Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Next Food Network Star Episode 5, Fourth of July Live

This week's episode began with the mentor challenge and the finalists would be cooking live. This was frightening for many but good news for Rodney who mumbled rhapsodic about his ability to be improvisational and work off the cuff.

Their coach this week was the co- Anchor at E News, Terrance Jenkins, who, along with Giada, gave several hints to the finalists to expect the unexpected (only not in those words because that would be copyright infringement), so it drove me crazy when Viet, who was up first, lost his mind over some missing red peppers.

People, I don't buy it. The guy beat Bobby Flay in the most high stress anything can go wrong live environment there is on Iron Chef America and Food Network now wants us to believe he couldn't make a sandwich on the fly without a red pepper? 

Watch the episode again as he bobs around the kitchen:

"Where have the peppers gone?" "I can't find the peppers" and tell me it's not like watching a hockey player doing a guest appearance on The Young and The Restless.

And though it's more than possible my conspiracy addled brain is taking things a little too far, something doesn't smell right in this state of Denmark, and it isn't Limburger I'm talking about.

In the meantime, Russell did well at the challenge and cited his experiences working in underground restaurants as the reason he was able to continue his demo when the studio lights went out. As an aside, an underground restaurant, or supper club, is a restaurant run out of someone's home. Bypassing zoning and other requirements, chefs will come into someone's home, and set up a restaurant experience for diners which is often at a lower cost than in an "above ground" establishment. Jennie Kelley and my all time favourite cooking competitor, Ben Starr from Season 2 of MasterChef host one in Dalls called FRANK.

Stacey's challenge involved a missing whisk (way to make it difficult FN), but was able to recover by using a fork, while Chad was faced with his on air host choking and coughing and having to leave the set. Although Giada had a lot to say about it, as an audience member concerned about a choking host, I would have been more put off if Chad had just carried on as if nothing were wrong. Points for Chad from this peanut gallery despite a thumbs down from Giada.

Damaris did well, Nikki got tripped up by a fire alarm, Rodney did well despite a time constraint, and Chris was over the top. Again.

Based on the challenge, the finalist who was the most entertaining, informative, and calm no matter what was thrown at him was Rodney giving him an advantage in the Star Challenge: Fourth of July Live.

Star Challenge: Fourth of July Live

With more warnings about how anything can wrong during a live challenge, Bob Tuschman was back to let the finalists know he would be watching as they faced off in more live demos - this time with stations featuring 4th of July favourites like fried chicken and potato salad. Because Rodney had an advantage in this challenge, he got to assign each chef a station and chose wisely placing the finalists outside of their comfort zones with Nikki doing fried chicken, Stacey on meats, Chad on vegetables, Russel on potato salad, Viet on chips and dips, Damaris on liquor, and Rodney on eggs.

Again in this challenge Viet blanked out when asked during a viewer phone call to recommend three dips and we had to listen as Giada and Bob commented on his lack of energy and animation, Rodney referred to his dish as a "sucker," Chad ignored his guest, Nikki fried some chicken, Damaris got into the liquor, Chris calmed down, Stacey knocked it out of the park, and Russell recovered from a near miss by doing a throw to commercial that impressed everyone. 

And the verdict:

The judges liked: Damaris's cocktail, Chad's vegetable sandwich, Nikki's fried chicken, and Stacey's mixed grill.

The judges disliked: Viet's crab dip, Chris's slaw, Russell's potato salad, Rodney's chocolate pots de creme.

In the end Stacey won the challenge and the bottom three were Viet, Rodney, and Russell with Viet going home. But there is still hope because one finalist is going to be brought back this season. The viewing audience will have the power to vote one finalist back and dip to doughnuts, I'm hoping that person will be Viet.

I guess we'll all just have to stay tuned.

The truth is out there.


Now please enjoy a Fourth of July favourite from this Canuck! I'm actually making this for dinner tonight.

My Favourite Macaroni Salad
Printable Recipe

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle
  • 1/2 tbsp sweet relish
  •  2 cups creamy salad dressing (e.g. Miracle Whip)
  • 3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery salt

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Drain, and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, onion, celery, red pepper, pickles and relish.

In a small bowl, stir together the salad dressing, mustard, white sugar, vinegar, and celery salt. Pour over the vegetables, and stir in macaroni until well blended.

Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. The longer you chill this one, the better it gets!

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