Food Network Star, MasterChef, and Hell's Kitchen: A Fresh Look at the Summer Reality TV Food Wars

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Will The Next Food Network Star Have Tattoos?

I speak of contender Vic, who has no hair on his head but sports a bevy of tattoos to distinguish himself. Oh, plus his cooking, which he seems to do quite well but comes off as a bit schizophrenic with his food genres. One week he presented himself as just an “aw shucks” guy cooking up his Mama’s food. This past week he was suddenly someone called “Vegas Vic.”

It was Vic who I’ve believed for many weeks now would win this thing. I am now removing him from my list. For while there’s no doubt Vic is a good cook, it seems that instead of improving as the weeks close in, Vic seems to be all over the place.

This past week had the final five contenders describing the best food they ever ate for their on-camera challenge This was a great challenge in that they had to describe the taste of food instead of describing how to cook it. Vic’s performance was mediocre and by this time in the competition, one should consider the recording camera his or her friend. Jeff, on the other hand, has discovered the camera and it has discovered him.

vicsrib.jpgFor the cooking challenge, they had to cook a roast for a panel of comedians who would also, excuse the pun, be “roasting” the chefs. The food included duck, leg of lamb, and beef and pork cuts. Vic’s meat was prime rib and by me it looked beautiful. The comedian judges and the Food Network judges considered Vic’s huge cut of meat the stuff of laughter, not a serious entrée.

Jeff did a great job presenting his rump roast. He was very relaxed and admitted that he too was once a comedian. Which brings me to note that Jeff has experience in front of an audience and over the course of this contest he’s found his comfort zone.

The female contenders, Whitney and Marybeth, both did well. The judges felt that Whitney got a bit too graphic with her description of “slaughtering” an animal and at this point in the contest, this sort of faux pas is another tap on the nail in the elimination coffin. This was a meat cooking contest and the phrasing was ill chosen.

In fact, Whitney was sent home that night, not because she isn’t good at the craft. All of the contenders at this point are capable of winning. For now, I’m changing my prediction to Jeff as the winner of this thing with Marybeth the runner-up.

Below, a recap of the contenders describing the best thing they ever ate. It’s a quick thing, give it a look to see the final five contenders and check back here for updates.

MasterChef Contenders Cook for the Kids and a Smart Alec Almost Kicked Off

Moving on to another of the summer's hot shows, Gordon Ramsay’s MasterChef is down to seven contenders and, in an interesting twist, after this week's “pressure test” of preparing a soufflé, there are still seven contenders left.

The cooking challenge was an interesting task. The contenders were split into two teams and were charged with preparing a dish for 200 children. The menu was to specifically include “sliders” with a side that would appeal to the young taste buds. The team of Christian, Jennifer, Derrick, and Adrien prepared turkey burger sliders with a side of sliced apples with caramel dipping sauce.

mastercheframsayandchildren.jpgI had no idea that caramel should not be stirred, that to do so causes problems with the crystallization of the sugar. Christian did take it upon himself to stir the heating caramel and the rest of the contenders did not like this guy at any rate and his failure to pay any mind to his teammates' suggestions or concerns added to this dislike.

The “Christian as nasty guy” storyline does add to this show’s drama. Viewers do tend to hope he’ll get his comeuppance and get sent home, which didn't happen as all four members of the losing team prepared excellent soufflés. Ramsay sent Christian back to the gallery to participate in another MasterChef to come.

Christian’s co-contenders were not happy.

Hell’s Kitchen Cooks Still Having Problems With Risotto

Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen is moving on with the contenders down to a dozen. The most recent episode was a bit bemusing in that contender Krupa really had a bad day. Oddly, she was not the one eliminated.

It began with the mini-challenge early on. The chefs were charged with creating a meat dish using only fire and water for the prep. Krupa prepared filet mignon; but came time for judging by Ramsay, she announced it was, heh, veal.

HKramsaybrowbeatskupra.jpgThis caused Ramsay to cuss and carry on for the shame of having a contender who can’t tell veal from beef. Krupa expanded during a solo camera vignette that she knew veal from beef but became tongue-tied in the presence of the volatile Ramsay and tripped on the meat description. Later during the HK service Krupa’s bad day continued. She prepared a plate of spaghetti with too much sauce and not enough pasta and, horrors, her risotto was soupy.

I’d remarked on the importance of risotto in an earlier post on these TV Reality summer food wars, only then it was a case on The Food Network Star, a contender who somehow offended celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck and , yes, over an improperly prepared risotto.

My suggestion to all would-be chefs desirous of obtaining their own cooking show (The Next Food Network Star), becoming head chef of a swanky restaurant (Hell’s Kitchen) or just taking home a quarter of a million bucks (MasterChef), for goodness sake, learn your risotto!

The Next Food Network Star, Sunday at 9p/8c, Food Network.

Hell’s Kitchen, Tuesday at 8p/7c, FOX.

MasterChef, Tuesday, at 9p/8c, FOX.

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Pat Fish has been a blogger for almost ten years. She has been published numerous times in the Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort book series and wrote for Blogcritics. She has written a few books and vows to write till death does part her from the keyboard. Pat loves to write about current…

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