I went ahead and decided to try the live-blogging with that other reality cooking show, the Food Network's The Next Food Network Star. Hey, it can't be any tougher than Top Chef 4. I just wonder if everybody will be as bitchy. I don't know if I'll blog about the Amateur Gourmet's FN Dish segment, but I'll decide when I get to that point.
Tonight's DRINK! of choice, in case anybody does something dumb: Guinness. Mostly because I'm eating corned beef and cabbage I had in the freezer. Also because it's just about the only beer in my fridge.
10:00 I just can't trust DirecTV to autotune on-time.
Love these people's hairstyles though.
OMG I just totally realized - it's Top Chef with Food Network personalities! No Nigella crossover to Bravo here, is it?
10:01 One minute in and already it seems irritatingly pretentious.
10:02 Kelsey Nixon is our first guest! She did a college-based cooking show. Interesting... College kids can cook?
Kevin Roberts wants to bring romance into cooking. Yep. Gay. (Don't get nasty - I can say that. He probably isn't. But if not then my gaydar needs serious retinkering)
Shane Lyons - our show's youngest chef in training. How cute!
10:03 Jen Cochrane, a Providence Yankee and Cory Kahaney. Cory is a... comedienne!?
Okay, I can't keep up. Jeff Vaden, caterer, is the first person who tells us what type of food he does. Adam Gel, um, I missed it. ANOTHER performer!? Holy cow!
10:04 I can't keep up. Lisa Garza is a restauranteuse with a pageboy haircut. Also in the house is Aaron McCargo, chef and caterer in Philly. Guy thinks he's butt ugly.
10:05 Nipa Bhatt is promising Indian cooking. I hope. This network is getting irritatingly boring.
Kevbo wet his pants when Bobby Flay came in. DRINK!
10:06 Suzie Fogelson and Bob Tuschman! We've seen these people before. So did Bobby replace Alton in the Padma Lakshmi role?
10:07 Nope. Alton just sauntered in, but as usual it's bitchy Alton, not funny Alton.
10:08 First challenge: talking into the camera? >>SIGH<< That's original.
Adam: He guzzles heavy whipping cream. DOUBLE DRINK!
Cory Kahaney (the other comedian): maybe comedians don't belong in the kitchen after all.
10:11 Oh just! Shut! Up!
Lisa grabs 100 things, puts an apple in her hair? Wait - SHE'S the funny one! It's like some crappy presentation a college undergrad would give in her Psych 101 class! The silly hat alone made what she said hurt my brain!
10:12 Jeez, this is way funnier than Top Chef. I'm gonna need to break into the wine 'cuz I'm gonna run out of beer.
10:14 Beer break:
10:15 You rock, Duff.
10:16 Ooooh, Adam needs to be shirtless more often! I hope he;s the token gay instead of Kevbo.
I hope Nipa doesn't go home like she says she thinks she won't. She's really promising something this network lacks big-time: diversity in its cooking (URGH, not another Italian / French / American cooking show).
10:17 The Top Chef-like challenge: 2 individual dishes, one team dish, to be cooked in teams of two. This will be judged by other Food Network cheflebrities.
Kelsey and Aaron: orzo salad and Cajun salmon sammich. Mmmm. And tomato soup with bold fresh hervbs
Adam: potato gratin and Jen: honeyed carrots, with meatloaf
Kev and Lisa: bless you. Poached salmon with arugula salad and French Kiss onion soup
Who are these people again?
Suki Bhaji and curried squash soup. Mmmmm. I like Nipa's team.
10:20 Damn Adam's adorable.
10:21 She can't find turmeric? In a New York City supermarket? You're kidding, right?
10:21 I didn't catch what young Shane made but it looks delicious! Too bad he undercooked it. DRINK!
10:24 Has Robert Wagner stooped so low in his career that he's hawking reverse mortgages? Oh, um... yep.
10:26 Shane is screwed!
Bob, Suzie, Bobby, Morimoto, Giada, Alton, los Neelys and Sandra (hisssssss) Lee are all in the room. Shane and Nipa are up first!
10:27 It looks good. I still don't get how she couldn't find turmeric in New York City. Pat Neely liked the pork (Shane isn't screwed?), but the potatoes underwhelmed.
Sandra Lee doesn't like curry (big shock).
10:28 Lisa from Dallas is highstrungwithlogtsofenergyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!! The yoga ain't workin', Leese.
Kevin and Lisa - romance in his, community service fine dining (?) is hers. Gina loves the onion soup, but Bobby is not liking the salad. Lisa confused Suzy, but she does that to everyone I guess. DRINK!
10:30 Thirteen minutes to cook meatloaf? Oh well. DRINK!
I can see it on the news tomorrow: three Food Network celebs rushed to hospital due to meatloaf tartare.
Cutiepie Adam doesn't like serving "Frankenstein meatloaf" to an Iron Chef. >>SNICKER<<>
Is this the face of a woman who hates curry or is this the face of a woman who hates curry?
10:34 God I hate Lisa. The one on Top Chef, not the crazy one on this show. Reminds me of crazy Elisa from Project Runway Series 4.
10:36 I still don't understand what would possess anyone to make a meatloaf in half an hour. Jen and Adam, y'all have the floor.
Their potatoes are raw, the meatloaf is overwhelming. This is multitasking??? DRINK!
Bobby: I either want to watch [Adam] or hang out with him. As opposed to let him cook for you that is.
10:37 And I thought the last team was behind. DAMN! I'm out of beer. Just look during the commercial. I think these two just saved Adam's little behind.
10:38 A non-greens salad. Wow, Kelsey. Nobody has ever thought about that. DAAAAAMN I'm still out of beer!
The salmong was wonderful, and Kelsey is loved by everyone but Giada - like, she's such a phony! Maybe they didn't do as bad as they thought.
10:39 It almost looks like salmon ceviche that she's making.
Jeff offers deviled eggs provençal - soul and French - and Cory the Funny One does herbs de provence glazed salmon. Both sound good.
Cory: "I'm funny and I'm dark. " How exactly?
The eggs are ubersalty, that's for damn sure.
10:44 Phew! Had a BerryWeiss on reserve in the fridge.
10:45 Kelsey prays for luck. She may need it. Only Lisa and Nipa feel very confident.
It just dawned on me: if Lisa is this show's Elisa, will she spit on the food?
10:46 Blah blah blah. Suzy and Bob should not have their own Food Network show.
The judges' remarks?
Kelsey and Aaron: overall pretty good, and delivered with confidence and caffeine. Aaron: a bit drier.
Adam and Jen: comfort meal? Flay: Unfortunate due to the undercooked taters. A "kitchen sink" meatloaf.
Flay: "We all wanted to like it, believe me." Ouch! DRINK!!!
10:48 Kev and Lisa: they were not big on the salad. Lisa: "the three C's?" Though to be fair, it's probably not that difficult to baffle the average Food Network star.
10:49 Cory and Jeff: yuck on the egg. Wa-wa-waaaat!? Jeff deliberately gave them a salty egg.
Shane and Nipa: Suzy found the curry very light on the suki bhaji. So Nipa improvised. See, if Spike had done this he'd be in the top 4. Oooops, wrong show.
Flay is amazed at Nipa's confidence. As to Shane? Bob: "I'd really like to see a 19-year old" (get that out of your mind). His youthful exuberance is in the garbage bowl and... no, he is not crying. Okay, there's the 19 year old! DRINK!
10-52 Circle-back moment? If only they did this on Step Up and Dance... then my head would hurt. Don't do that circle-back thing, Food Network.
10:53 I have no reason to despise Guy Fieri and yet I am now. Then again I feel a visceral hatred for anyone who stuffs a monster sub the size of my thigh (an admittedly small thigh) into his mouth.
10:54 So Paula, who's the hot guy in the leather jacket? He's a drape, I bet.
10:56 Elimination time, da-d-d-daaaaaaaaaaa!
Aaron, Kelsey, Jeffrey, Kevin, Jennifer and Adam are safe thus far! So Hipa, Shane, Cory and Lisa are screwed. Ooooh, Lisa and Nipa didn't think they'd be in this position, did they?
Cory: not fun
Nipa: too cocky
Shane: where's the personality? Too self-conscious, too raw
Lisa: too rigid and overpowering
10:58 And Nipa is safe! Same with Shane. Yay Nipa and Shane!
10:59 And Lisa is the last person to be safe. Kind of like America's Next Top Model, the person who isn't eliminated is the one who is crying. Cory seems okay so far.
Didn't they fire that Dinner: Impossible guy?
11:00 And we see a preview of the new Paula's Party. Special guests: Antonio Sabato Jr., Ingrid Hoffman, stuffed cupcakes, and fried butter. Sorry, that last one was gratuitous. But I'd pay to see her do that. That's right: they don't re-run it ad nauseam like they do at Bravo.
Post-Assessment: I just don't know these people enough to really care yet. But a few folks I'd like to see stick around:
- Nipa, because I really like what she's offering (making "ethnic" cuisine more approachable for the Food Network audience),
- Jeffrey, for his combining French cuisine and soul food (have y'all noticed this: why is the Food Network only now starting to feature prominent African-American chefs? Jacob, any ideas?),
- Adam, not only because he's got personality for this network, but because he's an adorable man. I know, animal lust, but that's not the only thing, okay? Also...
- Kelsey - it really struck me that a college student was trying to do something Food Network-y on a college campus!
Gertler! That's contestant Adam's name. Adam Gertler!
AFTERTHOUGHT: I'm still hung up on the Lisa Garza-Elisa Jimenez connection. They both have similar hair, similar home states (Texas and, well, Texas), and and (to me) similar personalities.