(This post contains spoilers)
I’ve not been a big fan of this season of Food Network Star. I haven’t agreed with a lot of the judge’s decisions and even some of their criticisms (more on that later) and I didn’t like the format. The show has in the past sometimes felt too long (i.e. “why is every show 90 minutes?”), but I really felt like it was too short. We ran through this season and I wish we’d have the chance to learn more. I didn’t like the format. I hate it when a show brings back eliminated contestants (unless there was a problem with a contestant being ill, etc.)! I couldn’t believe it was Connie!!!! I really missed hearing from Bob and Suzy every week. As someone who wants a television show, I love hearing from them and the show lost some of its appeal for not including them more often.
As we watched the finale last night I was struck by the fact that three chefs I most want to learn from are not getting to pitch a pilot. Now I adore Damaris! So, I agree with her being there- COMPLETELY! I love her and have cheered on her on and voted for her from the first episode. But, I was really hoping that Chris Hodgson and Nikki Dinki would be the other chefs in the final three. I’m ardently cheering for Damaris and have already voted today (have you?)! Damaris has to win! I would love to watch her show!
There was so much judging that I didn’t agree with all season. I don’t know how Russell and Rodney are even still in the competition- let alone finalists! Chris has a great heart and I would love to learn more about what he feels about food. I feel like they weren’t as helpful with helping him to refine his POV. I think Nikki Dinki is sweet and inspiring! I feel like I’ve learned from her already and I plan on following her in the future. Meat on the side is a great concept and I’m really disappointed that the judges (or producers) couldn’t see that. I’m sure Nikki will be successful and we wish her the very best! I’m relieved that Stacey was finally sent home last night’s episode. Her personality is very cold and patronizing. I would never watch a show that she hosted and I can’t believe she outlasted Nikki. I’m very sad that Nikki didn’t get to pitch or film a pilot. But, I’m relieved to have not had to sit through a Stacey pilot.
What did I think about the pilots? Well…
Rodney- I love pie. I’ve tried to like him all season because he’s local to the DC area and because I love pie. But, Rodney’s food is very sloppy and usually doesn’t look appetizing. I also have a lot of trouble understanding him and sometimes I just can’t. The judges complained about Nikki not appearing to have authority (I disagree- I would cook with her or watch her anytime), but I don’t feel someone who has a limited vocabulary and makes sloppy food has authority. In his pilot, Rodney also made some rude jokes about faith and religion that I thought were tacky. I wouldn’t watch Rodney’s show.
Russell- Yuck. First of all, I hate the culinary sin angle. I don’t believe that eating food is a sin. I believe that I’m blessed with a palate and body that enjoys the taste and uses food as fuel. There’s no sin in eating ice cream! I do believe that we should take care of our bodies, but I don’t like making sin “cool”. As a Christian, I believe sin is ugly and separates me from God and hurts others. Why would I be seeking to add more of that to my life- believe me I fall into enough regrettable sin on my own! I thank God for the food, fun, family and friends that he has given me for mealtime fellowship. I don’t like the marriage of “cool sin” and “food”. Purely from a critical perspective I thought Russell was not at ease and was uncomfortable to watch. I don’t get the point of his show? Why would some restaurant want him to come in and add bacon and liquor to anything?
Damaris- Yes! She rocked it! She was charming and I want the recipes for her food! I love the concept of teaching a man to cook for his sweetheart. Damaris, if you want to teach my RJ to make a meal for me- please, yes!!!!! Watching this show was fun, sweet, and the food looked delicious. I could imagine that so many people would be entertained, educated and inspired by Damaris and her food!
You can vote for Damaris on Food Network’s site! Go now, I’ve already voted today and I will again tomorrow! We’re cheering for you, Damaris!
This season of Food Network Star wound up being entertaining. My biggest qualm with the show was that the challenges weren’t explained very well. I was annoyed that Stacey lasted so long, but am glad that she didn’t get to make a pilot of her show idea, which seemed to me to be a warmed over version of Restaurant: Impossible, which she had previously appeared on.
My favorite challenge was from Week Eight: Food Stories From the Road. Nikki and Damaris did such a good job talking about The Donut Man that you could hardly tell how stiff Stacey was. We had just seen The Donut Man on another show, so we were both very excited.
I was sad when Nikki was sent home because there were worse dishes, and overall she had been a more solid performer than others. I hope we see more of her in the future!
This last week now sees us with 3 finalists that have made short pilots that probably needed to be much longer. Here’s what I think about each of the finalists and their pilots.
Russell- I’ve never liked his POV of culinary “sins.” To me that sounds like something that you’re not supposed to do because it will mess up your finished product. He’s getting closer to something that isn’t so glib and disrespectful by calling his show Guilty Pleasures instead. I didn’t like the component of going into a successful restaurant and trying to get a dish on the menu. Why would the restaurant do that? For the record, his “sins” are fat (usually duck), liquor (usually bourbon), salt, bacon, something, something else, and ice cream. Given that, I’m not sure why his pilot had him trying to create a more sinful ice cream, since that’s already something on his list.
Rodney- This show seems like a bit of a knockoff of Throwdown With Bobby Flay, except with pies. Again, why would a restaurant participate in this? Also, who cares if a pie that the restaurant isn’t going to sell is better than the signature dish that they do sell? I actually liked the other idea he presented to the mentors better. In that concept he was going to get with musicians and celebrities and find out their favorite meal and make it into a pie for them, and it sounded like interviewing them was included too. It didn’t really matter though, there was too much talk of the dish being religion and people being believers of it that made me not want to watch.
Damaris- Eat, Date, Love is the only pilot that seemed original at all. Damaris managed to make her quirkiness not seem too overly flirtatious. This concept makes sense and is something that I would watch. These men clearly have a problem; they need to learn how to cook to impress a woman that she can help them with, being a cooking teacher and a woman. You can vote for Damaris (through your Facebook account or by phone) on Food Network’s page.
Go, Damaris! We hope you win!!!
( All images from foodnetwork.com)