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Food Network Star: "Pilot Greenlights" (7/15/2012) [*SPOILERS*]

So, when does Final 3 equal Final 4?

When Martie and Justin both make the finals from Team Alton.

Martie, Justin, Yvan and Michele are your finalists.

Martie was probably separated at birth from Paula Deen.

Yvan's pilot reminds me of Ask Aida.

Michele's show reminds me of Bobby Flay's "Grill It".

Justin's pilot is a take on Alton's Good Eats episode on Caesar Salad.

Watch them and vote for your favorite by July 17 5pm EST.

(As an aside, does Anne Burrell look like she spent about 10 hours too long under the tanning bed?)

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  1. Either too long on the tanning bed or a really bad spray tan job.

    No matter which way America votes, Justin will get a show. Of the 4 "pilots" they showed, his was the strongest and the most interesting.

    Yvan's pilot started a little slow but he picked up steam as he went along and was pretty good by the end. And I'd actually try his crazy mac 'n' cheese recipe.

    Michele did a better job than I expected her too. I think her pilot was the most relaxed she's been on the entire show.

    For as much progress as Martie's made over the last few weeks, to me her pilot was the least interesting and seemed flat. The setting was a little too contrived. I'd actually grown to like her by tonight's episode. I've made shrimp recipes similar to the one she did and they're good. I would have preferred to have heard what was in the recipe, not some story about shrimp cocktail.

    Bottom line...I think this is Justin's to lose and I don't think he will.

    4 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      One the one hand I can't help but think Ippy would have provided a better pilot, and on the other OMG CRAZY CORN MAC AND CHEESE GIVE ME THIS.

      Michelle's was so much better produced than Martie's and Yvan's, and familiar. It felt like "A Bobby Flay Joint" but what recipe? Cook clams in wine and top with corn or something. It's a testament to the production that I'm only now realizing there wasn't much substance.

      Martie. Bless her heart.

      Never mind what everyone says about Justin being quirky and having funky style and Alton Jr and whatever. I want to have his conversation about food. I want someone who thinks aspic is an appropriate first-date topic of conversation. Because on the one hand we have programming exalting the revolution in thought that cooking has seen in the last few decades, but with little discussion about the thought processes behind these new ideas, and on the other hand we have Kelsey's Essentials giving us detailed instructions on making basic food. Justin is a move in the right direction (and might be better served by Cooking Channel, because I really don't want him road tripping to funky joints around the country any time soon).

      Vote early, vote often!

      1. re: ennuisans

        I didn't mean to come off as so dismissive of Martie. It was more that I couldn't describe how I felt. Essentially her focus should be on entertaining; it should be a Martha/Sandra show rather than exclusively a cooking show. My feeling is that whoever produced the segment (the assumption is Alton but in the end FNS is produced by someone higher up) didn't know how to showcase her properly, and it showed.

        1. re: ennuisans

          I also thought Justin is better suited to Cooking Chanel.

        2. re: DiningDiva

          Justin has the only interesting and different food. The others are all the same.

        3. I liked Justin as a host, but that aspic and grilled lettuce did not appeal. At. All.

          Michele, I guess, FTW just because the idea of learning how to prepare seafood/New England style food would be something they've not done on FN. She was personable enough although the recipe was a bit uninspiring (I have to hope she has something more interesting up her sleeve).

          And it will probably only last a season or two anyway.

          1 Reply
          1. re: coney with everything

            What ? you didn't like a gelatanious blob melting on your grilled romaine ?
            Leftovers from Marcel's Quantum Kitchen.

          2. Like I've said before I watch the show because it's a competition not because I'd watch any of them do their own show. I generally only watch the competitions on FN because I don't care to watch a presenter doing cooking demonstrations.
            It's nice to see Justin and Martie have become bffs and I wouldn't mind if either of them won, but probably as Justin is the most quirky of them all he could well have a long career ahead of him.

            1. I thought the aspic and grilled lettuce was shear genius. I need the recipe!

              I was very put off by the canned corn in the mac and cheese but in the end it looked delish and the brother was cute.

              Is Michelle from Rhode Island because that's all she talks about.

              martie seemed nervous but that shrimp looked good

              2 Replies
              1. re: C. Hamster

                We had a farm-to-table resto here in San Diego that was doing a grilled ceasar salad. It was surprisingly good. I thought the aspic trick looked pretty interesting as well. Check the FTV web page, they've been posting recipes from some of the episodes.

                And I agree with you on the cream corn. My first reaction was ewwwww, but by the end it looked pretty darn good :-)

                1. re: DiningDiva

                  Corn in Mac and Cheese = how to add even more carbs to mac and cheese.
                  Kinda like Cheese stuffed crust pizza to me. ( how to make pizza even more fattening)

              2. Unfortunately, you need to vote through Facebook (and install an app to do so), so I guess I won't be voting.

                I'm glad they let Martie and Justin make pilots, those two were probably the two most deserving IMO (based on the promos) and it seemed unfair to eliminate one.

                I thought Martie's pilot was weakest, I thought Michelle's food looked the tastiest, and thought her pilot and Justin's were the best, but I liked Justin's more because I like him and his idea more.

                6 Replies
                1. re: LurkerDan

                  You can vote by phone as well.

                  I agree about Martie. She's Martie Partie (wow, I hate that), but leaves her guests in another room while she prepares a dish with no comment on how it can be prepared ahead? And those cantaloupe boats in the background were pathetic.

                  1. re: BubblyOne

                    Wasn't Aart Paarti a few years ago ? what happened to her ?
                    I liked the pre arranged party waiting for her in the living room.. Very eclectic mixed race party for an Alabama woman.
                    Looked like a " K Tel" commercial to me. ..waiting for someone to put on a record.

                      1. re: coney with everything

                        I think she has a new "go see what other food people are doing" show.

                    1. re: BubblyOne

                      I don't get the appeal. We have so many cooks with tips on entertaining already. I don't think she'll make folks forget Martha, Ina, the Party Boys, and others. I also noticed that she didn't tell us what she was doing. It looks pretty boring.

                      Well, we know each of them will get a show anyway, whether it's on the FoodNetwork or Cooking Channel. My bet is Michelle will head directly to the Cooking Channel. I love New England, so will probably watch.

                    2. Marti's take from doing parties, background to cocktails--Sandra Lee? Isn't that exactly what Sandra Lee does? And, Brian Boitano had a show along those lines (What would Brian make? Is that the name?) which I really liked. I would much rather they bring his show back. I'd never watch a show with Marti.

                      Justin has an interesting take on things, intellectualizes food which is nice to see. I still can't get over the lips, though. He would be the only show on Food Network that is unique but the question is, does it appeal to the viewers? For the aspic--why did he need to add so much gelatin if he started w/ chicken stock? I thought it would have melted better if he had just used stock w/out the gelatin.

                      Yvan, sweet enough. He needs a cooking show on Nickelodeon where I think the teens/preteen girls would tune in. Both he and his brother--that would appeal to the masses.

                      I really liked Michele's pilot. Her bowl of clams w/ bread looks so simple, something almost any home cook can do, but delicious. I wanted to dip some bread into that broth. She might be like the NE version of Ina's Hamptons.

                      Potentially, I might tune into Michelle's or Justin's show. Maybe Yvan. Never Marti.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: chowser

                        What would Brian Boitano make? What would Brian Boitano do? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuRJSs...

                        1. re: LurkerDan

                          I have watched it as recently as Saturday. I assume reruns, on Cooking Chanel.

                        2. re: chowser

                          Holy Ice Skates! I really liked the Brian Boitano show too!!!!
                          His appetizers were great... and I thought he was really good on camera.

                          Maybe we are the only two people that liked him :(

                          1. re: sedimental

                            He made dishes I thought I'd make. The show was cheesy but in a fun way, where he poked fun at himself and others. LOL, I loved his imitation of Giada when he said, "Or as Giada would call it maaascarrrponaay" or something along those lines. I wish he'd get that show back!

                            1. re: chowser

                              I know! He was a dork- but in a good way.

                              Okay...let's start a petition..... :)

                                1. re: Divamac

                                  I'm in on the Boitano Fan Boat as well. He has such a great and friendly way--kinda makes you just want to ask him if you can come over for dinner!!!

                              1. re: chowser

                                I saw an episode last weekend where he said " You know what I like to do as much as cooking.? Skkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk......ootering! You thought it was going to be skating. "

                            2. I think Justin and Martie are the most talented over all. I'd watch Justin's show for the Alton-Justin Oedipal drama. Michelle seems like a nice person but I'm not sure that New England cooking is enough of a draw.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: NYCkaren

                                I don't know either. I will say that when I was up that way on vacation I tried clam chowder whenever I got the chance and there was one, perhaps in Maine, that was broth rather than cream and it was fantastic. We out in the sticks get things stuck in our minds about what dishes like clam chowder should be and I wouldn't mind at all having someone talk about NE regional food on television.

                                1. re: ennuisans

                                  Like lobster rolls, the *best* chowder is the subject of much debate up here.

                                  I hate the thick stuff and prefer a thinner chowder with a little sheen of butter.

                                  1. re: ennuisans

                                    Why not broth? And while you're at it, throw some tomatoes in it. Oops, see what you did? You made Manhattan clam chowder. Impossible to find ANYWHERE. I think I like it so much because it reminds me of the Zuppa di Pesce served everywhere on the Adriatic coast.

                                2. Shouldnt someone have clued Martie in as to Aartie? Or maybe they can combine talents ...

                                  1. My feelings are similar to chowswer's. I would definitely watch Justin (though the lipstick thing is creepy). I like the Ina take on Michele and I would watch her though New England food would be somewhat limiting. I really don't get Ivan, what he might come up with different from any other generic cooking show. I would not watch Marti.

                                    1. PLEASE do NOT slam me, cuz I would LOVE to see Michelle win... but her "look" might be too... for the food network???

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: kseiverd

                                        Did you notice they "cleaned" her up with some makeup ? A little lipstick and I'm not sure what else...mascara ?
                                        They were saying the same about Guy F.

                                        1. re: rochfood

                                          But Bobby still pointed out she was dressed like a lobster.....

                                      2. Too bad most voters won't see Justin in the episode of 48 Hour Restaurant Challenge he was on and won. They'd get to see the real guy. And let's just put it this way... it was not flattering.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                          I wanted to find this on YouTube and while there's a lot of footage of Justin there, nothing from 24H. Great video of him rapping, though. They really should have had him do this:


                                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                            Or Justin matured in the past couple of years. That usually happens in your 20s.

                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                              Michelle was also on the 48 hour restaurant challenge. These guys sure get around!

                                              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                I've only watched a few episodes of this season of FNS. The first time I saw him on it I was wondering why he looked so familiar. Then I remembered. Then I started rooting for everyone else to win FNS. :)

                                              2. So this happened:

                                                Me: Good luck @EatFellowHumans (Justin's Twitter name) and if the worst should happen, find another outlet. I want to have the conversation you're promoting.

                                                Justin: @Ennuisansfin I found an outlet, stuck my finger in it, and look at my hair!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. It seemed like (up until the very end of course) that all the contestants *knew* that it was one per mentor getting through. It certainly seemed like all through the season there was an obvious attempt to balance the eliminations. That whole concept seems fundamentally unfair. I thought that "team giada" was much weaker than the others.

                                                  1. I think Food Network has finally jumped the shark. I was hoping for someone young, to get new ideas from. I'm Martie's age. I also don't like that it sounds too much like Aarti Party. As it is there is too much competition for air time. I'm getting tired of trying to watch favorites while they sprinkle crap shows in between.

                                                    1. I want that mac and cheese recipe.... my family would LOVE it. The show was okay.

                                                      I liked Michelle, she was relaxed, interesting and her food looked yummy.

                                                      Martie, didn't like and her food didn't look like party finger food.

                                                      Justin, while entertaining, I wasn't gaga for the aspic idea. I don't know it seemed too much for me... but he will win. Will I watch his show? Not sure, when I look at him all I see are huge ruby red lips.

                                                      13 Replies
                                                      1. re: libgirl2

                                                        And they really zoom in on his head too..don't they ?
                                                        I haven't seen any of the Twilight movies..but I would expext to see a Justin type in them.
                                                        I thought it would be a cool opener for his show if he started with his back turned to the camera..and turned around opening his black cape, then saying.."Good evening.." in his best Bela Legosi.

                                                        1. re: libgirl2

                                                          I just don't get the aspic idea. Why bother? What does it add to the food? I'm open to hearing folks' thoughts on it, but right now it seems gimmicky and a little unappealing to me. Now, grilled romaine...that I love. But that's not new.

                                                          I thought the party seemed to be missing from Martie's party. I thought Yvan's pilot seemed the most "welcoming." That has nothing to do with cooking of course, but this is FN.

                                                          And I was not surprised at all that they gave both Justin and Martie a pilot.

                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                            Aspic: Ok you know how in the Midwest (and Utah), they always serve a Jello salad? Think THAT but savory.

                                                            1. re: pdxgastro

                                                              I know what an aspic is. For some reason, I even made a couple for my parents' 40th anniversary party. I just don't get WHY the aspic dressing. It seems gimmicky. It seems to be for the sake of aspic ooh, rather than the sake of flavor or food.

                                                              1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                I don't know who "they" are, but I live in the Midwest and haven't seen Jello salad in many, many years. I am aware that some people do make it, however I think some stereotypes about the Midwest are silly.

                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                  Well, Jell-O *is* the "Official State Snack of Utah" and the Mormon Belt is reputed to be wobbling aplenty with Jell-O.

                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                    Is Utah considered the MIdwest? I live in Illinois (that's the MIdwest, right?) and I think of it as just West. And FWIW, no Jell-o salads here.

                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                      True enough :-) (I live in the Midwest too) but the Mormon Belt is supposed to have affinities with the Midwest and, O.K., perhaps more accurately the Great Plains states. I read that Utah and Iowa was fighting it out once for top Jell-O honors, and it has been said (not by me) that Mormon food is reminiscent of Minnesotan food. [...and sandylc is based in MSP, I believe]

                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                            Just moved the parental unit here from Noblesville......

                                                            2. Justin's pilot was the only one that offered me something i didn't already know. I'm a really good cook, but hardly brilliant.
                                                              Clam chowder? yawn.
                                                              Mac and Cheese? Oh, he added corn. wow.
                                                              Shrimp cocktail? Really?

                                                              1. I would eat any of the food prepared during the pilots, but the chances of me or most Americans making an aspic are slim. Not that it is difficult, it just doesn't interest me. Some of the other things Justin prepared throughout the season are more appealing as far as cooking. Show wise, I think Michelle or Justin. The other two have concepts already represented on Food Network.

                                                                1. So, put the quirkiness and eye for twist aside.  Sure, Justin could be conceived as the clear winner with such a genius as Alton as his mentor; but where's the smile, the charm? Do not get me wrong,Justin intrigues me and his culinary twist he places on a simple Caesar salad begs me for more, but honestly I don't have time to make a gelatin dressing, regardless of how quirky it may be! Furthermore  would anyone eat it? A rebel at heart? Sure, but with my  work schedule and family life-impossible and draws me only towards one food network star. Could it be Michelle? Yes, she did bring it in her pilot and owned it! Finally, her smile and charm escaped her and she captivated me for the first time ever! But, to put it bluntly, I'm in Montana and as most states that are not coastal we are hard pressed to bring the flavors and freshness  from Her New England table side. Then of course is Martie, and well who can't help themselves but not to LOVE Party Martie? Her southern charm is captivating but sell me on being the decorator, caterer an chef? Where is the decor or caterer touch in a big bowl of pickled something or other? Where is the party in that? Sure she has charm and charisma but tell me or better yet, show me how that jumbo bowl of jumbo shrimp is entertaining? How can I incorporate a simple dish into  decor to wow my guests in a way that is simple and easy, fun  and affordable! She misses my party boat. Now, for making my life easy and fun- Yvan brought it! Not my favorite from the start, however his journey is full of passion, struggle and triumph in the simplicity of creating easy meals that any age can create and enjoy! Who would have thought sweet corn and Mac topped with hot sauce? Makes me salivate and eager to have my children, brothers and sisters create a simple meal together. And, one that we can relax and dig in! No plates required. Just simple good times with those you love! It was a simple twist, new enough to grab my attention, yet  easy to follow. A simple presentation that even my 12 year old could conjure up and draw our family around the counter to dig in! Yvan embodies today's family and the tough times we all have gone through or are going through. He takes one back to their roots and back to the modern day table of family!  Good food and family doesnt mean too much time or money  spent on ingredients or in the kitchen, its the heart that matters and the style you bring that is in us all to make it family style! Way To Go Yvan you have captured my families food interest by bringing us yours! You are a clear winner and our families heart and we thank you! 

                                                                  1. Yvan's a la famiglia schtick - :::rolleyes::: . Too much. That corn mac & cheese also looked disgusting.

                                                                    Martie the Partier - yawn. Also had no idea what went into her dish other than what I could visually identify, like prawns. Paula Deen wannabe. Ick.

                                                                    Michele and her NE clams - tasty enough but nothing special or intriguing.

                                                                    Justin the Rebel - Curious, interesting takes on food. Yes, I'd watch his show. Aspic Caesar dressing on roasted romaine? Sounds great. I'd try that! [What is it with folks' aversion to aspic? It is that famous USAmerican revulsion to "slithery, gelatinous" stuff? What about jello, which they love?]

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                      Valid point! I watched the show with my two daughters who are athletic teenagers and while Mac-n-cheese is not a staple at our house, they enjoy nothing less than having moms homemade once every fee months. While Yvans dish may not be an every night affair, I still don't believe I would ever make Justin's food and most of his dishes while unique seemed complicated. Would we watch him yes for entertainment and my daughters merely based on the fact that he reminds them of the weird science guy they loved in their toddler years. My viewpoint remains that it's about family.

                                                                      1. re: Rue44

                                                                        Most of the winners disappear with the exception of Guy, Melissa De and that other guy who did not win who got his own show. Did they put lipstick on Justin..they looked darker..Justin will definitely get his own show..its about entertainment..food network is very little about cooking anymore..how I miss Sara..

                                                                      2. re: huiray

                                                                        Actually, American's don't love Jell-O...except in shots with liquor.

                                                                        Most of us of a certain age were subjected to a few too many Perfection Salads and other assorted gelatin salads at church socials and potlucks, most of which should never have made it out of the kitchen in which they were made and certainly not onto a table for mass consumption.

                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                          Interesting about the gelatin salads etc and the generational thing. Hmm.

                                                                          But regarding Jell-O: I thought it was a widely consumed dessert in the US? As for Jell-O shots, I include that in the overall category of "Jell-O consumption"... Anyway, the Mormon Corridor at least seems to love the stuff.

                                                                          "As of 2008, there are more than 158 products sold under the Jell-O brand name and about 300 million boxes of Jell-O gelatin sold in the United States each year."


                                                                        2. re: huiray

                                                                          Born USAmerican. Can't imagine eating jello. Would indeed make aspic.

                                                                        3. Yes, Justin may be the only one doing new things in the group, but seriously? Aspic? Fried fish bones? Sure, he's a rebel but I don't want to eat the things that he makes. Yvan is boring as hell. I'd be happy to see either Martie or Michelle win.

                                                                          1. All the people saying that they like Justin's concept what wouldn't eat that salad surprise me. I watched his pilot and was kind of wowed by his innovation. If I were to have a dinner party, I would definitely serve that, it intrigued the hell out of me!! I love grilled salads, so the aspic dressing idea.... well it just looks cool!

                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                            1. re: kubasd

                                                                              Exactly. As I mentioned a few posts up, what is it with the aspic hate?

                                                                              One of the things I like to make sometimes with leftover Hainanese chicken and the gingered chicken stock from its preparation is to make shredded chicken in aspic (using the stock) with sliced hard-boiled eggs and chopped scallions and cilantro. Then - a wedge/slice of it with various stuff like marinated musrooms/artichokes, maybe some sautéed French filet beans, or flatbread-type crackers or croccantini...etc etc. :-)

                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                That sounds great!! Perfect for summer, too! It's like head cheese without it being full of stuff :)

                                                                              2. re: kubasd

                                                                                I don't think he effectively made the point of *why* an aspic dressing was better than (or even as good as) a well made dressing. So it's different; why should I mess up something as terrific as Caesar salad? Sure I like grilled romaine, and I've done that, but I don't necessarily get the appeal of the dressing.

                                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                                  Well, he could have told a story about how his father told him on his death bed to try and reinvent the Caesar:) I think you either are into his style of cooking or not. It looked cool to me. I'm looking forward to trying this and the ingredients are inexpensive. The worst is I'm out a few bucks if it's not good.

                                                                                  1. re: BubblyOne

                                                                                    No I get your point, the last thing I want is the death bed story :). But I thought this particular recipe was a bit missing the point of *why*.

                                                                                      1. re: Kitchen Imp

                                                                                        I agree. Typical Alton Brown type thing.

                                                                                  2. re: DGresh

                                                                                    'well made dressing' - do you mean an oil and vinegar emulsion?

                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                      Well I was actually talking about a classic Caesar dressing which is different. Sheesh.

                                                                                    2. re: DGresh

                                                                                      Personally, I think this would be the perfect application for those little sphere thingies molecular gastronomy fans love. You could prepare a salad long in advance without it getting soggy from the dressing, plus it would add an interesting texture. (It would be even cooler in a grain salad where the spheres visually blend in with the other ingredients -- with Israeli couscous, for example...)

                                                                                    3. re: kubasd

                                                                                      I found myself thinking, hmmm.....I probably wouldn't make THAT, but it got me thinking about lther things.

                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                        I don' t think I'd watch Justin to find things to make myself. I just think he'd be fun and interesting to watch. I get nothing out of the food network shows anyway

                                                                                    4. IMO the Food Network could stand someone who cooks more "complicated" and interesting food.

                                                                                      They've lobotomized their cooking shows!!

                                                                                      The do not need another show where someone makes mac and cheese with canned corn in it, nor do they need another "party" show. I've lived in New England for a very long time and can assure you that an entire show devoted to "New England" cuisine would only run for 2 or 3 episodes and would probably be tragically boring.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                        I absolutely agree. I really think they have jumped the shark. They've lost their true passion for food. It's just blah, blah, blah mine is best, come back next week. pppttthhh.

                                                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                          ...and that corn mac n cheese also somehow brings up a vision of the First Girlfriend of New York for me...

                                                                                          ETA: Besides, when I was watching his "pliot greenlight tape" what kept occurring to me was that his POV of "a la famiglia", home cooking, blah blah was already represented quite a bit on FN. Maybe a show on "Dumpster Diving" would be innovative, but I doubt I would watch it - and would not be a fan of hearing about his dire circumstances earlier in his life again and again. It was TMI when Medusa and Kermit forced/manipulated the issue so that those personal details were broadcast to the WWW as a *desired* personal sob-sob story as M&K seem to look for.

                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                            Plus..his original POV was "small plates"..so the "family style" was what stuck on the wall.

                                                                                        2. I can't wait to find out the answer to the question - Can America Love a Boy named Justin witth kewpie doll lips and ruby red lipstick (an infinitely charming look in my ancient old lady opinion - Justin's look appears to beckon "I dare America to fathom kissing me" in a come hither/go away style) and who prepares burnt green lettuce that is black around the edges (how do you burn anything so watery, that takes big heat) with savory jello dressing as his make or break it/winner takes all dish?



                                                                                          Justin is outstanding in every respect. Gutsy, charming, creative, simultaneously repulsive and intriguing and above all, MUCH NEEDED. Break up the landscape of mediocrity, boy. Yvan is a warm hearted darling, but to heck with mac and cheese, bring on the burnt lettuce!! I want more Pollock, less Norman Rockefeller.

                                                                                          The last time I prepared tomato aspic was in 1966, using an Irma Rombauer recipe. It was disgusting. You GO, Justin. Give us what for, society needs you. Okay, that's a bit grand, make that - this old lady needs you. Very much. Hope to see lots more of you soon, and god forbid they mess with your vibe one iota, son. You have my vote (that is you would have had my vote if I could have figured out how to vote for you....too social media-ted for me).

                                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Olympia Jane

                                                                                              I can say that I prepared tomato aspic about a year or so ago (when it was featured, probably in the NY times, as a thing that is worth returning to) I hated it. as did the rest of my family. Perhaps that explains my lack of enthusiasm for Justin's "dressing".

                                                                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                And don't forget savory aspic went out of style many many years ago.... perhaps for a reason.

                                                                                                1. re: libgirl2

                                                                                                  But an aspic Caeser dressing on grilled romaine is just such an interesting concept between hot and cold, smooth and crunch and the dressing/aspic melting in your mouth is intriguing enough that I am considering trying it. I might hate it, but you have to admit it's a damn creative idea.

                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                    Using gelatin (and other gels) in this fashion is part of molecular gastronomy
                                                                                                    though of course it chefs have making and using it to create fanciful items since the Middle Ages.

                                                                                                    Since he was using powdered gelatin, he could have used another base besides chicken stock. I would think something tart, and may be boozy, would have evoked Caessar Salad more.

                                                                                                    Melted gelatin is what makes Chinese soup-filled dumplings possible.

                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                      Indeed. Good examples all.

                                                                                                      The extension of the XLB example - *anyone* who has made a proper chicken or beef or pork stock will have a pot of liquid that solidifies to, yes, essentially an aspic, when it is cooled down or refrigerated. I daresay that includes almost all CHers here including those who shudder in extreme distaste at the notion of stuff in aspic. :-)

                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                        But I'm not eating my gelatinous chicken stock cold.

                                                                                                      2. re: paulj

                                                                                                        That was my thought, too, regarding the chicken stock.

                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                          I was wondering why he used gelatin at all, given that he'd started w/ chicken stock that is gelatinous to begin with. I agree, a more salad like liquid would have been better. Aspic vinaigrette:


                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                            It requires a lot of chicken feet to make a chicken stock that can be cut with a knife.

                                                                                                      3. re: libgirl2

                                                                                                        "And don't forget savory aspic went out of style many many years ago..."

                                                                                                        "I recently read that one should only cook contemporary dishes, not old-fashioned recipes. In my view, the only two categories for recipes are good ones and bad ones, and the only way to find out which is which is to cook them" - Marion Cunningham

                                                                                                        Thank you, Marion. My thoughts exactly.

                                                                                                        1. re: libgirl2

                                                                                                          I like the concept, but he used chicken stock and I don't want chicken stock on my salad. I'm thinking it must have tasted like chicken soup. Now, if he had used a homemade fragrant veggie stock, that may have been a bit more to my liking. Maybe with some shaved fennel?

                                                                                                          1. re: breadchick

                                                                                                            But a bit of chicken stock would be fine an classic French cooked peas and lettuce. And bacon an important part of wilted spinach salad. But off the top of my head I can't say what flavors would go best on grilled romaine like this (using the melting aspic idea). Is it still enough like a salad to call for a salt and acid seasoning, or more vegetable like.

                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                Yeah, and my other thought would be a gelled sweet/sour gazpacho thingy. Almost to replicate what I remember as a kid as French dressing - which my mother loved and we all hated. God, that dressing and iceberg lettuce. Frozen french fries.

                                                                                                    2. I just got around to watching this episode last nite and was laughing at various parts. The contrived 3rd try at the audition tape with EVERYONE failing the first two times. Would they nail it on the third??? And poor Ippy. Giada tells him he's too mellow then he's too intense? I didn't see it, he seemed fine most of the time and as people said, not everyone has to be a big plastic smile all the time. I didn't think Michelle was great and if they didn't have to pick one from each team, could have seen both her and Nikki going home. While her pilot was better, I don't want to watch her. I was sick of Yvan always saying "you guys" which actually was common with many contestants. When he asked his little brother if he was ready and the kid says "I was born ready", twice, I wasn't feeling it. And the actors at Marty's party felt felt SO authentic. I don't think the viewers should have total say either, more like 1/3 or 1/2 with Bob and Suzi.

                                                                                                      1. Is anyone else curious what Sunday's finale is going to be like?

                                                                                                        What are they going to do with an hour?

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                          Go over reruns and reviews of all the past episodes and dwell lingeringly on rehashes of every sob-sob story dredged out of the contestants and throw in every other tragic or non-tragic but certainly TMI personal minutiae that they didn't have time to air before.

                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                            There are new recipes listed for the show: Eggplant parm empanadas (Yvan), deviled eggs with lobster (Michelle), Fauxritos (Justin), and Baked pita chips with charred 3 onion dip (Martie). Not sure how they are going to work them in if the viewers supposedly have already decided the winner.

                                                                                                          2. So first off- I don't get how it conveniently works out that each mentor had 2 left, and they were going to pick one pilot from each? Did I miss them telling us this at some point? I thought it was supposed to be "may the best personalities" win??? Giada's team was weak, and although I find Yvan personable- he's just not got the "it" factor when it comes to making me want to watch a cooking show he would do. And really- family cooking????? What is that? Making more than one grilled cheese? adding creamed corn to mac'n cheese (eewwwww by the way). I love Martie- God bless her for making it this far and just being so much fun- but would I watch a cooking show she's hosting? probably not. Her pilot was dull, taught me nothing about entertaining, and gave me a shrimp recipe that was less than original. Michelle- yawn. You love New England, we get it. But after you make a lobster roll, some clam chowder, and cook clams in wine.... whaddya gonna do? In my opinion, Justin is the only one who is doing something current- hopefully sans molecular gastronomy if he wins, and was entertaining and informative. I would soooo make that Caesar salad- what a cool idea. I hope he wins. His is the only show I would consider watching.

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: maisonbistro

                                                                                                              Maybe cuz I live in New England I feel like it has more potential than others do (even tho I don't want to watch Michele doing it). I mean, a hunk of it could be the proverbial "farm to table" stuff that half the country does. But for more native stuff, there's clam cakes, fried seafood, all sorts of other seafood, Indian pudding, coffee cabinets, blueberry and apple desserts, johnny cakes, baked beans and country supper type stuff, maple syrup recipes. I think there are places to go beyond clam chowder. I can see them visiting all the cool shacks and stuff in New England to go beyond just cooking, which I'm personally fine with since I don't cook much.

                                                                                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                I think the same thing about New England. There are so many foods that are undiscovered by people who don't live there, other than the stereotypes. Other than what you mentioned *(good list btw, love coffee cabinets and coffee milk!), there are thriving communities like New Bedford and Falls River that have large Portugese American communities with the associated foods--I love chorize bread. And, I'd love to see Paula Deen cringe at the sweet flour heavy cornbread!

                                                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                  Her pilot was completely pedestrian and could have been on any number of shows. Oh look she went to some seafood restaurant and now is cooking her version of the dish she ate. Really? Again?

                                                                                                                2. re: maisonbistro

                                                                                                                  Don' t think I would watch a show with any of the finalists, nor was I enamored with any of
                                                                                                                  those eliminated. Also, I don't watch any of the mentors' shows - with the exception of
                                                                                                                  Chopped - so why would I expect to get into anything one of them produced? In fact, now
                                                                                                                  I'm wondering why I stuck with the competition so long - waiting for someone to step up?

                                                                                                                  1. re: ferventfoodie

                                                                                                                    You must be one of the reasons why FN has so many competition shows, and relegates the dump-and-stir shows to daytime hours.

                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                      Actually, I watch very few FN programs anymore, preferring PBS offerings for the
                                                                                                                      most part. Watching Chopped is something of a perversity as I find the basket
                                                                                                                      ingredients ridiculous and the judges generally snarky - but I have known a
                                                                                                                      number of the participants. Same with Burrell's new show - I had the opportunity
                                                                                                                      to work with Burke briefly and ate one of my top ten meals at the original Olives where,
                                                                                                                      English no doubt went all out because Julia Child as one of the 20 guests.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ferventfoodie

                                                                                                                        I would think with that experience, that even the PBS cooking shows are old hat.

                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                          Did anyone notice that Justin already had a show logo in his demo? He's already got a show - whether he wins (which he should) the show, or just gets one on the Cooking Channel, which would really be better for him. That's the channel with the interesting takes on cooking.

                                                                                                                          1. re: chewee

                                                                                                                            I did. And Marti's looked like some school age student threw together fonts.

                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                              I'm happy the best contestant won, but sheesh, the show took FOREVAH!

                                                                                                                3. Lots of valid points on all the contestants. They all have pluses and minuses. Of the remaining folks, I guess Justin is the most interesting. Though I think by episode 3 of his new show I'll be so fixated on his weird red lips that all of his weird food tips will be lost on me. More than anything, here's what I've noticed with this series... I've grown to loathe Susie and Bob. They're both so smug and annoying. The pinnacle was last week's show when the two of them are weeping openly about the unfairness of life that they have to cut either Justin or Martie. "Torture," Susie chokes out, misty-eyed. Then, SURPRISE! - they want a pilot from both. It was the phoniest, most obnoxious little ploy yet. Next year, they should turn the tables and do a show where they make Food Network Vice Presidents compete and only one keeps their job. Yeah, I'd watch the hell out of that.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: suzyq2u2

                                                                                                                    Sort of building on this series, they just had a Chopped episode with past NFNS winners as contestants, and with these 3 coaches as judges. Compared to the regular Chopped judges, Alton, Bobby, and Giada were brutal.

                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                      Finales are always cheesy, because they're really only 5 or less minutes of watching so they have to torture us will filler. Also, in the past it seemed like the winners had their shows the next week...we have to wait til fall - by then, we'll likely forget who Justin was...not to mention the others who will probably also get shows, too. I think Justin will be good, but in past seasons, some runner-up's have had better shows (Geoffrey?).