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The Next Food Network Star - 3.1 Recap

I never got into the first two seasons of "The Next Food Network Star." However, when I heard that the producers were "stepping up their game" this season, I decided to give it another try. Last night's two-hour premiere introduced us to 11 hopeful stars and you know what? It wasn't that bad. As the promos say, it's an all new season, all new rules. And from the look of things, it looks like the producers have taken a page out of Top Chef's rule book. There's more behind the scenes, at the dorms and in the kitchen, as well as faster-paced editing. To see what I thought of last night's premiere,

The show starts off immediately with Bobby Flay (each week a new Food Network personality will be the guest judge and host) telling them that they have one hour to create a dish for a potluck. The most successful dish ended up being from Colombe, a yoga instructor who wants an organic cooking show.

Next they're told they have 90 minutes to decorate a three-tiered wedding cake, which will be judged by none-other than Duff from Food Network's Ace of Cakes. At this point I was pretty surprised that they'd have a wedding challenge so soon in the game. However, it must be a quick way to sort out the folks that get it, from those that don't (what was with some of those cakes?!?). The winning cake was a simple white cake with blue dots, created by Amy, who also happened to be the only person who had ever worked with fondant before.

After the wedding cakes were rated, they're then greeted by Robert Irvine from Dinner Impossible. If you thought the 90 minute wedding cake was a zinger, he's there to raise the bar. Try a complete semi-vegetarian wedding for 100 people in just 6 hours. That's right 6 hours. The winners of the two previous challenges become team captains, and Amy (in a stroke of genius) purposely chooses the folks who are caterers. Also one team has 6 folks and the other has 5, but gets an extra $500 to make up for it. Surprisingly, the team that has $2300 to spend, only spends $800. Whaaat? I could spend more than $800 cooking for 30, let alone 100.

The show gets pretty interesting around this point as the orange team seems to do everything wrong. They don't buy enough food, they put chicken stock in the vegetarian dish, they run out of food, and my favorite part, they leave their table and Bobby Flay ends up covering for them! I could not believe that, I understand running back to get something real quick, but what went through the last person to leave's head? Oh yah I'll just leave the station alone, no one's going to notice.

At this point there are still too many faces and personalities for me too chose from. No one is standing out and since both "Top Chef" and "Hell's Kitchen" begin this week, I hope my brain can keep all these food hopefuls sorted out. Only time will tell, but until then, discuss:

  • How many times did Amy say the word Paris?
  • How about Salmon and "like the fish?"
  • What was with some of those wedding cakes? Were they channeling 3rd graders?
  • What would you do if you spilled dessert all over Bobby Flay?
  • If Colombe ends up winning, would Food Network actually air an all organic, all natural food show? I'd love it if they would, but I thought they were getting away from that.
  • Did Robert Irvine seem a bit rude to anyone else?
  • Berry skewers for a dessert? Seriously?
  • Anyone else notice the lovely fresh lemon wall during the interview portions? So refreshing!

So, did you watch? If so, what did you think?

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