TV Time: Food Network Star

 Season Nine

(This post contains spoilers)

She Said:

One of the television shows that I look forward to every summer is Food Network Star. I always love watching the contestants compete for a dream job. It’s also so much fun to see new personalities. Last year, I discovered the amazing Emily Ellyn. This season seems to be like it will be a lot of fun. It’s our dream to have our own television show, so we really enjoy getting to learn about what it takes to create your brand. (Hello, television producers- we’re totally ready for that challenge)

 The concept is very simple.  Contestants compete in a variety of cooking and camera based challenges to win their own show on the Food Network.  I’m very pleased to see the judging panel is intact from last year, featuring both Food Network executives and Food network stars. Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentis and my favorite, Alton Brown mentor the contestants. Thankfully there are no teams this year! I hated the idea that they competed on teams last year and I’m so glad that each contestant will be standing on their own.

I think that there are definitely some interesting contestants this year. Damaris seems kooky, but I’m always inclined to cheer for a Southern girl. Niki has an amazing concept of semi-vegetarian that sounds really cool. I want to learn more from here. Stacey’s concept seems interesting, but something about her energy is a little off-putting. I’m hoping that she’ll warm up to the camera soon. We were so excited to see Chris Hodgson! We were huge fans of Hodge Podge on The Great Food Truck Race a few years ago. He’s a great guy and makes awesome food! We’ve been so happy to see his amazing success in the past couple of years and I’m cheering on him on for the win, too! Some of the other contestants are much harder to like. I’m definitely not a fan of the fedora-wearing pie guy who seems to like to insult people. The blonde girl with the bad attitude and camera technique seems a little harsh and actually makes me uncomfortable to watch. I hope they both are able to soften their actions and be more likable.

This week the challenges were very simple, but also very interesting. First, they had to record a 30 second pitch and then they had to prepare a dish that featured the potato. They also had their videos shown to a focus group that rated their response to hearing the pitch.

Here’s how my favorites did:

Damaris- Weird video, she needs to find a way to be goofy and stop trying to be alluring. But, her potato salad bite looked wonderful and was well liked by the judges.

Niki- Her camera presentation was awesome. She got some criticism for being too cutesy and I completely disagree. She just has a sunny personality and she still seems knowledge. Her cauliflower and potato soup with bacon potato hash looked so tasty. I need the recipe!

Chris- Yikes! His point of view couldn’t be discerned by the judges or by me. They also thought that his food was bland! Come on, Chris! You rock and so does your food- I’m still cheering you on.

I was really unhappy with elimination this week. Daniela’s food looked so delicious. I was really interested in her Peruvian cooking style. I know she struggled with camera technique, but I really feel like she could have overcome it. I really wish that a certain blonde with bad food AND bad camera technique had gone home instead. Bad call judges, I think you got it wrong.

I really enjoyed the show tonight. I’ll keep watching to cheer on my favorites- especially Chris!!! But, the judging had better improve or I’ll bail.

Kari’s Rating- 9

Food Network Star Season Nine Cast
Food Network Star Season Nine Cast

He Said:

Food Network Star is one of those shows that Kari and I try every season.  Most of the time we really enjoy it.  Some seasons have been better than others, but overall there’s something powerful about the idea of pulling back the curtain and seeing what goes into making a Food show brand.  This time, since we’d like to turn the blog into a TV show, we’re watching very carefully.

Last year was a very interesting year for Food Network Star.  They tried a new format where Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentis, and Alton Brown picked teams of talent to coach through to the end.  The episodes were frequently too long, and it still didn’t allow individuals as much positive individual time in front of the judging panel.  They didn’t quite have it down, but that format had a lot of potential.  This year, they’ve returned to the traditional format, and that makes me sad.  I really was looking forward to seeing how the team concept could be fine tuned to be better.

The judges haven’t changed, and they remain as always competent, informative and educational.

The new contestants included a few faces that I was actually familiar with.  Rodney Henry is the owner of local pie shop and food truck Dangerously Delicious.  This self-proclaimed “pie guy” looks like he has a very promising point of view.  He doesn’t seem like a very nice person, but he seems like he makes a wonderful pie.

Chris Hodgson is not new to Food Network.  He was first on Season 2 of The Great Food Truck Race as the leader of the Hodge Podge truck.  In the two scant years since, he has since opened seven different restaurants, and has employed a certain dishwasher that has become an Internet sensation for helping rescue three girls from captivity during his off time.  At first glance you’d think Hodge was a ringer, but in the first episode he struggled, but was safe.  I really hope he does well.

I also think that Viet could do very well in the competition.  He’s beaten Bobby Flay on Iron Chef, and made some awesome potato croquettes with potato soup inside them.  He’s really inventive, but right now he’s really freaked out by the camera, and people.  That’s not a good recipe for a Food Network Star!

I find both Connie aka Lovely and Danushka disingenuous and uninteresting, so I hope they go home soon.

We’ll definitely watch the rest of this season, but I still miss the idea of teams.

RJ’s Rating- 9

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