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Sunday, June 8

The Next Food Network Star Week 2

Wow... quite the episode!

We had the awkward return of Robert Irvine, a mad dash around NYC, a train ride where Lisa Garza actually showed that there maybe is more to her than just an icy, stuck up diva, major mistakes by the likes of Adam, a still-happy Kelsey, a nearly absent Jeffrey, a bumbling stumbling Shane, the uprising of Aaron, the downfall of Kevin, and the stagnation of Jennifer. Oh, and that little exit from the judging room by Nipa.

That's right--I liked Lisa in this episode!

More posts to come. Thoughts on tonight's ep?

Spoilers are fine in the comments, so read at your own will.

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At 6/09/2008 2:14 AM , Blogger Bert said...

Aaron ROCKED !!

Here's a little blog on Aaron I just put up.

I'm telling you this dude is very creative and his food is ridiculously tasty. He's letting his personality loose but I just hope he gets more comfortable in front of the camera because he has a great backstory I'm just not sure he's comfortable speaking about it to a camera.

Lisa's French Toast was no joke - I could tell that was going to be one of the fave dishes just watching her put it together.

Adam took a HUGE risk with the runny eggs - I was shocked he went with that idea.

GO McCargo !! Philly & Camden are behind you!!

At 6/09/2008 8:15 AM , Blogger JordanBaker said...

Best line: "I don't know what's romantic about crostini."

(Not that the line itself is all that great, but it was perfectly timed to follow right after I'd finished thinking "wtf is romantic about crostini?")

At 6/09/2008 9:01 AM , Blogger Phillip said...

I enjoyed the episode but it was a bit too "Top Chef" for my tastes... isn't that challenge set up like every other team challenge on Top Chef? Remember how the "Next Food Network Star" doesn't need to work with 2 other people, or be forced to use 3 ingredients, or have a 45 minute time limit? I mean, it makes good TV, but what does it have to do with anything?!

I'm also sad about how weird/crazy Nipa was acting near the end. That almost for sure seals her fate and I feel like FN needs some kind of Asian cuisine. Remember Ming Tsai? Wasn't he the last person from the Asian continent to be on FN? Why no Asians?!

At 6/09/2008 10:06 AM , OpenID oatmealcookieguy said...

Wasn't Robert Irvine gonna get the heave-ho? I guess these episodes were already "in the can" before the news of confabulation hit.

Mad props to Jeffrey for trying the bread pudding. At least it wasn't crostini or French toast.

At 6/09/2008 10:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i thought Nipa or Adam should have gone. Nipa had to think about if she actually wanted to stay there? to me that shows that she is not committed. Then Adam's food was undercooked for the second time. that's just unacceptable.

At 6/09/2008 10:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree on Lisa - she was much softer and more sympathetic this week. (So what was the dust-up on this blog all about last week? Are we being manipulated?)

Nipa's temper tantrum was a smokescreen for the reality that she hasn't been doing too well thusfar. She is, according to Lisa, not willing to consider Indian fusion but the two dishes she has produced - curried potatoes last week and the lamb this week - were judged to be underwhelming (last week) or overwhelming (this week). If FN wants an Indian cook why didn't they just hire her, as they did Mary Nolan, give her the requisite six episodes and check that box?

At 6/09/2008 10:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love Aaron, hope he goes far. He seems the most genuine one there, apparently has a good grasp of cooking (they loved his steak) and has a personality this week.

Lisa was much more palatable this epi compared to the first, dunno if I could watch her for six epis by herself yet, but compared to last week major improvement and she is starting to grow on me.

Nipa, now that she's had her self-confidence torn to shreds, needs to step up and make her case. I think she can do it, and I'd love for a South Asian-cuisine show on FN, but she needs to get her stuff together and prove it.

Shane, I really think he could be the next Jamie Oliver, he's got the skills (mad props on the chicken disaseembly, helping keep his team second in spite of starting last, 10 mins after everyone else) but his youth might just be too much. Give him a couple more years though, and he could be the next hot young chef.

Jennifer and Adam both either need to bring their game up or their days are numbered. And Adam needs to stop trying to bite off more than he can chew in what he's trying to accomplish.

Same with Jeffrey, and he needs to de-snob his POV a bit, the whole Soul Food-French Cuisine food is great, but his presentation is just snooty and elitist. Stop talking above the heads of the hoi polloi and he's got a good shot, but right now watching him is rather cringing.

And Kelsey, I think she's been drug down because of the teams she's been paired with. Watch her, I bet when she does a challenge just her alone she is going to rock.

At 6/09/2008 10:39 AM , Blogger John said...

I agree: "I don't know what's romantic about crostini" has to be the funniest line of the night. I said on my own site, I have no clue what the guy does at night in his pantry, but it's not a pantry I am going within 100 feet of.

I was worried Nipa would be kicked off but I'm glad she's around for another week. The ones I really think will go far are Nipa and Aaron. I just like what they're offering. MOre so Nipa. Aaron seems talented, but as great as a French / soul fusion sounds, and as great as it would be to see some more soul food, we've seen French a LOT on this network. We haven't seen any Indian food - now a very popular cuisine in the US - on this network at all that I can remember. So I think there's the bigger need to be filled.

I really was taken with Adam in ep 1. He just seems a little nutty now. Apart from him and Kelsey, and Lisa (she is quite the personality), nobody else really seems very memorable at all. They could be voted out and I would never know it.

At 6/09/2008 11:02 AM , Blogger Judith Kreindel said...

Lisa...she felt much more approachable this week.

Jeffrey...I get the feeling he could be a real hoot but really, hasn't the Frech angle been attempted to death?

Kevin...very attractive and I "got" his food.

Shane is really, really cute. There is something about him that just makes me want to see him succeed.

I feel like the whole "you're on warning" was a failed attempt at drama. Didn't a contestant fall to pieces last year during this show (Amy?)?

I was surprised by the one that was cut this week, what was that about?

On the whole, I'm still under-whelmed by this season's selection. At this point, I don't feel like I want anyone to win, but I'm also not shouting for anyone to go home.

At 6/09/2008 11:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Nipa's POV but I'm doubtful she'll win - her attitude and emotions are just too over the place. If they want an Indian cooking show they'll have to go out and find someone who's not such a loose cannon. I really like Shane, and Lisa grew on me a bit last night (maybe it helped that she was dragged out of bed and didn't have time to put on her diva clothing - or personality), but it seems like Kelsey is getting the winner's edit.

At 6/09/2008 11:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also underwhelmed. I hope Nipa can pull it together. I agree that it'd be nice to have some Asian food. I still like Kelsey but I think she'll fade soon, I feel better about Lisa - still no sense of her food though. I think I could tolerate watching her for a few episodes however.

At 6/09/2008 11:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't stand Lisa. I can't stand looking at her squinty cat eyes (eyebrows are scary), or watching her cook (she's way too hyper). If you wins I will never watch her show. I too have been not very excited about the last two seasons, they need to have people with personality. This is not Top Chef.

At 6/09/2008 3:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"you're on warning...." ooooohhhhhhh so scary and majorly STUPID.
this show sucks. they need to get rid of kushman or whatever his name is and just revamp this network...

i was SO thrilled to here Paula has ANOTHER NEW SHOW coming up: Paulas Favorite Dishes or something.
jesus, can't they find anyone likable to build a show around? Are we going to be constantly subjected to annoying overexposed recycled FN "stars" ? I guess so......

At 6/09/2008 3:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note to Paula. Please go away NOW. Make room for someone new and better.

At 6/09/2008 4:22 PM , Blogger Sunshine said...

Nipa is as weak as a soup sandwich. If you're not in it to win it honey, hit the road.
Lisa was merely Overachiever Deluxe this week instead of Psycho Diva like last....and I'll get behind an overachiever anytime, hope she keeps this up!!
I'm totally pulling for Shane though, he seems to have the most heart, he just needs to get a heaping helping of confidence!!!

At 6/09/2008 5:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note that Lisa has abandoned the "3C's" in favor of "Beautiful Basics." I have no more idea of what that means than the "C"'s but one of the judges seemed to like it...

At 6/09/2008 5:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Jacob and FN Addicts,

I actually love your blog. You crack me up and I agree with a lot of what your bloggers say in general. So, I wanted to forward a blog I'm doing for D magazine to you as well. Not that anyone cares about what I have to say. But, I thought the one thing your missing is the inside scoop. And yes, I suck at spelling and can't type worth a shit. Kill me.
I sat at the viewing party last night, overwhelmed, by the 100+ supporters that came out to drink some Veuve Clicquot, eat yummy hors d'oeuvres, munch on popcorn and watch Episode 2 of the next food network star. All I can say is, it's so surreal, almost out of body, to see yourself and the challenges from the outside in. It's like watching the movie compared to reading the book. You walk away feeling like so many details are missing.
For episode 2, we were not "off" until 11:00 the night before, up at 2:45 am, worked ALL DAY, then stood for 4-5 hours of evaluation, followed by lengthy interviews. Add that up and you got a 20+ hour work day on about 3 hours a sleep and loads of coffee. Try putting a happy face on that, it's hard.
I'm super happy that viewers are getting a peak into the real me. I may look like a diva, but I'm a caring tomboy on the inside. I pose the question to those who criticize any of the finalist; Can you imagine what your "character" would be after being recorded 24/7, then edited down for all the juicy bits, SCARY. We all have our good, bad, and misunderstood moments. While living in the house, we aren't sleeping or eating regularly, work 15-20 hour days, no time off, no music, no working out, no going for a walk, no reading, no nothing. It's a pressure cooker environment and the stress and sleep depravation start to mess with your mind and emotions. You very quickly begin to miss the tranquility and security of HOME.
Theirs a reason people cry! Your cracking up and starting to feel like an animal in a cage. Anyone that knows me, knows I come with a warning label, ADHD, unmedicated, managed holistically by a Whole Foods diet, exercise, music and art. Without these things I am unable to control my "leg shaking" hyperactivity and the anxiety that derives from the nonstop stress hormones and adrenaline being released due to the symptoms not being addressed. I was honest about my disorder from the beginning. I want to be an advocate for hungry kids, whether its hunger in their hearts, their minds, their spirits or their bellies. I have my 15 minutes in the "EYE" of the media storm, in front of 2 million people. I'm going to use it to help somebody, no matter what anyone thinks. I struggled so hard as a kid to "FIT" the mold and it sucks. I hope some kid sees me kick butt and in some way I empower them to do the same, requardless of the challenges they face and the odds against them succeeding. To plant that seed of hope, that "If she can overcome all that, and be what I see right now, than I can too." Then the struggle has a purpose and your free from the past.
I have read some of the blogs about me "barking" orders in the kitchen and wanted to explain why I communicate this way to those who have never worked in a restaurant or catering situation.
First, the kitchen is an intense environment for several reasons. It's HOT, dangerous, lots of fire, knives flying, steam blowing, ovens a blazing, people impatiently waiting in the cool calm dining area, while your busting your butt to get the plates out, looking beautiful, as fast you can move.
Second, communication and positions in a restaurant kitchen can be compared to that of team sports. Each person works a station, has a specific job, and similar to the military, a rank. One person is generally "running" the kitchen and making sure the orders coming in are called out loud. Stick your head in the kitchen during peak time at your fav restaurant and you will hear what sounds like yelling and everybody has their game face on. Working in a restaurant is a team sport. It's not barking, it's direct, get to the point, no time to waist, not being rude, just fast. Seconds seem like minutes, minutes like hours. If you don't get the food up, you loose a customer, you loose your restaurant, you loose your life. It's a serious business. If you are the lead in a kitchen, typically you are calling out "the plays" during the heat of the action.
Aaron, Jeffery and I have the most hands on experience plating for large groups and so we end up taking the position of "Head Chef," calling out what needs to be done and when, managing the time and the overall finished product. It looks a lot easier on TV than it actually was for all of us, especially when your working with people you don't even know. The longer you work with your "team" the less you have to communicate. You just know, a look, a grunt, a rhythm develops and when it all comes together it's an amazing thing to be a part of.
Lastly-Add to the mix being a girl in a very male dominated industry, with a lot of old school tuff guys, and you better be able to stand your ground with the big boys! THEY WILL EAT YOU UP, spit you out, and have you crying like a baby in the walk-in refrigerator before you can count to ten.
Woman in our business have to be tuff as nails. You stab yourself in the hand during service, you don't run off to the emergency room. You super glue that sucker shut, tape it up, cover it with a glove, hide it under a tray, smile, pretend your great, put your stilettos on and go work the party. This is a true story. This actually happened to me before an event. Knife slipped through a side of prosciutto and left a cut that should have gotten 10 stitches. The client ultimately doesn't care if your cut, burned or stressed. They just want the food their paying for and the grand event you promised to deliver. I'm the only girl on the show with 16 years in this business. Am I strong, rigid and controlling? I guess I am. But, it comes with the territory and it gets the job done. My clients know I will do what ever it takes to deliver my best. That's how you beat the odds and have a restaurant / catering company that have 9 years or more of staying power.
My hardest challenge on the show is developing a poker face. I'm a hard core, A type, "worker bee" and a real restaurateur, not an actor. We aren't being produced or coached in any way. Every celebrity on that network says the same thing. It takes time in front of the camera to really find your "character." It doesn't happen over night, or even over weeks. It's hard to connect with a camera, not at all like interacting with a real audience.

Lisa Garza

At 6/09/2008 7:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok...I promised myself I would not say anything negative about NFNS..but I can't help it. I am NOT impressed with any of the people selected this year. Very poor cooking skills, and nothing has been mind blowing as far as originality. French toast, bread pudding? Um, what's so thrilling or new? Seems to me that all the so called "foodies" on here are putting out very plain continental food. What about other cuisines? Asian, Latin, something not so white toast!!! And no one has a strong culinary POV. Nothing makes me say "Ohh I want to watch that!"
As for Nipa...Whatever!! So, many people, me included, would give anything for this oppurtunity of a lifetime. And for you to have your little fit, and bolt off was such a dis not only to viewers, NFNS hopefuls, but most importantly the selection panel. And so far, the food quality has been blah...under salted, too spicy, or bland...nothing is consistent. Does not seem that anyone has ever done cooking or speaking in front of an audience, yet you want to be televised?? ok, that's all for now..I think you get my point.

At 6/09/2008 7:14 PM , Blogger Alex Lopez said...

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At 6/09/2008 7:14 PM , Blogger Alex Lopez said...

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At 6/10/2008 1:49 AM , Blogger Alex Lopez said...

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At 6/11/2008 12:56 AM , Blogger -Ben said...

I have to say that I really am enjoying Lisa so far. (love the hair by the way). But, by the way she's been blogging on the FNA website, I can tell she probably isn't the winner of this season NFNS. Generally networks have to do some sort of damage control, and, I hate to say it, can't always let the celebrity "speak their mind". But, I hope I'm wrong.


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