Next Food Network Star 6 EP 6 – Review

The remaining contestants got to experience life in the Rat Pack as they visited Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs crib.  Is there anything cooler than a swimming pool shaped like a piano?  Yep, architecture that makes it so that when the sun starts to set the shadows form the keys of said piano.  Thanks to Ted Allen for posting that morsel of trivia and a picture on his facebook page.

Aria Kagan on WannabeTVchef.comFirst Challenge: A display in expertise – they had to create a unique party bite.  30 minutes to cook and a one minute to present.  The winner gets a series of 60 second spots offering entertaining tips for the Cooking Channel.

Star Challenge:  Ted Allen shows up to take the contestants to the former home of the Chairman of the Board.  The contestants have to reinterpret 50’s classics recipes.

My thoughts:

Dzintra Dzenis – went home week 3.
Doreen Fang – went home week 2.
Alexis Hernandez – went home week 1.

Brianna Jenkins – The general consensus among those Tweeting NFNS last week is that Brianna needs to go.  Brianna was whining about her 1st challenge.  Her presentation was bad and her food was too complex for a five year old’s birthday.  Then she whined about failing the challenge.  Then Brianna whined about the dish she had to reinterpret for the second challenge.  In fact she whined about her tuna noodle casserole so much that she burned her breadcrumbs.  Oh good, something more to whine about.  It was mind boggling just how bad she was tonight.  If she isn’t sent packing then I cry, “foul.”

Aria Kagan – Hanging on by a thread.  Though a fine cook, Aria is more personality than culinarian and there is already too much of that the Food Network.  Her 1st challenge presentation ran long and I thought it lacked energy but Tuschman loved it.  The food did not go over.  On the 2nd challenge she decided to rework pigs-in-a-blanket with out any pigs or any blankets.  She did buttermilk battered shrimp with caviar.  The judges liked the food but they also thought she failed to stick to the instructions.

Herb Mesa – I really think Herb is the best package for a TV star.  He had a nice week despite being robbed of a win on the 1st challenge last week.  His Twitter following is Beatlesque.  Herb’s 1st presentation was rough and the food failed.  For the 2nd challenge Herb’s reinterpretation of Beef Stroganoff didn’t go over but his personality soared.  Food Network is milking his emotional roller coaster so I doubt he gets the boot.

Serena Palumbo – She’s very likable but her time is running out.  Her presentation on the first challenge was a little long but the food was truly a winner.  Serena had to reinvent pineapple upside down cake for the 2nd challenge.  She did a dish she’d made for her father.  Her food was okay but her presentation was good.

Tom Pizzica – Coming on strong.  On the 1st challenge Tom had a great presentation and his food was good.  Tom’s 2nd challenge starts out rough when the lobster from his Lobster Thermidor starts sticking to the grill; he pulls it out though.  His presentation was a little too much but his food worked.  He made the all time best quote in the history of the show when he said, “I just like to play with myself.”  Of course it did not come out the way he wanted it to but by the time he realized what he said the giggles had started.

Aarti Sequeira – Not her best week last week but she’s still the odds on favorite.  Aarti had a good presentation in the 1st challenge until she wrapped it up too early.  Her confidence failed again in the 2nd challenge – although some of the guest judges liked her presentation it wasn’t her best.  Then her food didn’t score.  She was looking straight down the barrel of elimination for the first time.  How lucky is she that Bob Tuschman really, REALLY wants an Indian show on the flagship network?

Darrell “DAS” Smith – went home week 4.

Brad Sorenson – Still hanging in there.  Brad excelled in the 1st challenge – good food and great presentation.  Brad seems like a new man since winning the first challenge.  He remade Chicken Cordon Bleu and did a great job of it.  His presentation was quite good as well.  He not only had his best week to date but the best showing of any of the contestants.

Paul Young – mercifly went home week 5.

Two weeks ago I proclaimed it a two horse race between Herb and Aarti but they were both in the group of three staring down elimination.  But both should be safe because Brianna was so bad, but we’ll see.  If I had to pick the two top contenders now it would have to be Tom and Brad.  Of course there are still six weeks left so anything can happen.  Am I the only one who feels like this season is dragging on?


“In it to Win it” Quotes – 0.

Number of people crying – 4.

Number of WTF moments – 1.

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

Who will win based on what we’ve seen in the past: Aarti

Winner(s) 1st Challenge: Brad tied Tom 2nd challenge: Brad

Updated “gotta go” list: Brianna or Serena.

The finalist who will be going home is . . .

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Sinatra’s Palm Springs

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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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