Food Network Star 7 EP 9 Recap

Comedy Roast

Thinking on the fly is tonight’s skill as the finalists try their hands at a segment of the Best Thing I Ever Ate. Then they must brace themselves and shore up their sensitive sides, because some legendary comics are putting on a roast and the topic is the finalists’ menus.

Last week we saw:

Jeff MauroJyll put in the best overall performance of the week but she got eliminated anyway.  Shades of Kelsey Nixon.  Though the Network left it out of the final edit she won the 1st challenge.  Thanks to creative editing what was tied with Jeff for the best performance of the 2nd challenge didn’t look that good.  I am officially calling shenanigans on this season.  Susie had by far the worst performance of the week but she was protected by the judges.  Look for this trend to continue.  It has been rumored and confirmed that Penny Davidi is not a chef but an actress (who happens to cook really well).

At this point I have to say that I wish the best for the winner of this season (which I believe will be either Jeff or Susie) but I cannot believe this was ever an actual contest.

Just like season 4 with Aaron McCargo Jr., I believe the winner was determined before the contest ever started and each week they have tweaked things to make that happen.  It’s a shame, too, this was by far the best group of talent they have put together and then they refused to let them actually compete.  And just when the last two seasons had restored my faith in the show, too.

To all of those single moms who have had to resort to stripping to pay the bills, I empathize with you.  I get the same shameful feeling in the pit of my stomach every week watching Food Network Star.

This week:

1st. challenge –  Contestants did a segment for a mock version of the Food Network’s popular “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”

2nd. challenge – Cook a dinner for a bunch of B list comedians.  How odd is it that we have a panel of judges who are stand up comedians judging when one of their own is competing – it a real contest someone would have to recuse themselves.

After nine episodes here are my thoughts on each remaining contestant:

Alicia Sanchez – Eliminated week 3.

Chris Nirschel – Eliminated week 7.

Howie Drummond – Eliminated week 1.

Jeff Mauro – Had a terrible 1st challenge last week but won the 2nd.  Still his cooking is his vulnerability.  1st challenge – since there was no cooking involved Jeff shined. 2nd challenge – Jeff copped out on the second challenge by making an Italian roast beef sandwich.  A roast beef sandwich?  And one of the easiest sandwiches to do know less.  I know it’s Jeff’s POV but roast beef, gravy and some vegetables?  At least he did make it with top notch ingredients.  Still it was pretty weak.  It didn’t help that he totally bombed the personality part.

Juba Kali – Eliminated week 2.

Justin Balmes – Eliminated week 4.

Justin Davis – Eliminated week 5.

Jyll Everman – Eliminated week 8.

Katy Clark – Eliminated week 2.

Mary Beth Albright – Another up and down week but this deep in the cooking has got to be an issue.  1st challenge – meh.  2nd challenge – she doesn’t know how to roast a duck and had to ask the butcher.  That right there means an immediate exit.  Bounce anyone from this episode but Mary Beth and the contest is meaningless.

Orchid Paulmeier –  Eliminated week 6.

Penny Davidi – Eliminated week 7.

Susie Jimenez – She had easily the weakest performance last week.  Only scripting saved her from elimination.  1st challenge – bombed. 2nd challenge – she was moody and a little unlikable.  That’s odd for Susie.  Her food is good but not new; half a dozen Food Network Stars have her exact POV and each does it better so she has got to bring the “happy.”  Her presentation seemed nervous and clumsy. . . again.  Once again Susie’s performance was weak enough to send her packing.  She did better chatting with the judges.

Vic “Vegas” Moea – A few weeks ago I was convinced Vic was the winner.  Now I’m not so sure. 1st challenge – Pretty good.  2nd challenge – Vic knocked out a beautiful prime rib but for some reason people whined about it being too big – Prime Rib is all about excess if you don’t get that you are not qualified to determine what foodies want to watch.  Her dish was really good.

Whitney Chen – A quick study of the body language of each judge reveals that even they don’t believe their critiques of her on-camera performances.  Perhaps they should get acting lessons from Penny.  It also adds suspicion when Susie says something like, “Whitney hasn’t been cooking very long.    I’m not sure we can be confident in her knowledge of herself or food.”  That is without a doubt the dumbest thing ever said in the history of this show.  I was happy when Bobby reprimanded Susie, “We know one thing, Whitney can cook.”  1st challenge – Not bad considering Mary Beth had picked the exact same vendor which sounds awfully fishy to me.  2nd challenge – A home run!  Best food and best presentation.  If history holds that means she done.

Be sure to check out the WTVC Food Network Star Polls – six categories for contestants who best embody the spirit of former Food Network Star competitors HERE.  Don’t forget to follow the live Tweeting with Serena, Bobby, Giada, myself and who ever else stops by.  Last week we had drive-by Tweets from Aarti Sequeira, Orchid Paulmeier and Jeff Mauro.

Top Tweets:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/whittybites/status/95848387861159936″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/docsaico/status/97853902921285633″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/lynfrancisco/status/97836188240580608″]


“In it to Win it” type quotes – 0.

Number of people crying – I lost track – let’s say everyone.  Susie talking about her background.  Whitney taking abuse from the judges table.  And on and on and on including millions watching at home who cried “foul” at this week’s decision.

Number of WTF moments – Mary Beth making it this far on Food Network Star without really knowing how to cook a duck.

Who should win based on what we’ve seen so far: Whitney

Who will win based on what we’ve seen in the past: Jeff or Susie

Winner(s) first week: 1st challenge: Jeff. 2nd challenge: Jeff.

The finalist(s) who will be going home is . . .

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Perhaps they should get acting lessons from Penny.

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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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