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Food Network Star Episode 2 (spoilers)

I don't see a thread so I'll start. I enjoyed last night's show. Penny the Villain makes for a fun story line. She's Macchiavellian. Juba had to go. He didn't once utter a complete sentence in a camera challenge. And Katie _ so annoying with that perma-smile. Glad to see her gone. Will Alicia cry every single time?

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  1. I was glad to see Penny, the self-proclaimed Middle Eastern sexpot, has transformed herself into Penny the Middle Eastern Mama. It suits her better. That being said, she is not making friends among the other contestants or I daresay among the viewers. If she won (which she won't), how would she expect to have any fans? I found myself rooting for anyone over her.

    Mary Beth seems to have a better strategy. How pleasant can I appear to be? And it's working for her. And Wisconsin Jill seems to be pleasing the judges as well. Will Wisconsin food the next big wave? Lookout for cheeseheads.

    20 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      I have to agree, there is no way I would watch a cooking show with Penny. I want to watch a show hosted by someone I like who is also a good cook. Not miss evil backstabbing you know what.

      1. re: chicgail

        Penny has a plan, as she said in the first episod. But, the first time someone she's messed with is in a position to control the game (as she was last night) I think we'll all see that "paybacks are a b*tch"

        Middle Eastern food is flavorful, diverse and pretty interesting. Is she the person to deliver that message? Doubtful. She was actually pretty tolerable until those well sharpened claws came out.

        Unless she makes a complete metamorphasis I think she's got 4 or 5 weeks left on the show.

        1. re: DiningDiva

          Her strategy almost paid off. 2/3 she wanted in the bottom got there, Elisha barely escaped. Of course, she expected to win her group, but that didn't happen.

          1. re: saeyedoc

            She can strategize all she wants but in the end, the FTV people are calling the shots and no matter how poorly Orchid performed at this point, they weren't about to send her home. Canned oysters? This isn't just winning a challenge, this is being host of a TV show and FTV has a lot more at stake than just passing a check over to the winner. That's what surprises me about how some contestants act during the series. If you're not nice and turn viewers off, you've lost. And, her strategy with Alicia (Elisha? I don't know how it's spelled) also didn't work--they might have dramatized it like there was a chance she'd go but she's good reality TV material. I don't think she's got the mental toughness to stay. If you're falling apart so quickly, you don't have what it takes.

            I'd love to see a show on Middle Eastern food but no matter how good of a cook Penny is, I"d never watch her.

            1. re: chowser

              I think the judges were a bit unfair regarding the use of canned oysters. She did try to get fresh oysters but had to improvise when none were available. Wasn't the challenge about finding cheaper ingredients to replicate a dish? Doesn't what'shername on "Semi Homemade" rely on canned goods to prepare her dishes?

              This competition is comparable to, say, football, for example wherein there is a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. They should have a rule to address the issue and should have applied it to Penny. She knows she's not good enough to win on her own merits and feels she has a chance to win if she can make the others look worse.

              1. re: mucho gordo

                I think she should have changed her dish, instead of using canned oysters. This is supposed to be about finding someone who can cook and has personality. It would be interesting to see Sandra Lee compete on a cooking show. Or, a "Finding the next Sandra Lee" would probably be funny to watch. But, no one is going to win the NFNS making the kwanzaa cake.

                On this show, it's not illegal to have strategies, just as it's not in football that emphasizes your good side, uses your opponents weaknesses. If you know someone has a weak throwing game, you can openly use that against them. But, in a football game, likeability isn't a problem but it is here. If she turns viewers against her, it doesn't matter if she wins. And, FTV knows that.

                1. re: chowser

                  Paula is already the 2nd Sandra Lee, her show is almost semi-homemade as it is.

                2. re: mucho gordo

                  This competition is comparable to, say, football, for example wherein there is a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. They should have a rule to address the issue and should have applied it to Penny. She knows she's not good enough to win on her own merits and feels she has a chance to win if she can make the others look worse.
                  What? Penny didn't spit on any one or make a dirty hit. She was employing some basic strategy to oust her biggest competition and ensuring her own survival on the show. Jeebus, I guess one must act like a moron in order to elicit audience sympathy.

                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                    I agree. Penny may not be very likable, but there was nothing wrong with what she did. What, she's supposed to *not* take advantage of the win she got?

                    1. re: DGresh

                      It's true. Anyone would - and should - have used it to their advantage if they could. In a way it wasn't WHAT she did that I objected to. it was how she did it and who she was being as she talked about it that rubbed me the wrong way.

                3. re: chowser

                  "I'd love to see a show on Middle Eastern food but no matter how good of a cook Penny is, I"d never watch her."


                  IMO FTV has made some huge mistakes with this season. They have too many people and as a result even though they are going 90 minutes on the last episode ( 30 minutes longer than I think this show should be) they are still leaving off a lot of tape of the contestants. We had people that they didn't even show their presentation in the first round. The viewers can't judge what they don't see and at bare minimum we should see all their presentations to the judges.

                  1. re: rasputina

                    Fairly typical of a show like this with so many contestants at the beginning, not enough time to show everyone. Penny's strategy may be valid for another show, like top chef or survivor, but not for this one. The FTV people are going to pick someone who will make a good show, not that just knows how to play the game.

                    1. re: saeyedoc

                      I don't think the Food Network has any intention of picking Penny. But her scheming and plotting makes her fun to root against and keeps me watching this show. Now that the NBA finals are over and I don't have LeBron to hate.

                      1. re: NYCkaren

                        Judging from past seasons, it isn't terribly important to FN who wins. They have promised the winner a show, but it does not have to be expensive or on durng prime time. Nor are they, or any of their producers, precluded from hiring one of the other contestants for another show. See this discussion of last year

                        The important thing is that you, and many others, watch the current show.

                        1. re: paulj

                          Runners-up have very typically ended up with better shows and better time slots.

                      2. re: saeyedoc

                        I just had the most horrid thought go through my mind with that Survivor mention.

                        Next thing you know, the FN execs may have things like the immunity spatula, the head-of-kitchen competition, and the culinary fast forward

                        To be serious, pretty much agree with general consensus analysis to this point

                          1. re: pdxgastro

                            Gag. Or maybe it's LOL. At least they're not wearing bikinis. What network is that?

                    2. re: chowser

                      Seeing her splayed on a counter and the bit with the passion fruit kinda turned me off. One of the judges must have been reading my mind ( her name escapes me right now) when she said, "There is a difference between trashy and sexy".

                4. re: chicgail

                  yes mostly because well....she is not sexy.

                5. I'd never watch most of those people. They are almost to a person "click-worthy" as in channel changer.

                  Chris' Guy Fierie schtick is THE most annoying, so far. Followed closely by Penny. She reminds me of a real housewife.

                  1. I'm just not excited about any of these people at all. I liked Orchid the best after week 1, but the canned oysters thing bugged me. I strongly agree that she should have changed her dish. Everyone else just seems to really fall flat. I honestly am more entertained watching my dad turning a nice steak into a hunk of shoe leather on his $30 Wal-mart grill and talking about how awesome it's going to taste :p

                    1. I'll confess: I'm one of the sheeple who will dance a little jig when Penny gets what's comin' to her. Don't let the stiletto poke a hole in your snarky hiney on the way out the door, honey.

                      Pretty much agree with the judges' choices for buh-bye, though maybe I would have sent Butcher Boy packing (Justin?) before PermaSmile. I love me some Giada, but she's a PermaSmiler, too!

                      Thank you, NYCk, for starting the thread.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: CapreseStacy

                        Butcher Boy Justin B has the cooking chops, just not the presenting skills. He's like Brad Sorenson from last season (who did get better at presenting towards the end).

                        1. re: pdxgastro

                          My house has gone to calling him "Sexy Lurch".

                          1. re: rozz01

                            LOL! More Lurch than sexy, though, IMHO.

                      2. I was surprised Wisconsin Woman didn't win her portion of the challenge over the too serious former engineer. Yes engineer's food looked great but the judges liked both the food and presentation from Jill. And surprised Alicia didn't go home. She did have that moment with the pizza which I guess was enough to keep her hanging on, but is frazzled most of the time.

                        Some things I noticed:

                        Vic Vegas can't put his arms to his side cuz he's so over pumped.
                        Justin with the ears never says thank you after a compliment.
                        Mary Sue reminds me of Nora Dunn (is that the name of the former SNL person).
                        I'm kind of liking Justin with the bow tie.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Joanie

                          You are right about Mary Sue. I knew she reminded me of someone, but I couldn't think who it was. I also noticed Vic's arms. I wonder what that's like. Maybe a rolfer could help? And Justin looks totally Elvis Costello - a very friendly Elvis Costello.

                          1. re: chicgail

                            That;s Mary Beth. Mary Sue is on Top Chef Masters. It does get confusing. Like with the 2 Justins...

                            1. re: chicgail

                              She's good but FN doesn't need another Ina. (I don't like the one we already have)

                              1. re: pdxgastro

                                She's bland and boring to me. Snorrrrrr..........

                            2. re: Joanie

                              Alicia might have made a good pizza but her story was really odd for the circumstances, I thought. I was surprised at how the judges loved it and smiled. It seemed too forced and awkward.

                              1. re: chowser

                                I loved her story! "You need a pig to find truffles." LOL. If she could find a way to *chill out* she'd go far.

                              2. none of the contestants are popping out at me yet, it seems they have to come ready with their theme for their show rather than just being a good cook and letting FN fit a show to them. It all seems very false to me. FN doesn't have an Eastern cook nor a Middle Eastern cooking show - which is why I think they would want to prime Orchid to win this.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: smartie

                                  Middle Eastern...bring back Jeffrey Said the ingredient smuggler or whatever lameass name they gave his concept. He's on Cooking Channel now, isn't he? Bring him up to the majors.

                                  1. re: smartie

                                    Orchid is Filipino, so nothing middle eastern about her. According to her bio she prides herself on her southern BBQ.

                                    I'd love to see a middle eastern cooking show on FN and I liked Jeffrey Saad from the earlier season although he doesn't seem to play up his Lebanese heritage in his FN bio.

                                    1. re: rasputina

                                      I know Orchid is from the Far East, I was just saying that FN has neither Far East nor Middle Eastern shows right now and since the Middle Eastern Mama hasn't come across as such a nice person I am guessing that Orchid will win it.

                                      1. re: smartie

                                        What about last year's winner of TNFS? I guess South Asia is between Far and Middle. :)

                                  2. I was sorry to see Juba go, but I also wondered how did he even make it on the show? I mean, wouldn't you practice to death in front of a fake camera before the show starts filming so you're not stumbling so much?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: pdxgastro

                                      Yeah he seemed like a nice guy but was a stiff and a half in front of the camera. But like American Idol, they have to purposely pick a couple bad and annoying ones I suppose.

                                    2. I didn't really get how they let people get away with some of the "interpretations"; I mean, Penny did skirt steak instead of braised beef? I like skirt steak as much as the next person, but it is in no way similar to braised beef. It seems like if they put one of the flavors in somewhere (orange for instance) that was enough.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: DGresh

                                        I also they should be faulted more for their poor interpretations of the original dish. Even though it's not a cooking competition-- it's a talent show -- they should still be judged on how well they meet the challenge. Otherwise why not just open the pantry doors and let them do whatever they want?

                                      2. Ugghh..the sweating into the food by the former sandwich guy.
                                        Penny and Mary Beth could easily pass as cackling witches if you dressed them up right.
                                        "The kitchen witches"..."let us scare up a meal for you."
                                        Justin B looks like Dr Spock..and I'm about done with all the tats and piericings on cooking shows or in general.
                                        Justin D looks like the nerdy professor..or a first round NFL pick. Google Nick Fairley at the NFL draft and see what he was wearing. The same nerd glasses and bow tie.
                                        And then there's the frat boy/meatheads..Vic and Chris..rolled up sleeves anyone ?
                                        Vic is bizarre looking..quite hairless..but I do like his personality..so does Giada it seems.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: rochfood

                                          "The Kitchen Witches" . . .Now that's funny. (But please don't give FN ideas . . . they'll use it to compete with Bitchin' Kitchen.)

                                          1. re: rochfood

                                            I know it's TV and I'm a sucker...but Penny needs to bleed ...too harsh I agree but still....I would be a little reluctant to put on my brakes...screeech splat. :)

                                          2. I'm just glad Whitney didn't get let go.

                                            She's great eye-candy.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              and a former engineer at that! As a female engineer myself I have to root for her :)

                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                If the kids in my engineering class all looked like her, I would've never switched majors ...

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  Oh gosh. I know that this is in good humor, but this sort of persistent objectification is what drives women away from engineering / STEM fields.