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The Next Food Network Star, Final

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Disappointing, but expected: I have expected that Aaron will be the winner all along, unless he screws it up to the point of no return. For last two weeks, he had almost reached that level, but they had kept giving him more chances and he got it finally. At this point, I think my criticism toward the show or FN is no longer meaningful as they just picked the one they had needed for a long time: Afro-American talent. I strongly believe that was the reason they did not put this on public vote as they were afraid to lose him like last season(cannot think Lori could be the better choice, but…). Anyway, Aaron was the worst among three finalists in cooking and entertaining. His concept or vision didn’t look like something can last long as it was not the idea can cover the ground of cuisine he would lean on. In addition, Guy Fieri’s show has already covered similar kind of concept. I am sure Aaron’s show will be less exciting than Guy’s as he doesn’t seem to have that level of entertaining skill (It was almost painful to watch him hosting his pilot show).

Except the fact that I cannot see her face more than one minute, Lisa did a fine job, whether I think all the ‘show and tell’ kind of presentation she had with Gordon Elliot is kind of fake or not(more often than not, I tend to think that kind of concept
work is fake…my profession makes me spoiled and skeptical). Anyway I am happy as I don’t need to see her anymore(sorry). Adam did his best despite the circumstances which FN never seemed to make him win. His entertaining skill was at his best and his cooking was good enough for people to feel that he is some sort of expertise. It is not that I have been rooting for him, but for me he was the best one to watch without feeling sick. His idea to the show was fine, but not really refreshing as Tyler Florence and Danny Boome’s show have already done same thing. Anyway, I am still believing that he will find a way, maybe the better one than this: he deserved to be in this level of competition.
OK, it is time to wrap up. I really don’t want to see this as a final result, but it ends up being something I have been expecting all along anyway. I am still thinking that Aaron’s show will not be very exciting, and there is high possibility that the first season will be the last one, like Amy’s.


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Written by bluexmas

July 29, 2008 at 10:02 am

Posted in Food-Others

The Next Food Network Star, Week Seven

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I don’t think it was only me who had guessed that there would be no eliminated contestants: the preview from the week before the last one gave too much of clue. However, I guessed that they would go through one more round to eliminated one to the final of two.. so that was only difference between my guess and what actually happened.
The reason for me is that they didn’t want to eliminated Aaron: he was the worst among three, in both cooking and entertaining. Three pastas were to much and none of them looked appetizing. Even worse, his presentation was horrible and I had to flip the channel. I think that they wanted to get rid of Adam as much as they did to save Aaron; had he done slightly worse than he did last week, he would already be eliminated. However, I think their judgement was impaired: Tuschman guy said ‘with one bad week among seven, we cannot eliminated him’, but had they already eliminated guys mostly based on each episode’s performance, more than anything? It was too generous, while they pointed out Adam’s ongoing inconsistency. I don’t think that’s fair. I think he did great job, especially in cooking and they seemed to be still hesitant to give him a credit in that department. To me, he looked most relaxed and food looked great. Cannot see any problem for him to cook.
Lisa… I have to admit that her singing was great, but singing itself cannot make me like her. There were critical failure in cooking, in addition to poor performance in filming promo. Overall, she was slightly better than Aaron as nobody was able to detect her lack of quantity in monkfish. They are heading to the final… I have no idea who will win, but if that is not solely based on performance, I bet Aaron will win and he will be gone after one season of awkward show. My favorite to win now is Adam, as I have been impressed by his overall performance, but hard to imagine they let him win all the way, even harder for Lisa. One last thing: by the preview, it seems that they will decide the winner by jury, not by open vote. Is it only me who thinks fishy?

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Written by bluexmas

July 29, 2008 at 10:01 am

Posted in Food-Others

The Next Food Network Star, Week Six

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At the end of the show, Kelsey had to leave and I did not expect that. However, she seemed to be outmatched in almost every aspect of the challenge and irked crooked-face Tuschman guy one more time with that ‘culinary school’ comment. She hadn’t really one of my favorite contestants all the way, but there were nothing really much to dislike her and I don’t understand why the culinary school comment is such a problem as that is all she has for now; she is just 23 and FN knows that. Few weeks ago, that crooked-face guy criticized her by comparing her comment to aviation school graduate, and I didn’t think it made sense at all. If they think her lack of life experience can be the issue, they should have not selected her, or Shane either for that matter, or even raised the age limit so that any twenty something or younger person don’t apply for the competition.

Personally, I don’t see any problem with their relative lack of experience as I believe they can bring the fresh air which can balance the lack of experience out. I just don’t understand why they make such a big deal out of their age after bringing them to the show; it looked like they were spitting to their face. To me, they didn’t even look that immature or lacking at all. Anyway, I think she will find her way to cook in front of camera, somewhere not FN.

Ok, here is the breakdown:

-Lisa: I think I have to confess that I could not even watch Lisa was on TV; putting all the hair and makeup aside, I cannot watch her moving so frantically all over the place. I was wondering how she avoided cutting her finger while chopping herbs like that. At the end of the show, she said she needed to warm herself up in front of the camera, and I don’t think that will happen as that is just her personality. In fact, that scene reminded me of Lori, the runner-up of last season, as it seems they are sharing some kind of bitchness and FN just want to play with it until the end, or just next week… I just don’ think she will win all the way(oh well, Rachel Ray is still having her show, so why not?).

-Aaron: I think  his cooking solely save him this time. He didn’t even start cooking Chicken Parmesan until less that 20 minutes left, but was able to finish strong. He still seems to lack TV skill, but he can learn it, I guess (is it something FN has to offer? Training, I mean…). Now it is his to lose, considering FN is believed to be dying to get Afro-American talents.

-Adam: I don’t think he is less qualified than other contestants, so I don’t understand Tuschman guy’s argument of him lacking passion. He just wanted to eliminate him so badly, I guess. I don’t think he can go beyond this week, but is able to find another TV job: good looking, acts very natural in front of camera. He may be the better one than they think, and I think he deserves more.

Oh, here is one more thing: throwdown format of last week’s challenge was that interesting. Overall, I still think last season’s format is a lot better.

Written by bluexmas

July 16, 2008 at 6:54 am

Posted in Food-Others

The Next Food Network Star, Week 5

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Last season, it was not until final three left, to have the show with live audience. But this season, they did it with the half of the contestant had left. Basically I have been thinking the contestants as a whole is weaker than previous ones, so I think this was not agood call, and even worse with the task they had: making little girl scouts happy. For me, it looked like double whammy with the basic task of dealing with live audience AND Rachel Ray. It was painful 35 minutes or so to look(not watch; I cannot) at her and unwilling listen to her smoky voice. Man, it is getting worse, isn’t it? I just cannot see her charm as a television figure. Oh, I better shut up now.

Anyway, here are the breakdown of contestants:

-Aaron: I think this is something FN has expected. If he can keep this up, he will win all the way as they are dying to have some Afro-American talent.

-Kelsey: going back to annoying side, from cute side of last week. Her reason to be next FN star was most elaborated and logical one, though. For me, others doesn’t even sound like something; they had no concept.

-Shane: I don’t think it was all his fault; the girl was not really personable and didn’t seem to enjoy to be there(intimidated by him?). It seemed that he did his best without having full knowledge of what the girl had wanted. All in all, it was disappointing to see him eliminated as I think that he could be the next Tyler Florence (well, this could be real complement, had Tyler Florence not screwed up his reputation by appearing Applebee commercial), with good skill and not so bad looking. I have thought that he was the one could win all the way with Aaron. However, he is still very young, so he can have his fair share of opportunity somewhere else after visiting Paris (couldn’t understand he’d never been to Paris while mentioning French technic all the time)

-Lisa: stop crying, pleeeeeease. I didn’t understand FN’s decision to keep her as she seemed to be almost forcing the girl to cook what she had wanted to cook; not really sure that young girl had known what the heck was cous cous. Now, I am hoping her not to win all the way as I can see she can become the hybrid of Rachel, Giada, and Sandra. Look so ominous on this one…

-Adam: next to Aaron, I think he was the second in overall, including both cooking and entertaining. He seems to have a knack of entertain people, as he came up with some jokes about his food as an alternative of some chocolate related stuff he had wanted to come up with. However, I cannot see him win all the way as he can only be inferior clone of Guy Fieri (going bananas all the time, regardless of what the heck he does).

Well, personally I feel this season is going downhill. Except Aaron, nobody cannot give new and fresh

perspective to the shows FN already has. I know this is too early to think about, but I guess they have to reconsider doing this show if this season’s winner doesn’t pan out. But as I have always claimed, it is them to kill their own farmhand by burying them among other already proven talents from outside: cannot believe Ted Allen doing the show, it is not that I don’t like him or he is not talented, it is just…

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Written by bluexmas

July 8, 2008 at 8:28 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Random Thoughts: The Next Food Network Star

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Some random thoughts about the fourth season so far(gotta be random, otherwise just cannot finish long sentence after 5:30: my English engine used to be shut down).

1. Even before watching the second challenge, I was 98% sure that Jennifer was gonna be the one who would / should be gone: how could not the executive chef know udon noodle? There was no way she got confused it with linguini. The second challenge was even worse, so I just could not watch her portion of the show (flippped the channel). For whole season before getting finally eliminated, she had been disaster to my eyes. Mashed potato pizza? It was flat-out gross, period. After the desicion, she said “I know I am a great mom and chef”, and this looked very self-justifying and contradictory to me; during her appearance, the jury had pointed out the lack of self-confidence, and it eventually killed her opportunity, then she suddenly became so confident to say that she knew she was… I do not know what is her specialty as a chef, but she did not look like some kind of culinary expert for me(and never looked creative either. Repeat: mashed potato pizza…), thus she may not be a great chef (udon noodle… had she been watching the shows from the company where she tried to become the show host, she would know already what the udon noodle was). And nobody would care whether she is great mom or not as that is not their main interest. Oh, she has already been forgotten two seconds after the elimination, so never mind.

2. About other contestant, including the ones already gone.

-Cory: I already believe that the humor is some kind of variation of sacarsm, so I did not expect she would bring what the jury had expected. However, didn’t it sound offensive “you seemed dark” from Tuschman guy? Personally, I hate to say or hear that someone is a dark person, as I have heard that occasionally, even from some people who wasn’t even able to do eye-contact. Anyway, she was just an easy target.

-Kevin: some guys would love to learn how to cook just because it would bring some advantages in scoring girls, and he could be the one. His culinary point of view was just ridiculous. Fresh mozzarella in onion soup? I don’t want to eat that. In his weekly chat in ESPN, baseball scout/writer Keith Law mentioned that “That guy is tool. Romance in Crostini? He must be single.” Well said, couldn’t agree more.

-Jeffrey: he was not a TV type, sorry.

-Nipa: my least favorite of all four season, don’t even want to go into details.

-Aaron: for the first few shows, I thought that he would win, as FN is dying to find some Afro-american talent. However, he never seems to be relaxed in front of camera, and even worse, his cooking skill seems to be lost somewhere along the line. Maybe having hard time in front of camera affects his cooking? If it goes like this, he will be gone next week or the next.

-Adam: walking the plank with Aaron, he is very likely to be next.

-Lisa: kind of style I don’t like personally… She seems to get better, but will Rachel Ray and Giada De Laurentiis let the younger lady join the roster? Always skeptical about it.

-Shane: considering his age, he has done it really well, and looks like cooking skill is very good, maybe more than that. At this point, he can go all the way to final. If he can win, FN can have great asset. Attempt to make US verions of Jamie Oliver? Sounds like good idea!

-Kelsey: she must be the cutest contestant ever in the show, but I don’t know why I cannot get it. Anyway, she can be versatile if she can win all the way; she can host cooking program, as well as traveling program(I would watch hers million times over Rachel Ray’s). However, the same question applies here: can Rachel Ray and Giada…? she is even younger than Lisa, a lot. 

4. I don’t know what level of expertise FN or the jury expects from the contestants, but the challege is getting more and more ridiculous as the show getting deeper into competition. Simply put, let Rachel or Giada do some things from the challege, just want to see they can do it. The point here is that I cannot see FN has some kind of clear plan of using them, whoever wins the competition, as they have filled all the niches with other show hosts/hostesses. There were three trails of new show, and two of them would be hosted by someone who had already been in other shows, and the other was some pretty food blogger. For me, no one from the contestants pool can survive with distinctive character of both personality and show, as FN have spent all kind of possible combinations of personality and show. Moreover, I cannot see the shows lasts longer; they just throw a lot and see what sticks, and go from there.

5. I was kind of tired watching Emeril Lagasse at the very end of his tenure, but after his departure (forced or not, I don’t want to know), the FN haven’t been able to find one who can carries them on his/her shoulder. It seems that they have chosen Bobby Flay, but his personality cannot match Emeril’s. And his Iron Chef status makes things even worse, as the show is not for showing warm side of cooking to the viewer; it is brutal and athletic battle, and no one watches the show to see chef’s personality, as no one would care athlete’s personality much when watching the competition. Why am I saying this? Probably I want to say that FN is drifiting, even now.

6. Does FN really think this show is a success? They would, but I don’t think so. Whether voluntarily or not, two out of three season’s winner have gone, and the only one remains is not someone I enjoy watching. The cooking side of him doesn’t really appeal to me, maybe just to me, I don’t know. Anyway, I have not put all the contestants in some picture while watching whole season, considering all the shows and talents they have, but no one among the group gives me very bright and clear picture of what they will/can become, so I think this season doesn’t look very optimistic on the halfway point here. Don’t get me wroing, I am pointing FN more as the problem, not the contestants.

7. So much for the Tuschman guy saying that ‘This will (can?) change your life forever?’ Oh well…

8. Alton Brown rules… little less than before, but still. Oh, this is irrelevant, sorry. <!– –>

Written by bluexmas

July 1, 2008 at 8:30 am

Posted in Food-Others

The Ultimate Recipe Disaster-Where’s FN heading?

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These days, FN sucks so bad that it finally makes me come back to this abandoned blog to write something about it. Among many bad shows, the worst for me is ‘The Ultimate Recipe Showdown.’ The very first time I watched the trailer, I thought that this would be really bad: who in the world really want to watch that kind of competition? It looks very obvious that they want to bring that Iron Chef atmosphere into the cooking competition among ordinary people, but come on, it is not the program to teach some people who doesn’t know how to cook, or not Iron Chef kind of one from which people can see fantastic artistry wrapped by meticulous craftmanship, either. Moreover, it is not some kind of ourdoor competition you can see festivities around. Therefore I wonder: for whom does FN make the program?

 Just to check with my own pair of eyes, I watched the first episode, or match if you will, and it was worse that I had thought, as Guy ‘Banana-Money’ Fieri, who cannot speak simple and plain English so that he keeps using words like ‘Money’ and ‘Banana’,  kept repeating meaningless comments like ‘oh, that is panko, which is Janapese bread crumb to bring the crunchness…’ While listening those kind of meaningless craps, I figured out that the beneficiary of the program was in fact TGIF, one of the crappiest ‘FAMILY’ restaurant which is playing important role to ruin my home country’s food culture. It was mentioned that the winning recipes from the competition would be developed by TGIF and would be on the menu of it so that people could have it there. Fantastic!

 At the end of last year when I heard the news about the end of Emeril’s era, I thought that it would be fine and I had not been excited with his show. However, the problem is that seemingly worse programs are now  filling their schedule: Rescue Chef? Tyler ‘Applebee’ Florence once had the program based on similar concept. ‘Down Home with Neelys?’ I haven’t even taken a look and never will, probably. And anyone remember Amy Finley? They stopped making her show just after finising season one, with six episodes. It looks very obvious that they have not figured out what kind of direction they need to take, or how they make their concept, which seems to be making more competition shows, materialized by making some good shows. While they are drifting in the river of nowhere, I slowly and silently flip my channel to PBS to watch America’s Test Kitchen. I do not need any more pierce competition that Iron Chef, so it is very unlikely for me to watch FN more than for that one. In other words, this is my private farewell to FN, a.k.a ‘Food (Fighting) Network.

 So long, FN. Thank for the six years of joy. I have learned a lot from you but not any more.

Written by bluexmas

March 7, 2008 at 8:06 am

Posted in Food-Others

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Iron Chef America Insulted itself

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Even if I do not like the direction of Food Network, which seems to concentrate more to the reality show and series of weird competitions and challenge, I still like watching Iron Chef America since it always shows great deal of craftmanship and toughness from the chefs. Eventually, that is another representation of passion of the professional which should be pursued by anyone who takes their job seriously, no matter what they does.

Having said that, yesterday’s show looked like a self-insulting disaster to me, as they deliberately tried to remove that seriousness of the show, for which they have spent enormous time. Whether it was for fun or not, Paula Deen was never a good fit; for me, what she had cooked looked disgusting, and it was made with some iron chef who had put the term ‘iron chef material’ in her mouth in last duel for the Next Iron Chef over and over. Ok, their stuff at least looked more for the serious competition except that Paula Deen’s processed cheese crap. However, their male counterpart was total disater which made people like me suspect their work ethic as the professional. At first, their all five dish didn’t look good at all; it just looked like they had cooked it halfheatedly. As far as I know, there had been no single challenger who have cooked dish looked like that bad, and they were the FN’s own celebrity chefs. Moreover, that Yule Log by Tyler Florence should not have presented if he were real professional, simple because it was not what it should have been. There were couple of times Robert Irvine refused to bring some dish in his show ‘Dinner: Impossible’, just because it was not as good as it should be, something done by professional chef. Everytime he faced such kind of situation, he used to say “I cannot present this with my name.” Well, he should have had some fist fight to refrain Florence putting that ugly cake on the table, and he could have won easily, considering that scary bicep he has.

I know I might be overreacting: hey, it’s only TV show and I know it and I like it fun, but the problem is that the show not is for such kind of comedy and disaster. It could have been forgivable has they put that show on air with different title.

Written by bluexmas

November 27, 2007 at 9:47 am

Posted in Food-Others