Based on the previews, I was actually looking forward to last night's Next Food Network Star. I'm a big Alton Brown fan and the commercials made it look like it was going to be an interesting drama-loaded trainwreck. So naturally, like all drama-loaded trainwrecks, I couldn't wait to watch.
Let me start with one word: Wow. And that's more of an "Are you serious?" sort of wow, as opposed to an "Amazing!" sort of wow.
We're down to five chefs and at this point none of them look like they're ready (or deserve) their own show. They're yelling, crying, flubbing lines, not cooking anything, and just failing in every way possible. I know that there's a lot of fancy editing, and that they're living in this unnatural pressure-cooker type of environment, but still, get it together folks. Quit your crying, start your cooking, and get ready to be a star!
To see what happened, find out who went home, and discover what causes Alton to breakdown and say, "Can we send them all home and start over?"
The show begins with Alton "the supreme educator of Food Network" Brown greeting the contestants in the kitchen for a quick challenge. For the first challenge they each pull three ingredients and are told they have 30 minutes to come up with a dish that they have to present to the camera. That's right, the contestants are finally going under the "gun" of Food Network and will have to present their own recipe in three minutes without stopping.
Once the cameras start rolling things were semi-ok. Rory should have cut stuff up, Jag should have been less gourmet, Paul shouldn't have told so many non-related stories, Amy should have been more put together and Adrien should have actually cooked something... anything.
When they're done with their first challenge, they're then presented with their least favorite food item. For Amy it's bokchoy; Jag, tofu; Paul, lima beans; Rory, goat cheese; Adrien, baby corn. They then have to design a dish that glorifies their ingredient, and then create a 5 minute demonstration with 4 major talking points. Oh and again, it's going to be live with no stops.
Here's where the already mediocre events take a turn for the worst. Amy can't concentrate and cries all night about going home. The next day, Jag throws a tantrum over missing banana peppers [note to self: do not piss off this guy]. Then, when the presentations start, you can actually see the pain and discomfort in Alton's face. He wants out of this room, and is probably wondering how he ended up having to do all of this anyway. Paul rambles on and makes an awkward joke about his hands burning. Amy forgets her script completely and goes blank. Jag has a bajillion ingredients, drops his tofu and says that it's "not half bad." Rory and her huge smile are boring. Adrien "roasts" things in a sauté pan, and tops his dish with a raw egg. See? Disaster. At this point I don't know who I'd watch, I can't tell who I like and I'm not even sure who did the worst.
During panel the judges are rightfully harsh and Amy tells them she wants to go home, only to change her mind immediately. So she stays, as does Rory and Paul - who was the "one person who showed a succinct upgrade" from the day before. Which means we are left with Jag and Adrien on the chopping block. After a few tense moments, they tell Adrien to leave. I'm a little bummed by this, but had already guessed the outcome. Also, what does it say when the one guy who already has a cooking show is kicked off?
Wow. I can't believe there are only 4 contestants left. I think I'm rooting for Paul at this point, and hope he makes it to the end. I guess we'll see what happens after next week's Iron Chef inspired challenge.
Did you guys watch? What did you think?