unless there is some colloquial meaning that I'm not aware of) but she did save it with the perfect Spanish exit -- by saying "Hasta luego."

                                                      1. Michael definitely got on my nerves. I knew he was going to be getting the boot. While he's probably a really nice guy in real life, I don't think I can stand watching a half an hour of him in one shot. I feel he was the right person to have been let go this week.

                                                        Oh boy. I was a Debbie supporter from Day 1 in spite of all the Debbie hate on these boards. But I'm eating my words now as her behavior on this episode was appalling. I mean, is she for real? Does she think that the viewers and judges are that stupid or is she so absorbed in her own world that she's not paying attention to anything that doesn't have to do with her? The only thing that saved her from elimination was that her dishes were the judges' favorites. I definitely don't think she'll win because they are already casting her to be the villain. If she really won, I'll bet that all of this stuff would have been edited out.

                                                        I think from the bunch remaining, my vote is for Melissa to win. Jamika's too inconsistent with her presentation and food. Jeffrey's got too much of that Michael Chiarello thing going on for him. Melissa seems like a competent cook and comes across well on TV. I think if she does win, FN will try to have her bring out her "Spanish" side. Did you see Bob Tuschman's (sp?) face light up when she said she grew up in a Spanish-speaking household? FN is dying to add some "ethnic" slant to their lineup.

                                                        40 Replies
                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                          Re: the "Spanish speaking"....

                                                          The glow was dissipated when she revealed that she learned Spanish from her family's housekeeper (nanny). That took her from the realm of average girl-next-door helping other average gnd's to gnd raised with silver spoon in mouth.

                                                          1. re: PattiCakes

                                                            Yeah, I caught the nanny comment. Not sure if that would necessarily mean that she grew up privileged as some people use nannys so that both parents would be able to work to provide for the family. But it shows how far FN is reaching to get some "ethnic flair."

                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                              Yep, that was my thought, too, that Melissa's nanny comment suddenly bumped her out of the GND niche. Still, she seems like their current favorite.

                                                              I thought it was great that she was the one who thought of a veg appetizer, but I think she should have caught more heat for doing three apps, which I think contributed to the overstressed kitchen. Instead, they patted her on the back for being some kind of overachiever. If she was THAT committed to doing the veg appetizer and wanted the kudos for having made that choice, she should have dropped one of her other two. If the kitchen couldn't keep up with the 2 apps per contestant they were required to do, then Melissa's 3rd appetizer was part of the problem, not part of the solution. If she hadn't been busy doing her 3rd app, she could have run over and helped Debbie (or just pumped food out faster) and been a REAL hero.

                                                              I really liked Michael but was glad to see him go. I just didn't understand what his culinary point of view was besides gay. I mean, Global a Go Go, what does that mean? Generic international? Didn't Jamika and (I can't remember who else, was it Katie?) get dinged in an early challenge for making their meal generic "International" when they couldn't reach agreement on their dishes? If they got dinged for one presentation, how did Michael get away with that as an entire "point of view"?

                                                              Debbie seems like she's got talent, but I don't think there's anyway she can win this. If they wanted her to win, they would edit her to make her more likeable.

                                                              I don't think Jeffrey can win it either. Twice in this episode he showed he's got some poor habits. One time he tasted something and put the spoon back in the pot and the next time he tested the temp of his simple syrup with his finger. Of course, maybe he was obsessively washing his hands back there and we didn't see that, but I think these are subtle ways of them showing us he's not the one. They would edit those things out if they wanted us to like him.

                                                              Same thing with Debbie--on two different episodes, they've shown her opening something with her teeth. I just don't think that makes for a "star." Also, I thought that Jeffrey's decision to assign Debbie the role of expeditor was perfect. She's a caterer! Who would be a better choice? I was stunned when she couldn't (or wouldn't) step up.

                                                              So, I think it's between Jamika and Melissa. Maybe Jamika will have a big comeback at the end...

                                                              ~TDQ

                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                I thought Melissa was a hero - not only did she plate her three, she also plated Jeffery's two. Debbie had trouble just plating her two. I think she actually was a hero - she pumped out five apps to Debbie's two.

                                                                1. re: kprange

                                                                  I see your point, but food still wasn't getting out. Nobody was a hero. She should have used her excess energy to kick Debbie into action rather than fussing over a third dish.

                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    I take back the hero (not in an angry way), but I still think she did the best of the final five. With no experience in that industry, she did more than anyone else. With all of Debbie's experience, she should have known what was going on. Jeffery should have stepped up too; so should Michael.

                                                                    1. re: kprange

                                                                      Yep, I agree with all of that! And of course, who knows what was edited out that we didn't see? :)

                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                  2. re: kprange

                                                                    By the way, I will say it wasn't clear what the selection committee valued most, expediency or deliciousness.

                                                                    Melissa and Jamika seemed to have middle of the road dishes that required average prep time. It seemed their dishes were almost a non-factor in terms of the outcome.

                                                                    Jeffrey (with his dip on a store-bought chip) and Michael (with his salmon on a skewer) had the most expedient dishes and both got dinged for it. Jeffrey stayed; Michael went home.

                                                                    Debbie's were the most time consuming/elaborate, but she got praised because hers were the best. She stayed.

                                                                    In the end, it's hard to know what really mattered most to the judges. Is it better to take a really long time to serve up delicious food or is it better to deliver average food quickly? To me, it seems like:

                                                                    The delicious dish saved Debbie
                                                                    The mediocre dish, plus the confession (once again) that he hates the camera killed Michael.

                                                                    Had her dish been mediocre or his been outstanding, I suspect they would have sent Debbie home.

                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                      Tuschman's blog is up and pretty much explains why: http://blog.foodnetwork.com/bobs-blog/

                                                                      "I really believed Debbie should have gone home this week. I don’t care how excellent her food was, her behavior was appalling. So how did she stay and Michael leave?

                                                                      With four of us voting (Bobby, Susie, Ted & I), we decided to each write down our top and bottom finalists on a slip of paper. Nearly everyone had Michael in the bottom. But both Bobby and Ted thought that Debbie’s food was so extraordinarily good (and it was), that it should save her for this week. That left Michael as having the most votes to go home. I argued my case against Debbie, but was outvoted. Again."

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        That pretty much explains it!

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          Sounds like they had a diakonamy of opinions.

                                                                          sorry, long day.

                                                                          1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                            LOL! Took me a second.....forgot her penchant for daikon. :-D So I guess she used that because....well, she's Korean.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              mwah!! thanks for the laugh, Linda. that was a good one ;)

                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                      A finger is used to test food in restaurants more than you want to know

                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                        I'm not worried about a finger being used to test food if the hands have been washed. I'm a bit of a germaphobe, though, so honestly, I really just have to force myself to not think about it at all, or I'd never eat out ever again.

                                                                        I might not have minded the finger test if it hadn't followed on the heels of the dirty spoon incident.

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          Let's hope people wash their hands but what's the difference between the finger in the simple syrup and Debbie plating her food with her fingers. Fingers are used not just in tasting but in putting your food on the plate. Forget gloves, they only give the appearance of sanitation with little benefit.

                                                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                            No difference, really, between plating and testing the temp with your fingers. The difference was that we'd seen Jeffrey be unsanitary only a few minutes earlier by tasting with a spoon, then putting the spoon back in.

                                                                            I agree--gloves are generally gross.

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                  3. re: PattiCakes

                                                                    She has stressed how she was raised by a single mom, I believe -- so I can see why she had a nanny.

                                                                    1. re: Reignking

                                                                      Oh, I missed that! Good point!

                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                      1. re: Reignking

                                                                        Spanish-speaking nannies in Tucson are very affordable, so one needn't have a "silver spoon" income to be raised by one. I'm not defending Melissa, particularly, but I like all of the others so much less.

                                                                        1. re: Claudette

                                                                          Even if Melissa WAS raised in an affluent household with a silver spoon in her mouth - does that take away from her talent or her likeability?

                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                            No, but it does take away (sometimes) from her relatability. (Excuse my spelling. I'm sure that's wrong.)

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                              I don't think it does really...
                                                                              She certainly does not come across as snooty or better educated and she doesnt seem to have airs...
                                                                              I must admit I did flinch a bit when she said that a nanny had taught her to speak.... but I checked myself and realized it was me who was being judgemental and it should have no bearing whatsoever on her ability to host a show!

                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                I agree - to the contrary, I find her very approachable, without being annoyingly so.

                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                  Well, since this one comment is the only evidence we have that she might have been raised with a silver spoon in her mouth, so to speak, and she's been otherwise approachable, it probably won't affect her audience's ability to relate to her. (And who knows, maybe the audience they are trying to reach is the silver spoon audience), but, we don't know 1) what's been edited out that we haven't been seeing (for all we know, she constantly talks about her so-called silver spoon upbringing and they've spared us up until now) and 2) how people will filter comments she makes in the future now that this detail has been revealed.

                                                                                  But, a couple of good points were made upthread about Melissa having been raised by a single mom and how a nanny in Tucson isn't that extraordinarily expensive anyway... In other words, maybe her upbringing wasn't all that privileged.

                                                                                  But, assume for a second it was, would it matter? Only if she starts referring to a bunch of personal experiences that her audience can't relate to.

                                                                                  For example, a food writer in the Twin Cities wrote a column a couple of years ago wherein she tossed off a comment along the lines of, "It takes me back to Christmases in Paris"... as if she expected that her entire readership spent Christmas in Paris as a matter of routine during their youth.

                                                                                  I can't even remember what she was writing about (or whether I thought she was even being serious--knowing this writer, she could have been trying to be funny or ironic), but whenever I think of a writer or TV personality being out of touch with their audience, I think, yeah, it takes me back to Christmases in Paris...

                                                                                  That's the kind of stuff that could make it hard for an audience to relate to a personality. It's one thing if this is her talent, to give us a peek into a world we don't know (which, by the way, is Giada's shtick, I think), but it's another if your shtick is "I'm just an ordinary mom, like all of you..."

                                                                                  The other way it could hurt her is if it starts to leak out that somehow that she's not who she's been claiming to be, people could be turned off by her lack of sincerety. I'm not saying this is the case, but you asked why it would matter, and that's why it COULD.

                                                                                  Anyway, it remains to be seen how this sorts out. I still think it will come down between Jamika and Melissa. I’ve liked them both at various points, so, I’m somewhat indifferent.

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    I see your point and I do think that is the exact reason the woman last season who dressed well did not win (I can't remember her name)
                                                                                    But I remember she was confident, thin, successful AND wore Armani in the kitchen -.....which could be very off-putting for the average woman!

                                                                                    But I still think in this case it wouldn't matter because I think no matter what her upbringing - the FN execs like Melissas personality and see her as accessable.
                                                                                    (LOL Totally agree with Patticake!!)

                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                      ooohh, yeah, that was Lisa, wasn't it? Good comparison (as in, there's no comparison at all between Melissa's warmth and Lisa's lack of it.) Actually, in the end, I developed a real affection for Lisa, or the persona of Lisa, as the case may be. But, you're right, night and day with those two, right down to hair color!

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        YES Lisa!
                                                                                        In the end I liked her too....and I LOVED her wardrobe!

                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  Yep. You could see the wheels starting to turn in the judge's heads when Melissa mentioned being brough up in a Spanish-speaking household. You could just see the demographic possibilities shining in their eyes: an Hispanic relative, who steeped her in their culture & etc. When she said it was her nanny, you could just see the wind go out of their sails. Not a lot of street cred in being raised by a nanny, affordable or not.

                                                                                  It doesn't take away from her talent or her likability at all, it just shuts down an avenue of exploitation that -- for an instant -- the judges thought that they had.

                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    Let's not forget that a majority of the FN "Stars" probably came from well off families. Giada makes no apologies for her family stardom or her opportunities to live in Italy. Ina Garten spends her time with wealthy friends in the Hamptons. And I am pretty sure back in the day, you'd have to have some decent money to attend the CIA; student loans weren't as available then as they are now.

                                                                                    Point is that dinging her for her circumstances would be quite hypocritical.

                                                                                    -Kevin

                                                                                    1. re: UptownKevin

                                                                                      I wasn't dinging her, I was just saying that what at first blush appeared to be an opportunity Bob thought could be exploited (in addition to Melissa's other great qualifications), turned out to be an "oh never mind".

                                                                                      1. re: UptownKevin

                                                                                        I think it's only hypocritical to ding her if she's presenting herself as someone that's she's not. Like I said, I think Giada's shtick is that she's a privileged person giving us a little insight, and Ina Garten (now that you mention it), same thing. But Melissa is presenting herself as just the average every-mom. So far, she still seems like the average every-mom. But if it turns out that's not the case, I think people might turn on her for seeming insincere.

                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                          I don't think that the "spanish speaking household" comment dramatically detracted from Melissas mommy-next-door-ness but it does make me question her grip on reality, as I dont think i know anyone who determines the household language based on babysitters/nanny's. I think it would have been totally fine to say she learned spanish before english because her parents were busy and she grew up with a spanish speaking nanny, but that doesn't really consitute a spanish-speaking household. that combined with the "salmon on the plank" (did captain hook order that?) made it seem like she was really putting on a schtick and being inauthentic.

                                                                                          Also, and i don't think this will/should detract from her ability to win the show, she has no skills when it comes to putting food out in a professional manner. I know having three dishes and no help from debbie didn't make it easier to get food out in a hurry, but was i the only one appalled by her spooning sauce onto individual apps from 5+ feet away? squeeze bottle, now. 'nuff said. jeffrey bottled his (admittedly lame) bean sauce so it could be squeezed out and plated in a hurry, its just common sense.

                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            For what it's worth, here's some additional background on Melissa, since she's been jumped on so hard by some.

                                                                                            While there's nothing available on her father, Melissa's mother was in the Navy and then attended med school at U of A. While doing so, she had a live-in housekeeper to care for her 2 daughters and one son. And yes, the woman spoke Spanish to the kids. Very common situation, as some have mentioned in this thread.

                                                                                            Melissa graduated from UVM, went abroad, learned French. She went for her MBA at Georgetown, and worked as a personal chef to a fairly large family to pay her way. After getting the MBA, she was hired by Disney to work in Strategic Planning and Finance at EuroDisney. She met her husband Philippe during that time.

                                                                                            Their 4 daughters are being raised bi-lingual French/English, since their father is a native French speaker. They just moved from Keller, TX to Redmond, WA, as her husband got a job with, who else, Microsoft. Big switch from TX weather and culture to WA weather and culture...

                                                                                            I'm not defending Melissa, but just giving some background. No, she's not a "professional chef", but what percentage of contestants for this show have been? It might be interesting to figure that out and see how that has or hasn't made a difference.

                                                                                            1. re: cmvan

                                                                                              Thanks for those comments. I am always amazed that one comment made by someone can be so scrutinized and thought about so much. Her job on the show is to tell the panel things about herself in relation to the food she creates. I think she did that very well. I feel she only mentioned the live in nanny as a reference to the spanish slant on the dish she created, not to impress.

                                                                                              1. re: cmvan

                                                                                                She seems to have a very interesting story. Yet all we hear on the show is the whole 'mom' thing. The judges and FN seems to have been interested in dumbing her down.

                                                                                                1. re: cmvan

                                                                                                  Very interesting back story! Thanks for sharing it; it makes me see her in a different light. Wow, I'd love to see her do some stuff for kids featuring French and/or Spanish.

                                                                                              2. re: UptownKevin

                                                                                                Actually Giada pretends that her family had nothing to do with her success. She makes a point of denying her family connections have benefited her in any way She tries portray herself as someone who did it all on her own.

                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                  Well, Giada can pretend all she wants, but whether she admits it or not, her last name betrays who she is and her shtick is her shtick, even if she wishes it weren't.

                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                    I'd just like to say that Lulu is one of the very few kids we've met in our area who doesn't have a nanny. This in no way means we live in some sort of posh community, it just means that most of the families we know have both parents working and need to find someone to take care of the kids during the day. And in a lot of cases, non-english speaking nannies are much cheaper and easily available.

                                                                                                    And it seems that Melissa herself is a stay at home mom, so it isn't like she's not home cooking for her family each day.

                                                                                  2. I don't know if Debbie was intentionally deceitful, or if she genuinely saw the situation the way she portrayed it... but either way, there is an issue.

                                                                                    I watch the show every week, though I do not look at the contestants as the next possible Food Network star. I think it is simply a food-related reality show, and it would simply be a lucky coincidence if they find someone who can hold down a show for more than one season.

                                                                                    1. Did anyone else notice that Michael ran his finger over that tuna loin in the grocery store? If he didn't buy it did they put it back in the case??!!!

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Philly Ray

                                                                                        I saw that. ick!
                                                                                        I liked Michael, he made me laugh. But you can't be afraid of the camera for this gig!
                                                                                        I found Debbie's behavior to be almost embarrasing! WTH - lying with all those cameras around filming your every non-expediting move???
                                                                                        Melissa is my front runner - Jeffrey gets on my nerves.

                                                                                        1. re: Philly Ray

                                                                                          Yes! I saw that! Ew!

                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                        2. I am not happy Debbie got to stay. Her shadiness has been obvious from the first challenge. She is a selfish, dishonest crybaby. If the judges are silly enough to choose her, I won't be tuning in to her show.

                                                                                          I suppose the judges had no choice but to let Michael go this week since he himself gave words to what they most feared about him--he is very uncomfortable in front of the camera. There is no way he could be a star on a cooking show with that hang up. Too bad. He was so likable. I love the way he grabbed the food on his way out.

                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: h2Bn

                                                                                            If he can tone down his over-the-topness, he would make a good side-kick or visitor/guest on a show -- one where someone else drives the main interaction with the camera. I see him more as an accent rather than as the main note. Unfortunately I get the feeling that his flamboyance is a compensation for his underlying insecurity. He needs to believe in himself more for his abilities than relying on a schtick all the time. He's got more to offer than just schtick.

                                                                                            Do you remember an episode a couple of iterations ago when they actually brought in a coach to trian the contestants?

                                                                                            1. re: h2Bn

                                                                                              As some one upthread pointed out. Aaron last year kept saying the same thing and the judges all agreed that he was horrible on camera. He is still incoherent. Yet they kept making excuses and found ways to keep him in order to hand him the wind hand him the win.

                                                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                With Aaron, they needed the appeal that he brought to a set of demographics. Let's face it, FN is a business, and they need to draw an audience from a wide set of cultures. He may not be as coherent as some of the other hosts, but he represents a father cooking at home in the kitchen, sometimes with his kids, and adds his own ethnic/cultural flavor. All of those aspects combine to add a diversity to the mix that FN didn't have before. This whole "contest" is about finding the person who will bring the most to the table in terms of audience appeal, sponsors and entertainment, and therefore increase FN's coffers. Among the current contestants, who fits the criteria the best?

                                                                                                1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                  You bring up some really valid and rationale points, Patti. When I look at the last bunch of them, right off the bat, the one I want to like the most, Jamika, reminds me of a toned down Sunny Anderson. Jeffrey? A smarmier Chiarello. that leaves Debbie and Melissa. At least with Melissa, I'd get a POV that I could use, as a mother. Debbie? unless she starts cooking more Asian-inspired dishes, which I don't think is her forte, she just doesn't bring that much to the table.

                                                                                                  I see this really as Melissa's to win/lose at this point.

                                                                                                  1. re: rocks67

                                                                                                    I am addicted to these "reality" shows where the contestants are vying for a show of their own. I continually get sucked in by who I like/don't like, and forget the business end of it. In the end, FN (or Bravo, or ??) needs to make the best business decision possible. Because these shows are taped way way in advance, it's the producers' job to massage the footage in such a way as to keep the audience hooked on the process in the mean time. As many others have said, we (the audience) are fed exactly what the producers want us to see.

                                                                                                    1. re: rocks67

                                                                                                      Melissa is a no-skill Sarah Moulton, visually and demographically speaking. I think that at least with a food consultant for her show she could probably do fairly well ratings-wise, and when she went on and on about her family it would annoy me less than having someone with serious food cred (Moulton) do the same.

                                                                                                      1. re: tex.s.toast

                                                                                                        Wow. I never thought of Sarah Mouton. Good comparison.

                                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                          between the looks and family schtick it was an instant mental connection for me.

                                                                                                    2. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                      You have some very valid points. Many if not all could be applied to Michael in that he too represents a certain demographic. He would also have brought diversity to FN. At the very least he seemed to have the passion and the talent to make things interesting.

                                                                                                2. I would expect that the contestants have probably been reading Bob's Blog at the FN website. Comments on this last episode are quickly approaching 1,100!

                                                                                                  If Debbie Lee has been reading these blog comments, she has got to be getting the point. And probably feeling pretty low. Gotta wonder what would be going through her head reading all these comments on her specifically...

                                                                                                  1. The irony just hit me the Michael was sent home for being uncomfortable on camera...in a challenge which required no camera work but social interaction, when in fact he became the life of the party.

                                                                                                    In short he did exactly what he was supposed to do for the challenge.

                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                      That's true, except that it was only his perception that he succeeded. Didn't Bob say that people had said Michael was their least favorite person? It was Jamika that everyone overwhelmingly liked.

                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                        I remember what they said about Jamika. Don't remember about Micheal...so much for that part of my observation.

                                                                                                        But the camera part still holds true...for now unless I've forgotten something else.

                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                          Actually, I'm doubting myself. Was it Michael or was it Jeffrey people said they liked the least? I really can't remember.

                                                                                                          But, yes, everyone apparenlty liked Jamika. Anyway, I was sad to see Michael go. There was a lot to like about him.

                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                            It was Michael that they said the crowd didn't like, and I could have cried when I saw the look on his face when they told him. He just wants SO much to be liked. I have a feeling that if he could choose between being able to cook well and being liked, he would choose the latter.

                                                                                                            Again, the editing took over. The cuts that we were shown just banged home that "who loves you" line of his until all of us wanted to say "shut up, a'ready and go back in the kitchen!!". On the other hand, I didn't see many cuts of Jamika doing the things that made the crowd pick her as the one they liked most. Why was that? Are we being manipulated towards a surprise ending?

                                                                                                            1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                              Yeah, that's how I remember it, too, PattiCakes. The problem with Michael is that he turned up the volume so loud at that party that he ceased to come across as real. It just came across as an act. I think he really is a likeable fellow, but just doesn't do well in this kind of pressure.

                                                                                                              As far as Jamika, it's hard to say. Maybe they just didn't air the stuff with her because it wasn't important to the outcome and they didn't have time for it.

                                                                                                              Hard to say, except that the answer to your question, "Are we being manipulated" is most certainly "yes." Towards what, I dont' know.

                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                    2. I don't think I could watch Melissa if she had a show. For me she's too smiley and upbeat. She does seem to cook fairly good food though, nothing exciting, but I don't think she's had any big mistakes either. Bob and Susie always seem amazed with her food tips (ie; a frozen chicken breast is easier to slice), but I wonder what she'll have to offer when she runs out of them.

                                                                                                      I thought that it was a toss up as to who could/would go, Debbie (even with her great food this episode she has shown a horrible personality) or Michael (just a bit over the top and not a friend of the camera, which is the job). I thought they chose to keep Debbie at least another week because it helps keep the story line much more interesting. Now it's not just about the food anymore.

                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Axalady

                                                                                                        Has it ever been just about the food?

                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                          Good point.

                                                                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                            Am I the only one who heard Debbie say,about her chicken dish,"Marinate it then put it back in the marinade before serving"?

                                                                                                            I hope so.

                                                                                                            R

                                                                                                            1. re: Robinez

                                                                                                              nope, I heard that too and thought OMG so gross! I hope she actually had a second "clean" batch of marinade!

                                                                                                              1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                Thank's for confirming that for me.I was a bit sleepy when I watched the program.

                                                                                                                Although most folks who watch foodie shows know better than to re-use a marinade,especially a chicken marinade,I think that they did a diservice to those that may be a newbie to cooking.I was blessed with parents that both loved to cook and learned about cross contamination early.Some may not be as fortunate,are learning, and may think that re-using a marinade is perfectly acceptable.Especially if they see it on the Food Network.

                                                                                                                If she is worth her salt,I am pretty sure that Debbie didn't re-use the same marinade she used for the raw chicken.But the show made a terrible error by not correcting her or they made a terrible mistake during editing.

                                                                                                                Either way,it was unacceptable.

                                                                                                                TC,R

                                                                                                                1. re: Robinez

                                                                                                                  They certainly made a point of berating Jamika several times when she suggested something similar. But as always Debbie gets let off the hook.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                    If I were a betting person, I think this is the week that Debbie gets the hook.

                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                          2. re: Axalady

                                                                                                            I can't stand Melissa but I suspect she'll win because she's so similar in personality and cooking style to Rachel Ray.

                                                                                                            I liked Jeffrey the most from the beginning of this NFNS series, but I suspect he's too mellow for the show. The FN judges like hyperactive and cartoonish personalities -- and Melissa is both.

                                                                                                          3. I don't know if anyone is watching "Chopping Block" as well as TNFNS... but last week, (not this weeks head to head challenge)... they had a comment from a woman who had eaten at one of the contestant restaurants and it was that annoying "healthy" cook (can't recall her name right now) from NFNS.

                                                                                                            I guess she just HAS to be on TV.

                                                                                                            1. Jamika, Jamika, Jamika. Tonight, she inherits Debbie's crybaby crown.