I love Rachael Ray. She’s vivacious and sassy. But I don’t think I’d like to be trapped in an elevator with her. I’m sure I’d be fine riding on an escalator with her, or standing in line behind her at the Jamba Juice, but that’s about it.
Sometimes, watching Rachael’s show exhausts me a little. The speed at which this woman zips around her kitchen, filling up her little Hanna Barbera arms with every ingredient and utensil needed for her recipe and delivering them all to the counter in a single trip is awe-inspiring. But even more impressive is the speed at which Rachael’s mouth operates. Born two hundred years earlier, she could have easily been the most successful snake oil salesman on the frontier. She’d probably would have ended up owning all of Minnesota.
This week’s Star Challenge was probably the most nerve-racking yet for our six remaining contenders. Each had to come up with their own personal spin on a traditional family dinner, then host a three minute segment of The Rachael Ray Show where they made and explained their dishes for Rachael while taking questions from the studio audience.
I could never have done this. Rachael intimidates me too much. I’d have called in sick and asked for some sort of make-up exam, maybe touching up Guy Fieri’s roots before the next season of Diners Drive-Ins and Dives.
But Our Final Six are nothing if they are not fearless! And when you think “fearless,” think “LaChanga!”
If Julia Roberts was a lasagna, and Tom Hanks was a chimichanga, than Vic Vegas’s “LaChanga” is the food world’s Larry Crowne… it sounds like a neat idea at first, but before long you’re so put off that you start to hope someone might die, and eventually you just pray that person is you.
No, Vic… the world is not yet ready for your leftover lasagna wrapped up in a tortilla and then deep fried in oil. But thanks for playing. Here’s your consolation Pizza-Tini!
Faring much better was Don’t-Forget-Me-Whitney with her Four Star White Chicken Chili. The judges gave her points for a strong point of view and fluidity in her presentation. It looks like Little Whitney is finally coming into her own. Even better news! Whitney’s tip about how to fancy it up when the in-laws are coming over earned her the first “Rachael Ray Scrunchy Nose Award” of the night!
Meanwhile, Sandwich King Jeff rebounded nicely from the Ina cupcake debacle with his Cider Braised Pork Chop and Gorgonzola Dolce on a Toasted Bun. But I’m beginning to wonder how long I would watch a show where the host says “sandwich” every third word. Certainly, there could be no buzzword drinking games watching this guy. I’d be naked and passed out and on the balcony before the first Ace of Cakes commercial.
I’m also beginning to think Jeff might want to re-consider his motto, “Any sandwich into a meal, and any meal into a sandwich,” until he proves to me how he could make a sandwich out of a bottle of Ensure.
And I don’t care that the judges didn’t like Mary Beth this week. So what if she was running out of things to say? So what if, as Bobby Flay said, “food boggles her”? Any woman who can face down Rachael Ray, a studio camera and an entire audience and deliver the line, “Always go to your butcher and get a good bone!” without even a trace of irony is already a Food Network Star as far as I’m concerned!
NEXT: WHO WENT HOME