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Food Network Star, Week 2 (SPOILER)

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This was an episode that made one wonder how at least a couple of contestants ever got chosen. Like the woman who bitched about having to deal with fried chicken ("I don't fry chicken") and waffles ("I don't like waffles. I like pancakes."), and not being as enthusiastic as others about meeting and picking the brains of some very iconic New York cooks/proprietors.

And some, like self-proclaimed Mr. Rock n; Roll, seem to be all about themselves and not about the food. We'll see if they fall by the wayside fairly quickly.

Eric Lee is my hometown boy (Sonoma County), and I met him a few years ago. He's as nice in person as he comes off on TV. But I fear his cooking expertise may not carry him through the Big Personality Test. Wonder if he got any tips in advance from our other hometown boy, Guy Fieri...

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  1. I taped the episode but missed the part where the fifties blonde asked if she could interrupt. Maybe I fast-forwarded too energetically. What did I miss?

    1. I was surprised that some of the contestants didn't 'get' the food they were asked to work with. There was really nothing terribly exotic about any of it, but I'd guess about half the contestants weren't familiar with the assigned food. And some embraced the challenge more than others.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jeanmarieok

        I'm not really surprised. I was actually expecting some problems with white people in Harlem and Gentiles encountering Jewish food. I did wonder if creepy-looking guy knew that some Jews do not consider caviar (or at least that which comes from sturgeon) to be kosher.

      2. I love the Next Food Network Star but I don't really take reality shows seriously. Many of these shows are so 'Producer influenced and induced' that you sit there with a catatonic stare. And please don't let America have to be involved in the voting....OMG..It can get scary. I would love to see Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson cook anything. They sit there from Culinary Mount Olympus reigning from on high, I would just love to see them in action...Just once.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ottojr

          Didn't you post this on the other page ?

        2. I sometimes wonder if the producers coach them to say or complain about something. The one man's dislike for pickles seemed over the top.

          I also wonder when the contestants are talking into the camera what talking prompt was given.

          2 Replies
          1. re: asketcher2

            Some shows have been scripted...I don't think that this one is. Other times contestants are asked to portray a certain character. Remember whimsical, peculiar, eccentric and bizarre behavior and drama keeps you watching.

            1. re: asketcher2

              I don't think he disliked pickles (he actually said he likes them). He said he was not "inspired" by them or something to that effect.

            2. OP..cmvan..you left out the best part.
              The woman who got cut and bitched about the soul food chicken and waffles...
              ( PS I don't get chicken and waffles..but I get fried chicken..and I get waffles. So.."getting" chicken and waffles should not be such a foreign concept and tough to "replicate" The fried chicken sits next to the waffles..not like they are magically incorporated somehow.)

              Anyway..the best part was that she said "she doesn't eat chicken off the bone" hahaha.
              This is a culinary person to be taken seriously ? What are you..some sort of icky food phobic type of child ? Any cook/chef worth their salt should not be squeamish about chicken on the bone.She should have booted right then and there.

              7 Replies
              1. re: rochfood

                I believe she said she didn't eat chicken "on the bone".

                1. re: cmvan

                  Either way, what kind of person can call themselves a chef if they can't deal with chicken with the bone attached? Can you be taken seriously if you only work with hermetically sealed, sanitized, homogenized chicken breasts? If you're squeamish about where meat comes from?

                  Glad she's gone.

                2. re: rochfood

                  Maybe she's overly dainty, like people who won't have "peel 'n' eat" shrimp.

                  1. re: rochfood

                    It was no surprise that she left. They didn't ask her to recreate the food. She was supposed to put her own spin on the food. Chicken and waffles is one of the easier ones to fool around with. She was just awkward overall.

                    I like the team challenge in being mentored by one person but if you're in a team that does well, you get pulled along, eg. rock star guy who doesn't seem to know what to do socially or know when he's bombing. He should have been in the bottom.

                    1. re: chowser

                      good point chowser about rock star guy being lucky enough to be in the winning team, but he'll get found out in the end.

                      I'm quite liking the format but man it makes me wonder, if they got all those thousands of applicants how Bobby. Ghiada and Alton came up with their top 5. Nobody here seems to be unique enough for a TV show.

                      1. re: smartie

                        I was thinking about that. It happens a lot with team challenges I've seen it happen on Top Chef. One person could get very far if they are on a strong team but eventually it will catch up with them. I.E. Rock Star Josh.

                        1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                          An observation: If Josh is a Rock Star, as tongue-tied and inept a presenter as he is, it might explain why I prefer jazz and opera to rock. :-)

                  2. Just a few observations/opinions on the contestants.

                    Emily - Ms. Nineteen Fifties. I like her but I need to see more. Also she lives in my hometown of Orlando.

                    Eric Lee - He's obviously very talented but will time restraints bite him? What is his culinary vision? Fresh home made food? I'd like to see that because there are way too many shows on FN that used canned or prepared food. ehem Sandra Lee.

                    Rock Star Josh - He was picked for his "rock star personality" but he's really bumbling around. At times he looks awkward. I gave him a pass last week because he didn't have the eggs he needed and improvised. No more passes after that. lol.

                    Judson - I know he was in the bottom this week but I enjoy his quirky nature, waiting to see what more he can do.

                    Justin - boy genius , I see the boy but waiting for the genius. Alton really hyped him but I'm not seeing enough just yet.

                    Linkie - I'm not too impressed; as a home baker I haven't seen enough from her. I wish we'd get a peek at her South African roots. She lived there until the age of 16. Alton called her first dish (Key Lime Pie) "Cafeteria Food" and had she had the cream cheese she wanted she would not have added the ricotta and their response might not have been as great. Another issue is, can a pastry chef survive a detailed cooking challenge?

                    Martita - I like her spirit and personality, just need to see a bit more from her in terms of cooking.

                    Ippy - I think he's my favorite at this point. He comes off very genuine, I don't think he needs to "Pump it up" Or "Get Peppier". Can't we work with peoples inate personalities and not try to change them into peppy outgoing cheerleaders?

                    Yvan - He seems to be struggling with his choice for a vision of Small Plates. First was a dense clunky meatball and then a way to simple tomato basil mozzarella skewer. He really needs to brainstorm his dishes to come up with something that works well, and is bursting with flavor that is creative and interesting.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                      SS, I'm pretty much on the same page with you on your assessment of the contestants.

                      I think Ippy is my favorite too. I like Martita (my hometowner in the fray) and if they can put Ms. Bitchin' Kitchen on the Cooking Channel, they can find a niche for Ms. Emily, she's bright and she amuses me.

                      I am really, really pulling for Eric Lee to stick around for a while. He's kind of like a science experiment without being all geeky about it. His POV is hand crafted food, which to me means getting back to scratch cooking on things you don't necessarily expect, like the ricotta he did in the first episode. I think it would be kind of cool for the FN to have a program that shows viewers that it's possible to make themsevles things that they would normally purchase commerically. (The infamous) they say that Emeril and his antic inspired people to try cooking again, perhaps Eric Lee might inspire them to progress to making more complicated things themselves. It's also a rather Slow Food-style approach without all the SF rhetoric and baggage.

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        I want to like Eric Lee, but I just can't. I don't hate him, but I feel that his kind of show would be full of technically proficient dishes which I wouldn't want to make, presented in a manner not sufficiently entertaining for me to watch anyways.

                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                          I don't disagree with you. As much as I'd like to see a show devoted to hand crafted food, I also have to wonder how big an audience there would really be for it and if Eric Lee is that voice. I don't object to his less than over the top personality and presentation style. . . Isn't that what Bobby is there for in his role as mentor ;-) To develop
                          that? Time will tell

                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            totally agree. Hopefully Bobby can mentor him and get him where he needs to be because I'm making hand crafted food because so many prepared foods are too high in sodium these days.

                            I want to make his home made ricotta so I hope he sticks around and finds his stepping in terms of how to be a show host because I think he already has the cooking chops.

                    2. In years past this post. would have had loads more responses. Perhaps people are losing interest in this 'half baked' premise of a 'contest' . I include myself in that category used to watch the show. (It was a good fix of bad TV.) This year how ever just can't be bothered.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Withnail42

                        I've got to disagree a bit because this season they have better more skilled contestants. I didn't see very many home cooks, if any at all.

                        I'm willing to stick around and see what happens.

                        1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                          There are also no disagreeable characters yet, too, for added drama. No Penny type ratings getter. Josh is awkward but seems like a likable enough guy. No villains?

                          1. re: chowser

                            not yet, but that doesn't mean their won't be drama to grab people in. This may be the most agreeable crowd yet. I do see some potential for people to get into little squabbles but nothing to suggest there will be a villain.

                            I saw one of FN's larger previews and it had Alton in tears, and Giada crying, and some other drama filled type events. My guess is that some of the mentors will get attached to some of the contestants and it might be hard to let them go.

                            1. re: chowser

                              I have appreciated that at least so far, the folks are nice to each other and supportive. I really don't like watching mean people. They seem fairly competent in the kitchen over all. I find it interesting that the "mentoring" is almost entirely around the stage presence rather than the cooking; esp since the premise is that "we can teach anyone to cook, but we can't teach star quality"

                              1. re: DGresh

                                As Alton Brown put it, he's looking for someone they can mold into a marketable commodity. It is TV, after all, and this isn't Chef Hunter so I understand it. I do like that it's been drama free so far and they all seem like nice people.

                          2. re: Withnail42

                            I'm watching it but just half-heartedly. I don't really like the TV personality chef thing anyway but got caught up in it last season. I'm already cringing on episode 2. Watching the presentations was really painful and I started fast-forwarding through them. It's the whole generation of people whose sole purpose is to be famous.

                            I watch reality TV - who doesn't these days - but I can only deal with shows like Top Chef and Project Runway, where the contestants have to demonstrate their skills. I can't stand these people who just want to be on TV. Food is just a vehicle to fame. I'm going to try and stick it out but a few more episodes of awkward presentations might be too painful for me.