Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Next Food Network Star - 7.5..09

I really can't handle Michael's strange Flock of Seagulls/punk thing. It's awkward and weird. Just saying.

First up, their first 2 camera cooking demo, with Rachael Ray. They are doing a demo for Yummo - Rachael Ray's organization for cooking for kids. They have to turn grown up food into food that is kid friendly. Their ingredients are brussel sprouts, tofu, and squid. Jeffrey and Jamika got tofu, Melissa and Michael got brussel spouts, and Katie and Debbie were stuck with squid. They have an hour to create their dishes, and then they will be judged on the food and the presentation.

Their judges are children. Really cute children. And, of course, Rachael Ray.
Katie is up first. She's made a quinoa fruit and squid salad. She was talking about eating the rainbow. Every one seemed to like her dish.
Debbie made calamari rings and baked sweet potato. She had a terrible presentation. The kids liked the food better, it seems, but more the sweet potato and less the squid.

Melissa made smashed potatoes with brussel sprouts, and it sounded good, but she messed up on the timing and didn't get to explain why she had the raw brussel sprouts on the side (because you never know what kids are going to like)

Michael made brussel sprout tomato soup and brussel sprout puppets, with looked like deep fried brussel sprouts. His presentation was kind of all over the place.

Jeffrey made tofu nuggets in spaghetti with tomato sauce. He did a really cute presentation. The kids really loved it, and him. He did a great job.
Jamika made a sweet corn and tofu wrap. She got into her story and missed her timing some and didn't finish making her dish, sadly.

I'm loving the little critics. Jamika got a lot of criticism for her inability to multi-task.

The second challenge for the week is cooking on Rachael Ray's show. They will be taking kid food and making it into adult food, and they have to work in teams.

Katie & Debbie will be working with chicken nuggets and mac & cheese.

Melissa & Michael have tomato soup and grilled cheese.

Jeffrey & Jamika have hot dogs and baked beans.

They have 45 minutes to shop. Michael is not a planner and Melissa wants to triple check the list. Debbie is looking for pancetta and Katie wants to use whole wheat pasta and low fat milk. Jeffrey and Jamika seemed to be struggling coming into a cohesive plan.

After grocery shopping, they have 1 1/2 hours to prep for the show.
Michael & Melissa: Grilled Cheese skewers & tomato soup with basil, topped with something I wasn't familiar with.

Katie & Debbie: Shrimp Macaroni and cheese with fontina, gruyere, and swiss, and whole wheat pasta and baked chicken nuggets
Jeffrey & Jamika: Chorizo & shrimp hot dogs over rice and beans. It sounds kind of dreadful. They are so worried about stepping on each other's toes that neither one of them stands up for themselves.

Time for presentations on Rachael Ray's show! 5 minutes to cook.

Melissa & Michael are up first. Melissa did a really great job, but Michael seemed to panic and stood next to her holding ingredients. Melissa got a little intense and shrieky. At the end, Michael perked up some, and they did a good job. The judges seemed to like the food well enough.

Katie & Debbie were working well together, though the judges seemed a bit bored with Debbie's "cause I'm Korean" schtick. Katie was not looking at the camera at all until the very end. They did much better than I thought they would do. The chicken was dry, but they seemed to like the mac & cheese.

Jeffrey & Jamika are last, and Jamika is totally unhappy with their dish, and it has totally taken the wind out of her sails. Jeffrey did a really good job with the presentation, and Jamika just stood there looking unhappy. The judges worried that Jeffrey was hogging the spotlight, but Jamika was shut down. The judges said the presentation (Jamika in particular) made her sad. They also didn't like the food, and said it tasted like raw powdery spices.

Rachael Ray was concerned at Michael's silence, and loved Katie & Debbie's partnership on camera, and was also saddened by Jamika's silence.

The final 5 are going to Miami, according to Rachael.

Time for evaluations.

Katie was told she should have made more connection to the audience and to the camera. They didn't like the chicken at all. In the mini challenge, the judges were split. Susan thought she was condescending, and Bob agreed, though Bobby liked her.

Debbie got called on her repetition of her Korean descent, and Bobby wanted more from her. They liked how at ease she was on camera.

Melissa got a little hectic and they asked her to explain the raw brussel sprouts, and liked the idea when they heard her reasoning.

Michael was full of energy but had no substance in either presentation. The judges worried that he doesn't wing it well. They want his humor and his creativity.

Jeffrey came across as domineering in the demo, and Bob said it was hard to watch. Susan wanted Jamika to jump in and didn't blame Jeffrey.

Jamika didn't recover well from her poor performance in the mini challenge, and she can't fake the confidence.

Debbie is safe, but they want to hear more from her. Melissa is the second one safe, and she has to worry about calming down and toning down the frantic. Jeffrey is also safe, and I think that is earned.

Katie, Jamika, and Michael are in the bottom. Michael was the first one safe. Damned Flock of Seagulls Punk. In the end, it was Katie going home. They knew she wanted to be there, but she has been in the bottom for three weeks. In the end, they didn't think she has the star quality. I agree. She wasn't going to win.

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