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Next Food Network Star July 11 - Spoilers

SOooooo... they sent Paul home! I was torn - I could see Brad going as well, but I think Brad's the better chef for sure.

I enjoyed the food truck challenge - how in the world did Aria and Brad get in the weeds before they even started???? Brad should have listened to Aria when she said to start the burgers and dogs! I thought their menu was pretty sad tho... everyone else came up with much better ideas.

I did not enjoy the camera challenge, almost everyone was so uncomfortable! There's a video on FN about Paula Deen being P.O'ed about the heat in Dick Bombay's taco - I can't watch it at work but will when I get home!

Tom is my come from behind favorite lately. I also really like Aarti, but she needs to amp up her confidence level if she really wants to make it!

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  1. Yes, Tom is my fave too and as I said before, I never thought he was SO lackadaisical or seemed like he didn't care the way the judges keep saying. Altho he has pumped it up.

    As I couldn't fall asleep last nite, I was thinking what they should have cooked in the Wisconsin truck. An interesting kielbasa sandwich, something with lots of cheese, keep the milkshake. Super boring menu. Lots of good stuff in the other trucks.

    Paul and Herb were annoying. I thought Herb was a little annoying in the beginning before his meltdown and Paul has been pretty much straight thru. He seems so lost and trying too hard all the time. Their yeah dude schtick was silly.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Joanie

      <I was thinking what they should have cooked in the Wisconsin truck. An interesting kielbasa sandwich,>

      As a former Wisconsiner, kielbasa is not particularly native (that's a Chicago thing) but BRATWURST is totally Wisconsin. Actually, I was thinking hot ham and cheese on rye sandwiches like we always got at Mars Cheese House in Racine. That could have been kicked up a notch and would have been more interesting.

      1. re: ChefJune

        They should have made tater-tot hot dish wraps with deep fried cheese curds and goulash dipping sauce.

      2. re: Joanie

        I agree that the Wisconsin truck food was terribly boring. I'm amazed that they couldln't come up with something more interesting.

        Paul has bothered me from the beginning. In addition to seeming fake, I have found him offensive on many occasions. I'm happy to see him go. Herb is so-so to me, but the volume between the two of them today, the over the top sell, was incredibly annoying.

        I really like Aarti and Tom.

      3. I never liked Paul. He always seemed fake. So I was glad to see him go even though it sounded like Aria and Brad had the worst food. Yeah, Brad should definitely have listened to Aria about putting the burgers on. Kudos to Serena and Brianna for producing great food even though they had been fighting.

        3 Replies
        1. re: NYCkaren

          How could I forget how great Serena and Brianna did working together! they really stepped up and worked as a team!!! And their "around the world" concept was so great. :)

          1. re: jujuthomas

            Correct on all fronts. They did work together as a team and produced great food. Don't for a minute believe that that camaraderie will continue.

            1. re: chicgail

              Second that chicgail! it was great team work, not a miracle, lol!

        2. It was so time for Paul to go. His food was uninteresting at its best and he never trusted himself to be who he was. Blue Collar Dollar had a nice ring to it, but -- like Paul -- had no substance. And as a Chicagoan -- what's a "Chicago Cheese Wrap?" Chicago is known for its Italian beef -- which does use gardinara -- but it is thin sliced (no tough chunks) with lots of spicy juice on French bread and topped with sweet peppers along with the gardinara. Cheese would be ashamed to be on that sandwich.

          9 Replies
          1. re: chicgail

            And Flay tsk tsking that the giardiniera wasn't made from scratch--come on. I suppose he was also expected to bake his own breads.

            1. re: bob96

              Gardinera wouldn't have been all that hard to make. It's just spicy pickled veggies cut up very small.

              1. re: bob96

                Can't stand B. Flay. At least Giada did that one on one with each contestant.
                So glad Paul got the boot. He had mediocre skills and a grating personality
                Tom is quickly becoming my favorite. Personality and cooking. The Dick Bombay name was fantastic. Aarti, while undoubtedly a talent and the one to beat, is really starting to grate on me. She's like the kid in school who always got 100 on the test but "didn't know how" she did it and can't believe it, and gosh, golly, huh. Ugh.
                Serena and Brianna--got lucky last night. Neither can cut it on their own.
                Aaria is on thin ice. Good criticism she got at the judges' table.
                Who am I forgetting? Oh! Herb! Pretty good. Liking him. He can stay. :)
                Tom, at this second, is the one to beat.
                Oh! and Brad. As I said before. He is so much more Top Chef than TNFNS. Switch shows, dude! He's adorable but really so wooden. Toy Story characters have more dimension. Poor thing.

                1. re: HabaneroJane

                  HG, I so agree about Brad being much more suited to Top Chef than TNFNS.

                  He keeps reminding us that he's a "professional chef," but his work to date doesn't exactly support that. Overcooked hamburgers not cooked in time and hot dogs without much thought doesn't support that "professional chef" label.

                  Given his performance so far, I'm not sure how far he'd get on Top Chef -- at least last season. That being said, this season's Top Chef has not turned up a whole lot of cooking talent -- at least that what we're seeing post-editing.

                  1. re: chicgail

                    chicgail--exactly! Top Chef is lacking cooking talent and personality so Brad would be perfect. I do think he has some talent but like one of the judges said, he's getting so wrapped up in nerves during those screen tests that he's losing focus on his cooking too. at least on Top Chef you can get away with having no personality (see Voltaggio bros) and still win!

                    1. re: chicgail

                      Did you see him pressing down on the burgers as he was cooking them, and flipping them more than once. No wonder his burgers were dry, He might be more suited to Top Chef but I don't think he'd last as long on that as he has here. I think his culinary skills are the only thing keeping him hanging by a thread.

                    2. re: HabaneroJane

                      I don't think Giada's one on one time demonstrates anything about her, or Flay's lack of one on one time demonstrates anything about him. That was just a producer call.

                      1. re: debbiel

                        It was stated in the first episode that Giada was going to be a mentor to the cheftestants.

                        1. re: saeyedoc

                          Right. A producer decision. Not something that suggests we should like her more than we like Flay.

                2. I think I'm in love with Aarti.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jackbauer

                    Jackbauer (hehe), you and all the judges, too!

                  2. Am I the only one who thought last night's episode was boring...and perhaps way too long at 90 minutes?

                    I've said for the last 3 weeks that Tom was the dark horse, looks like he finally came out of the shadows at last. If he keeps it up, he might have a good chance. Watching him was actually fun. No lamb? No problem, we'll switch to beef. Decision making on the fly, happens everyday in a professional kitchen. No deep fryer? Do funnel cakes on the flat-top, inspired. The name of their truck was great. Tom and Aarti made a great pair and worked really well together.

                    Loved that Herb made a comback this week. I know he can be a bit over the top at times but I really like his approach to health food better than the 2 boring babes they've got doing it now. He makes healthy, low (or lower) calorie food interesting, plus he makes you want to move with him rather than fall asleep.

                    Venice Beach? They all missed the boat, literally, someone should have done the ubiquitous fish taco. Easy to do out of a taco truck and it can be done so many different ways. That and carne asada. Or Chinese chicken salad using those white 4-sided Chinese take out containers. So many missed opportunities to do beach food.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      <Venice Beach? They all missed the boat, literally, someone should have done the ubiquitous fish taco. Easy to do out of a taco truck and it can be done so many different ways. That and carne asada. Or Chinese chicken salad using those white 4-sided Chinese take out containers. So many missed opportunities to do beach food.>

                      I'll bet they had no clue about those traditional beach foods there. They just blew into town for the competition.

                    2. I loved Aarti and Tom's team and how they worked together. Tom's picked it up and has grown on me. Herb and Paul together? Obnoxious bordering on offensive. I thought it was rude of Paul to start stealing other people's customers. By the end, between Paul and Brad, it was obviously Paul to go--he can neither cook nor does he have a good personality. I wonder if he'll watch the footage of himself and realize how obnoxious he comes off and how others really do respond to it. They showed plenty of eye rolls to what he says. But, the key lesson is don't be condescending to Bobby Flay ("I'll be cooking ...foooood, Bobby,"). The whole blue collar dollar was a stretch. His personalized bottle was based on sun dried tomatoes. Not many guys come home from the plants and ask for sun dried tomatoes. He consistently used high priced items for his "blue collar" dishes.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: chowser

                        As much as I'm no fan of Flay's personality (or lack thereof), I was appalled when surly Paul snapped back at him like that. At that moment, he wrote his fate. What an ass!

                        1. re: HabaneroJane

                          I agree HG. Don't bite the hand that could potentially help feed you.

                        2. re: chowser

                          I didn't think Paul's response to Bobby Flay was so much condescending as it was clueless. It was a deer in the headlights moment.

                          Paul obviously had not even begun to think through what he was talking about re the Blue Collar Dollar. And it showed, in both his comment to Flay and the nature of the food he prepared.

                          1. re: chicgail

                            It's kind of surprising, isn't it? We viewers know they have to (1) be able to cook knowledgeably, creatively, and on the fly, (2) have a clear, articulated culinary point of view, and (3) have stage presence and/or a stage comfort level and/or a likeability factor that draws people in. Yet so few seem to have all three. It makes me wonder what the selection process is based on...

                            1. re: Healthy Delicious

                              in the beginning i said aarti was the hands down favorite and tom had the most room to grow. i still think aarti will win out, she has her ethnicity and her type of food working for her big time. food network doesn't have an Indian personality or anyone that focuses on Indian food. her confidence issue is the only reason i could see tom stealing it away from her, I expect him to find a way onto the network even if he get's second to her.

                              1. re: ALLDAYYY

                                I even find her lack of confidence appealing. She isn't egotistical and is humble--a good thing IMO, that she's not cocky like Paul. She also seems like a very positive and caring person from the comments she makes about the others and she's there for others when they're down and seems to have a good rapport with the others. I agree about her, and Tom, finding their way onto the network, no matter who wins. It's like that guy, Adam?, who didn't win but now has two shows on Food Network. I can't even remember who was the winner in his season.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  I was thinking the same thing last night as I was watching Adam's new show Kid in a Candy Store. It's kind of liked Unwrapped for sweets, but he looked like he was genuinely having a good time doing the show and being entertaining all at the same time. I thought, "how far he's come" sinc his time on TNFNS.

                                  The winner that season was Aaron McCargo Jr., who is still on the network, but with far less exposure.

                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                    That show looks a little desperate..."a guy looks for unusual desserts". Really?

                                    1. re: ooroger

                                      Think of it as DDD does desserts/sweets. Adam is less annoying than Guy

                          2. re: chowser

                            I am so glad that Paul left! I think that he really did not understand the concept of blue collar dollar - what is so blue collar about sun dried tomatos and cream in your tomato sauce? Sundried tomatos are actually not cheap. What is so blue collar about pork tenderloin? Its actually pricier than many cuts of beef. He just liked the catch phrase and did not understand it enough to translate to food. THat is why to me he seemed more clueless at Bobby's comments, rather than sarcastic. And his personality was very grating, very over the top, very distasteful.

                            And am I the only one who gets sick of the judges hammering the idea of telling a personal stories? I prefer someone who is pleasant and knows how to cook, the personal stories make me very uncomfortable. The judges love the "tragedy" stories - Melissa telling the story of how her mom died last season, Brianna telling the story of how her dad was homeless. It makes me so uncomfortable to see people use personal tragedies to buy sympathy.

                            I know no personal stories about the two fat ladies and yet they have the best and most compelling show around!

                            1. re: AmblerGirl

                              I have to say that I actually like the personal stories as they relate to food. I like to hear how a certain dish becomes someone's favorite dish. I agree, however, that I don't like the tragic stories, as they, in some way, become cheapened in the telling.

                              For example; Melissa saying that she learned more about cooking because her mom died when she was young and she had to cook more is enough information. The fact that her mom committed suicide doesn't really relate to the food and has the potential to be interpreted as sensationalism, for lack of a better word.

                              1. re: AmblerGirl

                                For the most part, I don't enjoy the personal stories, unless they are truly relevant. The TMI stories of your mother's suicide (Melissa), your father's homelessness (Brianna) or your wayward teenager (Aaron) make me very uncomfortable.

                                On the other hand, I caught the last half of a Rachel Ray episode recently where she was preparing salmon en papiollote and mentioned that when she was a kid, her mom would do "fish in a bag" for the kids using paper lunch sacks. I thought that was a very sweet and relevant story.

                                Oh, and Serena's "curly headed pests" story from a couple of episodes ago. Just not interesting or relevant. I don't know why they all loved it so much.


                                1. re: AmblerGirl

                                  I agree about the personal stories unless, as said, it directly relates to what they're making. There are so many things you can talk about as you're prepping the food, not about personal tragedies. Ultimately, it should be a show on cooking by host not a show about a personality who happens to be cooking.

                              2. Aarti is boring me with her cutesy looks and smiles, is America even ready for Indian food? I love it but many Americans won't even try it (I'm a Brit so we have grown up with it). I am liking Tom more and more - he has that single-guy-can-learn-to-cook appeal to him. Aria has nothing special about her - a little mumsy (momsy?) maybe but is just not doing it for me.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: smartie

                                  I live in central IL, the midwest, the doldrums, the steak, potato, and corn country, and I know LOTS of people born and raised here who like Indian food. That said, I like Tom, too.

                                  1. re: smartie

                                    I'm so with you on Aarti, Smartie. (heh). She bugs me. Sweet, yes, but grating too. That whole gosh, golly, really? I won? schtick is getting old. That said, I ADORE Indian food and would love to learn how to make it that doesn't involve a tandoori oven and obscure spices only available in Mumbai....

                                    1. re: HabaneroJane

                                      Check out Julie Sahni's books, as well as Ammini Ramachandran's. Both use easily accessible foods... well, maybe not if you live in North Platte, Nebraska, sorry. 8-(

                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                        ha! Thanks. I live in South Florida, which is sort of like Nebraska when it comes to foodstuffs unless it's of Latin origin!

                                    2. re: smartie

                                      I don't mind her manner, and Indian would be a refreshing change from the same old same old on FN

                                      1. re: junescook

                                        I would absolutely go out and buy Aarti's sauce from the camera challenge!

                                        1. re: jujuthomas

                                          I would too. As long as it doesnt have a picture of her gosh, golly smiling face with the flower in her hair. :)

                                    3. This was the first episode where Brianna seemed even slightly likable. I still think she's arrogant and certainly thinks she's hotter than she really is, but at least she was able to do good work with a person she had previously disliked. Still don't see her with a show.

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: mojoeater

                                        You think she was slightly likable? I don't know, she turned me off so far in the first couple of episodes, I'm probably baised against her now. But that said, I wasn't too wild about Lisa-I'm-too-chic-for-you-guys either but by the end I wanted her to win even though I knew she wouldn't

                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                          I saw Lisa as much more likable than I see Brianna. Lisa wanted to be liked; she was just a different type of person. Brianna, in my mind, thinks of herself as a hot diva-which is not the way I see her, but oh well, to each his own.

                                          1. re: kprange

                                            The only way in which Brianna embodies the "diva" monniker is in her demanding demeanor. But you're right, she not as hot as she thinks she is.

                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                              No on is as hot as they think, IMO. People who think they're hot immediately become less hot. I still can't get over that she called her team w/ Herb "Team Sexy." Diva is a good word for her. High maintenance if the Food Network people want someone like that. Are there any on Food Network? Even ones people don't like, like Sandra Lee, seem less struck with themselves to me.

                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                Brianna would be like the love-chiled of Ryan Seacrest and Gina Neely ...

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  "Brianna would be like the love-chiled of Ryan Seacrest and Gina Neely "


                                            2. re: DiningDiva

                                              I did say "slightly." Her overwhelming impression is arrogance and bitchiness. And I'm sorry, but the hair is a big problem and she does not have the body for the clothes she wears (hey, there's my bitchiness!). However, the judges seem to really like her food. So maybe she can cook for me, but I don't want to meet her.

                                              1. re: mojoeater

                                                It seemed like her clothes on the last episode emphasized every flaw. I hadn't noticed her being so "puffy" before. She was not a hottie at all last week.

                                                Who's Lisa?

                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                  Liza Garza, the Texan from a couple of seasons ago. I wonder whatever happened to HER show? http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/08/ne...

                                                  I too disliked her at first, but wanted her to win at the end. I suppose something like that could happen with Brianna (at least her food is consistently good), but I doubt it.


                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                    I refer to Liza as the "Romulan" so people know who I mean.

                                                  2. re: mojoeater

                                                    It all comes off as a severe lack of self esteem/confidence to me. She actually seems like a pretty sweet girl, who can really cook, but is very unsure of herself. Unlike Aarti, who is very upfront about her lack of confidence to a point where it is obnoxious. Brianna is very defensive about it and tries to give off this "diva" "bitchy" vibe, but imho that really is not her it is just a defense mechanism. I could be way off, but that is just my read on it.

                                                    1. re: ALLDAYYY

                                                      You may be right, but it doesn't matter where the obnoxious diva act comes from, it doesn't play well on TV and unless she finds a pretty fast and powerful way to manage it, it will probably keep her from winning.

                                              2. Paul seemed like he was on amphetamines in that truck challenge.

                                                He nearly caused me to turn the whole thing off. But, of course, I couldnt.

                                                1. I'll also add that I would have eliminated Herb the minute I found out his "food product" was a jar of olive and palm oil. WTF with that?

                                                  11 Replies
                                                    1. re: junescook

                                                      I couldnt remember ... but either way, it was inexcusable.

                                                      1. re: junescook

                                                        Coconut. His product was an olive/coco oil. NIce idea, but he didn't sell it right and anyone could do it at home if they wanted to. No reason to go out and buy it

                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                          He didn't MAKE anything. And a stupid idea for the challenge, IMO, which was "to create their very own food product in a jar."

                                                          IMO grounds for dismissal.

                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                            They did the same challenge last year. (They called it "you in a bottle," if I recall.) It's less about the product than about how good you are at marketing yourself, which is pretty essential to being a Food Network star. If it were about the product Herb would have lost.

                                                            1. re: NYCkaren

                                                              Yes, I recall that.

                                                              It's always about MAKING something, though.

                                                            2. re: C. Hamster

                                                              They were probably afraid that if they cut him that week he might do something serious. Maybe he did get back on his meds.

                                                        2. re: C. Hamster

                                                          I was surprised that someone who touts himself as a healthy chef used coconut oil in the product that is him in a jar. Lots of saturated fat!

                                                          1. re: dmjordan

                                                            Coconut oil has been touted by many in the health field, like Dr. Mercola, despite the high saturated fat. I'm not convinced but many fitness people believe it.


                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              Thanks for the info. Very interesting. I wonder if that applies to coconut milk as well.

                                                              1. re: dmjordan

                                                                I have no idea but I'd guess so from how it's made, though you wouldn't get the fiber. OTOH, coconut water is a great recovery drink, post workout, very high in potassium and refreshing.

                                                        3. Paul was terrible - he was there to be funny and wow - he wasn't! and there to cook - but makes uninteresting tasteless food. Would have been a great concept for a show: Blue Collar Dollar - tasteless food presented in a very fake and uncomfortable manner. He came off as very fake throughout and glad he didn't make it - but as my wife said - he was great for the unintentional comedy

                                                          Tom is good - good food and good personality - hopefully he takes it

                                                          1. I just watched the 7/11 episode on my DVR. Did anyone notice how badly dubbed (I think that's the word I'm looking for - or is it edited?) it was? I first noticed it during Giada's one-on-one with the contestants. Her voice sounded odd and very flat, and then I noticed that the words were out of synch with her mouth. It continued through the entire episode. It was like watching a bad spaghetti western!

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: whatsfordinner

                                                              Yes, I caught that too. It was especially noticable to me with Paula Deen.

                                                              1. re: whatsfordinner

                                                                I thought there was something wrong with my TIVO. Was it out of synch watching it live also?

                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                  did not seem that way to me, watching live.

                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                    I noticed it at the beginning of the live broadcast. It seemed to not be such a problem towards the end of the show. It got better once they got assigned to their trucks after they met Paula Deen