On “Food Network Star” season nine, week eight, “Food Stories From the Road,” it’s time for one eliminated finalist to return. But Lovely Jackson’s return on the July 21 was a short-lived one after some old issues came up yet again.
Take any plate of food and make viewers hungry
The first challenge of the “FNS” night was about making an Italian dish and then describing it. But the chefs should know by now that it’s never that simple. After making their pasta dishes, they switched plates with someone else and described an unfamiliar dish. Once again, nearly everyone failed at this challenge, as they acted like they were reading a list of parts. Only Nikki Dinki succeeded in showing a sense of discovery, and all three judges felt like they were eating Russell’s veal sugo with her.
Field-based food store segment
In a challenge that seems very appropriate for “Food Network Star,” the six finalists were tasked with writing, producing, and directing a show at a field-based food store on “Food Stories From the Road.” But the judges aren’t the only ones judging them. Media critics from The Hollywood Reporter also screened the video segments, and they didn’t reserve any judgement.
But the good news? The team who did the best were all safe from elimination.
Story of the Donut Man
Nikki Dinki, as the winner of the first “FNS” challenge, picked her team, and she chose all her friends: Damaris Phillips and Stacey Poon-Kinney. The only problem? If they lose, one of those friends were going home.
Luckily, that didn’t happen. Damaris did a fabulous totally-natural intro to Donut Man. Stacey didn’t do nearly as great – she kept talking over Jim, the donut guy – but Nikki rounded out the short segment fabulously. In the end, all three managed to sell the strawberry donuts that are made with potato flour, and that was exactly what Bobby Flay, Giada de Laurentiis, and Alton Brown were looking for.
The world of Vito’s Pizza
Rodney Henry, Russell Jackson, and Lovely Jackson made up the other team, and while they did reasonably well, they faltered a lot more than the donut team. Russell stupidly tied in his POV to his intro – mentioning a culinary sin but not explaining it – when he mentioned a 500-year-old yeast. Rodney Henry did the best of the bunch, considering how memorable he was. He even connected really well with the chef, but, once again, he lacked culinary authority. As for Lovely, she had the same issue she’s always had: she was too polished and she totally ignored the two regulars to Vito’s Pizza.
So Russell was in the bottom for the fifth time, but he, magically, got a sixth chance. Not so for Lovely, who was, yet again, sent home.
“Food Network Star” airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EDT.
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