Tonight's episode of Next Food Network Star had food nerds all over trembling with anticipation because the contestants were about to embark on one of our favourite things: a Chopped challenge!
Star Trek nerds have their conventions, comic book nerds have The Avengers, but we, the great unwashed (except for our hands, because that would be gross) geeks of food, have Ted Allen.
CHOPPED style baskets that would then be judged by none other than Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, and Scott Conant!
The first team up was Alton's and in true Chopped Challenge fashion, we were on the edge of our seats right until the end wondering if they were going to get themselves plated!
Martie was her usual chatty self and at one point got told by Alton to get cooking and stop talking. She took it in stride, though, and was also able to accept the judges eventual criticism that she is being too apologetic about her age.
One of my early favourites, Emily, rocked it out from recipe to presentation with her retro rad Chocolate Pancetta Delight, as did Justin who seemed to take wonderfully sadistic pleasure in pulling the judges collective chain and then hitting it home with a chocolate cookie inspired by the spirit of a lunch lady named Delores.
He just may be an evil genius.
Josh, Marita, and Yvan didn't fare quite so well on Giada's team but Ippy knocked it out of the park again, and I wonder if, perhaps, we might be seeing a dark horse rising in Linkie?
Is it me, or there something reminiscent of Susie from Season 7 in her?
Different point of view, for sure, but something connects them in my mind.
I'm a food nerd. I contemplate these things.
Next to Emily, the other great love of my Season 8 life is beginning to bloom, and that is with Eric who was on my radar from day one but who in today's episode killed it with his dessert - so much so that my other superstars better watch out. I'm not opposed to doing a little cheating, and if caramel sauce made with coconut milk means I might have to switch teams, may the switching ever be sweet!
Meanwhile, my girl crush Michelle, is starting to freak me out.
Because she is letting Giada freak her out.
Throughout the challenge Michelle felt Giada was "staring her down" and if the intention is to throw her off her game, it is having the desired effect.
I thought Michelle's Pineapple Napolean dessert looked - in the words of my mother Aurora - "epicurean" and I'm hoping she's going to re-group and get back to who she is and what she does best at the next challenge.
At the same time, though, I have to wonder if this is just her playing it smart and safe. She knows her food is good. Is it possible she's saving the big guns for later in order to throw the other contestants off ?
People, conspiracy theories are big in food.
Remember, the truth is out there. Just ask Alton.
Malcolm and Nikki also fizzled which resulted in Nikki being put into the bottom three for a bread pudding along with Josh and Martie.
In the end I thought all three did admirable jobs at getting their points of view across, but I had to agree with the judges decision to send Josh home tonight just because his delivery was a little off toward the middle.
Josh, this Food Network Junkie found you engaging, and loveable. There is also no doubt that you are an excellent cook.Very few people ever make it onto something like Next Food Network Star and you deserve every accolade for getting as far as you have :-)
In the spirit of Chopped style desserts, my husband challenged me a few weeks ago to come up with something using candied pineapple and papaya (this is what food nerds do in our spare time when we're not watching the food network and discussing).
Check it out to see what we came up with! The printable recipefor the cookies is HERE.
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