10 Thoughts On The Next Food Network Star [Episode 3]

1) The first challenge is for the contestants to go to Stew Leonard’s and spend $80 to create three courses for a party of twelve. In addition, they have to record a 30-second spot in the supermarket about stretching a dollar. Another case of a surprisingly simple challenge that very few of them got. Phlox Jeffrey gave a decent presentation about cheap ways to make crepes and Mommy Melissa gave a quick tip on green onions. The rest of them gave insane rambling presentations on things like “using fresh herbs instead of salad dressing”. Also, after Jamika talked about reusing your meat marinade the next day as a sauce, the first recorded appearance of Snippy Tyler Florence asked her if that was before or after she made everyone sick. Snippy Tyler also called Michael’s presentation a “complete mess”. Jeffrey won the challenge which kind of surprised me because I thought Melissa’s tip was far better and Jeffrey made a lot of weird, herky-jerky movements during his speech.

2) The shopping challenge was to purchase ingredients to cook dinner for the selection committee, Ina Garten, and her obscenely wealthy Montauk friends. To note, if you ever want to swing by Ina Garten’s house, they failed to blur out the road sign for NY-114 directly across the street from her house. I knew the woman was rich — I didn’t know she was Sag Harbor rich. I’d suggest for someone to just head out to the five mile stretch of NY-114 and look for the house but it’s possible you’d get arrested for being in the neighborhood in a car worth less than $75k.

3) As the winner of the shopping challenge, Jeffrey got to choose his partner for the Cook For Ina challenge. The rest were paired off at random. Allow me to take another paragraph about how much I hate team challenges in individual competition. Someone (almost) always gets eliminated based on something they didn’t do. It didn’t happen in this case but very easily could have. It’s really dumb to make people work with someone else when you’re only eliminating one. I hate it.

4) Michael/Jeffrey: There seems to be no chance these two lose. Two professional chefs, one of whom can make a good presentation, seem like a recipe for success. Also, hero to the homosexual Ina Garten’s upper crust friends are probably the most gay-friendly crowd Michael’s going to see in this competition. Their food was terrific and Jeffrey nailed the presentation and covered where Michael couldn’t. The funny thing is — a friend and I were wondering how the selection committee was going to eliminate Michael for being too gay without actually telling him he was too gay. They’ll just be able to tell him he’s a jittery mess in front of the camera.

5) Melissa/Eddie: I couldn’t have been happier with this pairing because I knew exactly what was going to happen. Melissa was going to come off as the hard-working, turbo-cooking, sympathetic mother figure while Eddie came off as the young super-douche chef. He couldn’t have played the role better if I’d written it for him. He spoke to Melissa in a way that would have gotten him punched in the face if he was doing it to another guy and threw in a super-douche eyeroll or two to get the full douche effect. In the presentation, he came across as completely fake and packaged again and presented like this was Iron Chef. His sweet onion and watermelon salad appetizer was met with universal disdain. One of Ina’s friends, a Manhattan Publishing super-bitch couldn’t stand her because she was, essentially, too nice. Ah, Manhattan.

6) Teddy/Debbie: This episode marked the moment that I totally got over Asian Debbie. On the first episode, she was very insistent that she was a southern girl. By the third episode, she’s become SUPERASIAN!!! Which, hey, good for her. From the moment she was paired with Teddy she also immediately morphed in to SUPERVICTIM! Immediately she starts harping on how he threw Melissa under the bus last week. So, I ask, did she actually see the same show we saw? The one in which it was very clear that Brett initiated the heel-turn and Teddy looked horrified through the whole thing? Because that’s what I saw. In case we weren’t sure, she tells us that she just can’t trust him. And. She. Keeps. Saying. It. We get it already. You’re the victim. Then, in a bit of reality show genius, she sets Teddy up to spend their entire hour working on their collaborative dish, a super-complicated sweet meatloaf that she made the glaze for, while she cooks her meal. At the end, Teddy is left with hardly any time for his dessert. She comes out looking fantastic as their collaborative dish is still somewhat Asian and Teddy hands in a grossly underdone dessert. It was stunning to watch and the selection committee either didn’t see it or totally ignored it.

7) Katie/Jamika: They totally copped out on trying to plan a collaborative menu together and instead tried for an insane “international” theme with Italian and Asian. It’s an abject impossibility to pair those two styles of food together. Know why? Cheese. Imagine eating any sort of pasta appetizer with sauce and goat cheese followed up with a nice General Tso’s main course. You just threw up in your mouth a little, right? Their presentation was equally terrible as Katie has absolutely no skill with delivering her healthy message without actually delivering her healthy message and constantly looks like a deer in headlights.

8) I can’t actually describe how much Susie Fogelson grates on my nerves with her stereotypical, passive-aggressive Manhattan woman role. After Teddy and Debbie’s presentation, she got a full camera shot on her troubled Manhattan face and said: “I wonder why he wouldn’t go the extra mile for his dish?” Yes, Susie — I wonder, too. Obviously, the correct answer is he sat there and said to himself “self, I’m just gonna throw some store-bought pudding in a plate and give it to the uptight Montauk snobs.” In this episode, I was treated to a room full of Susies. Awesome. Remember, folks — these people in Ina’s house are heavy-hitters in publishing, television, and media. These are the people who are responsible for what you see, read, and hear. Give in to your hate. Root for Cloverfield.

9) The elimination room felt like even more generated drama than usual this week as Debbie completed her master plan by playing the victim perfectly when Teddy pointed out that he spent most of the hour on the meatloaf. If you happen to watch the show again, watch how she skillfully stepped aside so Teddy could do all the work on the meatloaf while she spent about 30 seconds making a glaze. Then, when he pointed out that he spent all his time working on the meatloaf, she went full Korean disbelief and started crushing his integrity and saying that everyone hated him. I haven’t seen someone fall on a sword so hard since Goodwin on Lost season two. He felt so guilty he couldn’t even follow through. Yeah, seems like a real dick move. He was told he had no integrity so much he actually started to buy it. It’s over. I hate her and want her gone. The only moment of the elimination room that was worth it for my brief but solid sighting of Evil FLAY~! momentarily bubbled to the surface when Michael talked about missing his friends (all the way up in the Bronx? Really? You do know there are parents on the show, right?). Then Evil FLAY~! bubbled over and had no time for Eddie’s statement that his terrible sweet onion and watermelon salad was a Paula Deen recipe. Overweight Korean’s fake tears were, however, met with sympathy which make me question the savvy of Evil FLAY~!

10) In no shock, Jeffrey and Michael won the challenge. In a twist even I didn’t expect, I’m actually rooting for Overweight Korean to go home over Eddie who I legitimately can’t stand. But, I will take heart that Eddie actually went home. I now want Debbie off the show as much as I wanted Eddie gone. Sadly, the depth of my hate is meaningless since she’s going to be here for the entire show. It sucks.

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