Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Next Food Network Star - Premier 6/1/08

I really like this show, because I am a Food Network Junkie. I love Guy Fieri, and was so happy when he won, and I loved Amy Finley, even though I read that she isn't going to be doing any more of her show. (I think there was another season, but I didn't watch that one)

As a bonus, it's on Sunday night when I don't have anything else to watch.

So let's get to it!


Kelsey Nixon (23) She could be cute. I like her whole plan of showing people that cooking is not intimidating. We'll see if she can cook.

Kevin Roberts (39) He wants to bring romance and fun back to the kitchen. He seems friendly enough.

Shane Lyons (19) Wow, he lost a lot of weight, and he graduated from CIA at 18. WOW.
Jennifer Cochraine (32) She's a single mom, to a 4-year old girl named Lyric. I always wonder how single moms can pull off being part of a show like this, logistically. I am not knocking her, quite the contrary, but that has got to be all sorts of tough.
Cory Kaheny (44) Hey, I've seen her on Last Comic Standing! Didn't know she could cook. Already know that she is good on tv. Wonder how it will translate to this show.

Jeffrey Vaden (43) He seems really arrogant, not sure why. But, I liked his comment about loving French food and Soul food, so bring on the Fois Gras cooked in bacon grease. Mmmm. Bacon grease.

Adam Gertler (30) He reminds me of someone, and I can't think who.

Lisa Garza (31) Holy crap, she's like Cleopatra or something. Her style looks like she's trying too hard. I prefer more natural. She looks a little like the woman in GalaxyQuest. The weird, awkward alien.

Aaron McCargo, Jr. (36) He seems friendly enough. Looking forward to seeing him cook.

Nipa Bhatt (35) I adore Indian food, so I hope that she wins so I can get great Indian food recipes and tips.

The judges/selection panel enter. Susie Fogelson is the VP of Marketing and Brand Strategy for Food Network, and Bob Tushman is Senior VP of Programming and Production, and of course Bobby Flay. I don't know what kind of influence Bobby has except for being a host, but he's cool.

For the first Challenge, Alton Brown arrives. It's time to show how they can convey their culinary point of view on camera. One sentence. Props are allowed, from a table containing all sorts of things.
Jennifer with a rubber chicken: "Keep it Simple, I don't have all day!" Then, she continued on to explain it, which Alton Brown told her was unnecessary, and I agree. I think she was trying to explain why she picked the rubber chicken, because she has to keep it funny to keep her daughter interested. Hmmm.

Jeffrey grabs a giant slab of bacon: I am just too distracted by his black and pink argyle sweater to pay much attention to his hook.. He claims "there's going to be a lot of pig," holding up the bacon. He seems weird on camera, and a little forced.

Aaron no props: He claims to be the spice guy. He is better on camera than Jeffrey, but still kind of awkard.

Nipa with a giant piece of fresh ginger: The camera loves her, and she is gorgeous. She's wonderful. "Ethnic Food is approachable."

Shane, no props: Very wordy, not good on camera. He's immediately on the bottom of the pack for me. He must be pretty skilled, though.

Adam takes milk: "Fun, full flavored comfort foods, that you can make at home." Then he took a swing of the milk. Nope, not milk - heavy whipping cream. Ewww. But funny.

Cory grabs a handful of cherry tomatoes: She bombed. Bombed. Bombed. I can't even think what her hook was because she fumbled it so badly.

Kelsey was cute with a graduation cap: "Comfortable in the kitchen with classics tips and techniques with an innovative twist." She's great on camera.

Kevin wants to bring romance back into the kitchen by eating, drinking, loving well.

Lisa with a handful of props: Designer dining? Deconstruction? Community Outreach? WHAT? And I thought Jeffrey was pretentious!

After their challenge, they go back to the carriage house. Lisa does a lot of yoga, which I like, but she still seems annoying to me.

Challenge time, and Alton is back in the Food Network Kitchen.

The contestants draw for teams of two people. Each team has to do three dishes - one individual for each chef, and then one collaboration. In 30 minutes. For Bobby Flay, Alton Brown, the selection committee, Mori Moto, Sandra Lee, the Neeleys, Giada de Laurentis!! Insane.

Kelsey is making an orzo salad, Aaron is making a Cajun Salmon sandwich, and they are making a tomato soup with lots of herbs together.

Adam is making a potato gratin, and Jennifer is making glazed carrots, and they are doing meatloaf together

Lisa wants to make Degustation (wha? right? The subtitles tell me it's small tasting portions). She gets pissy because Kevin doesn't know what it is. They are making an arugula salad, Kevin is making an onion soup, and Lisa is doing poached salmon

Cory is making honey salmon, Jeffrey is making deviled egg provencal, and they are making a parsnip, potato, and leek pancake with basil creme fraiche.

Shane is making pork tenderloin, Nepa is making curried potatoes (Suki Bhadji, which I probably spelled wrong), and together they are making a butternut soup.

In the grocery store, Lisa is a mad woman. She was running in heels better than I could in sneakers. Wonder if she wears those bad boys on the treadmill.

Shane and Nepa are up first, and they seem to be cooking well, except Shane had trouble with the blender, and the pork tenderloin on the "beauty plate" is undercooked, though the tasting plates are good. Nepa apologized for not having turmeric, and using curry powder. The pork gets good marks, except for the beauty plate. Nepa's potatoes are underwhelming. Did she not use mustard seeds? Cumin? Coriander? Did she just throw curry powder onto potatoes and call it a day?

Lisa and Kevin are up next, and I can't imagine enjoying watching Lisa cook. She has a weird squint, and she is proud of her heels. Kevin seems cool, and he is good on questions. Lisa harps on about her community outreach thing again, and it's just preachy. The soup goes over well, and the salad was overdressed and overdone. The committee was confused by Lisa.

Jennifer and Adam seem to have a hard time getting things cooked. The meatloaf is bad. They had to finish it on stovetop. They should have put it in muffin pans! That would have gotten it done on time. Adam talked a lot, and Jennifer is personable. The potatoes were "raw," and the meatloaf was "too much." Bobby said that he would either want to watch or hang out with Adam, and Jennifer also did a good job talking.

Kelsey and Aaron were doing well, but then they had a hard time plating. Orzo in lemon cups? That's interesting. Some plates didn't get bread, and the plating was just a mess. Kelsey is really upbeat and chatty, but went on about how proud they were of their presentation, which I would have not mentioned. Kelsey did a good job talking about how they ran out of time. Everyone liked the salmon, and everyone (except Giada) liked her, but Aaron was overpowered by her, so they didn't get a chance to really see him much.

Cory again loses it on the presentation! What is wrong with her! Jeffrey annoys the crap out of me. If he says "classic french training" one more time, I'm going to puke. Cory's salmon is too sweet, and Jeffrey's eggs are called "unpalatable" and too salty, and Cory was criticized for being "tortured" by the presentation.

It's judgement time!

I kind of like Lisa's dress, but I still don't like her.

Aaron and Kelsey are judged first. The judges really loved the flavor, and even though they messed up with plating, it went ok. Bob calls Kelsey an over-caffeinated cheerleader. And the Food Network already has Rachael Ray, so she doesn't need to fill that niche.

Jennifer and Adam's comfort meal is "ok." Not bad though. They are both good. Jennifer is told to keep her personality.

Kevin and Lisa's food went over well, but their collaboration salad, not so much. Lisa is called out for "baffling" everyone in the room when she was talking.

Cory and Jeffrey get called out for bad seasoning. Cory, too sweet, and Jeffrey, too salty. Their presentation got terrible marks, too.

Shane and Nepa are up, and Nepa's underspiced potatoes are sad. (I love Indian curried potatoes, too). She is called out also for being too confident. Bobby Flay says that even he gets nervous, so there. Shane is the David Archuleta of this show - precocious and very talented, but sometimes not bringing his A-game. He is the first to cry this season. And he's not an attractive crier.

Safe are Aaron, Kelsey, Jeffrey, Kevin, Jennifer, Adam.

Cory, Nepa, Lisa, and Shane are in danger. Lisa's looking very Sandra Bullock. From Demolition Man. Couldn't find a picture.

Nepa is safe, and she is still overconfident. I want to like her, so she'd better back up that confidence. Shane is also safe, so crying worked for him. This time. Cory is going home, and Lisa is safe this week. Cory deserved to go home, because she just totally froze. And her food wasn't that great.

It looks like a good season! I can see a few of these people who I wouldn't mind learning a thing or two from. Any other fans out there?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Look out for Aaron McCargo. This guy can really cook. He was a bit nervous during the first show .. but I hope he loosens up on subsequent shows because he has a great personality and a large following in the South Jersey/Philly restaurant scene.

Great foods I've personally can attest to from Aaron.

>> Jumbo lump crab cake - with signature dipping sauces

>> SOUPS: New England Clam Chowder and Cheeseburger soups were a big hit at this restaurant near Rutgers in Camden.

>> SALADS: Citrusy California salad and a very popular Chicken salad.