Food Network Star S9 E3

Food Network Star 9

The latest season of Food Network Star has premiered and the latest round of wannabe TV chefs have begun their quest.  We’ve seen first impressions and heard what the judges think but what the world really wants to know is what I think.  Let’s do this.

If you haven’t seen tonight’s episode STOP!  Watch it HERE first and then come back.

Expertise:  Week three already.  So far Chad and Stacey have shown to be the front runners.  Both have been letter perfect so far.  Rodney and Viet aren’t too far behind.  Russell was a dud in week one and a stud in week two, what does week 3 offer?  Danushka has had two straight bottom 3 finishes.  This week I predict she either goes home or has an incredibly strong showing.  Those are the two most common plot twists at this point.  Each Starster must prove they are an expert on food.  Ultimately one will get Chopped.

Now for my take on each:

Andres Guillama
Eliminated week 2.
Chad Rosenthal
A two-time top 3 finisher, Chad is one of the favorites.  His first offering this week was a little off the mark.  His second challenge was classic Chad – inventive food and a warm, charming presentation. A top 4 finish.
Chris Hodgson
Chris’ performance has been disappointing so far.  Chad started off this week with another underachieving dish.  Helping Stacey was cool, that usually means you’re headed home though.  Not this time, on the second round his food was great and his presentation was solid.
Damaris Phillips
Damaris remains an enigma.  She also remains a doll.  Her first offering this week was pretty darned good.  She was one of the two winners of the first challenge.  She was outstanding as a judge in the second round.  She sounded good enough to fill in on ICA or Chopped.  Top 4.
Daniela Perez-Reyes
Eliminated week 1.
Lovely Jackson
So far Lovely has been a middle of the road performer who has shown a lot of promise.  She started off tonight with a mediocre dish.  On the second round her presentation was great and her food was pretty good.
Nikki Dinki
Nikki hit a home run in week one and not so much in week two.  She is very likable and she does have a great POV but as the judges keep pointing out she needs to stop apologizing for it.  Take ownership, be proud. Her second round was outstanding on both food and presentation – a top 4.
Danushka Lysek
Danushka is the one you love to hate.  But her food is pretty good and at times she has a great sense of humor.  Her first effort this week was not a hit.  On the second challenge her food was inventive but as usual her presentation was off-putting.  Another bottom 3.
Rodney Henry
Rodney had a very good first week, so-so in week two.  He started off this week with a terrific dish.  He was one of the two winners of the first challenge.  He was OK as a judge.  He seemed more like buddy trying your food than a critic but then again he was true to himself.  Top 4.
Russel Jackson
Russell bombed the first week.  Not so last week, a top 3 finish.  His first offering this week was nice but not stellar.  His second did not go over well at all and his energy during presentation was lacking.  Another dip on his roller coaster ride.  Bottom 3, again.
Stacey Poon-Kinney
Stacey was really amazing in the first two weeks.  She’s a front runner for sure and her food in the first round reflected what she has done to date.  The second round however she did not pull off her dish and her presentation went long.  The first time she’s looked human, bottom 3 human.
Viet Pham
Viet has been right on the cusp of a top 3 finish but so far it has alluded him.  He started off this week with a great dish but also one that did not quite celebrate the secret ingredient.  His second challenge food was great but his presentation was a little clumsy and he seemed a little nervous.

The person who will NOT be the next Food Network Star is…
Food Network Star: The Wannabe TV Chef Interviews

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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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