“Food Network Star” season nine is starting to come to a close, and as such, it’s more important than ever for the remaining five finalists to showcase their culinary authority in the kitchen and on camera. On “Menu Impossible,” which aired July 28, that lack of authority ended up sending one finalist home – and it was a shocking elimination.
Cooking with cereal
To get things started on “FNS” week nine, the finalists were tasked with making a well-balanced meal using a Kellogg cereal. They also had to give useful information in their one-minute presentation. But, of course, three of the five ended up running out of time, and many of the contestants failed to answer the “why” of what they were explaining. While Damaris Phillips did pretty good, it was Stacey Poon-Kinney who Alton Brown named the winner, if only because she seemed more at ease.
Who’s the best culinary problem solver?
Robert Irvine has taken Bobby Flay’s place at the table on “Food Network Star” “Menu Impossible,” so it’s no surprise what the finalists are next tasked with: giving classic – and old – dishes a culinary makeover. “Somebody won’t be here tomorrow,” Irvine tells the folks in the kitchen of Phil Trani’s restaurant, “and it could be you,” as if they weren’t under enough pressure already.
Rodney’s chicken cacciatore
As the “FNS” pie man, of course Rodney Henry decides to make a chicken cacciatore pie. Unfortunately for him, while the concept was great, the execution was not. And once again, Rodney was fortunate that his lively personality saved him.
Damaris’s tournedos of beef
Damaris doesn’t like steak, and it showed in this challenge. But like Rodney, she has an awesome thing going for her: a bubbly, entertaining personality. And really when it comes to TV, isn’t that what counts?
Stacey’s crab stuffed halibut
Stacey is still having issues taking the “Food Network Star” judges’ advice. All she needed to do when she presented her crabcake halibut roulade was talk about how Irvine helped her turn her restaurant around to show some empathy with Phil Trani. Instead, she yet again came off as fake, and her food ended up too dry. But still, the “FNS” judges think she can suddenly get over her lack of a connection with her audience, even though she hasn’t yet.
Russell’s stuffed chicken and rice pilaf
“Menu Impossible” wasn’t the time for Russell Jackson to use bacon and bourbon, and he made possibly the smartest move ever this season. He took the assignment and listened. His spinach-wrapped chicken was perfect for the restaurant, and it was delicious. Even the women of Phil Trani’s liked his passion. Just like that, for the first time ever, Russell won this challenge, proving that, as Alton Brown says, he has more lives than sins.
Nikki’s roasted salmon with onion pepper
In perhaps the most shocking elimination on “Food Network Star” season nine, Nikki Dinki, the girl with the fabulous TV presence, was sent home. But as shocking as it was, it made sense. She may be able to cook, but she doesn’t have authority, especially when she says a pilaf is a “rice that has stuff in it.”
“I don’t think you know enough to explain what it is you do,” Alton Brown said in the elimination minutes, and with that sentiment it was clear that Nikki wouldn’t be pitching her show to the network next week.
What did you think of this week’s “Food Network Star” elimination? And who are you rooting for in the finals?
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