In “Food Network Star” season nine, week three, which aired on June 16, the top 10 finalists were charged with one thing: proving their food authority. But to prove that took some “Chopped” skills.
A mystery ingredient
Even if the “FNS” contender hadn’t ever seen the ingredient, they needed to act like they knew it. But that doesn’t help when Chad Rosenthal doesn’t know how to pronounce “salsify,” which he adds to his dense hush puppy. It also doesn’t help when the dishes, like Chris Hodgson’s bottarga bite, isn’t very flavorful, or the dishes — like Danushka Lysek’s dragon fruit cup — are too simple. In other words, both Alton Brown and Bobby Flay (Giada de Laurentiis isn’t available) are brutally honest in their assessments.
The two winners actually end up being a bit surprising. Rodney Henry impresses with his deft use of bitter melon, and Damaris Phillips correctly treats her mango pickle like bacon. Others may have offered more skill — such as Stacey Poon-Kinney and her ability to work with stinky durian — but, alas, it’s Damaris and Rodney who get a free pass for “Food Network Star” season nine, week three.
Star challenge with Alex Guarnaschelli
The judges next push the contestants’ creativity ability with a “Chopped” inspired challenge. Separated into two teams, they get mystery baskets, and they’re judged by either Damaris or Rodney, as well as Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, and Alex Guarnaschelli.
“Here come the wild monkeys,” Russell says.
Sporting event food basket
In the first heat, Chad, Viet Pham, Russell Jackson, and Danushka face off over a sporting event basket packed with beer, hot dogs, peanuts, and cotton candy. Chad had just the right enthusiasm with his delicious hot dog waffle with cotton candy sauce. Viet too impressed with his hot dog and beer ramen, but, once again, his “Food Network Star” presentation fell flat. Russell made a soft dumpling, but his energy level decreased considerably while he talked. But worst of all, not surprisingly, was Danushka, who basically made a deep fried hot dog.
She also, at one point, declared how bored she was, prompting Alex Guarnaschelli to say, “I don’t even know what to say about that.”
Foods that kids love basket
In the second basket, Nikki Dinki, Chris, Lovely, and Stacey battled with chicken nuggets, fruit leathers, cheddar fish crackers, and apple juice. Nikki’s broccoli chicken nugget spring roll was stunningly good, and not just because she re-purposed and integrated. Lovely once again made wonderful food — stuffed peppers — but still sounds too rehearsed. Then Stacey nearly failed to plate her lackluster chicken pot pie; luckily, she got some help from Chris. Speaking of Chris, not only was his fried chicken delicious, but he had quite the story to tell: he used to be a drug addict and alcoholic. And just like that, the judges love him.
Who’s eliminated from “Food Network Star” season nine week three?
The bottom four ended up being Lovely, Stacey, Russell, and Danushka. But only one really deserved to go home, and not just because she’s been in the bottom three weeks running. Danushka Lysek was finally eliminated, if only because it constantly seemed like she didn’t want to be there.
What did you think of the “FNS” “Chopped” week?
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