Food Network Star recap: Frustration in the kitchen spells disaster


For this week’s Food Network Star recap, frustration and a bad cook cause a ripple effect through the challenges. Which of the final four finalists went home?

Another Food Network Star recap and another cooking truth comes true. Frustration in the kitchen can lead to a whole lot of trouble. But what is the bigger mistake, calling someone by the wrong name or cooking a bad dish? For these final four finalists, everything needs to be on point to make their Food Network dreams come true.

In the first challenge, the final four finalists must create a recipe that is Facebook shareable. Of course, nothing is ever that simple on Food Network Star. Before anyone can start cooking their themed dish, the finalists must agree on their specific theme. It wouldn’t be a fun show if everyone agreed, right?

Manny and Amy both want the topic of crunchy meat. Since neither person wants the final choice of sour sandwich, they decide to do rock, paper scissors for the opportunity to get the theme. As the cooking clock continues to move, Manny wins the chance to make crunchy meat. But, would this topic earn him a win?

Of course, as Food Network Star nears its end, twists are everywhere. The finalists shouldn’t think that this shareable Facebook recipe video would be challenge. Each finalist had to be the “producer” of the segment. Anne Burrell would demo the recipes and basically be the finalists’ puppet. What they said in her ear would be on the segment.

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  • This type of challenge is designed to be difficult. Getting words of your own head on camera isn’t easy. Conveying those thoughts to someone else through an ear piece takes a lot of practice. Overall, all four finalists did well with this challenge.

    One finalist really excelled in this shareable recipe challenge. In an unexpected twist, Amy easily won the challenge. Even though she had a topic that wasn’t her top choice, her sandwich and her production style was on point.

    The banh mi sandwich had a brightness with the pickled condiments. Plus, the marinade was quite good. The flavors were nuanced yet spot on.

    Also, her production was smart. She was able to share tips with Anne for the video. From little facts to easy to follow instructions for the home cook, this video was definitely a shareable recipe.

    While the other dishes were ok, some of the elements weren’t right for this challenge. Christian shouldn’t have used liquid nitrogen to make gelato. Manny’s video production didn’t have good flow. Polak’s dish wasn’t plated correctly (actually her cake was under-cooked). It made sense that Amy won and received the advantage.

    In a previous episode, Amy won the first challenge and got an advantage. Unfortunately, that advantage landed her in the bottom in that episode. Would that scenario repeat itself in this Food Network Star recap?

    For her advantage, Amy was able to pick and assign the topics for the elimination challenge. Looking at these topics, Amy didn’t choose wisely. If I had been choosing topics, I would have assigned brunch to Manny, easy entertaining to Polak, on the go breakfast to Christian and potluck for Amy. These assignments would have pushed the finalists to think outside of their comfort zones.

    But, Amy would have been fine with the potluck topic. Since her POV focuses on the “mom” culture, potlucks are popular with families. She could have come up with a recipe that had elevated flavors while still being family/mom friendly. Amy didn’t choose wisely.

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    Still, the dish wasn’t only factor of this challenge. Each finalist had to host a 10 minute live episode with special guest Ree Drummond. Hosting a live cooking segment is much harder than it looks. For the finalists to cook, interact with a guest and engage an audience will definitely separate the top and bottom finalists.

    While problems during the live segment were a given, it was shocking to see that Amy had such a cooking failures in the kitchen. First, she couldn’t find the right pans. Then, she didn’t have a particular ingredient. Lastly, she forgot to poach an egg for a benedict recipe. It was a total cook fail for Amy.

    When it came to the live cooking segment, it was almost a given that Christian was going to do well. His personality plays well on camera. Overall, Christian was able to balance all the elements to this challenge. He engaged the audience, included his guest and completed his dish. While it wasn’t perfect, it was quite good.

    More importantly for Christian, he had the best dish of the day. The polenta was luscious. With the sausage, peppers and onions, the dish was flavorful and balanced. Christian easily moved onto the final three.

    Manny had the biggest mistake of the day. He called Ree Drummond by the wrong name. I would have thought that this mistake would have put him on the bottom. Plus, he interacted with the audience, but ignored his guest. She was like a glorified prop, which is a definitely wrong.

    Luckily for Manny, his dish was delicious. The bacon jam was a huge hit. For him, it was a good thing that he didn’t make this burger a few weeks ago. That burger and bacon jam saved him. Manny moved onto the final three.

    That leaves the two ladies in the bottom for this Food Network Star recap. Truthfully, I would have put Manny in the bottom with Polak, but I guess bacon jam is like the golden ticket to the final three. Who knew that bacon jam was good?

    Amy was still suffering from her bad cook. It was clear that all those mistakes were spilling over into the live segment. She was clearly nervous. Once she got into a little bit of a groove, the segment got a little better. She was able to find a better spin for her messed up recipe.

    Polak made a big mistake by letting Ree drive the segment. Ree was supposed to be the guest, not the host. Polak needed to be more assertive and she never was. It made the segment hard to watch.

    Looking at the two ladies’ dishes, Amy had a slightly better dish than Polak. Amy’s dish lacked finesse. Yes, she was missing a poached egg, but the dish could have been better. It wasn’t up to her normally delicious standards.

    Polak struggled with spices, again. While it was a good idea to use an Indian flat bread for a breakfast burrito, the ketchup in her dish was overpowering. When a condiment overpowers the rest of the dish, that dish is a fail.

    The finalist leaving this Food Network Star recap was Polak. It was disappointing that she couldn’t find the right spice balance in her dishes. It would have been interesting to see some more of her dishes or using some of her techniques and spices in recipes twists.

    Looking at the final three, my money is still on Christian. He offers the best balance of culinary authority and personality. Although, there is something that makes me wonder why Amy is still around. There isn’t a strong mom-centric show on Food Network. Plus, she has seemed to keep moving forward even when she could (or should) have been eliminated.

    Next: Nesquik and Jordan Andino colloborate on new recipes using the childhood favorite

    Who do you think will win this season of Food Network Star? Do you think that an upset could be in the making? Maybe the finalist returning from Star Salvation could take the title. Check back next week to see who will be making a pilot.