Sunday, July 7, 2013

Next Food Network Star - Chris Ousted from Weak Contestant Field

For the show that gave the Food Network Guy Fieri, Arti Party, and Jeff the Sandwich King, this season of the Next Food Network Star is the weakest field of contestants I have ever seen. There are no true "stars" anywhere on this show, and it really makes me wonder about the selection process that led to these contestants. If these are the best potential Food Network Stars, then something is seriously wrong with the screening process.  Were there truly no more interesting, engaging, and skilled chefs and food personalities desiring to be a Food Network Star?  Sad.

This week gave contestants the opportunity to develop their own food products and market them to some "high powered" food executives.  Finally, a show about the contestants' point of view and what they can offer the Food Network.  Granted, there is a "pie guy," a "meat on the side," a "vintage modern," a "southern ... whatever," a "culinary rebel" (again?), and a BBQ guy; but the presence of a truly compelling culinary vision has been lacking among these lightweights and amateurs.  And, that probably led to the elimination of Chris Hodgson - who is a skilled and interesting chef, but really couldn't "sell" to the judges, even though he claims selling food and his food vision is his whole identity.  Chris Hodgson will, thus, return to his successful restaurants - unless he can salvage salvation on Robert Irvine's second chance show. (see below)

The winners for some strange reason this week were Nikki, Russell, and (ugh!) Demaris.  While Nikki still seems to have the most marketable vision with meat-on-the-side, she is still so clearly not-ready-for-prime-time.  Russell is interesting and the bacon candy looked quite tasty - but there is still something so flat about him.  Demaris ... don't get me started.  She is simply "blah," and there is nothing compelling or skilled about her.

As far as the bottom crew is concerned, Chad continues to putter along, but Rodney is simply gross.  His presentation is sloppy and unappetizing - and I am a pie fanatic.  But watching him cook simply repulses me, and his offerings never look at all appealing.  His crass, folksy, loud persona simply adds to the sloppiness of his presentation, and he is not a Food Network Star.  Stacy is really failing on the point of view angle - "Vintage Modern"?  What?  Didn't the "Retro-Rad" girl fail with this last year? And Stacy is simply the mom who has a child with eating conditions, and she runs a restaurant.  So what.

Very unimpressed lately.  Bob Tushmann warned Stacy last week about the dangers of being "too perfect."  Well, he must love this year's crop because they are nowhere near close to perfect.


Robert Irvine has screwed up again, and he has some weird fascination with Lovely's mediocre cooking skills that lead to utterly simple and forgettable dishes.  Chris Hodgson took potato chips and re-crafted them into a clever theme of fish-and-chips by creating a soup from the potato and adding some salmon.  Lovely crushed some potato chips and made a crumble.  Lovely did nothing, absolutely nothing with the ingredient.  She is not star quality.  Sorry Chris.

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