Food Network Star Recap: July 1, 2012

9:01 pm – Ippy is beyond thrilled that the remaining competitors are heading to Miami for this week’s Food Network Star competition. Ippy has apparently forgotten what humidity can do to curly hair.

9:03 pm – On the beach, the gang meets up with Bobby, Giada and Thurston Howell the Third to receive this week’s challenge.

9:04 pm – Bobby informs the competitors that their challenge this week is to throw a Welcome Party to VIP families attending this year’s South Beach Food and Wine Competition, including most importantly, celebrity cook Paula Deen and her family.

9:05 pm – When Southern-born Martie hears she’ll be cooking for Paula Deen, she becomes excited, says “Dagnabbit!”

9:07 pm Giada reminds Ippy that this beach challenge is really his “time to shine” because he’s from Hawaii and his head looks like a pineapple.

9:09 pm – Private Chef Malcolm announces to camera, “My culinary genius has no limitations, so why should I pick one simple POV and limit myself?’ all but ensuring he’ll be the one going home this week. Personally, I thought Malcolm went home weeks ago. Watch the previous three episodes of Food Network Star and give me one reason to believe otherwise.

9:10 pm – Michele complains about how much work stone crabs are to prepare. The stone crabs complain that Michele looks like a middle-aged version of Ponyboy from The Outsiders.

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Food Network Star Recap: June 24, 2012

“Ay, Dios mio!”

Poor, poor Martita.

I was really beginning to think our little Mexican pop rock was this season’s Food Network Star dark horse… that one the producers intentionally play down for the first half of the season because they’re just so head-and-shoulders above the rest in both kitchen proficiency and on-camera style, if they let her emerge too early, we viewers wouldn’t bother tuning in for the rest of the season.

But maybe by not giving us too much Martitia, the producers of Food Network Star are merely trying to spare us from having to wince too much at our television sets and cause permanent burning sensations in our facial nerves. After her frighteningly botched EPK presentation last night, it’s hard to imagine Martita coming back and winning this thing.

In case you missed it, each of the remaining competitors was given 90 seconds to present a “one bite” meal to the press and explain why they should take an interest in them as a television personality. While the other eight remaining FNS chefs were worried about how to squeeze their towering, mythical personalities into a puny old minute and a half, Martita decided to take a different path, and a leave some – let’s call it “cushion room” – at the end.

Martitia (sheepishly): “I just left a little bit of airtime… so…”
Michele: “How much time did you have left?”
Martita: “Almost thirty seconds.”

It’s like when you’re at a swap meet and you see the bravely smiling woman standing behind a table of furry little pom-pom goblins with googly eyes and sticky feet for your dashboard, and absolutely no one’s interested.   You feel so uncomfortable you decide to go over and feign interest just to keep her company for a few minutes, until you notice the “hot dog in a pretzel bun” cart just to her left and conclude, “It’s not my fault!  She’s the one trying to sell the world pom-pom goblins!”

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Food Network Star Recap: June 17, 2012

Did any of you think we’d be this far into the competition and still have Little Linkie to kick around?

Don’t get me wrong, as a re-capper of Food Network Star, I’m pleased as punch she’s still with us. The woman is comedy gold. Did you see the hysterically perplexed and terrorized look she gave when Giada asked her if she knew how to make a churro? It’s the same look you get from a collie when you light a match in its face.

I tried out for Food Network Star this season, and I didn’t get on. Have I mentioned that yet? And Linkie got on. Under-confident, terminally apologetic Linkie… and not me. I have nothing against the woman, but have you noticed she can’t help but end every single sentence with the words “…and then I stumbled a bit, but I kept going,” like a kid at the fifth grade spelling bee who just got the word “insouciant,” and knew it was all over?

What kind of show did the producers of Food Network Star think they could build around Little Linkie? The only things I’m coming up with are: Passable Entertaining with Linkie, Food for Polite Friends, Apologize and Remind Them You’re Blonde or maybe, The Best Thing I Ever Thought About Making in the Kitchen, but for Some Reason it Came Out Looking Like Soup.

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Food Network Star Recap: June 10, 2012

Congratulations!  You’ve reached the halfway point for this season’s Food Network Star.   Go whip yourselves up a spinach-kale smoothie and some “rad and retro” apple sauce!  You deserve it.  And before we dive into the highlights from this week’s episode, let’s take a look at where each of our culinary hopefuls currently stands:

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Food Network Star Recap: June 3, 2012 (Brought to you by Discover Card – 5% Cash Back!!)

I don’t know about you, but everything that happened on this week’s episode of Food Network Star – the ups and downs, the smiles the frowns – all just fell out my head the minute I heard the words, TEN THOUSAND DOLLAR DISCOVER GIFT CARD. Boy, do I need a TEN THOUSAND DOLLAR DISCOVER GIFT CARD. Do you know what I use for end tables in my bedroom? TV TRAYS! And not even nice ones. The crappy indestructible kind you keep hidden in the garage in case some day you accidentally have kids and need something you can call an “art table.” And don’t even get me started on my lampshade.

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Food Network Star Recap: May 20, 2012

I think tonight’s unfortunately bland “Bus Tour” episode of Food Network Star can be summed up by the amount of times the participants gave each other the “swirly finger.”
You know the “swirly finger,” right?  You put your index finger up in the air and swirl it around as a silent way of saying to someone else, “Yo dude… wrap it up.  It’s officially boring now.”
Television producers crouching behind cameras often give the “swirly finger” to their red carpet host who’s about to go one question too many with Jim Belushi.   Mommies give it to the mall Santa when their kid moves away from Legos and skateboards and starts asking for live panda bears and a career like P. Diddy’s.

As for me, I was giving the “swirly” to my television about 25 minutes into this episode.

This new format of dividing the competitors into three smaller teams, each led by a celebrity mentor has proven itself, in only two episodes, to be a critical mis-step for the show.  Here’s why:

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Food Network Star Recap: May 13, 2012

Well, once again I hauled my buns down to the Food Network Star open casting call in Burbank earlier this year, and once again the producers failed to pick up on how primed and poised I am to make my inevitable big splash on the American television scene.

Yes, even with my tightest t-shirt, my Alton Brown-inspired “smarty-pants” glasses, and pictures of my favorite dishes lovingly positioned and painstakingly photoshopped on pricey 8 x 10 glossy paper, I didn’t even make the first cut. I was, however, told I looked a little like Lou Diamond Phillips.  But until reality television comes up with a series entitled The Next Great “La Bamba” Re-make!, I don’t see what good that’s gonna do me.

So, I’ve packed up my phony smile, along with all my totally fabricated stories of “the most amazing moments” in my life (No, I actually haven’t run three European marathons, nor have I sky-dived in a tuxedo intending to propose marriage to my high school sweetheart), and I’ve completely cut out bicep curls, push-ups and squat thrusts until at least 2013.

And I’ve put the Giada Delaurentiis butt tattoo on hold as well.

Screw ’em all.

In the meantime, if I can’t be a Food Network Star competitor, I can certainly be the snarkiest Food Network Star blogger the world has ever seen.

With that said, I proudly present the inaugural edition of Tv Food and Drink’s 2012 Food Network Star, Season Eight re-caps, complete with all the judgment and sarcasm you’ve come to expect, this year newly accompanied by a healthy dose of the sentence, “Are you kidding…. they cast that tool instead of me???

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Food Network Star Recap: July 24, 2011

I wouldn’t be able to say I thought much of the “What-does-your-cupcake-say-about-you?” challenge that opened last night’s Food Network Star.  Generally, if a cupcake is saying anything more than, “Hey Gary… I bet you can’t stuff this whole me in your mouth at one time!” I’ll generally pass on it altogether.

Thank God for Guest Judge Ina Garten.

I admire Ina.  On The Barefoot Contessa, she’s always so tranquil… so calmly in command, no matter what may come her way.  It could be a last-minute birthday party for seventeen, an impromptu brunch along The Seine, or a flash flood that ravages her entire dill weed garden.

It doesn’t matter.

Ina would simply tuck her head to the side, give a warm, comforting giggle, and suddenly everything would be wonderful again.

Ina’s astonishing equanimity is such a God-given talent that I’d love her to branch out from cooking and show people how to remain calm in other situations where it really matters. Say, for example, prison.

I’m sure there’d be a huge interest in a show where instead of decorating pear tarts and planning baby showers, Ina enters a maximum security detention facility and demonstrates how she can make the best of it while collecting all kinds of new friends. “Today, I’ll be teaching a little stool pigeon what’s good for her using this attractive oyster fork!  It’s a great way to let them know you’re thinking about them, plus it’s so much fun.  Be sure your pigeon is sound asleep before you shank her, or her blood will splatter everywhere… and that’s a mess no one will want to clean.”

Of all the personalities on Food Network, Ina is the one I’d most like to be trapped with in an elevator.  Not only would she remain totally serene, she almost certainly would have a large picnic basket with her, filled with all kinds of rustic breads and iconic cheeses.  We could pick out a little cozy spot in the corner and have a nice lunch and learn more about one another.  She could teach me how to make the perfect coffee cake.  I could teach her how to get her cat to give high-fives.  She could recount her experience writing nuclear energy budgets during President Ford’s administration.  I could tell her how one time I met The Harlem Globetrotters, including the bald one!

Yes, my patience was tested during the cupcake challenge, but not Ina’s… even when Sandwich King Jeff presented her with his creation… an Italian sub cupcake, piled high with five different cured cold cuts, including salami, prosciutto and pancetta.

Ina’s assessment of Jeff’s meat monstrosity was as sunny and it was stinging: “Am I right that you prefer to cook rather than bake?  Yeah… it shows here.  Thank you.” And with that, she dismissed our Sandwich King the way she might dismiss a ladybug from her lapel. And yet, she was so sweet and endearing throughout, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Jeff had leaped into Ina’s lap and started telling her what he wanted for Christmas.

As for me, I’d like to mock Jeff more for his stunningly bad cupcake mash-up, but I can’t.  I was the guy who once invented something called “The Pizza-Ttini.”  I was so very proud of it.  I was certain it would be the perfect blending of my two favorite flavor sensations: pepperoni pizza and martinis.  Instead, it tasted like feet.


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Food Network Star Recap: July 17, 2011

Well, I can’t say after watching tonight’s Food Network Star I’m any closer to knowing who will win, but I’ve definitely found an excellent contestant in case Food Network ever wants to produce a show called America’s Most Obnoxious Dinner Guest.

Did anybody else think that Wolfgang Puck took his celebrity judge status a little too far when he dragged Our Gal Jyll back to the kitchen and gave her an Evelyn Wood-style crash course in risotto?

True, the stuff Jyll served up looked like it would be better suited to filling a cavity-ridden molar, but Puck’s singling her out like that and showing off how he could do it oh so much better had a definite “neener-neener” quality to it.  I think Jyll would have preferred to go stand in the corner with a rice cooker on her head while Wolfie used a slingshot to fire Brazil nuts at her.

Nevertheless, I thought Jyll held it together pretty well.  She seemed to adopt the attitude of “Shit howdy!  A free cooking lesson with Wolfgang!  This is way better than that “Everything’s Coming Up Cupcakes” class at Sur La Table!”

And perhaps I’m being too hard on Wolfgang.  After all, could it be I read the entire situation wrong from the get-go?

Maybe it wasn’t that Wolfgang was so disgusted with Jyll’s risotto he had no choice but to tear away from dinner and run to the kitchen.  Maybe he was just trying to get away from everyone else at that damn table.

Consider the tedium…. Bob Tuschman endlessly showing off what he knows about whoopie pies.  Giada de Laurentiis forever manipulating the conversation so she can work in the word “free-TAH-TAH.”  Bobby Flay’s non-stop bragging about the new limit on his Gold AmEx.  Susie Fogelson throwing back one too many Moscow Mules and getting a little “handsy” under the table.

I’d have probably bolted for the kitchen too.


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