Eat Random

The idea for this blog is to blog about everything I think about food and food culture. I'll tell you what I like to eat, where I like to eat it and if I thought it was good or if I thought it was crap. My thoughts about food could go anywhere. Hey if you don't like it go blog at

Random Dude Eats Random Food Indianapolis restaurants

Monday, June 6, 2011

Food Network Star Episode 1: Good Lord It's Gonna Be a Long Season

Okay everybody so tonight was the start of the brand new season of Food Network Star (formerly Next Food Network Star) and folks let me tell you that I have a feeling this season is going to be a long haul.  The first episode of the season was a ridiculously long 2 hours in length.  I know that in the first episode we have to get introduced to the cast etc, but that not withstanding this episode draaaaaagged. We basically got through the 2 cooking challenges and the obligatory camera challenge by the time we got the 2nd hour and it still took forever to find out who was going home.  Before we get there however let's do a little rundown of how the episode went.
Vin Vic Vegas

One thing I noticed right off the bat is that not very many of these contestants are really that enjoyable to watch.  Food Network seems so intent on trying to find over-the-top characters that they really just brought in a bunch of a-holes and d-bags without really caring how much talent they have for cooking.  There are so many contestants that I honestly don't remember all of them or their names, but let me try to give a couple examples of what I'm talking about.  Chris:  Stereotype immature frat boy who wanted to buy beer on a team shopping trip and make his teammate buy less expensive chocolate for her dessert dish.  Penny:  A decidedly unsexy "sexy" chef who seems  to think she gets paid by 1. how often she insults other constestants and 2. uses the word "sexy" awkwardly in every sentence.  Vic Vegas:  Dude looks like Vin Diesel, retarded tattoos and wears shirts that he got out of Guy Fieri's closet.  Howie Drummond:  Radio morning show host who again has douchey tattoos and admits up front he doesn't have talent for cooking (WHY THE EFF IS HE ON THE SHOW?).  There were 2 or three contestants that weren't so terrible (Jeff and Orchid), but it's going to take a while before the wheat is separated from the chaff.  That's why watching all of these cooking and camera challenges is going to be so brutal.

For the first cooking challenge the only requirement is that the contestants have 45 minutes to make a breakfast that "represents who they are".  My first thought was that this was such a garbage challenge.  If this were Top Chef (the show that FNS is blatantly copying here) their is no way the cheftestants would be handed such an easy challenge for a quickfire.  If there was a quickfire with such loose parameters on Top Chef the expectations for the dishes would be incredibly high.  It's obvious that Food Network is admitting that their potential "stars" are lacking a lot more in the talent department.  There was nothing remarkable about the challenge itself, but it seems that some of them seem more polished in front of the camera while presenting dishes.  However, some of them like Juba (Yes, that's his name) are painfully, seizure inducing bad. It is also noticeable that several of the women contestants might become incredibly grating over the course of a season.  I'm looking at you Katy. 

The elimination challenge had them team up in groups of 3 to shoot promos for their potential shows and make a 4 course tasting menu for the judging panel and a group of media "superstars" like A.C. Slater Mario Lopez.  The challenge was filled with more poor on camera performances, and Alton Brown who was directing the promos was having his patience tested big time.  The food was similarly unimpressive.  The judges seemed to like the taste of several of the dishes, but expectations have to be low.  Some examples of menu items prepared included key lime pie, fried calamari, boiled shrimp and butternut squash soup.  Bourdain and Collicchio wouldn't stand for that pedestrian shit on the TC craft service table. 

Bye bye, Howie!
At judges table we get a lot of conflicting advice from the judges about how some people are boring, some people are too over the top, how it's good to be over the top, why not to be "sexy" and even that bow ties can be "risky" somehow according to Bobby Flay.  Really what it comes down to is that the judges, Bobby Flay, Giada, Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson aren't really looking for a great chef to be on TV as much as they are looking for someone to sell their crappy Food Network line of products and cookbooks.  Anyway, Howie the radio guy who admitted he stunk at cooking got sent home in a completely obvious elimination that made the whole 2 hours feel like an incredible waste of time.  I'm sure there will be more awkward camera challenges, pedestrian food and completely unnecessary waterworks in the future.  I'll keep trying to sum it all up, but damn they really need to pick up the pace with this show.  When are those new Fear Factor episodes coming on again?

1 comment:

Troll said...

Interesting recap. It will get better as they eliminate the hacks.

We disagree strongly on "Top-Chef" which has had many hack contestants, incompetent judges, and some of the dumbest challenges ever devised.

The difference is that NFNS doesn't bring hack contestants back as "special guests" dozens of times.

I.E. Marcel, the "male" version of the "bringsexybackbeast".

Nor do they describe making foam and immersion circulators as "cutting edge cuisine and equipment".