This week on "The Next Food Network Star" the contestants were faced with two interesting challenges. First they had to present one section of a recipe in front of the camera, and then they had to come up with a signature grill dish. I must say, I was actually entertained by this episode, the editing and pacing were comfortable, and unlike last week's ludicrous wedding challenge, the challenges really seemed like a good way to determine a new star. Plus, having Giada de Laurentiis as this week's host/judge was a nice treat. To see what happened this week and find out who got kicked off,
In the first challenge, the cheftestants had to take Giada's recipe for Chicken Florentine and break it apart into 9 sections. Once the recipe was broken up, they then had to each pick a part and present it to the camera (as if they were on their own cooking show) in 60 seconds. However there was one catch, they had to work as a team and go in order. Meaning, if person #1 only got through part of their step, person #2 would have to finish their step AND try to complete their step. Right away they end up off schedule and Jag "takes one for the team" (as Giada said) and went into hyper-warp speed. In fact, while he was chopping, I actually had to make sure that I didn't accidentally hit the fast forward button on my Tivo.
Next they were told that they had 90 minutes to come up with a grilled dish and that the winning recipe will be featured on the July cover of Bon Appetit magazine. Their dish had to look delicious, be something a home cook could make, and be in season. When finished, they then had to cart it over to Gourmet's headquarters, prep it in 30 minutes and present it in 3. The highlights of the evening were Michael with a tasty looking chicken and Rory with the winning ribs and grilled cantaloupe.
So now that we've got the winners out of the way who were the losers? The bottom two were Adrien and Nikki. Adrien is one of my current favorites (although it still feels too early to say), he's been blessed with great people skills and the camera seems to love him. Unfortunately his food just isn't that great. At this point in the game, it would have been sad to see him go, but luckily we didn't have to as it was Nikki who got sent packing. It's interesting really, in her interview segments she seems lively and fun, but in front of the judges she is flat-out boring, like a Stepford wife, very robotic and dull. I won't be missing her at all.
Now for a few things to ponder:
- How squashed are they in their judges' panel?? They're practically shoulder to shoulder!
- I was nicely surprised that Barbara Fairchild (Gourmet's Editor-in-Chief) actually took time out to participate.
- Michael's tip about sprinkling dried herbs over the coals was really interesting. I'm definitely going to have to give that a try.
- I personally thought Paul's decor on his lamb was a cute, if not slightly dorky, touch - but man is he a nervous guy.
- Did anyone else have a ton of commercials for Top Chef during their airing?
So did you guys watch? If so, what'd you think about it? Who are you rooting for, do you have any favorites yet?