Sunday, August 02, 2009

Next Food Network Star 5 Live Blogging: The Finale

This is it! We've reached the end! And though Debbie (who I think is Korean or Southern or something - I mean she never said) is no longer with us...

...her memory lives on. I'm kind of surprised that Deb is done for. But I haven't watched last week's ep (seeing a little of it now), and from what I've heard it was a tough decision no matter what.

So it goes down to either Jeff or Melissa. Jeff seems fated to win, which is why I confidently predict that the winner will be Melissa. The reason: Melissa has stumbled a few times in the past and has gotten better. She's also gotten more irritating. Jeff is too good, and that's what kills him: he's too good (although, again, maybe he screwed up last week - I don't know). Plus, Melissa seems to really hit that "Sandra Lee" demographic. I won't say if Melissa is also in the habit of making utter crap like Sandra Lee, but she's certainly as sickeningly saccharine as she is. And that is why she will win, unless - again, as I said with Whatsername our long-gone dietitian - she literally packs her knives into one of the judge's heads and goes. So again:

Runner up: Jeffrey

And our predicted winner: Melissa

Tonight's drink of choice is Shiner Smokehaus Mesquite Smoked Beer, which (to me) really, really has that mesquite flavor. It's an acquired taste, much like the Old Bay caramels I made last week (and which aren't holding up terribly well in the heat - maybe the mistake was rolling them in even more Old Bay).

9:01 Obligatory montage of the past series. Hey, Rick Bayless must've been on last week. And there are some judges from Chopped. Yup, trying to squeeze in as much face time for 'em as possible.

9:02 Ah, bye Teddy, Michael, Brett, Deb, Eddie, Katie, Jen and Jamika. We knew them well, Horatio.

9:03 Oh, that's right. Jeffrey has a daughter. He hadn't mentioned that before, had he? What the hell: DRINK for old time's sake.

Maybe I should have
Done this live-blog in haiku.
Aw hell, it's too late.

9:05 And we move on to Melissa's family. Yup, y'all know the drill: DRINK!

Time for a rousing chorus of "I Am Woman"! I love the drag queen version in the movie Trick. Wonderful stuff.

9:07 Chelsea Market - hey, I was there!

9:08 I knew Alton would grace us with his more aggressive self - hey, does he have more hair now?

9:11 So of course, each cheftestant has to make a draft of his or her own show. Jeff wants to take "exotic" ingredients - such as "paprika" (WTF) - and use 'em in an American way. Melissa chose some pretentious French name that Alton totally swatted down, and he suggested "Survival!" Cuz she is a survivor! (What?) She's not gonna give up (What!), She's not gon' stop (What!?), She's gonna work harder (Yeah!)

9:12 Jeezy Peezy, not another friggin' Next Iron Chef!

9:13 Didn't get a chance to say how pleased I am that Gordon Elliott is not going to exec produce the winner's show like he did with Aaron "Big Daddy!!!!!!!" McCargo - or the Neelys, or anything by Paula Deen.

9:14 I never realized how cute Brian Boitano is.

9:15 Did y'all know that Sandra Lee won an Emmy? Yup, for Outstanding Hair Styling. I am not making that up.

9:15 Melissa is stressed? Rustic lemon-onion-chicken dish with her patented "four step chicken" (TM).

She looks kinda wooden. But that's what Alton is there for! His advice to the young Jedi: Be yourself. DRINK for mention of her girls.

Alton is pleased thus far.

9:17 And here is Jeff, comfy and, er, orange. Harissa steak sammich with some kind of mayo-naaaaiiise!!! Again, wooden. What was that Stepford Husband grin at the beginning while he scrubbed the griddle?

9:19 Okay, found a copy of "I Am Woman" with drag queens! Lots of sweaty shirtless gay men dancing around but hey, that's what you get with a drag version of "I Am Woman". Ladies and gents: Miss Coco Peru!

9:24 I like both their outfits, though I think a deeper shad of pink would look better on Jeff. Melissa's dress is lovely.

9:25 Hey, was Paula Deen in this season of this show? I forget.

Oh God, this is going to get tedious real, real fast.

9:27 They're going to show the presentations that each of these guys just made.

Awwww, they're bringing them all back! It's a reunion scene!

Oh no, they're getting all "Project Runway Reunion Episode"-ish on us now.

Thanks for sharing your lactation memories, Melissa.

Someone, please remind me how Eddie got on this damn show again?

9:29 Ohohohohohoho, we sure have some nicknames for you people, Tuschie!

9:30 Is it over yet?

9:32 Still not accidental posting on the Food Network home page prematurely congratulating the winner.

9:35 Teddy, on Eddie: "It's my Me-in-a-Bo-o-ox!"

9:36 And now, the pilots...

Melissa D'Arabian: Kitchen Survival Guide (please promise this won't be her opening sequence if she wins). I do like the whole "Plug and Play" thing she uses.

9:37 What does she dress the chicken in?

"My kids" reference: DRINK!

9:38 A little bit of butter? Oh, girl, you would not make it two minutes on Paula's Home Cooking or Barefoot Contessa.

9:39 Whoa, is that thunder I hear outside?

9:40 Overall, I thought her pilot went well. She offered good tips in a non-scatterbrained way. Focused and not needing others to help her. The show still seemed a weeeeeee bit wooden, but much closer to "Dan & Steve" than "Amy Findlay." A 4 out of 5 from me.

9:41 Again: I am so seeing that Julie & Julia movie.

9:45 And now it's Jeffrey's turn...

Jeffrey Saad: the Indredient Smuggler - even worse opening than Melissa's.

OMG, it's HARISSA!!! Kudos for what seems to be the Food Network's first ever mention that North Africa even has a cuisine (it does - it's lovely).

Teddy's so cute.

The food looks good and Jeffrey is goin' very smoothly. But he seems to have just jumped right in with such little opening. Melissa seemed to give more background, which helped. Granted, he doesn't have enough time to really go into what harissa is, but it would've been nice to hear at least a few more sentences on it. Overall, 4 out of 5, but a slightly lower 4 than Melissa's. I think she did a little better.

9:51 Just because they're offering "Maine"-like and "Louisiana"-ish recipes does not mean I want to eat at Red Lobster.

9:53 So at the 53-minute mark, I'm still ready to call it for Melissa! Let's see how my prediction holds up.

9:54 Who is this person in the Proactiv ad again?

9:55 I figured Suze would have tried harissa by now.

9:56 Continued heaping of praise on the cheftestants. Just don't give it to Stefan! (Oops, wrong show.)

9:57 And the winner is... aw, who the hell is this? It's just the president of the Food Network.

And NOW the winner, whose show airs in one week, is...

Pick up the pace, Flay.

(Still not as long and drawn out as the first Make Me a Supermodel finale.)

9:58 Oh, SNAP, I knew it! Cue "I Am Woman"! It's a fun song, okay? Don't hate on me for playin' it. And everything's better with drag queens.


Once again, our winner. I'm getting better at predicting these, I think. But had you told me at the start of this series that Melissa was even going to make it halfway, much less win, I'd have said you were crazy. So here you are, crazy and vindicated! And so am I. We start seeing Melissa's rescue kitchen next week. Now I watch Duff promote pizza in the Midwest. Shouldn't he be touting local pizza? Oh that's right: apparently we only have inedible pizza here as far as resident New Yorkers are concerned. How the hell did I get onto pizza again?


I'm deleting the rules for the NFNS5 drinking game, of course, since no one needs them anymore. And yet, to save my hard work for posterity, I preserve them en toto below. This will be helpful if and/or when this series is ever released on DVD.

Drink ONCE:

* If someone says or does something stupid
* If someone talks wistfully about "their kids/spouse/parents/partner/dog, cat or goldfish
* For every Food Network celebrity that pops up (just once per hour for each cheflebrity
* Any of the guests (but not the judges or Food Network personalities) makes a face because of something food related
* Whenever any of the competitors is seen in a state of half-dress (shirtless men / bra-clad women)
* Whenever anyone says the phrase "YUM-O"
*Whenever Debbie mentions that she is Korean or Southern (TWICE if she mentions both in the same breath)
* Whenever Katie acts "dietitian-y"
* Whenever Teddy acts "Teddy-like" (SUPERENERGETICOBOYOBOY!!!)

Drink TWICE if:

* Any team spends too much for their food
* Any of the judges or Food Network cheflebrities makes a face because of something food related
* Anyone says some variation of "I don't know if I can trust him/her"

Drink THRICE (?) if:

* Any of these yokels hooks up.


* If anyone - ANYONE - cries, for ANY reason.