Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Food Network Star - Rue Loses Out

In last week's episode of the Food Network's "Food Network Star," the four contestants on the bottom were all cooks who, we can safely assume, were never going to be the "Next Food Network Star." Dom, Arnold, Michelle, and Rue are all reasonably talented chefs with generally engaging personalities - but there is simply no "Star Power" in any of them. Thus, it was really a toss-up for who was going home - and this week it was Brooklyn chef Rue Rusike who lost the toss. Rue has continuelly made the mistake of not living up to the "promise of her premise." Originally from Zimbabwe, Rue's POV has allegedly been about southern African flavors and techniques, and to be honest, we have never seen anything that actually lives up to that claim. While she seems to be a genuinely sweet and dedicted chef, her food has been regularly characterized as bland. And no matter how many warnings Bobby and Giada have given, she hasn't been able to "up her game." Rue could certainly speak to the camera and engage an audience, but she won't have that chance. Rue lamented her shortcomings in this post-interview with the Food Network.

Do you stand by your last-cooked dish and presentation?
RR: They said that Arnold's vegetables were raw. I tasted them during cooking, and there was a point where I was like, they're too crunchy, let's put them back in. So he put them back in, but then he didn't want them to overcook, so during the heat-up, I didn't taste them then, and neither did he taste my steak and shrimp in the heat-up. But I stand by my protein. I have never seasoned anything so much in my life, to the point where I almost felt it was too salty. And had they said to me it was overseasoned, I actually would have been like, you're right. But in fact they said it was not seasoned — I used about 11 spices, so I stand by my dish.

How would you explain to fans at home what this competition is really like?
RR: This competition is tougher than you could ever imagine. It is like doing a marathon in five minutes and thinking that you're going to be OK.

That said, the contestant who should have gone home this week is Michelle. Michelle Karam, the cook from Santa Barbara, who wants to promote her Mediterranean and Latin roots, was a real disappointment this season. Michelle's small meltdown after her inability to work with Dom was actually quite pathetic, especially for someone who wants to work in the food service and entertainment industry. You simply can't act that way - even as Dom deserved a bit of criticism for being so inflexible on their preparation. Yet, at least Dom can cook. Michelle ... not so much. And, it won't be long before Arnold and Michelle follow Rue out the door. Overall, this has been a rather disappointing season in terms of engaging personalities and culinary prowess.

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