Thursday, July 5, 2012

Next Food Network Star, Season 8, Episode 8, Ippy Comes Back to Life!

Tonight's episode of The Next Food Network Star featured our hopefuls heading for the sunshine drenched shores of Miami where they would be cooking for the South Beach Food and Wine festival.

And what better way to do that than to throw a beach party for chefs, foodies, and family members attending the Sobe festival - including one special family: Paula Dean's!

The would be stars are charged with coming up with two dishes, one for adults, and another version for children along with great decor and an on camera tip that would give the winning contestant a $20,000.00 gift card from Target.

Onto the challenge!

Though she got under my skin early on, I have to admit that I have begun to better understand Martie. Although she messed up her time again during the video tip challenge, I found her tip to create an outdoor survival kit for guests when outdoor entertaining to be something I would actually do.

I also thought Justin was, once again, brilliant. To create a dish for a family beach party that everyone can eat - nut free, gluten free, vegan - is not only incredibly congruent with current food trends, it perfectly matched his point of view as culinary rebel.

Not so much for Nikki who was warmer this week but needs something more interesting than just the grill or Martita, who was as beautiful and bubbly as ever but never seems to get past that.

At one point Giada commented that Martita brings a younger, healthier version of Mexican cuisine to the table and the judges said they wished Martita would tell them that. To which I agreed. Giada's re-imagining of a Mexican version of Everyday Italian is something I would watch, but it has to come from Martita not Giada.

Malcolm also had a hard time this week because his lack of a clear point of view continues to be an issue and though Michelle took a big risk with blue crab, under the time constraints, she wasn't able to remove all the shells and a few judges got more than a mouthful.

In the meantime, Paula Dean and family were introduced to the contestants and though Justin nearly burned Paula Dean's throat right out with his spicy corn soup, she loved what he brought to the table along with Yvan, Martie, and Ippy, who also seemed to be front runners during the tasting.

Ippy was wonderful in his natural element of sand and sun, Martie touched me with her excitement to meet Paula, and Yvan seemed to best understand what children might like to eat at a venue like this.

In the end, I was so happy to see Ippy win the $20,000.00 prize from Target.

Sadly, in the Producer's Challenge it came down to Michelle and Malcolm from team Bobby and though they both did a great job creating signature cocktails, Malcolm's lack of a clear point of view sent him home.  I was, however, intrigued and excited to see the direction Michelle seems to be going with New England cuisine as laid back and unpretentious. As a small town ocean side girl myself, this is very appealing.

I enjoy finishing these recaps with  my own take on what I might prepare for one of these challneges and tonight I'm going to share some vintage Kitchen Witch. This video was shot for the Kraft Foods Canada Real Women of Philadelphia Canada website during picnic week. I thought it was the perfect addition since I was also creating an adult version of an outdoor entertaining event :-)

I hope you enjoy!

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