Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Jul 19, 2009 08:12 PM

TNFNS week 7 (spoiler)

Well, well. What's next?...

Was it just me, or did Flay get just a little too much joy out of messing with them?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I personally think that they made the challenge really easy for Debbie. That totally pissed me off. Like they really wanted her to stay and just made it so easy. I also thought that Melissa had the hardest time of it; maybe that is because I am a home cook.

    12 Replies
    1. re: kprange

      Totally agree that the quick fire was not a level playing field for each contestant. Hiding some utensils and, even, swapping chicken for catfish isn't a personal insult/assault. Admittedly Debbie handled her surprises well and kudos to her. However, nothing she faced matched the personal and offensive intensity of Melissa's experience. The TNFNS judges are delusional if they think the host's behavior would ever occur in a real guest appearance or is any measure of Melissa's on-air skills.

      1. re: Indy 67

        I agree, the experiences were totally not equal, but debbie did handle herself well and melissa does just seem to be freaked out by live camera.

        at the same time I want Debbie off so badly, that girl has no integrity "i had no capers"? oh yea, its kinda hard to have no capers but still put them in the dressing, theres nothing consistent or honest abt her

        i agree for kprange that they seemt o really want to keep debbie, and i cant for the life of me understand why

        its obviously going to come down to melissa and and whats his name (sorry ive blocked it out)

        1. re: shoelace

          They want to keep Debbie because they think she's Margaret Cho.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            I think it's horrifying that they kept Debbie given her total and ongoing lack of integrity. No food is good enough to compensate for that.

            1. re: chicgail

              agreed. Last week when all she did was her own dishes and then lied about it and last night the quick retort that she used capers when she in fact did not then claims she didn't get any. What ever will get you by Debbie. If they don't boot her off I will assume they knew from the start that they wanted a Korean host for an Asian show which they are sorely lacking in their line up.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                I think if they were planning on keeping her from the get-go they would have edited the show differently. If she stays, it's basically admitting that the show is rigged from the beginning. I'm not saying it's not, mind you. I'm just saying they'd put more of an effort into avoiding the appearance of it.

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  I agree, chicgail. She has absolutely no integrity, and has proven so time and time again.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                LOL!!! So THAT'S it!!! I was wondering. : ) LOL!!!

          2. re: kprange

            They did the exact same thing last season with Aaron, who in retrospect was their intended winner. There was one challenge in Vegas where his 'challenge' was to walk 30 feet in a straight line and talk simultaneously, while another finalist had to deliver their spiel while dancing arm in arm with showgirls, and the last one had to do it while being hoisted 80 feet in the air in a wire harness like a stuntwoman. Miraculously, the judges thought Aaron did the best.

            1. re: Buckethead

              Good call. I had forgotten about that. I think that was the same show where he failed miserably in the final challenge. He made a very awkward and uncomfortable speech and serve bad food. It wasn't even close. They then simply changed the rules, no elimination that week and brought three people to the finals.

            2. re: kprange

              Yes, totally agree with you. I think Melissa had the most difficult time with the personal insults. While Debbie handled herself very gracefully, she may have reacted differently if the host called her "Shamu" (a nickname I've been seeing people calling her on other blogs -- kind of cruel, if you ask me).

              1. re: Miss Needle

                I'm sorry, but did the host actually call Melissa a name? I only remember that he kept calling her Debbie.

                I agree that Melissa had the hardest challenge on the "mini-challenge", but it's hardly like he called her Shamu.

                I don't think she responded particularly well to this challenge, but, then again, who would? I think it's riduculous that someone would add a half a bottle of hot sauce to your recipe while you were demo-ing it. While I agree that unexpected things must come up all the time during production, I think the scenarios they were trying on Melissa (and Jeffrey) were absurd.


            3. It certainly seems like Bobby was taking a lot of joy in screwing with them.

              1. Jamika, Jamika. Talk about self-destructing. The judges have told you over and over again that you need to be Ms. Smiley face in front of the cameras, and yet you still bring it with the sour puss and deer-in-the-headlights look. And then you admit, in front of the rolling cameras, that you are pissed off? Yikes girl!

                And Debbie appears to function in an alternate universe, where getting at the truth is like trying to stab jello with a fork. She is, however, Asian, and that segment is severly under-represented on TFN. You wonder how much the demographic needs of TFN play into the ultimate decision. TFN already has a number of laid-back men, and at least one perky I'm-a-cook-not-a-chef chatty Cathy, so where does that leave you? Remember that TFN is a business. If you have an Asian-inspired show, you can also push Asian cooking implements on your web site. It opens up a whole new market segment.

                9 Replies
                1. re: PattiCakes

                  I agree with you completely, Patti. I'll be very surprised if Debbie doesn't win this whole thing. And that might not be all that bad. I can imagine myself watching her show a lot easier than I can watching Mrs. Home Cook and Dull Jeffrey. When you get right down to it, none of the contestants in this season's TNFNS have/had star quality.

                  1. re: lscanlon

                    While I think the food would be good, I for one won't watch a show knowing that she threw her competition under the bus. I also know that some of you will say that it is a competition and she was just trying to win; however, I think that winning fairly means a lot. I for one would try to not treat people that way, and I won't condone behavior like that when I know about it.

                  2. re: PattiCakes

                    What, Debbie is Asian??? She keeps her nationality so well hidden.;-P I don't see her winning because TFN has to present a likeable image of the person and they're showing her as deceitful liar who won't accept responsibilty. Maybe they're need a co-host for Robert Irvine on Dinner Impossible. I think if TFN needs a certain demographic, they can just go out and hire someone, not rig a contest so someone who's shown so little integrity, can win. When you come down to it, the only successful winner in the past is Guy so it's not the best good way to come up w/ a winning host.

                    1. re: PattiCakes

                      PattiCakes, I think you're right, but I resent Debbie representing Asians. I'm Asian, and I think she's despicable, no matter how good a cook she is. She is so NOT Ming Tsai.

                      1. re: Claudette

                        My thoughts also. I'm Asian, born here in Calif. Debbie is playing up the Korean part of her heritage, but says that her culinary point of view is "southern". She really fails to impress and any show that she had would not have the appeal for a FN demographic group.

                        1. re: araknd

                          Debbie is a US citizen who is from the south and lives in California. It amazes me that she fashions herself the guru of Korean cuisine yet doesn't speak a word of the languauge. Some expert she will make! Yet, I'm not shocked since the food network is interesting in marketing rather delivering food-centric programs where people can actually learn something. Do you really think more viewers will turn in because they have an "Asian" program?

                          Nonetheless, while the remaining contestants leave a bit to be desired (how many times do we have to hear how much of a hero someone is because they are a working mother or stay at home dad) the judges and brass of the food network are clearly dumbing down and ruining what used to be a solid network with capable and innovative chefs like Batali, Emeril, Puck, and the likes.

                          Now, all they are concerned about is how they can market somebody's insipid cookbook and a goofy line of cookery at Kohls.

                          1. re: vinhotinto75

                            I agree with you on your basic points, but I don't think that Debbie has much of a chance of making it past the next round. Jeffery and Melissa are two representatives of a target demographic that the Network is aiming for; people who "stay at home" whether because they work from home or are caring for smaller children. They are the ones at home during the daytime with the TV on for hours as company or ambient noise. Debbie never really fit, but she gave the producers a foil for the story line of this season. IMHO, this week will be her last on screen because of all the reasons stated by others, she has no image of integrity or credibility with the audience.

                            The network abandoned the shows with Batali, Emeril and the really entertaining chefs long ago. Probably because their budgets weren't able to be stretched to meet the chef's requirements. Thus, we are seeing more of the "reality" based programming which is broadcast strictly for entertainment and less for instruction.

                            The big difference, as I see it, is that the "old" stars were very experienced in their craft and passionate, where the new crop of TV personalities are in it for the fame and $$$.

                            1. re: vinhotinto75

                              I read that Debbie is actually from Arizona. To me, that's Jeffrey's culinary point of view (though he keeps saying he's without borders). Her parents lived in Mississippi and Texas. So it seems her Seoul to soul background is kind of limited to what she grew up with in her family.

                          2. re: Claudette

                            No, she is definitely not Ming Tsai. I think an awesome host would be Lee Anne Wong from Top Chef Season 1. But I don't think she really does a lot of Asian food (though she created an Asian-inspired wedding menu for the wedding challenge). Well, whatever Lee Anne cooks, I would be happy to watch her on TV.

                        2. Debbie had the easiest challenge by far. In fact was it even a challenge compared to what the others had to endure. Again she went with the 'I'm Korean' line despite finally being called on it and again the judges say how great she is.

                          Regarding the capers I think she legitimately forgot them, but given her past honesty issues one can help but assume the worse. Anyone else would have been read the riot act about forgetting an ingredient.

                          It was funny that Flay was going after Jeffery for always coking with peppers. Hypocrite much? Again Suze really goes after Jeffery for only cooking with in his zone. And again she heaps praise on to Debbie for being so comfortable cooking (in her zone).

                          Debbie is also praised for being cool under pressure(in the fixed challenge). But Jeffery is criticized for being too cool under pressure. Apparently Bob likes a bit f an edge. But of course Melissa scolded for not being cool under pressure(when the guy is purposely ruining her dish). And Jamika is sent home essentially for being too edgy (not smiling when she is hit by the camera.).

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Withnail42

                            Well, she had two answers for the capers caper: 1) Oh, they're in the dressing and then 2) Wait? I had capers? Are you sure?

                            1. re: Reignking

                              She had three answers for the capers.

                              1. In the dressing
                              2. I didn't have any
                              3. I forgot.


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                And then when it came down to it her response/apology was for NOT USING THE CAPERS and not for lying about it. as though people were disappointed that she had not used them instead of bumbling around and being outright dishonest about it.

                                with all the hubub i dont think debbie is the 'chosen one' and think that jeffery and melissa stood out as obvious frontrunners after this episode. that said, would i be excited about watching either one? probably not.

                                I compared melissa to sarah moulton before, but i noticed this week, with the extensive close ups of her knifework that there is a slight difference between the two, about 14 inches of kitchen knife. I always thought it was hilarious that moutlon used a massive blade (im gonna say it was a 12 incher and shes tiny - gotta show everyone else in the kitchen that you're compensating) but melissa needs to put down the paring knife and get with the program, was she chopping herbs with that thing? really?

                          2. I couldn't believe Bobby Flay had the nerve to comment at least three times that Jeffrey is stuck in one cuisine. "You've always gone to the Mexican or the Southwestern American ingredients and flavors" and "you always gravitate to the exact same ingredients" and "I think of you cooking in a very narrow range". Then Bob says he lacks "unpredictability". Are they kidding me?! There is no chef more stuck in a cuisine than Flay. I don't even watch him on Iron Chef anymore because I find his choice of ingredients and flavor profile so predictable! I'd love to see someone take his beloved chilies away!

                            It doesn't surprise me that Jamika was the one to go. Like Michael she couldn't befriend the camera. Debbie obviously has some talent on camera but she has NO integrity. I think it will come down to Jeffrey and Melissa. Susie seems smitten with Melissa.

                            18 Replies
                            1. re: Axalady

                              The point was that Jeffery bills himself as "without borders" , which implies an international angle, yet he sticks to one cuisine. Flay is Southwestern and never says otherwise.

                              1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                I obviously missed that point. I just saw a one trick pony calling another the same.

                                1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                  I've seen Flay occasionally go out of his zone when he's doing more of a "school" show. I saw him do all French in one of his shows. He's certainly capable of cooking other cuisines whether he chooses to cook them or not. Jeffrey who claims to be international with his dishes, hasn't shown much capability.

                                  1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                    Have to disagree. First there is a heck of a lot more to south west cooking than using the same two or three ingredient in absolutely everything. Flay talks the talk of a well rounded chef. I've never heard him call his self a South West Chef. And if he is so specialized he should not be the chef judge in a contest such as this. Grilling does not automatically mean South West He has steak houses and a (bad) burger place.

                                    He is a one trick pony who thinks of himself as much more.

                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                      Bobby Flay always describes himself as a chef of Southwestern cuisine. I think youhave probably not seen enough of him. Take a look at his cookbooks or try Mesa Grill.

                                      1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                        I've seen more than enough of Bobby Flay...I guess at some point I just stopped listening.

                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                          That would explain it. He really has fantastic food and I recommend trying it sometime. What that guy can do with a tamale will blow your mind. His flavors are spicy/sweet and he achieves the balance often by using various peppers and fruits in his dishes. Good stuff. Also, some of the best grilled shrimp I've ever tasted was at Mesa Grill. His website has some good info and recipes and a little background on his style:

                                          1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                            Thanks for the hype but I have eaten his food and found it very good. But still have issues with him being the all encompassing food authority no matter what he calls himself.

                                            1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                              really? i've eaten at a few of Flay's NY restaurants (and visited them more than once), and couldn't believe how bland and boring the food was each time. everything from his southwestern dishes, to steaks, to french style offerings on the menu. I've also stopped watching him on Iron Chef, because everything is either made into a 'hash' with an egg on top, or has a green and orange sauce along with it.

                                              1. re: twiggles

                                                As I was reading your post, I was thinking, gee, his food can't be that bad... I've eaten at Mesa once and thought it was surprisingly good... but, then I got to your last sentence and had to laugh.

                                                What I ordered at mesa was the chicken sweet potato hash, which came topped with a fried egg...and green and orange sauce. :).

                                                Actually the roasted pork sandwich we had there was very exceptional. But, that one visit has been my only visit.


                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  The sweet potato hash was what I ordered at MESA. I really like it. I don't remember an orange sauce only a green one. Poblano cream sauce so something. My one and only Flay meal. I didn't think the dishes that I saw on our table or around the restaurant looked that amazing but that dish was pretty tasty.

                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                    Since I take photos of everything I eat and post most of them on Chowhound...


                                                    Oh, look! Mine was hollandaise and orange sauce. No green sauce! HA! I have a recipe for it that I got off of the food network or from Flay's book or whatever that calls for green sauce. I guess that's where I got mixed up...


                                                2. re: twiggles

                                                  Interesting. I was thinking that I had missed something. I'm not a NYer and have only eaten at Mesa once and my experience was also that it was ok, but not spectacular or memorable.

                                                  1. re: twiggles

                                                    Flay is a one trick pony but his food is neither bland nor boring, unless you keep going back - if you go there enough, it gets boring, but that's your problem, not his.

                                            2. re: Withnail42

                                              Our teenager insisted that we eat Mesa Grill, and we were all surprised at how really delicious and innovative all of the food was!

                                            3. re: Shane Greenwood

                                              Flay never said he is "without borders." He is southwestern; calls his food southwestern and makes no bones about that that's his culinary identity.

                                              If Jeffrey hadn't described his food as "without borders," it wouldn't be an issue that he sticks to one style of cuisine.

                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                  Since hypocrisy and lineage are major parts of this thread, while Flay may not claim to be outside borders he certainly has some "signature" moves that are more than a bit tired - we like to play the "at what point in this battle will he start making herb oils" game while watching ICA.

                                                  As for him calling himself southwestern, certainly, but am i the only one who finds it strange that he is a native new yorker, born and raised? Does he think southwest means SoHo?