NFNS 5: Episode 5

July 5, 2009 at 10:12 am

One Of You Will Be Going Home Tonight

 The annual visit to the Rachael Ray Show.


  • Brett – went home week 2.
  • Teddy – went home week 4.
  • Katie – rocked 1st challenge was solid on the 2nd.
  • Michael – started strong on 1st challenge then nose-dived.  Great in the 2nd challenge.
  • Debbie – do judges truly love her or is it demographics?
  • Eddie – went home week 3.
  • Jamika – forgot to cook on the 1st challenge – barely cooked on the 2nd.
  • Jeffery – back on winning track on the 1st challenge.
  • Melissa – gets better each week.
  • Jen – went home week 1.

First challenge was to take healthy food and make it kid-friendly.  Jefferey and Michael’s food was best.  Katie was best all around and Jamika spent her time talking and not cooking.

For the second challenge they have to do a live demo on the Rachael Ray Show.  I was actually able to catch this episode of Rachael Ray when it aired so I had the benefit of seeing each presentation before seeing the behind-the-scenes aspect on NFNS.  The contestants were paired off and tasked to make favorite kid’s meal adult-worthy.

Based on the viewing on RR it would be hard to choose which team did better, but not impossible.  I would have to give the team of Melissa and Michael the win in this challenge – they worked well together and their food (grilled cheese on a stick and tomato-basil soup) was terrific.  Debbie and Katie were really good together as well.  Katie especially shined, but there was a moment (when Katie first took over the presentation) that Debbie rolled her (snake) eyes.  Their assignment was to class up chicken tenders and mac & cheese.  Other than that little bit of nastiness they were very good.  The two favorites were paired as Jeffery and Jamika snazzed up beans and franks.  Their food was amazing and actually reflected both of their “culinary points of view” really well.  Their presentation, though not bad, seemed a little manic.  Jeffery kind of dominated with a lot of narrative and they had to rush Jamika’s part of the dish to get it done inside of 5 minutes. 

After watching the full episode I observed that Jamika had some serious confidence issues which is a shame because she has been a strong contender and has apparently had the judges on her side since day one.  The judges have appeared to have turn on her as well by their comments.  Two bad weeks in a row – will they invoke the Aaron McCargo rule?  Yes.

Also, we got to see Debbie’s negative comments about having to let Katie cook half of the menu.  Can you say control freak?  And how many times can Debbie mention she’s Korean?  Tushcman just foamed at the mouth over Debbie’s presentation and slammed Katie’s.  Odd since everyone else seemed to like Katie much more.  Tuschman’s love for Debbie brings back memories of Nipa from last year one was kept weeks past her ability because Tuschman thought FN needed an Asian chef.  He always seems to be more worried about demographics than finding the Next Food Network Star.  Both Bob and Susie scolded Katie for looking down and not making eye contact – Bobby did not share their opinion.  Debbie was just as bad but they seemed to miss that.  Hmm.

The judges didn’t care for Melissa or Michael very much.  Huh?  They were great.  What gives?  Sure they were mediocre on the first challenge but they killed in the second – no question.  This sheds light on the growing chasm between FN and their core viewers.

As of Last Week – Who should win based on what we’ve seen so far: Jeffery, Michael or Melissa

After This Week – Who should win based on what we’ve seen so far: Jeffery, Michael or Melissa

As of Last Week – Who will win based on what we’ve seen in the past: Melissa, Michael or Jamika.

After This Week – Who will win based on what we’ve seen in the past: Jamika or Debbie.

Winner(s) this week:  – 1st Challenge – they didn’t really name one.  2nd Challenge – same here.

The finalist who will be going home is . . .




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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."



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