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NFNS 7/17 with spoilers

Whoo hoo Penny has gone, and Jeff (I think that was his name). Penny can cook but she sure wasn't likeable.

This season is not especially entertaining for me, the formula is repetitive.

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  1. Actually, it's Chris that's gone not Jeff

    1. No not Jeff, Chris.

      I must say I'm surprised they booted Penny since Jyll did poorly this week. Not that I'm complaining.

      bye bye!

      3 Replies
      1. re: rasputina

        I'm a terrible person. What comes first to mind is "ding-dong-the-witch-is-dead!"

        1. re: chicgail

          OMG - I almost posted exactly that, last night, but I thought it might come off as too mean spiritied. But exactly what I was thinking - ding dong the witch is dead!!

      2. i like susie more each week. i don't care if she cries and tells me her family story like they seem to. i just like her food and her way of presenting it. i love mexican food - i might watch. no one else would i watch.

        6 Replies
        1. re: AMFM

          Agreed, Susie is getting more and more appealing. I didn't need her touching emotional story though.

          It was about time Chris went home. I don't see how he lasted as long as he did. I really thought they were going to send MB home after the comment that she hasn't wowed them with her food, ever. Usually bad food is the kiss of death. Funny that they think MB's food can be improved but not Penny's likeability. I think MB will be next to go, then Jyll perhaps. She's just not going to be that "genuine" person they are looking for. Even tonight after they told her they wanted to see more of her real self shine through, she just smiled and said "okay." She's just not going to let the facade crack, and I don't blame her by the way.

          Too bad Penny couldn't be salvaged. They always seemed impressed with her cooking.

          ~TDQ

          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            In the absence of anyone that's the 'complete package' in the bottom group, I guess they figured that it's easier to provide Mary Beth with recipes than to try to somehow get Penny to come across well on camera. So Mary Beth, whose problems are easier to fix, gets another chance.

            1. re: beachmouse

              Exactly. You can't teach personality or it comes off as fake. I've talked to aerobics directors who say they have instructors who know what they're doing, have good material but just don't have it in front of a crowd and they're classes are empty. If they try, it's awkward--this is the same. It's the same as teaching skiing--they would rather teach someone to ski because it's so much harder to teach people to be "up" in front of others. Skills are do-able.

            2. re: The Dairy Queen

              "Usually bad food is the kiss of death."

              I was actually surprised that Penny was booted off. It was obvious that she wasn't going to win, but I thought they were going to keep her around for some drama. Plus, the lady seemed to know how to cook. Maybe they're keeping the other personalities around to test them to see if they will be appropriate for some other FN shows. They seem to love Mary Beth's personality but not her food. They may think she'll be a good fit for one of their zillion traveling food shows they have.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                You make it sound as though there are extensive strategy meetings by FN executives about the show and outcome. I suspect the process is more organic. Yes there are FN executives on the judging panel, but the show is produced by an outside company. The winner will get a show that is produced in house. But the runnerups in previous years have gotten jobs on other shows produced by outside companies.

                I suspect that with many of the FN shows, producers from outside the network conceive the idea, and the pitch it FN planners. If FN likes they will contract for x number of episodes, with only limited control by FN itself. There's always been a kind of give and take between TV network executives and independent producers.

                Out of curiosity I looked up the producer of the new FN show, Extreme Chef. He has produced a number of 'extreme' shows for networks like NBC, but this is his first cooking show.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Pl...

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  MB's recipes are bad. You can replace a recipe, you can't replace a personality. (Zing!)

            3. I think FN should have edited out Bobby Flay saying 'Jesus Christ' when Puck took Jill into the kitchen to show her how to cook risotto. I don't blame Flay for saying it on camera, those things happen, but FN showed poor judgement in putting it in.

              They certainly could have eliminated any of the bottom four, or all of them, (then they would have fewer episodes, which defeats the purpose of the program) because none of them had a chance to actually win.

              59 Replies
              1. re: John E.

                Completely agree with everything you've said.

                ~TDQ

                1. re: John E.

                  I think FN should have edited out Bobby Flay saying 'Jesus Christ' when Puck took Jill into the kitchen to show her how to cook risotto. I don't blame Flay for saying it on camera, those things happen, but FN showed poor judgement in putting it in.
                  _____________

                  Why is that poor judgment?

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I believe it showed poor judgement because they have to know that their inclusion of it offebds a likely large percentage of their viewers.

                    I also do not believe Flay needs to be 'humanized'. To me, he is the only judge on this show and the NBC restaurant show that is likeable and has not been annoying at some point like the rest of them.

                    1. re: John E.

                      WHAT NBC restaurant show?

                      And I didn't quite know what to make of Puck doing that. Did he really do that to see if she could handle it? Somehow I think it had more to do with him than her. Also, there is no WAY he could have made risotto in less than thirty minutes, right? What was happening to the other contestants food?

                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                        I don't think he made a new risotto from scratch, I think he just rescued the one he had been served. He could have been done in 5-10 minutes, depending on how much work he had to do.

                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                          Ah! I didn't realize you could "rescue" it.

                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                            My experience with risotto is that it's actually not nearly as finicky as some would make it out to be. It wouldn't be the best risotto anyone had ever tasted, but it'd be worlds above whatever it was that Jyll was serving.

                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                            I wondered why he did that as well. What was his point? To let that poor girl know that he knew how to make risotto better than she did? To teach her something? And you're right, it probably threw their timeline right out the window - hence Flay's comment.

                            1. re: chicgail

                              I took it as helpful, as in 'oh this poor young lady thinks this is risotto and it is so wrong I must teach her before she embarrasses herself any further'. He's Wolfgang goddamn Puck, he has no need to prove himself.

                              I didn't think Wolfgang came off as angry or conceited - maybe offended that Jyll was calling that pile of rice risotto - and spoke to her kindly during the lesson. He obviously knew she was mortified, and commented that he respected how she seemed cool and professional while being corrected. Reminded me of a French chef I worked for who would see you doing something not to his liking and immediately show you how to do it right. I'd be sort of embarrassed at first, but in the end would be so glad he stepped in and thank him for it. No cook wants to make bad food! I don't think the judges were putting Jyll down so much for keeping control, just reminding her that it is OK to be human and admit that not every single second of life is perfect.

                              1. re: babette feasts

                                That's the feeling I got, too. He was mentoring her, not being condescending.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  Did the viewers learn anything about making risotto? How was his technique different from hers - other than leaving it soupier (or creamier)?

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    There really is no teaching about cooking on this show. It would be nice. I don't even know why Jyll's was the way it was--was it undercooked? Whitney said she asked her as she was making it whether she wanted that texture but I don't know what she could be doing wrong while cooking to make it so chunky.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      From what I could see, when Jyll was stirring her risotto, it was so gloppy and pasty as to practically wrap itself around the spoon. She probably let it cook at too high at heat and absorb too much of the liquid, making the grains lose their integrity.

                                      If Wolfgang Puck fixed her risotto at that point, I imagine it might have turned out more like a thick congee or jook than risotto.

                                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                                        So, the question is, how did Wolfgang Puck make risotto from scratch in the time frame, and how much did the other contestant's food suffer? Or, maybe it was editing and he did it after all the tastings? I'm obviously overthinking all this and really don't care about it much.

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          When Puck got up from the table, he took his plate with him, so I believe he just added a little hot stock to his serving of rice to demonstrate the degree of fluidity he was looking for. That wouldn't have taken much time.

                                          1. re: babette feasts

                                            But, once the risotto has been sitting, it's hard to go back and cook it to the right consistency, especially as inaplasticcup said, the risotto had been cooked at too high of a heat to begin with. If it were that easy, we could premake risotto and finish if off and that's always the hard part, imo, of serving risotto at a dinner party.

                                            1. re: chowser

                                              Restaurants half-cook risotto and finish it to order, you can too as long as you know when to stop and spread it in a thin layer to stop cooking and cool quickly. If you try to hold it warm in a big pot and loosen it up later, you are more likely to get overcooked gluiness.

                                              Jyll said she was more worried about the rice being properly cooked than the fluidity of the finished dish - she made 'an executive decision' to serve it as it was. Wolfgang's amended risotto probably ended up over cooked in terms of the rice texture, I think his point was solely to demonstrate the fluidity he found desirable, that when you shake the plate the rice should move.

                                              1. re: babette feasts

                                                Yes, but Jyll didn't spread her risotto out to cool quickly and it sat warm until Puck fixed it. Jyll had said she and her husband liked that texture and that's how she always made it, when Whitney asked her, as she was making it. That's what I don't understand. How can you tell, when it's being made, that the texture is wrong, if it's just a matter of undercooking?

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  How can you tell? Taste it. Over and over. Understand how rice reacts to sitting warm in a pot and account for that. And hopefully you have enough years of experience doing it well to qualify you to have a TV show teaching other people how to do it. If Jyll had the same ideal of fluidity in mind that Wolfgang had, and understood the rice, she could have made it happen.

                                                  And that is exactly why risotto seems so simple but is in fact so hard - achieving both the desired cooked texture of individual grains of rice and the desired consistency/liquidity of the overall dish at the same time, served on a warm plate.

                                2. re: babette feasts

                                  Me three. I think anyone would probably very embarassed. But as Babette says, ultimately you can benefit from the instruction. WG didn't seem condesending.

                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                    i figure usually if you think someone is beyond training you don't bother, so offering advice involves a perception that there is enough skill/talent to be able to improve and that it's worth your time to bother. not often condescending. more so to mock silently behind the back.

                            2. re: John E.

                              Why is that offensive? "Jesus Christ" was exactly my first reaction.

                              1. re: John E.

                                Even taking your typo as a typo, and being clear that you were "offebds," your assumption that you are part of a "likely large percentage of their viewers" is pure speculation. People making exclamations like his are frequent daily occurrences in real life.

                                1. re: chicgail

                                  Of course they do. I have been known to let loose occasionally. Food Network made a choice to leave it in because they are on cable, broadcast TV has stricter standards. I believe they showed poor business judgement in deciding to leave it in when they knew of the possibility that it offends a large part of their audience. Plus it was unnecessary, the look of astonishment on the FN judges would have conveyed the same reaction, but in a more subtle manner.

                                  1. re: John E.

                                    I see what you're saying. I think they wanted the dramatic impact - which is also why they included it both before and after the commercial.

                                    Why do you think that it offends "a large part of their audience"? I know some people would be offended, but in my circles at least (in a big Midwestern city), few people would even notice. I would guess that if it would be offend some people, that the that would be more prevalent in southern or rural areas. Do you think this show has a big audience there?

                                    1. re: chicgail

                                      I guess it depends on your circle. I do not know anything about the regional popularity of FN. i do know that some people are offended when that kind of remark is made. I am not offended by Flay's remark, those things happen. I do however think it is disrespectful of FN to leave it in, especially sinceit really was not necessary.

                                    2. re: John E.

                                      Can you please explain to me why this is offensive? I do not understand what's offensive about that comment.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          While a common interpretation of the 3rd commandment is that it rules out using God's name in a flippant manner (some extend it to mean no 'swearing' at all), a more common understanding among theologians is that it refers to making a vain oath - swearing by God's name (or the temple in a NT passage), and not keeping that oath.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            I was taught both meanings a long time ago. I mostly look at this situation as a needless sign of disrespect.

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              LOL. I can see this discussion giving way to a spinoff thread:

                                              Does Food Network Promote Blasphemy???

                                              a la

                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/795480

                                              1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                I'm also reminded of the brouhaha over a 'drowning puppies' comment on Chopped awhile back. FN edited it out on replays of the episode.

                                2. re: John E.

                                  I thought it humanized him. It humanized the whole judging experience for me.

                                  1. re: chicgail

                                    I agree. It was my internal thought as well (and I'm a church-going Christian)

                                  2. re: John E.

                                    I thought that was hysterical, and exactly the sort of thing I'd say at that moment.

                                    1. re: jgg13

                                      That reaction and those words might have been mine as well had I been there. You too seem to have missed my point.

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        I don't think anyone is mistaking the religious undercurrent of your original complaint. Folks are simply dancing around the point, even if you profess that you yourself are not offended - but what does that mean, considering that you raised the point in the first place? That you think religious types that you speak for would be up in arms about it but that you are a tolerant religious type instead?

                                        1. re: huiray

                                          I hope I have the fortitude to make this my last post on the subject. First, go back and read my posts. I believe FN made an error in keeping this comment in. This show is not Hell's Kitchen or even Top Chef for that matter. FN frequently make the point that they have young viewers and seem to be proud of that fact. They also could have made the same point by showing the look of astonishment on the judges faces when Puck went to the kitchen. My point is they showed poor business judgement in leaving the comment in because they uneccessarily risked offending their audience. That's all. That's it.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            Of course, perhaps they helped the show as much as they (arguably) hurt it, since a number of people here have found that comment refreshing and humanizing, and I saw a similar thread on a different (non-Chow) forum, where a poster similarly expressed how that comment was great. So maybe it was a good business decision.

                                            After all, has anyone actually indicated that they were offended by it? You've made quite a point of how you were NOT offended by it, but think others would be. But I'm not sure anyone has indicated that they were. So we have a few posts of people who actually liked it, a number of posts by people who didn't care either way, and no posts by anyone offended?

                                            1. re: LurkerDan

                                              Because people that are offended have learned not to waste their time by posting it, and thus feeding the drama of the secular crowd. You guys already create enough drama out of nothing on your own without anyone adding to it.

                                              1. re: rasputina

                                                "you guys?" Who are they?

                                                We are all CH posters and, presumably, viewers of the show and certainly share a common humanity.

                                                Or did you mean "the secular crowd" as "you guys?"

                                                If we (whoever "we" are) are "you guys," I guess that places you as NOT like us. Does that mean you consider yourself to be the righteous or the religious or the observant or the non-secular crowd? No drama there. Never.

                                                1. re: rasputina

                                                  The "secular crowd"? Just because one's not Christian doesn't mean one's part of the "secular crowd." Or are you implying yours is the only true faith? Time for a crusade?

                                      2. re: John E.

                                        My reaction is that if I did Flay's comment bleeped, I would've assumed he said a heckuva' lot worse (unless you're of the mindset that taking the Lord's name in vain is worse than some F-bombs.)

                                        Interestingly, I recently saw a "Kids Week" edition of Jeopardy when one of the younguns gave a very impromptu "Crap!" response after getting a Daily Double question wrong. I don't know if the moment was simply non-exciseable and/or even considered for bleeping it based on Trebek's and the audience's immediate response, but assuming if that were bleeped out, I would've assumed she said a lot worse myself.

                                        1. re: josquared

                                          I'm reminded of Tweedley of the Citizens Radio Commitee, on the Stan Freberg Show - CBS Censor epsiode.

                                          http://www.myoldradio.com/old-radio-e...
                                          "The home is a class room, keep in mind the tiny tots"

                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                              Fun stuff - as someone who dabbled in college radio for awhile, I got the big lecture about the FCC, censorship, the proverbial "seven dirty words", what and when you could broadcast certain things, etc. etc.

                                              After hearing that, I just shook my head and exclaimed "*Bleep*, what in the *bleep* is that *bleep*?"

                                              1. re: josquared

                                                For a while I participated on a hiking board which had a rather conservative naughty-word censor feature. It would replace the offending word with a mini lecture. It made it hard to write about places like Hells Canyon.

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  I was on a board where I couldn't post about shitake mushrooms. It took me a minute to figure out why not.

                                                    1. re: babette feasts

                                                      Oh no, I've been using/writing about them for years and have always spelled it wrong? It's like saying marscapone! Thanks for the correction.

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        That mispronunciation of "mascarpone" has driven me crazy for ages. Especially when "professionals" do it, like Alton Brown and Bobby Flay, just to mention two. At least Alton has corrected himself periodically, but habit comes back on him at times.

                                                        My husband and I joke that "marscapone" isn't a dairy product - it's the "Gangster from the Red Planet"...

                                                        1. re: cmvan

                                                          It also drives me nuts when people say 'sherbert'.

                                                          1. re: cmvan

                                                            Marscapone has it's own long thread.

                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                            Have you (we) been pronouncing it wrong too? It's supposed to be derived from a Japanese word, but the pronunciation I hear on Wiki starts with something closer to the English 'see'. 'shii' has no counterpart in English.

                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                              I Americanize it but don't pronounce it like the censored word, if that makes sense. What is the sound of it? My parents speak Japanese so I'm familiar with the sounds, even if I can't speak it. Maybe it would just be easier to ask them so I can hear it rather than sound it out.

                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                Okay, I found it:

                                                                http://dictionary.reference.com/brows...

                                                                And, have been far overAmericanizing it, leaving out one syllable. I've never heard it pronounced this way, though. Good thing I've never ordered Gouda cheese with my shiitakes because I'd probably be laughed out of the restaurant.

                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                  That's rather different from
                                                                  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia...

                                                                  To my untrained ear, the Wiki speaker sounds more Japanese than the dictionary.reference speaker.

                                                                  Why not compromise and call them (Chinese) black mushrooms, like we did before the fresh version was introduced to the US market? :

                                                                  )

                                                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWLNZz...
                                                                  In this 'Cookingwithdog', version, the 'sh' is a weak 'shu', but the 'ii' is one syllable.

                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                    I had always understood it to be pronounced as your dictionary reference gives it, but perhaps said a little faster - so if one did not know (or wasn't paying attention) the second "ee" sound might appear to have been swallowed up/disappeared,,,

                                            2. When will food competition contestants learn not to make risotto that doesn't spread on the plate? I can't recount the number of times people got destroyed for putting out gluey risotto.

                                              57 Replies
                                              1. re: joonjoon

                                                See, I even *like* my risotto a little on the tight side, but the only difference between me and Flay on this is that I would have said "Jesus Christ..." as soon as that plate was set in front of me. It just looked gnarly.

                                                Can't complain with either of the two folks sent home, but I increasingly don't give a crap who wins, as I probably wouldn't watch any of their shows.

                                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                  I never cared who wins. I watch to see who messes up and gets embarrassed, the same reason I watch Hell's Kitchen. I can't stand any of the past winners , including Fieri.

                                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                    Agreed. I don't think there are any "stars" in this group.

                                                    1. re: BubblyOne

                                                      Have there been "stars" in any group?

                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                        I think Guy Fieri counts as a genuine FN star.

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          +1. And I actually don't mind him on Diners.

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            Okay, I agree, Guy is a legitimate FN Star. My opinion of him really changed (for the good) after I saw the Chefography episode about him. But he's the only "star" out of the 7 they've hired. Somehow I don't think that's the worlds best track record :-)

                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                              Obviously, it depends on how one defines "star". They have certainly discovered/created stars if you define star to mean a viable food network personality: Melissa D'Arabian, Aaron McCargo, Adam Gertler, Tom Pizikis to name a few (sorry if I butchered any of these names, and yes, I realize that 2 of the 4 I listed did not win their season).

                                                              If you define "star" more narrowly, such that Guy is the only one, well, how many true "stars" does the food network have anyway? Guy, Bobby, Rachel, Giadda, Paula, Emeril (is he still even on). Those are the only ones I can think of that can get away with just one name. I realize that you may be able to name some more, like Tyler Florence or Sandra Lee or Ina Garten, but my point is just that if you define "star" narrowly, then yeah, Guy is the only one from the show, but that is not so much because the show is a failure at creating or finding talent, but rather that it is very hard to attain that level of stardom, and it's unfair to expect them to do it just by having the NFNS show.

                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                LD, now you're just being pedantic (hmm...never thought I'd use that word in a sentence on CH). The name of the show is Food Network STAR. Not only does it imply, but their advertisements for the show stress that they are looking for a "star".

                                                                The show is about the show, not the people. If they were truly interested in making these people "stars" they wouldn't bury them in a time slot on Sunday morning when half the country is still asleep, in church, at brunch or watching football.

                                                                Scripps media owns FTV, they also own HGTV, which has it's own star vechicle called Design Star. On HGTV, the Design Star winners get a prime time slot for their show and substantial promotion for the show. 3 Design Star winners currently have prime time shows on HGTV, Guy is the only Food Network Star winner currently with a show on during prime time. I wonder why Scripps treats the winners of one show differently than the others.

                                                                I see more of Melissa and Aarti hawking products and services for vendors than I do of their shows. So are they cooking show hosts or glorified product placement shills? Jeffery Siad, who lost to Melissa, is doing great on Unique Eats over on Cooking Channel, I think he actually came out of the experience pretty well. OTOH, they're also shoving Kelsey Nixon down our throats on CC too. She was far to perky and annoying during TNFNS and that hasn't changed much.

                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                  I thought this was 2011? This is what DVRs are for. Do people actually watch live tv anymore? The time a show is on means nothing to me.

                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                    Yes, but I don't believe anything other than talk shows and the news are really live anymore. Everything is pre-recorded

                                                                    I don't have a DVR, nor do I TIVO and I don't expect that will change anytime soon.

                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                      Me either. A friend of mine keeps saying, "But you can be sure to catch EVERY SHOW YOU WANT TO SEE." I don't think I want every time I say "Oh, i'd like to see that" to become reality. Then TV viewing rules me rather than the other way 'round.

                                                                      1. re: jmckee

                                                                        Years ago I noticed that a VCR actually had the effect of me watching fewer hours of television rather than more. I would tape the show and do something else and then frequently never go back and watch the program. Of course that led to piles of VHS tapes. We have a DVD recorder, but don't really use it as a time shifter. What I would like is a DVR with a hard drive but no subscription service. Toshiba used to make one but then Tivo paid them to stop producing it.

                                                                        1. re: jmckee

                                                                          Actually not having a DVR makes your tv viewing a slave to the rules. With a DVR you watch whatever you want, whenever you want.

                                                                          Without a DVR you have to be home to watch a show at whatever time it happens to be airing.

                                                                          1. re: rasputina

                                                                            Or chose not to watch the show at all.

                                                                            1. re: rasputina

                                                                              Or watch it a few days later on Hulu (or another streaming source).

                                                                          2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                            live tv means, watching it while it's airing. It has nothing to do with the old days of live in the studio programming.

                                                                            1. re: rasputina

                                                                              Call me a dinosaur, but live TV means boardcast in real time, i.e. as it happens, not pre-recorded to be shown at a specified time. The Super Bowl is live TV, baseball's All-Star game is live TV, the Academy Awards are live, Food Network Star is recorded months in advance, it is not live TV

                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                You are correct. When someone recirds a show and watches it at a different time it is known as time shifting. Traditional TV advertisers of course dislike this. The only live TV anymore is news and sports. I seem to remember one of the networks several years ago (it's probably more than ten) made a big deal out of doing a stage play live on network TV, similar to a lot of the live TV done in the 1950s.

                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                  Yes, unfortunately, I am old enough to remember when TV was actually live ;-)

                                                                          3. re: rasputina

                                                                            I recorded both Melissa and Aarti's shows. Two episodes. Gave them them benefit of the doubt. Couldn't sit though either one.

                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                              I like the idea of Aarti's show but the reality is that I really just don't like modern cooking shows. The whole rachel ray-ification has ruined them for me - all of the crap that the FN judging panel enforces in NFNS for instance ... the storytelling, the human element. I also hate how everyone has gone to the Giadi style of video production.

                                                                              I'll still watch some shows on PBS, but mostly just things like ATK and Cooks Country.

                                                                          4. re: DiningDiva

                                                                            Jeffrey's doing United Tastes of America. Unique Eats is hosted by another competition runner-up, LeeAnn Wong (from early Top Chef, and who then became one of the essential production crew for the show).

                                                                            1. re: cmvan

                                                                              You're right, thanks for the correction. They all look and sound the same it's hard to keep them straight.

                                                                            2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                              Hmmm, I might say that you're the one who is being pedantic, by being overly narrow in your definition of "star". :shrug: I would say that a FN star is one whose face and name we know, and we know a little something about them too. So that when they appear on a show -- either their own or a "challenge" show or special or whatever -- we say to ourselves "Hey, that's Aaron McCargo, Big Daddy". That seems like a star to me, that seems like exactly what they are hoping for, realistically speaking. They manufactured usable talent for their network.

                                                                              Sure, there are grades of stars, you could say Tyler Florence is a star, but he's clearly not as big a star as, say, Bobby Flay. So yeah, sure, they'd love to land another Guy Fieri, and no doubt they *hope* to land another Guy Fieri. And in the meantime, as they try to do that, they get usable, recognizable personalities, ie "food network stars", and a show that is very popular.

                                                                              Truth is, FN's prime time doesn't really have cooking shows, so I'm not sure why you'd expect them to give a prime time slot to a newcomer. They give the winner a time slot, they also give them other kinds of exposure (like slots on "Best Thing I ever Ate", various challenge shows, etc, and no doubt do some form of analysis on how well that person is performing and connecting with audiences. I don't watch Design Star, but interestingly enough, I don't see any winners from that show on prime time on HGTV, at least not around here (because I do watch HGTV). And Guy Fieri is indeed on prime time, but not with the show that "won" him NFNS. That show, Guy's Big Bite, is NOT on prime time (and never was, AFAIK). He earned a prime time slot with DDD presumably because he did well on Guy's Big Bite.

                                                                              Given how few big stars the FN has, it's entirely unrealistic to expect them to find a Guy Fieri every season. So long as the show is popular, and they create usable and recognizable "stars" out of every season, that seems a reasonable expectation.

                                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                Apples and oranges my dear LD.

                                                                                There are Food Network personalities that have achieved some degree of fame and notariety in the food community because they are, or have been, on the network. Emeril, Bobby Flay, Morimoto all come to mind. And then there are the contestants that are on the reality show called Food Network Star (aka The Next Food Network Star). They aren't stars yet, may possibly not become stars but will achieve their 15 minutes of fame on a food related reality show. Aaron McCargo Jr. comes to mind. FTV has said they always hope to find another Guy Fieri but they know that's not realistic.

                                                                                HGTV almost always launches their new winner with an hour long special in prime time. In my neck of the woods up until a couple weeks ago we've had 3 winners on nearly back to back from 9 pm - 10:30 pm and a runner up just started Room Crashers. Frankly, I'm addicted to House Hunters International.

                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                  It's worth noting that all three of the people you mentioned had a huge head start. Who knows, maybe in 15 years Big Daddy will be as famous as Bobby Flay.

                                                                          5. re: DiningDiva

                                                                            No, it is not a good track record. But I read on wikipedia awhile back that one of the NFNS finales (two seasons ago, I think) had more viewers than ANY OTHER FN show. It's clear to me that this series is NOW intended to be entertainment (although, it may not have started out that way.) And if they find another Guy Fieri, then that's just icing on the cake... That's why they've named all of the challenges and given each its own graphic, etc. If you look at the very early NFNS episodes, they didn't have "Star Challenge" etc. I think they added all of that "packaging" once they realized the NFNS series itself was a profitable show.

                                                                            Now, why they changed it from NFNS to just FNS I don't know.

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                        2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                          There has only been one, Guy Fieri. His ratings and commercial success make him a star.

                                                                    2. re: joonjoon

                                                                      That's what I said! Just don't make risotto!

                                                                      1. re: joonjoon

                                                                        From what I've seen of Jill (Jyll?), I don't think she had enough experience with risotto to know how it would have been prepared by chefs the likes of Puck or Flay or, if she did, that she would have the foresight to plan for the fact that risotto goes from slightly soupy to gluey in minutes if the ambient temp is cool enough.

                                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                          The real problem seems to be that she was under the impression that risotto is supposed to be gloppy like that. She specifically commented that that's the way she and her husband like risotto. She also lamented that she wished someone had told her she was doing it wrong. So it's not an issue of temperature or the risotto tightening up, she intended her risotto to be that way.

                                                                          1. re: joonjoon

                                                                            Judging from the judges' comments, her food generally seems to lack any complexity or sophistication. If *Midwestern* is her schtick, then I think she should play it up unapologetically and deliver consistently good middle American food, rather than try to tread into trickier culinary waters, if she's to have a chance of sticking around.

                                                                          2. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                            What I diidn't get was Giada and the other gal (don't remember her name) saying that Jyll didn't show enough heart or whatever. What was she supposed to do, cry? I mean, she clearly was upset but tried to hold it together.

                                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                                              I agree, I think she was in a no-win situation there, crying wouldn't have helped her cause, and I'm not sure what other emotion she could have shown. In all likelihood, had she not taken that event "professionally", they would have scolded her for not being professional.

                                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                giada is hard to please and is contradictory with her criticisms all the time. and i'm certain my comments have nothing to do with the fact that she annoys me more than just about anyone on the planet. ;)

                                                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                                                  I have a feeling that Giada, big smile and all, is a terror on the set if she doesn't get what she wants.

                                                                                2. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                  I think see got screwed over terribly - I was afraid it'd lead to her elimination. She kept up her poise and professionalism through a very difficult situation, only to get called out for not being "authentic".

                                                                                  1. re: WNYamateur

                                                                                    IMO it's just anothe rcase of the judging being fickle and IMO done more for effect than any basis in reality. If she had cried, they'd have called her out for not being strong enough.

                                                                                3. re: DGresh

                                                                                  I am late to this party; just saw the episode last night (DVR!)

                                                                                  I actually thought Jyll was RUDE

                                                                                  Yes, she was embarrassed, and trying to hold it together, but she was short, and IMO, obnoxious in her statements to the judges. I can't remember exactly what she said now, but her annoyance was very transparent to me.
                                                                                  I was surprised that Puck thought she handled the situation well, and that the judges thought she was being "fake" - to me it was obvious she was pissed.

                                                                                  Jyll reminds me too much of Melissa from 2 years back...she will be next to go.

                                                                                  I didn't think Penny was so unlikeable as everyone else - I'm kind of sorry to see her go.
                                                                                  Chris - not so much - i couldnt stand him!

                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                    I kind of agree. She definitely wasn't humble about it.

                                                                              2. re: joonjoon

                                                                                There's more than one way to texture a risotto. Some are looser than others.

                                                                                1. re: jmckee

                                                                                  Not if you want to win a food competition.

                                                                                  1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                    Again, simply not true. Some are firmer, some are more fluid. Risotto alla Milanese will have a different result than, say, a seafood risotto or a mushroom risotto. Any number of good Italian cookbooks will address this.

                                                                                    1. re: jmckee

                                                                                      Have you ever seen a food competition contestant be rewarded for putting out firm/gloppy risotto? I have not.

                                                                                      1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                        I said NOTHING about "gloppy" -- I said some risotto is more fluid. Further, competition is dependent on judging. I'm curious as to how, say, Lynne Rosetto Kasper, Mary Ann Esposito, Lidia Bastianich, or others would interpret the appropriateness of a texture in risotto. (As opposed to the Austrian Puck.)

                                                                                        Clearly, you have a much narrower view of this than I do, so we'd better stop now.

                                                                                        1. re: jmckee

                                                                                          You responded to my initial post, where I said:
                                                                                          "When will food competition contestants learn not to make risotto that doesn't spread on the plate? I can't recount the number of times people got destroyed for putting out gluey risotto."

                                                                                          My point was, and still is, that you can't win a contest if your risotto doesn't spread. You disagreed with me. I challenge you to find me an instance where a stiff risotto won a competition.

                                                                                          I'm not talking about MY idea of risotto, my view of risotto isn't what's narrow. It's tv cooking competitions'. I'm merely observing it. I watch a lot of cooking tv and this happens all the time, where someone thinks they can make risotto, and then get destroyed by the judges because it's not loose enough.

                                                                                          1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                            I have surely seen that happen on Top Chef at least a couple of times. Didn't Tre get sent home this past season for risotto that was too stiff?

                                                                                            1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                              wp's other points were that the risotto was improperly plated (cold plate vs very warm bowl). the folks on the cooking shows always seem to want to present risotto in a stiff dollop w garnishes and non-integral sauces(!). when i saw jyll preparing her plates w a dark sauce i thought "uh-oh for her."

                                                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                risotto is one of those things that contestants of these shows should never make. There are some things where the moment it comes out of their mouth I just want to say, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" and risotto is one of them. Sure they tend to be lauded if they do well, but 9/10 they don't do well.

                                                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                  even when they do it well they get screwed. Didn't a chef on TC Masters get sent home for making good risotto, but it wasn't "special" enough?

                                                                                                  That said, maybe I'm not foodie enough, but I have never really "gotten" risotto. Always just seems like soupy rice to me, and not satisfying as a main course.

                                                                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                    I don't remember that one in particular but I don't watch a ton of TCM - although that's a perfect example of what I mean. It's like when they volunteer to do desserts, or when they do fried food when it's clear that it'll have to sit for a while. Those things almost *never* go well and people routinely get some home for doing them ... it's stupid.

                                                                                                    1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                      I believe it was Trey. And I believe he had WON for risotto during "his" season. My husband would say it's like being the fourth guy on a Start Trek Mission. The guy that never makes it back to the ship.

                                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                        The guy in the red shirt. When they send a team to the planet, the guy in the red shirt is definitely dying down there.

                                                                                                    2. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                      there was a chef on top chef masters i think- one i didn't know very well. trey was top chef all stars, but it may have happened to him too. agreed... don't do risotto on a cooking competition!

                                                                                                      1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                        Wasn't it the guy from the Oxford MS restaurant who wore a bandana (John something I think), seemed cool and should not have left that early? I remember cuz I knew I was going to his place a few weeks later (but only had dessert, no risotto).

                                                                                                        1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                          That's it Joanie. Tre on All Stars got sent home because his risotto was bad, but the guy on Masters got sent home even though his risotto was good, it just wasn't transcendent or something.