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The Next Food Network Star Episode 5: Mid-Term Freakouts

test1This week on TNFNS, we see lots of Rachael Ray, some pandering to children, Bobby’s pinstripe suit, and a major freeze from two contestants. Jump!

This week, everyone is nervous from the get, because Bobby tells our potential Stars that this will be their mid-term evaluation (Insert shots of contestants making obvious observations to camera here. “I could go home this week,” etc.). Rachael-with-an-extra-a-Ray comes on the flat screen to scare everyone away. Kidding. She is there to tell them about their challenge, which is to make grown-up food kid friendly. Oh-this will also be their first demo in front of the camera. Yes, the moment we’ve been waiting for, when disaster is sure to ensue. The contestants will be teamed up because the FN interns could only wrestle up 3 “grown up” foods, and there are six of them. So, Jeffrey and Jamika get tofu, Michael and Dallas Mel get Brussels sprouts, and Katie and “I’m Korean, ya’ll” Debbie get squid. No surprise here–the judges are children. Dallas Mel smartly says she wants to attach the sprouts to a texture kids like, so she purees the veg, adds cream cheese, and stirs the whole thing into a bunch of mashed potatoes. Her presentation goes okay but she runs out of time in the end. Jeffrey makes a strange chicken-nugget-tofu-spaghetti recipe, and he’s so pretty darn cute describing how to make it. The kids love him and so does RR. Jam/Tam cuts her tofu into tiny pieces and mixes it with corn and puts it in a wrap. She spends way too much time using corn silk as earrings and not enough time cooking. Mash-up Michael puts the Brussels sprouts in grilled cheese (?) and makes a sprout puppet. Katie makes a squid salad that seems like the opposite of kid-friendly, but the kiddos like it and her demo seems good to BF and RR. Deb puts soy sauce on her yams and fries her squid, but only gets to the breading portion of her demo before time runs out (kids like the yams though).

So, everyone gets props except Jam/Tam. The judges tell her she needs to learn to talk and cook at the same time. She starts to cry and doubt herself.

Next, Rachael is back to tell them they are going to be on her show (gulp) making kid food into something an adult would like. They will be paired up in the same teams as earlier. They will be presenting their dishes on LIVE TELEVISION. Well, really, live-to-tape, but whatevs. Everyone is cool with this except the J group (Jeffrey and Jamika). They are assigned hot dogs and baked beans. M&M (Michael and Mel) get tomato soup and grilled cheese, and K&D (Katie and Deb) get chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. Everyone comes together and makes a plan except J&J who just stand there and argue. Shopping happens. The M group is making tomato basil soup and grilled cheese skewers. Katie and Deb are making healthy mac and cheese and baked chicken nugget thingys. The J group decides on…well…I’m not even sure what they made. It had regular hot dogs, and chorizo, and beans, and rice. As they are cooking, they are both hating what they’ve made, but both are too nice or too chicken to say anything (stupid? yes).

So the big moment arrives! It’s time to appear on the Rachael Ray Show. Yes, she still has a show, for those who were wondering. The M group is up first. Mel is working it. She takes control. She’s confident. Michael, meanwhile, just stands there pretty much until the end, when he stands on his tippie-toes and gets fed a bite of grilled cheese skewer. Way to give it, man. Next up is K&D. They have choreographed a little routine and things are going well, although Katie is not looking up while she’s cooking. The judges are way impressed with Deb, who of course manages to squeeze in her signature phrase, “I’m Korean.” She also steals a few notes from Paula Deen’s playlist by insisting on adding real cream and saying, “don’t forget the bacon,” har har. Listen, we’ve already got one Paula Deen, and that is waaaaaaaaayyyyy more than enough.

Last up is J&J. Don’t we all know this is just going to be a trainwreck? Jeffrey is doing his thing, telling stories, making food, being charming. Jam/Tam is literally standing there. Watching him. Not.Saying.A.Word. It’s like she’s just watching his demo. Meanwhile, Jeffrey is nervously telling a story about how much his wife hates him because sometimes they have to eat two lunches! (Nervous laughter from the crowd.) Jam/Tam puts in about 50 cents at the end and pushes a spoon through a pot of beans. Worth noting–after their demo, which was clearly awful, Jeffrey tells Jamika she was “beautiful and bright.” Loving him more every ep.

Judging time! Jam is going home, I’m thinking. She was clearly the worst all day long. Although M&M “bummed out” Bobby Flay, Mel is still in the top three. Susie and Bob were scared by Katie’s demo for the kids (uh oh). J&J were “uncomfortable” for Bob to watch. But the judges jump on Jeff for not letting Jam say more at the RR show. (Whaaaa? It seemed like he was clearly just trying to keep momentum when his partner was so obviously freaked out.) Jeff and Deb are safe along with Mel. Final three are Michael, Katie, and Jamika. Katie goes. I thought she was cute and really positive, unlike downer Jamika who just complained the entire episode. She was good in the beginning, but now? Oh, well, Katie couldn’t cook I guess, and that’s important. Michael is surely not going to win either. Mel is still looking good. Next stop: Miami.

3 comments on “ The Next Food Network Star Episode 5: Mid-Term Freakouts

  1. Tam/Jam should have been eliminated this week for her entire performance was frozen. Katie didn’t make it because every time she cooked it was either raw, dry, rare or inedible. This week I don’t think anyone really shined.

  2. I am so tired of every single cooking contest show’s big twist being… kid judges, oh snap! How bout make them cook for Ramsay? That’d be more entertaining than Susie Fogelfrown or a bunch of 6 year olds.

  3. the_sneeb: agreed about the kid judges. Not cute or clever. Also loving Susie Fogelfrown.