She Said: Food Network Star
(This review contains spoilers)
I love food shows! I love food and I love cooking so food shows are something I really enjoy. There are lots of shows out there from regular cooking shows to competition shows. I am a pretty big fan of some of the popular competition cooking shows, but one of my favorites is Food Network Star (airing Sundays at 9:00 on Food Network), I love it! It’s one of the reality competition show I could really see myself appearing on and actually competing, learning and enjoying.
The basic set up is pretty simple. Chefs, bloggers and foodies of all kinds compete to win the prize of their own show on Food Network. Each week they have different cooking and camera challenges to test their culinary and presentation skills. This year they have added three coaches (Giada de Laurentiis, Bobby Flay and Alton Brown) who are actually captains of teams who compete against each other. I thought I would really hate this twist but it works.
My favorite team by far is Team Alton. I love Emily, a retro style chef with awesome taste in food and glasses. Judson is cool too, but he’s got to work on his presentational style. Martie is fun, and I would love to see her show, but she’s got to step up her cooking expertise! Justin is a nice guy but he’s not my favorite chef. I love Alton’s team and he did a great job picking people who I want to learn from. I like Martita on Team Giada but her cooking skills seem to be a little weak (perhaps from nerves) she’s got to step it up! I don’t like anyone else on Team Giada (they are too relaxed) or Team Bobby (too intense). Team Alton is just right!
The first week’s challenge was fun. The teams opened pop up restaurants and Alton’s team had the best concept (Do South)! Unfortunately, his team ended up in the bottom because of a very bad cabbage and black bean purée thing. Cristie was also almost angry when she presented and made me (and the judges) uncomfortable. When it came time for the Producer’s challenge (last chance before elimination) her eggs looked delicious but her presentation was awkward and confusing. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, they sent her home. Josh from Giada’s team stayed and he’s really annoying. He’s one of those rock star guys who think everything has to be about rocking (you know, talking about rocking, jumping off things, etc).
The second week they had to do food tours of New York which was so cool! I loved getting to see in all the neighborhoods and learn about their specialties. I want to go on a NYC food tour! Team Giada won, but I didn’t really want to try any of their food. The shops and restaurants that inspired them looked wonderful I just didn’t want to try any of the contestant’s food. Team Bobby was not that great. Kara made terrible chicken and waffles and would ultimately be sent home. I’m glad they sent her home because she kind of reminded me of Jayma Mays from Glee in a bad way and her nervousness made her uncomfortable to watch. Team Alton had a rough week. Judson almost got sent home but managed to hang in! Emily was motion sick but still presented a delicious looking Passover matzo meatloaf. Martie is fun (but can ramble) and her pastrami bite looked awesome!
This week was a Chopped inspired week where the contestants got weird mystery baskets and had to make desserts from them. There were some weird deserts but it was very interesting to watch. I really wanted Emily’s yummy looking cupcake! When elimination time came around the contestants up for elimination were Martie, Josh and Nikki. I don’t like Nikki because her concept for a show sounds boring and has an ugly double entendre title. She’s also really intense and not fun at all. Josh is the Rocker guy who gets on my nerves. I love Martie but she’s sometimes slow and can ramble. Ultimately, Josh was sent home, which meant Martie, was sticking around another week. I was a little disappointed he wasn’t staying because even though he had mostly talked about being a sushi chef he was starting to make Scandinavian food. I don’t know anything about it would have been interested to learn about it. I wish he had focused more on what made him unique instead of just being another rock star or another sushi chef.
This show is a pleasure to watch. I feel interested, entertained ad educated. I always leave this show wanting to work on a recipe or technique or travel and try a new cuisine. I’m in with this show for the whole season. I’ll be cheering on Team Alton, especially Emily!
He Said: Food Network Star
I have always enjoyed Food Network Star. Guy Fieri is one of my favorite food hosts, and I was so excited when Jeff “the Sandwich King” Mauro won last year. If his show were on when we weren’t at church, I’d watch it every week! This year I was a little dubious however. They’ve tweaked the format quite a bit. In previous years, Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, and Alton Brown have been judges, but this time they’re mentors that each picks a team of five people, with the hope that one of them will be the next Food Network Star. In a very real life twist, the eliminations are now decided solely by Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, now called “The Network.” No, they’re not a gimmicky tag team from professional wrestling. But yes, they will lay the smack down on you if you bring poor presentation skills or bad cooking!
I was against this change initially, but have now warmed up to it. The most interesting thing to me is getting to see inside the mind of the mentors by looking at whom they picked. Bobby’s team all has great cooking skills, but not much personality, with the exception of some inappropriateness. Giada’s time all has weird names, and are rather quirky. Alton’s team is full of brainy mad scientists. I’m rooting for Team Alton. I really like everyone that’s left on that team.
The one downside to the new format is that only the least impressive people from the two least impressive teams have to do a camera challenge, so if you’re good at the main challenges, you’re not going to get a chance to hone your camera skills. Those are very important to have a cooking show. Just ask Brad Sorenson from season 6. I also wish it left room for more individual competition. Even though Josh finally went home this week, he really deserved to get the axe in week two, but his team’s overall performance carried him to the next week.
I’m really enjoying this show so far. Go Team Alton!