Food Network Star S9 E6

FNS9banner 555x173 Food Network Star S9 E5

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.  It’s a frickin recap, yo!

Branding: Food Network Stars need to communicate big ideas quickly, so this week, each finalist will have to come up with a product representing their unique brand and culinary style and then create, package and pitch the product to a tough panel of successful food executives from Target, Kellogg’s and Kraft. The selection committee will decide who did best overall, and who will go home.

Last week Viet went home.  That’s too bad.  He has a great smile and his cooking is top notch but sometimes he just wasn’t good on camera and when that happened it seemed it effected his food.  Still, with a little more coaching Viet could be a real star.  When he spoke with passion he was great.  Chad had an off week last time out.  At least by his standards, he still had a top 3 finish.  But that also goes to show how bad some of the other showings were last week.  It’s also a testament to how few Starsters are left.  After tonight we’ll be halfway done.  I know, right?

Now for my take on each:

AXON Andres Guillama s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E5
Eliminated week 2.
AXON Chad Rosenthal s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E5
Chad did what he does best for the branding challenge – BBQ.  He did okay.  Alton said he liked Chad’s beans… a little bit and that they were the better of the two.  His presentation was pretty good but the execs were not impressed with the whole package.
AXON Chris Hodgson s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E5
Chris is stating to hit his groove a little.  His soup idea was a little safe but his smoked apple and pepper jam sounded intriguing.  His soup was way too hot.  His jam was well liked but they suggested he not call it a jam.  And that’s how smoked apple ketchup was invented.  His presentation was terrible.
AXON Damaris Phillips Horizon s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E5
Damaris was worried that she didn’t have what it takes for the branding challenge.  Her whiskey-honey vinaigrette didn’t work but her jam rocked.  Her pitched was forced.  She was not herself and it may have cost her but she pulled it out in the Q&A for a top 3 finish.
AXON Daniela Perez Reyes s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E5
Eliminated week 1.
AXON Connie Lovely Jackson Horizon s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E5
Eliminated week 4.
AXON Nikki Dinki s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E5
Nikki’s eggplant sauce sure had a funky color to it.  The judges hated it.  Her roasted pepper sauce was better but not great.  Her pitch was fine but she didn’t handle the Q&A well.
AXON Danushka Lysek Horizon s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E5
Eliminated week 3.
AXON Rodney Henry s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E5
Rodney returned to his center by making pies for the branding challenge.  It paid off in both concept and taste.  He hit it out of the park with his all in one pie kits.  I think he was the clear winner.  The presentation was catchy if not informative.  He nose-dived.
AXON Russell Jackson Horizon s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E5
Russell’s risk on his branding challenge could be make or break.  Nothing comes easy to this guy but he just keeps battling.  His ice cream was good, his bacon candy better.  His pitch was very good.  A great over all job.  Top 3.
AXON Stacey Poon Kinney s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E5
Stacey had both of her dishes go sideways during the branding challenge.  Her gluten-free cookies bombed.  However her cayenne butterscotch sauce was a winner.  Her presentation did go too well but she recover fine.  The execs loved the butterscotch.  The judges told her to stop rehearsing but they loved her.  Who wouldn’t?  Another top 3 finish.
AXON Viet Pham s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E5
Eliminated week 5.

The person who will NOT be the next Food Network Star is…
StarBanner Food Network Star S9 E5

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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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