Food Network Star Season 8 EP6 Recap

Iron Chef Food Court

Emily Ellyn Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian challenges the 10 remaining hopefuls to feed 150 hungry shoppers in a food-court challenge that requires them to cook in a kiosk and incorporate a surprise mystery ingredient into their dishes.

This week marks the midpoint of the competition and the remaining 10 finalists are under more pressure than ever as they look toward the second half of the season. On Sunday night’s episode, the newest Iron Chef, Geoffrey Zakarian, surprises the contestants with a doozy of a curveball, one that just might drive some to their breaking points – chicken livers.

Judson Todd AllenLast week:  The first official call of shenanigans – despite having the best performance on his team, Judson was sent home.  How you may ask?  The judges decided, at the last second, that instead of having one winning team and two losers they would reject the logic of that arrangement and declare everyone a winner. . . except for Team Alton.

No they had to battle it out amongst themselves.  After seemingly putting in a solid performance in the Producer’s Challenge Judson was sent packing.  That makes it appear as if this year’s winner has already been determined and now they are simply weeding everyone out according to script.

If they stick to the script expect to see someone on Team Giada go home this week.

TEAM BOBBY – American Food Court

Eric Lee – Eliminated week 4.

Kara Sigle – Eliminated week 2.

Malcolm Mitchell – Last week Malcolm gave us some very good food but his presentation was frenetic.  This week Bobby told Malcolm that he doesn’t know how he’s still here.  Malcolm took that as a challenge to up his game.  His crab cakes may have been too complex for him socialize with the crowd but they tasted great.

Michele Ragussis – Last week we saw the best that Michele has to offer.  Her presentation was nice and her food was pretty good.  However, we also saw a little (not much but a little) snake-iness.  Hopefully that was a one time thing.  She took the chicken liver challenge for her team.  Michele had wanted to make her clam chowder with canned chopped clams but the market was out of them so she had to use fresh.  It probably saved her since the judges would not have approved of using a canned shellfish especially when fresh was so readily available.  As a result her clam chowder was “smart.”

Nikki Martin – Nikki had to be helped out two different times last week which should be an automatic trip to the Producer’s Challenge except for the last minute rules change that made everyone on her team and Team Giada immune to elimination.  Her fish tacos were also a little too complex yet bland.  However, I love her modified POV the Grill Next Door.  That’s very cool but is it too late?

TEAM GIADA – Mexican Food Court

Josh Lyons – eliminated week 3.

Linkie Marais – For the second week in a row she tripped on her words but this time she pulled it out.  Nice job.  She was not comfortable with this week’s challenge and her churros didn’t quite turn out right.  In trying to spin them she stumbles over her words.  The judges were crazy about her food.

Martita Jara – Finally the Martita that Giada has been talking about showed up but it took five weeks.  Both personality and food were tight.  Being the resident expert in Mexican cuisine, Martita was overwhelmed with questions from her team mates.  She couldn’t come up with a story for her food description.  Her presentation was not good and Susie hit the nail on the head, “We’ve been waiting six weeks for her to show up.”

Phillip “Ippy” Aiona – Didn’t have a great week but was spared the Producer’s Challenge because of the last second rules change.  His Hawaiian chile verde was smart.  They liked his food a lot.  He didn’t get much airtime this week despite having a seemingly good week.

Yvan Lemoine – Last week was the week Yvan had needed.  His personality was on and his food was great.  Another week like that and he could hit contender status.  He took the chicken liver challenge for his team.  He turned them into tacos and the judges loved them.

TEAM ALTON – Italy Food Court

Cristie Schoen – eliminated week 1.

Emily Ellyn – Em had a fair week last time out.  Bob did challenge as to whether what we were seeing from her was genuine or not.  I can’t see where he is coming from.  She did a great job with her smart dessert and sweet personality.

Judson Allen – Eliminated in week 5.

Justin Warner – Didn’t have the best of weeks but is still in my top 2.  He gladly accepted the chicken liver challenge for his team.  Problems getting the fryers to temperature endangered his food, it didn’t hurt him.  His food and personality were top notch.

Martie Duncan – Had a really bad week but when presented a life preserver in the Producer’s Challenge she took advantage of it.  Problems getting the fryers to temperature endangered her food as well and she rallied as well with good food and personality.

Winning team: Team Alton.

My leaders thus far: Emily and Justin.

Dark horse: Ippy and Yven.

Most unforgettable performance:  Justin

Most forgettable performance: Linkie

Producer’s Challenge: Linkie and Nikki.

Be sure to check out all of the Star Season 8 contestant exit interviews HERE.


The next Food Network Star will not be. . .

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less
Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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