Food Network Star Review: Problem Solving

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The top five Food Network Star contestants traveled to NYC this week, where their excitement over visiting the Food Network Headquarters quickly turned to anxiety after the judges assigned them their challenges for the week. 

First up: the mini-challenge. Giada, Alton, and Bobby (he's back!) tasked the remaining contestants on Food Network Star Season 10 Episode 9 to pick out a summer food staple from one of the Chelsea Market street vendors and then prepare a live field story on it. 

Nicole and Luca appeared comfortable on camera, using their winning personalities to get across some great info on their summer staples. Sarah hit the middle of the road with her wackadoodle performance, while Lenny, and Loreal failed to impress. 

Lenny must have thought he was on the Real Gourmet Cowboys of Colorado, because like most other reality housewives, he didn't play to the camera at all, pretending like it didn't even exist. Sorry, Lenny, but when the mentors are on the other end of the live feed, you have to direct your attention to the camera and more importantly, the viewers! Especially when you're supposedly delivering important information to at home cooks. Better luck next time. 

Loreal, as the self-proclaimed "butcher babe," should've hit a home run at Dickson's Farmstand Meats, but she wasn't able to deliver any authoritative answers when it came to Bobby's meat related questions. Not a good sign.

While Lenny and Loreal's performances in the mini challenge were extremely lacking, there was still time to remedy the situation in the Star Challenge. But only time and the Rachael Ray Show would tell. 

In the Star Challenge, each contestant delivered a three and a half minute problem solving segment live on the Rachael Ray Show. Each dish was supposed to resolve a specifically assigned family's dinnertime dilemma. These assigned families were courtesy of Nicole, who decided whose hands the fates of these family's problems would rest in, after winning the mini challenge. 

Lenny was given the Burns Family, a large family of six, who were looking for cheap meals. While I don't necessarily think Lenny's choice of country roasted chicken thighs with toasted rice, carrots, onions, and celery sounded all that cheap, he was able to engage the large family throughout his performance, presenting the meal in a very family friendly way, giving many extra tips beyond just the problem the family wanted solved. Someone definitely redeemed himself with this demo. 

Sarah, meanwhile, continued to mildly disappoint the judges with her segment. Making taco soup, Sarah was able to give her family the frozen-leftover-ready meal they were looking for, but she didn't do it with any pizzazz. Yawn. 

Luca's family's mother wanted a vegetable heavy dish that her picky kids would eat. Luca was smart in creating a cauliflower based risotto with bolognese sauce, but he wasn't a smart presenter, ultimately unable to get the kids to eat it. 

Loreal was tasked by her family to make a quick, cheap, and easy meal on the go. So what does she decide to do? Make a complicated, multi-step meal, duh. So wrong on so many levels. It's safe to say Loreal wasn't able to fix this family's culinary problems or the many problems she enacted upon herself this week. 

And finally, Nicole chose the family that was looking for healthy, yet delicious food options. Substituting the family's normal meat and potatoes diet for fish, Nicole, using her coastal cuisine viewpoint, almost successfully problem solved...if only she hadn't added the spicy sriracha. Too hot for the kids to handle, one of them actually spit out her food on live TV. Yikes. #embarrassing

After it was all said and done, the stars of the Star Challenge were Luca and Lenny, which should come as no real surprise. Nicole was quickly removed from the bottom three, thank heavens. Sarah and Loreal were left in the bottom two and Loreal was sent home, her Food Network Star dreams shattered. 

Even though Loreal did a terrible job this week, I still think she should've stayed over Sarah. She stood out, sometimes for the wrong reasons, but unlike Sarah, at least she stood out. Those are just my two cents, though. What do you guys think? Hit the comments with your thoughts! 

Rachael Ray Show Review

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