Food Network Star S9 E8

FNS9banner 555x173 Food Network Star S9 E7

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!

Food Stories: Since Food Network Stars are always describing food in a way that brings it to life, the finalists are divided into teams to film a three minute “food story show” about a pizza joint and a donut shop. Guest judges from The Hollywood Reporter screen and critique the shows, and the least successful team lands in the bottom three.

Last week Chad went home. I had him as an early favorite but the last few weeks he kind of fell off.

This week’s episode was one of the worst in the history of this series.  The “Star Salvation” curve-ball was lame.  If the “Salvation” winner is still around in the finale then it will be really suspicious.  After the first seven episodes it is clearly Stacey’s contest to lose.  This is as obvious as season four was when Kelsey Nixon was clearly the best which proves that when it comes to Star being the best doesn’t mean much.  Of course if the Network pulls yet another fast one on the outcome of this show then it likely will disappear.

After all, things are not as rosy at Chelsea Market as they once were.  The Network’s ratings have fallen off considerably, they are actually being beaten into the ground by HGTV right now.  The lack of quality programming is taking its toll.  Cooking Channel has by far the best line-up of shows.  Heck, I find myself watching PBS’ 24/7 food and lifestyle network Crave a lot more than I watch Food Network these days.  Last year’s Star winner, Justin Werner, finally got his series made and the Network has not aired it but rather stuck it online.  There is talk that Bob Tushman’s job is at stake.

Bob, if you are ready for me to save the Network just call.  You’ve got my number.

Now for my take on each:

AXON Daniela Perez Reyes s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E7
Eliminated week 1.
AXON Andres Guillama s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E7
Eliminated week 2.
AXON Danushka Lysek Horizon s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E7
Eliminated week 3.
AXON Connie Lovely Jackson Horizon s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E7
Eliminated week 4.  Returned by virtue of winning Star Salvation.  I didn’t watch it because, well, it didn’t sound interesting.  Also not interesting was her presentation in the first challenge.  Lovely took this second chance as an opportunity to prove herself.  What she proved is that the judges were right the first time.
AXON Viet Pham s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E7
Eliminated week 5.
AXON Chris Hodgson s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E7
Eliminated week 6.
AXON Nikki Dinki s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E7
Nikki has shown a great deal of promise and she’s got an interesting POV.  She really is the only one who can challenge Stacy at this point.  She demonstrated that when she described Russell’s dish.  She won the first challenge.  She was solid on the second challenge.
AXON Damaris Phillips Horizon s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E7
I love Damaris!  I like her when she is being herself.  Screw what the judges say, baby, just be you.  Her story tying in Lovely’s dish was pretty cute.  Her segment of the second challenge was terrific, easily the best of the day.
AXON Rodney Henry s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E7
Rodney has got to develop a better vocabulary of sizzle phrases for food, according to the judges anyway.  I think he’s being himself.  His description of Stacey’s food was not very good.  His segment of the second challenge was okay.  The judges seemed to like it.
AXON Russell Jackson Horizon s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E7
Russell barely escaped elimination last week… again.  The judges instructed him to pick a POV.  He used the 30 seconds allotted for describing Nikki’s dish to tell them he had picked the Culinary Sins POV.  He was really good on the second challenge, the best on his team.  But as a team they weren’t very good.
AXON Stacey Poon Kinney s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E7
This contest ended a few weeks ago.  If Stacey doesn’t win then this entire season has been for naught.  Her description of Rodney’s dish was good but ran a little long.  She kind of stepped on the owner of the doughnut shop when he was talking but she pulled out her segment and had a great transition to the next segment.  She also showed that she has the passion to be here.
AXON Chad Rosenthal s4x3 lead Food Network Star S9 E7
Eliminated week 7.

The person who will NOT be the next Food Network Star is…
StarBanner Food Network Star S9 E7
Lovely… again.

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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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