Food Network Star S9 E4

Food Network Star 9

The latest season of Food Network Star is underway 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.  Geez!

Trending:  From foods, to products, to restaurants, Food Network Stars are participating in the latest culinary trends. The movie theater experience is being transformed with luxury cinemas popping up all over the country. This week, the finalists will compete at a one of these extravagant cinemas. Paired into teams of three, they will have to create a menu and a movie trailer for a focus group of movie enthusiasts. Whose concept will be a hit at the box office and who will go home?

Last week was the episode many have been waiting for, Danushka went home.  I didn’t have a problem with her.  It was clear from the beginning that the only reasons she made this cast were because they knew people would hate her and because she is sexy as all get out.  Armed with that knowledge it was easy to look past her.  After all she never had a chance of winning; that wasn’t in the script.  She was just ratings fodder.

I’m not sure I cared for tonight’s challenge.  I don’t think it really involved anything that a Food Network Star needs to know.  The trailer was a goofy idea.  Bobby, “Huh,” at seeing the movie posters spoke volumes.  That one huff seemed to say, “What a ridiculous idea.  I’m glad I’m not in the contestants shoes.”

Now for my take on each:

Andres Guillama
Eliminated week 2.
Chad Rosenthal
Chad was hilarious.  The guy always has fun.  Romance was the perfect theme for Chad because he looks like the lead from a romantic comedy.  They ladies love him and the judges loved his chicken wings.
Chris Hodgson
Chris is not much of a singer.  LOL  Good thing he’s a great chef.  Chris’ Lobster Mac & Cheese is kind of a cliche; it seems someone does it every year.  The only upside is if this is the best Lobster Mac & Cheese in the history of the show.  Unfortunately it was inconsistent which is dangerous with a dish that’s been on this show more than Bob Tuschman.  The judges were not impressed with it.
Damaris Phillips
Damaris is adorable.  I don’t know if she is Star material but dadgum she makes this show fun to watch.  I don’t know about the rest of the country but in Alabama, Shrimp and Grits has been done to death.  They had better be amazing because Bobby is a master at them and Alton grew up on them.  They were under-seasoned but otherwise were pretty good.
Daniela Perez-Reyes
Eliminated week 1.
Lovely Jackson
Lovely seemed a little cantankerous tonight.  Stress I’m sure but if I saw so did the judges.  Her doughnut made of processed pizza dough was not inspiring in concept.  It was even worse in execution.  It was more of a dough-rock.  Easily the worst dish of the night.  Lovely seems scared to scratch cook and the world doesn’t need another Sandra Lee.  Bottom 3.
Nikki Dinki
Nikki is great on camera.  She is focused and driven.  She’s full of spunk.  Her inexperience cooking on the line is a huge hurdle.  Her vegetarian chili with a hint of meat is dead center of her POV but will it taste good?  YES.  The crowd loved it.
Danushka Lysek
Eliminated week 3.
Rodney Henry
Rodney could not have gotten a better theme than musical.  He needs to hit a homerun because fate just lobbed him one right down the middle.  His steak and Gruyere pot pie sound great and it’s a recipe his done a million times.  No excuse not to have a great finish.  His diction in the song was not good.  He’s a pro; no excuse.  The same goes for his runny pot pie.  Bottom 3.
Russel Jackson
Russell’s idea of a spaghetti western was brilliant.  Presentation was again an issue but in the end he pulled it off.  His food concept was solid as he nailed the spaghetti western idea by making a bolognese with bison to top his vermicelli.  Unfortunately his execution failed.  Most felt that it was a boring dish.  As they say in Texas Rodney was all hat and no cattle.
Stacey Poon-Kinney
Stacey had a bit of a hiccup last week but she still appears to have the complete package.  S’mores seem a bit pedestrian especially for a contest like this but Stacey elevated them to a gourmet level totally nailing her POV in the process.  Possibly the best bite of the night.
Viet Pham
Viet is the consummate professional.  I think his energy is zen-like and that is cool.  I don’t think the judges realize how cool it is.  His spin on simple berries and cream was very inventive but unexciting but his presentation was pretty good.  Bottom 3.

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 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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