After last week’s fantastic episode of Food Network Star — in which the last of the “pretenders” were finally eliminated — this week’s episode had to meet some high expectations. While it wasn’t as drama-filled as previous episodes — due to Penny and Chris being eliminated — we finally got to focus on the two most important things in the competition; the food, and how the contestants present themselves on camera. With the competition heating up, even the smallest mistake could be the difference.
The first challenge of the night presented the contestants with the opportunity to create a cupcake that defined them. While most of the chefs went with traditional sweet cupcakes, Jeff decided to cram a bunch of Italian meats into some batter. Surprisingly, that cupcake did not go over well with the judges. Mary Beth and Jyll performed the best in this challenge; with Bobby Flay claiming the cupcake was Mary Beth’s best dish so far in the competition.
For their second challenge, the chefs were told they would be appearing on the Rachel Ray show to re-create a classic American dish and present it to the audience. If Jeff was feeling the pressure from his failure in the first challenge, he didn’t show it. Jeff absolutely nailed the second challenge. He was charming, relaxed and entertaining without going over the top. Whitney was the other big winner in this challenge. She was engaging, told a good story and delivered strong food.
Things didn’t go so well for Vic or Jyll. Vic attempted to create something he called LaChunga; a mix between lasagna and a chimichanga. Basically, he took leftover lasagna, wrapped it in a tortilla, deep-fried it and threw a bunch of cheese and vegetables on top. It doesn’t sound appetizing and it certainly didn’t look appetizing. Outside of her successful cupcake, Jyll looked frightened the entire episode. She knew she was on thin ice the past couple weeks, and her confidence seemed shot. Her performance on Rachel Ray seemed to be going well until she was asked about her culinary point of view. Jyll made up some terrible Midwest-California view-point that she had never previously mentioned up until this point of the season. The judges were just as confused by this revelation.
Perhaps it was no surprise, then, when the judges announced Jyll would be leaving the show. Jyll seemed somewhat relieved to leave the show, as the pressure seemed to really get to her the past couple weeks. There’s no doubt it was definitely her time to go.
Next week, the remaining contestants will be cooking various meats while being roasted by a slew of comedians. If you think that sounds like a strange premise for an episode of Food Network Star, I can’t say that I blame you. While I have enjoyed his personality as the season has progressed, I think Vic will get the boot this upcoming week. His food has slipped in recent episodes and his camera presence leaves a lot to be desired. Mary Beth would be my second choice, however. We’re at the point where anything can happen, though, and one bad dish could send any of these chefs home. That should make for another entertaining episode this Sunday.