Food Network Star Episode 7-10 Review
by Jenna Giarletta on August 14, 2011

The traditional Iron Chef America episode turned out to be bland and predictable this season. As expected, Mary Beth went home after losing her battle to Vic.

For their sous chefs, the top four had to pick from the last four eliminated – Chris, Penny, Jyll and Whitney (in case anyone forgot already, which would be completely understandable). Jeff got to pick Whitney, but the others had to “randomly” choose names out of a container. I wonder how they rigged it so Mary Beth picked Penny. Jeff went up against Susie in battle lobster, while Mary Beth and Vic competed in battle lamb. The other returning contestants got little to no screen time in the battle, but the judges mentioned to battle host Alton Brown that they suspected Penny was trying to trip up Mary Beth by cooking very slowly.

Fans have used this as another strike against Penny, but honestly, whether she did or didn’t purposely try to sabotage Mary Beth really didn’t matter at that point. I think no matter what happened, Mary Beth was destined to go home. She just wasn’t a good enough cook to compete with the other three. None of her dishes were fantastic or especially creative, and there was something wrong with the secret ingredient in every one, whether it was overcooked or under-seasoned. That said, I liked how she presented the dishes to the judges by telling a story about each one, and I do hope she gets to host some kind of travel show on Food Network or Cooking Channel.

As for the rest of the episode, nothing really to say here as each of them screwed up on the commentary pretty much equally, and none of their remarks on the judges’ panel were particularly interesting. Another reason Mary Beth went home was that her dishes weren’t nearly as creative, as Jeff, Vic and even Susie made sure to really showcase their points of view with each dish. Mary Beth did too, but her dishes individually just weren’t as good. This week was pure filler, a forgettable episode that ended as most viewers would expect. Sure, Jeff was in the bottom two, but there was no way he was going home over Mary Beth.

Final Remarks on the Top Three

Instead of trying to pick the winner, though I suspect and hope it will be Jeff, I’ll talk about each contestant’s chances of winning.

Jeff: My top pick right now. His POV hasn’t been done before, plus he doesn’t seem like the type who would get annoying after watching his show for a half-hour. Even if he doesn’t win, he’ll probably end up on Food Network or Cooking Channel somehow. I’m thinking he could be a great travel host for a show that features the best, famous, and/or the most unique sandwiches.

Susie: She was never my favorite, and to me her laugh seems fake or overdone – maybe she’s trying to hide her nerves? To me, Mexican cooking isn’t as interesting as Jeff’s sandwich concept, but there’s definitely room for her show on the network since Simply Delicioso isn’t exactly a hit. If she doesn’t win, I don’t think she’s memorable enough to be runner-up show material, so she should probably win just to secure a spot on the network.

Vic: There’s a rumor going around that the promo for next week spoiled that he’s going to be eliminated after the camera challenge. As you all know, I’d be perfectly happy with that. I can see him taking third place since he went back and forth over his POV, a general no-no on FNS, and his cooking skills generally aren’t on the same level as his remaining competitors.



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