Next Food Network Star


Amy, we love you!

Her husband does exist! Not dead/off at war/divorced! He likes pastry! Also, he’s a meat-and-potatoes guy. Go, not-dead husband. Also, she has a rock on her hand the size of New Mexico, maybe he got tired of people speculating his death?

In other news, she beats potatoes with a bat. This is interesting, as I have never heard of beating potatoes with a bat before putting them in a saute pan. This is unique, and different. Unlike every other FN chef ever, who teaches you new recipes, and honestly you don’t need recipes to begin with, this particular cook just gave me a new idea. Beat a potato with a bat! That is a new idea.

Josh and I agree, at this juncture (sorry about missing the first 10 minutes, by the way. There was breakfast, and we almost forgot!) that we are extraordinarily glad that Amy won. Rory, as fun as she was, likely would have been Paula, re-dubbed with more energy. Amy is teaching me things I’ve never even thought of doing, never once seen on many hours of FN watching, never even considered.

That is truly awesome. America, we picked a pretty cool chef – and it seems that the FN hasn’t destroyed her ideas either. She is doing those same things that we (okay, at least me!) fell in love with her for.

I love her version of not measuring – you need equal parts of two items, so pour them at the same rate at the same time, and stop when the pan is appropriately full. Easy pie, and more accurate than just “eyeballing” it.

I also love that they let her make profiteroles. I wish I’d been there to watch her make them to begin with.

Yummy dinner! Cracked potatoes, delicious flank steak, and profiteroles that make her bounce. Yep, bounce. We love you, Amy!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have banana bread that’s been cooling.

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Fresh and full from a dinner of fettuccine alfredo, I come to you as Guest Blogger, Josh. Liz could not make it to this exciting event, and so I’m here to fill in for the review. This week, on the Next Food Network Star: Winner’s Edition! America has made its decision, and (as I feared) we have to sit through an entire episode until the suspense is over. At the very least, I pray it’s palatable enough to sit through.

At the show’s opener we are greeted by… none other than Marc Summers and a live studio audience! Who’d have thought? I was almost sure Guy Fieri was going to host this shindig. Ah, well. No, Marc, I’m pretty sure the votes have already been tallied – they’re not being tallied now. Oh, a recap. This is useful for me, since I missed the first episode – I think I started when Nikki got sent home. Plus, this is a nice way to remind us, hey – there were a lot of other people who didn’t make it this far. Remember them?

I have to admit I’m a little sadistic – it’s amusing to be reminded of the slip-ups that happened throughout the series. Among my favorites: “Plummy!” That is classic television, folks. If you missed that Iron Chef challenge, I desperately hope the TiVo didn’t. So, in ten minutes, we’ve got the entirety of the NFNS show summarized for us, in case we missed it. Then again, it’s been advertised so often on the Food Network, how could we have?

I’m a little apprehensive about this reunion thing, though: is JAG going to be the drama-queen we’ve had to suffer through until now, or will he be graceful and let these two ladies share their moment in the spotlight? Are the others going to have something to say about the whole affair, or will this be a genial reunion? Oh, the suspense!

Now we’re back and we get to peek into the personal lives of our final two contenders. First up, life for Rory in Vega: I wonder if they’re going to mention her stint on that other reality TV show – the one where the goal was to make yourself the most popular person in town, so you can win some cash? Yes, yes they are. Her hometown reminds me a lot of mine (back in North Dakota), so I can respect that she appreciates the people and the culture. Either way, I see Rory did well for herself on that reality show: these people seem to genuinely like her.

Next, we get to glimpse into Amy’s San Diego. You can tell that her family is very important to her: she lives a bock or two from her parents and siblings, on the same plot of land. That’s dedication. It’s a stark contrast to what I percieve as Rory’s self-sufficiency. The other thing that struck me is that Amy didn’t come across as a snotty city girl in this video vignette, not at all. She seemed very genuine and down-to-earth – gourmet next door to a tee.

Finally, the happy reunion, and another commercial! This is finally starting to get good. New footage: Tommy snores. Rory is wearing some kind of T-Shirt to bed that had to have its words blurred out. Amy talks in her sleep. That’s awesome.

Mark is totally stirring up trouble – bringing up old problems. Strangely enough, Paul seems to be at the center of them all: Tommy’s chicken-stock, Colombe’s grocery fiasco, and Meatloaf-Gate. And now it’s the JAG issue. Gracious JAG! This is good to see; he’s upbeat and awesome. The JAG I liked watching during the first half of the show. We also get to see a little bit of weirdness and fun in the house, one clip at a time. It’s nice to see that they’re real people, despite having had a taste of stardom.

I have to interject here: this particular commercial break showcased a new FN show that I am already anxious to see. They call it “The Next Iron Chef.” It’s no small leap of logic to figure out what will be going on there. Talk about awesome.

Back to the show: the selection committee is back on set. Bob and Suzy seem a lot more personal – almost apologetic. And when Paul asks Suzy what it would take to make him the Next Food Network Star, she tells him (in effect): “Come back when you know more about food.” I suppose that’s fair. We get to explore Paul/JAG love for a brief moment (I’m not sure whether I think it’s cute or creepy…). When we come back: the winner!

Whew.

Just before they announce who won, Marc grills the girls about what they plan to take away from the NFNS competition.  Amy plans to take away her new friends. Rory plans to take away her pride. That sounds fitting, as a summary of of their personalities, I think. And at long last, Emeril is here to tell us who the winner is. He dispenses with the preliminaries, we meet the Network President, and the winner is…

…….Amy!

Yes!  Amy won the Next Food Network Star!! Great success! This pleases me on a number of levels. I’m sure Rory would have had a decent show, but Amy – as a person and as a chef – interests me much more. I am terribly relieved. Amy has not forgotten who she is: as we leave the show, she thanks America and tells us she looks forward to being the Gourmet Next Door. Marc informs us her show will appear this fall. I’ll be watching. Congrats, Amy!

(You have to feel a little sorry for Rory though – two reality shows, two runner-up spots. She does need to catch a break…. Just not this break.)

Thoughts going into this final (!): Amy has this in the bag. I don’t really care who gets to stay at this point, Amy wins. I have been rooting for Amy since the beginning, so I’m pleased with this. (Amy better darn well not screw up.)

A new competitor, WHAT?! If this rumor is true, I will be so utterly peeved. This person will have been given a bye on seven possible rounds of elimination that I’m pretty sure some actual food network stars wouldn’t have made it through.

They started with an XM radio challenge. The radio hosts had some very bad food available: stale donuts, fruit plate, juice, cheeses, and then they had a microwave. Amy made a ham and cheese bagel and did okay with her interview. JAG made a napolean with an apple and a stale donut and managed to insult the Food Network in his interview, and Rory made asian nachos with crumbled fortune cookies doused in honey and topped with apple. Not sure what’s nacho there, but okay — she also managed to slam Amy, something they’ve all been told to never do since the beginning.

Then, the group had to make their appearances

Amy was worried she’d make a fool of herself. My thoughts? So long as there are no references to Vietnam or Cheez Whiz, she’ll be fine! There weren’t, she totally rocked the house. Rachel kind of shoved herself into Amy’s face in the beginning, talking over her and inserting Rachel’s personality over Amy’s. It got much better when Amy asserted herself toward the end when talking about lentils – and guess who didn’t forget to push NFNS, unlike anyone else last year? That’s right: AMY! You GO girl! (At this point in the evening, Josh is unabashedly raising his fist in praise and cheering as if it were a football game and he were any other guy) I have to say, I love her technique: knowing the fancy French name for stupidly easy food, so you can impress your culinary-challenged friends by saying things like: Here are these beautiful eggs cullotte! Their jaws drop and you laugh at how easy it was.

Rory’s turn. If you don’t do WELL, Rory, you will return to Texas. Well. Not good. Well. Sorry, that’s been bothering me all week. I also hate the phrase Real food for Real people. I’m a real person, you’re a real person, do you know any non-real people? Blue collar cooking is not that, because just because my collar is green (I work at Subway) doesn’t mean I’m not real! Just because someone makes $1,000,000 a year doesn’t mean they aren’t real! It just means they live a little differently than you. Blue collar cooking is much more descriptive and less insulting. Rory and Rachel had a pretty good vibe going together, partially because of the use of Paula-style food. Who puts butter on steak?! The cheese on the potatoes was pretty good, though. I don’t think that Rory did any better than Amy, (and she forgot to plug the NFNS), but it is obvious that Rachel thought differently. I just felt that what Amy made — is more important. It’s more important to see how to make things sound special and fancy so you can pull it out on your friends, while really showing how EASY impressively fancy food is.

Thoughts? If Rory did better than Amy, Jag is going to die. Die.

I will eat my words. JAG is loud. He is exploding on television. His personality just exploded on the inside of my screen, and I’m not sure I want to clean up the mess. Rachel seems to like it, though. JAG also forgot to promote the show, as well as his own Latino fusion.

My scorecard going into evaluation:
Amy: Promoted self, promoted show, tasty food, sincere. A
Rory: Promoted self, fatty food, energy, clicked well with Rachel. B
JAG: Forgot to promote anything, tasty food, energy, took over the stage. B-

Rory stays….JAG better go home. If Amy goes home, I turn off this TV and NEVER WATCH THIS SHOW AGAIN. Rory did not deserve to get first out. And guess what, Amy went home. Thankfully, I didn’t turn off the TV, and the show continued. JAG’s history came out. And he didn’t choose to change it, as we all know – and he chose to resign. And Amy came back to replace him (though it sounded like they were going to otherwise fire him). You can vote Amy into the excellent position of Food Network Star.

I think that Amy should have gotten the win in the beginning, but here it goes. Vote here.

(Vote Amy, you know you want to!)

And don’t forget to watch Wednesday!!!!

Thoughts going in: 😦 I don’t want this episode to end! I don’t want anyone to go home! I’m guessing, however, JAG or Rory is going down.

It is Iron Chef night, and it’s going to be amazing. I love seeing Alton as chairman. He’s so hilarious.

Go Rory! You got a tagline, Bistro Backyard! I like Gourmet Next Door better, but it’s good. Go Paul! 100 points to you for saying the words “Party Food on a budget, what can I do with that?”

Go Amy! you LOOK up that panko bread crumb! I love that she looked it up. Enable yourself for success, woman! Enable! Yourself! Success! No more homesickness!

JAG is not as good as Amy with with the commentary, but she’s pretty amazing. He’s fairly neutral really.

Also, wow. Rory’s kitchen was icky-looking. I have a 1 foot square counterspace, total and mine doesn’t get that bad. However, her food looked really good.

Paul’s pineapple thing — looked amazing. He kicked it up a notch with the “entertaining on a budget.” I can’t say that the taste was any good (they didn’t show everything that went into everything, due to 1 hour’s cooking time being shrunk into 15 minutes). But I have to say, the pineapple looks great. Paul, as of 8:30, I am sure will stay. And he deserves it.

As for JAG and Amy, I think that as announcers, Amy deserves to stay.

JAG got colombe, and Amy does have to go up against JAG, but Colombe is a total handicap – but she could also help him out by making things simple, nacho cheese girl. Amy and Adrien are still going to rock it.

Go Amy! Gourmet Next Door on a plate! She wasn’t kidding, either, a chicken drummette in the moroccan style, another moroccan dish, and a home-y chicken stuffed thing.

Go JAG! Make it simple. ….And yeah, keep colombe busy and out of the way. Also I want your foods — chicken and goat cheese wontons on this plate please!

Oh Paul, you cooked so well. Commentate! Please? Plummy is NOT a location. it’s not even a designation of tomato. Take your job seriously. Amy didn’t know — she LOOKED it UP. Not so sure he’s sticking around.

Oh JAG, burning is bad……and there goes the sadness. “Way to grill, indeed.” He scorched his chicken and filled all of the mini kitchen with smoke.

Oh Rory, please stop being saucy. You might yet save Paul from his fate. Between the two of you, there is so much clueless.

I think Amy pulled off her presentation – low on flavor for the first dish, but the second two rocked it out. I think she just rocked the monkey out of that. Go Amy! They made you stay, because they honestly think you can do this. So do I!

Oh, the wontons weren’t good? How do you screw up a wonton! Wontons…..are the best. And he screwed up so bad. He’s gone. He’s so gone, and it’s almost sad, because he’s gotten *so* rocked, it’s sad. I’m so sad for him. Honest, but ouch.

Wait no, you are an adult. Male. You don’t cry! Big boys don’t cry. Not that I’m forgiving of the network for showing your lowest moment, period. That was just cold-hearted. Also, he did try so hard to change himself for them. He screwed himself over because he listened to their advice.

They let Amy go safe with an amazing review (flawless, fluid, calm, confident – GO AMY!), and they then let Rory go safe, and then they told JAG and Paul that they simply had not made a decision yet. That’s not even nice. I do think that JAG deserves the walk more for his performance, even if said performance was brought on by their previous insults. Paul’s food looked so good, but then also — he has to know how to teach. And to talk to the camera. Those things are imperative. As for the knowing, inherently, about food: life isn’t about what you know, it’s about how fast and how effectively you can use the resources available to you. He can learn.

And in a freaky turn of events (and one academy award winning speech later), JAG stays. WHAT?! They’re all, we don’t like JAG, should we bring them back down? We kick Paul off. My head is whirling. Obviously they cut out a lot of conversation out there, but they didn’t have to make it confusing.

Check this out, found at Army Times (admittedly quite a bit late, these interviews were on the 12th of June. Where was I?)

Touted as a graduate of the New York Restaurant School, a former corporal and a grunt-turned-cook who served in Afghanistan, Garcia’s record is actually much less stellar. He didn’t spend nearly two years in the infantry, he didn’t deploy to any war zone, and while it’s unclear whether he was ever a corporal, what is clear is that the Corps showed him to the door nearly eight months early, as a private.

Oh yeah, and he never finished culinary school in New York.

But he’s not entirely lying, either, just smudging:

In a follow-up interview June 11, Garcia was asked to explain why he called himself a former corporal. He admitted to nonjudicial punishments that got him busted down to private, blaming his military troubles on a “hazing scandal” at his former unit.

In a video profile for Food Network, Garcia says “when I was in the Marine Corps, I was a grunt for a year and a half, two years, and um, became a cook.” Marine officials said June 12 that the only military occupational specialty listed in Garcia’s file is food service, and there’s no record of him holding an infantry specialty.

He just let them believe the war hero part, leaving it unsaid. There also seemed to be hazing issues insinuated.

Oh, and on the culinary school? He attended, according to the head honcho, he just didn’t graduate. Which I can definitely get behind (I call myself a social psychologist though I’m not done with schooling. While I’m technically not, it would almost be lying to deny my social psychology background). He was kicked out of culinary school. Wholely different ball of wax. He didn’t drop out on his own merit, he was kicked out.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Thoughts going into the episode: Amy, Rory, JAG, Adrien, and Paul left. Wow. This show is going to be over soon.

I hope that Amy, Rory, JAG, and Paul stay. After that, maybe JAG and Paul could go? I don’t know. I have to say that JAG has wavered in my sights back and forth and back and forth every week, while always remaining pretty favorable. I wish he didn’t have to curse so much, but then again, that will never be put on television when it’s for real, and what do I care if he curses like a sailor in his off time? Paul, though…..like Rory, I didn’t like him at first. After last week, it is as though they can do no wrong. But who knows, tonight is a new night, and maybe I’ll see them do a whole lot of wrong. I hope not. I loved what I saw last week!

But Adrien, yeah. I think he should have gotten kicked a while ago – never because he was awful, or I hated him. I didn’t feel ANYTHING about him, and that’s even worse than hating him, really. I wouldn’t watch his show because he kinda reminds me of a Tyler clone, and I don’t like Tyler very much either.

The episode!

The first challenge was three randomly selected ingredients, that they then had to create into something. This resulted in Amy’s Oyster-Mushroom smothered popcorn-encrusted chicken. Paul did all right(and thank-you-very-much, Alton, I thought the clam story was TOUCHING), JAG did all right, heck even Adrien did all right (despite totally not cooking). Rory and Amy also did really well in my eyes. Where is the advertised crappiness?

RORY WHY DON”T YOU LIKE GOAT CHEESE?! even more importantly HOW DO YOU NOT LIKE BABY CORN ON THE COBS! Bok Choy? It’s like cabbage. I don’t like it, but it’s like not liking…well, like rice or something! I give you, Paul, that Lima Beans taste like awful. JAG, yes, tofu is pretty disgusting.

And here comes the crappiness! However, I wholeheartedly disagree with Alton, Bob, and Suse. The crappiness? It was totally in the judges. While I have to say, Alton does have the right to be pretty judgemental, he’s pretty amazing. But really, honestly I didn’t think that anyone did that poorly (okay, Amy blew it. Pretty hard) but they were working with ingredients they hated and they were only given 5 minutes, but they WERE given 5 minutes.

They wanted to do something with it, and on multiple occasions (JAG, Adrien, Paul – in that order) they picked something a little too complex for 5 minutes. In other cases (Amy and Rory) there was blatant camera-shy and also obviously homesick on Amy’s part. Rory was hugely over-rehearsed.

Now, watch as Amy and JAG walk up my figurative stairs. I feel that JAG would be an asset to the network for people who CAN cook and are getting sick and tired of the same 12 tips being cycled and the recipes being hugely easy. I would LOVE to see more restaurant-complexity recipes, even if it is just a 1/2 hour segment every once in a while. I feel that I could learn so much from JAG that i’m just not getting from anyone but, really, Alton. I also feel that JAG would shine most underneath the same Good Eats idea – 1/2 an hour, ONE thing and beat that thing to culinary death, so the viewer walks away feeling empowered. I also think that JAG will not shine until he does get a half-hour segment to really stretch his amazing culinary muscle. Do I think he did great this time? Well, I want to see a 1/2 hour segment where he explains the recipe he did. He should have picked something easier for the 5 minutes.

Amy, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. You’re homesick, and in real life, in real food network — she won’t get to be a stay at home mom, no, but she also won’t be isolated from her family! I’m sure her family would move to be with her, and life would be different for her. I mean, certainly other food network stars get their families. So I definitely felt that Amy deserved a stay-on-Star card for the week.

Rory also gets to walk about halfway up these stairs. I think she did….well, okay. I think that really, she blew it less than Amy did (her performance was much better) but really, she blew it more. She was over-rehearsed, and her script was poorly laid out. I think that she needed to physically run through it, to realize that she could have encrusted the goat cheese while talking about her goat farm. Cook+Talk, it’s like walking and chewing gum, and all the big dogs do it. However, her recipe looked great. I think that if she’d been less nervous (something like the Ft. Dix experience!) it would have been great. Just great. She just needed to relax! I wanted to see Rory. I think that when it comes down to, I really like her. I’m just not sure how often I’ve gotten to *see* her.

Paul did really well. I think that his story was great, and I was pretty ticked at Alton for being so ticked. Come on, Alton! Watch Giada or Paula or even yourself. Giada sits and talks for the first segment. Paula waxes eloquent on whatever she’s doing while standing there, both hands laying idle on the table. You spend the first five minutes showing amazing things like Films Noir and old sea dogs hunting for kraken. These things are not cooking! Maybe these things aren’t appropriate for a 5 minute cooking demo, but these people have been fed, constantly, that they have to do this. They have to connect with the viewer, and he was doing a darn good job. Also, I think I would eat his lima bean soup, or at least those cheese chips. Yum! I think that Paul’s performance, all other episodes and external knowledge, was the classiest.

And that leaves Adrien. Oh, Adrien. You are not forgiven for not cooking. You are not forgiven for talking, talking, talking. Why? You haven’t done anything yet. I lost it at you when you thought you did great. You didn’t do any better than Paul. You did worse. You did average and had no apologies for it.

When it came down to the final, they sent Paul up (I expected this!) and then Amy comes up to speak and says, I want to go home. Judges SPAZ. What do we do? Do you really want to go home? She misses her family, what do we do? In the end she said, no, I really do want to work for this. I want this, I just had a bad week. I really missed them this week. And then they sent her up. I was so relieved. I want so much to see the Gourmet Next Door!

Then they sent Rory up. She RUNS up the stairs. At this point I’m tearing up I’m so happy, but I’m still worried, JAG is still down there, and they’d told him that they simply did not want to work with someone like him, and they get the chance here to choose the employee. Bob reminded us here, that yes, JAG would be an EMPLOYEE of food network, and would he be that great an employee? Really? They’re kind of right. I wouldn’t want him working for me.

But they didn’t. They sent Adrien home, and I’m jumping off my chair in joy.

But now, who goes home next? I love everyone left. can there be 4 new food network shows? Please?

I am still excited for next week, though. They are going to Iron Chef it up, and guess their sous chefs? THE REMOVED STARS! They are bringing back Tom! And all the rest! I am excited, though I still feel that those people were removed for a very good reason. I am still quite excited to see Grella back.

And I think that Grella has a lesson for the remaining that Bob and Susie keep bringing up that no one really knew like Grella: Know You. Grella’s show, Grella’s thing, was a Grella-size, and he never forgot it. Grella sized taste, Grella sized portion. Amy loses the Gourmet Next Door on screen, Paul is all-over-the-place(though I love the theoretical idea of $20 entertainment!) , and Rory doesn’t bring back the Real-Food-for-Real-People enough. JAG remembers his latino fusion, but it can get lost in complexity. They need to chant these things. Every 20 minutes they should meditate on it. Or something. I think it would give them more focus and maybe take a bit of nervousness off.

Can’t wait for next week!

Thoughts before watching the episode: I so hope Rory leaves. I really don’t like her. I hope that Amy and JAG get to stay. I also like Paul and Adrien. I’m still SO VERY GLAD Colombe is gone. She seemed so utterly insincere, and she didn’t teach me anything about cooking. I was horribly sad, however, to see Thomas Grella go, though…..WE WILL MISS YOU TOM!

First thoughts: Hello, bawlfest. The “What You Did Wrong” scene got really emotional at the end, when Amy started crying — she realized that the line between public and private doesn’t exist when you’re on TV. (Doesn’t she watch the box?!) This got Mike off crying, I think Rory teared up, Jag cried because of military memories – not a dry eye in the house!

So Paul and JAG had major troubles in the actual competition (which was to make homemade food for soldiers at Fort Dix). You see, they were making meatloaf covered in delicious bacon, but a half an hour before the end bell rang, they checked the oven to discover that NOTHING HAD HAPPENED. Their oven simply did not work. Obviously, this was hugely awful for them, but they really rocked it by DEEP FRYING the meatloaf. This, in my mind, sealed their winnings in my head absolutely. However, they rocked it even further by having this absolutely hilarious presentation in which stereotypically-gay-guy (possibly just metrosexual?) Paul does like, 10 of the hardest kind of pushup. JAG, the actual ex-military guy, just stands at the mic jamming it up. The people in this household were on the floor in stitches!

Rory and Amy made lasagna, and it did kind of look like your standard lasagna, but I really felt that Giada was a bit mean here. When you are cooking for army men, you don’t go into quality “riCOT-ta” and “parmeSAN”, you make them FOOD. Good food, that is hearty and sticks to your ribs! (especially when they’ve specifically requested home cooking. I don’t know about your grandma, but mine raised her nose at people who thought you had to buy the most expensive stuff at the store to eat right). I love watching Giada’s show for the camera action, and I’ve started to like Giada herself in the past months, but this Food Network Episode really took all that away. I think that, really, they did a great job. Though I have to say that their garlic bread DID look a little gross. The cookie, though……I’m with Paula, I want the recipe! Rory and Amy’s presentation was also tear-jerkingly hilarious. Amy comes out all, SIR YES SIR. I AM ARMY WOMAN! (And if you’re not watching the show….okay, Amy is small. Adorable. Sweet. Kinda quiet. Not mean, not hardened, not….anything, really, that is stereotypically army. Very sophisticated gourmet.) You’d expect this militant from super-country, super-loud Rory. So what does she do? Puts her hand on one hip and answers Amy in a hilariously, almost-flippant way. Much like the JAG-Paul thing, this switch of personality is so hilarious. I totally approve.

Adrian and Mike….oh, man. They didn’t make home cooking. Their pot pie was topped with “Crispy Deep-Fried Potatoes” (read: potato chips) instead of pie crust. This sounds good, this sounds tasty, this sounds like something I’d do, and also this sounds like home cooking. That was where it ended. They sided it with a tomato-pepper salad thing (this is a little vague in the memory, but it was definitely girly-food). And the dessert? It was billed as cobbler, but it was just mixed fruit in a little bowl with some whipped cream on top. Fruit was still frozen, too. Tsk tsk! And their presentation was an embarrassment. I stuck my head under a pillow and CRIED. CRIED, people. CRIED. It was just awful. They sounded insincere, they sounded unsure, they sounded unprofessional. JAG and Paul had to wing it, but these two actually sounded like J&P theoretically should have. Oh, it was awful.

I approve of 4 people being “safe” at the end, definitely. I approved of all of those four being safe, of course — well, okay, not Rory, but she can be safe, since her being safe means my beloved Amy is safe too. But really, I felt that Paul, JAG, Rory and Amy all deserved that safety when everyone could see that really, Adrian and Mike blew it. The worst part? Mike was talking about in the interviews about how he thought he did SO great and he thought he had this one in the bag. I felt so bad for him, especially when I felt that of the pair, Mike really had done the worst. In my opinion, this failure comes only in second to the embarrassment that was Colombe cooking Cheese Whiz and Tostitos and calling that her homemade nachos.

For a minute, though, I thought Adrien was going home. They started his review with “Why do you think you’re still even here?” As Steve said — Wow. That is like tossing someone a grenade, pin pulled, and saying, Here! Catch! Thankfully, the judges actually agreed with Josh, Steve, and I, and bye, bye, Mike! You can see his exit interview here (when they post it — likely sometime tomorrow)

I am so excited for next week! Alton Brown is running it, and they have to work with the food they like least! It’s going to be amazing, I am sure. A huge challenge for all of them — and from what they’ve shown, they all do pretty badly. It’ll definitely be intense.

So what did you think of this week’s episode? Discuss!