Sunday, June 22, 2008

Next Food Network Star 4 Live-Blogging: Being an Expert

Ah, settling back into the swing of live blogging, after a busy weekend of... okay, it wasn't that busy. Mostly spending quality time with my new cassette to MP3 device, though today's Charm City Pride Festival was a bit exhausting - fun, but my ears still hurt from some of the more off-key performing artists. Plus a mediorce tilapia soft taco for lunch and meeting a date for pretty decent sliders for dinner at Rocket 2 Venus all lead me to this conclusion: I'm in no mind to be an expert on food right now, but I will be anyway.

Talk about an awkward and quite forced segue.

Tonight's drink of choice: Qīngdǎo, China's most famous import to the US, Tsingtao Beer, which tastes a bit sour. I bet that miracle fruit would work wonders on it.

10:02 Adam seems surprised that Tyler Florence is in the house. This is a Food Network show, dude.

10:03 The "quickfire"-type challenge requires the boys and girls to show their culinary expertise. Adam is confronted with an artichoke and he has to do something with it on camera in 60 seconds. He he he he heh.

Wow, way to destroy that lemon. That Florence calls the technique "a little sloppy" is just, well, diplomacy in action!

10:04 Aaron is at ease with pineapple garnishes - just not quick with 'em. 0 for 2?

10:05 Great - give Miss "I'm Not Annoying" the rack of lamb to deal with in one minute.

Floboy likes her energy - the best so far!?!?

10:06 Apparently, Shane Lyone, as we know, is all about technique. I did not get this memo. But I didn't know one way or the other, y'know, so fuck it.

Yikes! Nipa gets squid, which is not exactly her area of expertise.

I could really go for some calamari right now. For someone who has never dealt with squid, I don't think she did too horribly.

10:08 Aaaaaand Lisa must truss a chicken. There are so many smart-ass remarks I could make right now, none having to do with Lisa, mind you. But I won't.

Lisa isn't engaging, it seems.

10:08 What the hell is that? Oh duh, it's an urshtur, hon!

10:09 Line of the night comes from Jen: "I'm very, very sensitive to oysters." DRINK!

Don't apologize to the camera, Jennifer!!! DRINK AGAIN!

10:10 I'd suggest she apologize to the urshtur but she seems beside herself as it is. Ah, these people take this too damn seriously.

Who won, Tyler? Based on communication with the camera, it's Miss "I'm Not Annoying"! How many of you are drinking right now?

10:11 Coming up: is Lisa drunk?

10:15 So this Cooking for Real show is all about Seven Layer Aztec Dip?

10:15 "Well you know my name is Michael Simon, and I like to cook real fast!"

10:16 Today's challenge - pick one fish to make two special menu items for the Red Lobster menu, and add icky non-seafood-y items to it, like the following (one DRINK per each):

  • white chocolate
  • Fruit Loops
  • marshmallow creme
  • caramel cubes
  • etcetera, etcetera, gag, gag
This is a hateful challenge. Funny too!

10:18 Aren't Nipa's reactions just hilarious? She hates touching raw, dead whole fish! Any bets on her odds for making it to next week?

Shane - marshmallow creme and sole!?!?

Lisa's Arctic char and coffe beans is not as weird, though Adam's halibut and caramel cubes might be pushing it. Oh dear lord!

Kelsey's tilapia and white chocolate dish can't be much worse than that tilapia taco I had today at Pride.

Nipa mixes trout and jelly. I don't honestly think the woman will make it through filleting the fish.

10:21 While Jen preps her beer-battered mahi mahi in cereal crust, Aaron blinks his eyes and makes something perfect. Hey, I've used soda as a marinade, just not with cod.

10:26 I hate Red Lobster.

I hope none of these people gets seasick too easily. But hell, they did cook on a moving train so how bad can this be?

10:27 The Perkstress is first up! And here she is makin' tilapia and white chocolate for the judges and thirty Coast Guard members. And if she annoys them, they'll kick her ass.

I don't know why, but for some reason she's annoying me. The eaters like the dish though.

10:29 Adam is next, and plans to trip over that step, not realizing how bad that can be for presenting your food.

What the hell - DRINK!

10:30 This yutz is a comedian?

And Bob remarks at how fishy the fish tastes. Which is odd, since it's, y'know, fish.

10:31 Well it's too late, ba-by, no-ow it's too late... to de-sweeten the fish. Any anti-miracle fruit out there?

Imagine all the stuff the Coast Guard goes through - are these people really going to be scared by Fruit Loops?


10:35 Phew, false alarm...

10:36 It just dawned on me: since these dishes must all be Red Lobster-accessible, they don't actually have to be that good. So nobody really has anything to worry about!

Did she just say Bollywood dancing? Oh dear, she did.

Coming up: a ten-minute production number about how dry Nipa's fish is!

10:37 Lisa is funny! Even sadder when you consider that she wore expensive clothing in an environment where food is known to splatter.

10:38 Is Leese going for the sympathy-from-the-judges-and-vets vote by mentioning her brother in Iraq? Just curious.

10:39 Shane actually seems the most at ease to all the judges. Hmmm...and his food actually did go over okay.

10:40 The first time in the season where Aaron struggles in any way, shape or form.

Damn, I didn't expect them to say his cod was "a big mess" - apparently, he did...

10:44 And now it's judges table... and what do these dirty louses have to say?

10:45 And now, the judges...

Lisa: connect with the camera. Your Iron Chef moment? Not exactly "Mr. and Mrs. America" ribstickin' Red Lobster crap. Sorry, Leese. But at least you lit up the room!

Shane: convinced them that he knew he was doing. For the mains: sounds disgusting, but oh were they impressed!

Adam: OMG they liked his quickfire!?!? They had to spit out what he made for the main challenge. Bit off more than he could chew. And the presentation was abadeeabadeeabadee that's ALL folks!

Nipa: Squid is not your thing, right. So fake it! And familiarize yourself with the seafood, Neepe! Tandoori and jelly-cilantro trouts? Overcooked, though the prep offended Symon. The Bollywood bit: overreaching. Don't dance ever again.

Kelsey: We love you, girl! You da man! You da man! You da man!

Aaron: Aaron disappointed with his food. Whoa - he looks surprised, as most NFNS4 bloggers will be when I read their posts.

Jen: STOP APOLOGIZING! And stop being sorry for apologizing!

10:51 And that stupid, fucking Circle Back. I have a much meaner name for it but it'd be rude to call it that.

10:52 Station break: kittens being cute!

10:54 I apologize for that last bit. That's what a Tsingtao will do to you when you're antsy.

10:55 And the winner of the "My food made it onto Red Lobster's crappy menu!" award is Kelsey!

10:56 After Lisa and Shane are also sent off into "One More Week" land, the remaining contestants are confronted:

Jen, you are safe for now. I'm sorry.

Aaron: you sucked for once, but you get to stay, too. Aaron has his touching moment.

10:58 And it's down to Nipa and Adam. I think Nipa probably should go home - fish, eww - but I just have this feeling it's Adam.

10:59 Again, my Next Food Network Star-dar sucks. Adam is staying around. Again, his speedo-clad butt is around for one more week. But Nipa says she didn't really want to win it anyway.

11:00 And they're shilling Kelsey's dish for Red Lobster already!

POST-GAME ANALYSIS - This was a week when a few consistent duds shone - Kelsey! Shane! - while a few shining stars, well, didn't shine too bright - Aaron!?!? And then there were a few folks that are just descending into madness, like Adam and, sadly for her, Nipa. Early on this season I thought Nipa showed lots of promise, but she did some yutzy things that I only noticed after everybody else. Again, the promise of a South Asian-themed show on Food Network blinded me to Nipa's occasional flakiness and divalicousness. Sadly, it was too much to overcome.

So Bob, when are you going to have any kind of Asian-themed show on your bloody network? Don't blame it all on Nipa!


Lys said...

*lol* Your updates crack me up John.

So true re: Nipa - I'm just glad she's gone.

Annie's New York Eats said...

What of Aaron's on-camera message to his runaway son? Wanting him to come home to The Next Food Network Star? Am I wrong for judging his parenting skills on this?

I say that if you're only gonna do Indian food, you might as well do ALL Indian food. And somewhere on the sub-continent there must be some seafood-based cuisine. Doesn't India have its own ocean?

I am blogging TNFNS at

John said...

Lys: Agreed, even if I was the last person to come to that conclusion. Well, me and the judges.

ANYE: I'll check yours out! As for Aaron's parenting skills: whoa, Nelly, I am not even goin' there! I have to admit, though, I was only half-listening to what he said. When the contestants tear up, I usually switch to "Half-Listen" mode. Yep though, who knows if he should be there or not?

There is lots of seafood along India's coasts. That Nipa is so ick'd out by seafood makes me question why she should have continued (which, of course, she didn't).

Anonymous said...

"For someone who has never dealt with squid, I don't think she did too horribly"
But she thought the mantle was the part to discard!

If Nipa is vegetarian, I'll give her a break. My born-and-raised in India friend, while no longer vegetarian, cannot eat meat on the bone, especially chicken. Skeeves him out.

theminx said...

I was disappointed that Nipa was such a dud. TVFN really does need some Asian-ethnic shows, but sadly, it doesn't look like they're getting one anytime soon.

John said...

Minx: Totally :(

Anon: Fair point, though can she really expect to just do vegetarian cooking on Food Network? Unless she's specifically saying she'll do vegetarian only, in which case the producers should darn well know better, and accommodate her so she only has to deal with veggies while the others deal with meat and stuff.

I was typing so fast I missed what parts she discarded. Oopsie!

Meghan said...

I was let down by Nipa... I thought she would really fit a niche on the FN that has yet to be filled.

I also think its absurd she couldn't touch the soon as that happened, I knew she'd be gone!

This was a odd challenge... consdiering the entire link to Red Lobster, aka: worst seafood ever.