June 15, 2008 10:38 PM by Lisa Stauber
The Next Food Network Star is back for the third installment, and Nipa’s on notice. “We’ve been under the same stress,” Lisa says, “But none of us has walked out.” Nipa’s going to have do some serious cooking to come back from last week’s temper tantrum!
The Mini Challenge
The first challenge is a cooking challenge, and Bobby Flay throws down with a potato. Creativity, tasts, and expression are all going be judged, and the cooks have 90 minutes to make a dish that defines their culinary point of view. Then they’ll have one minute to present to the camera, while the judges look on.
Adam makes bacon cheese fries, which the judges agree were delicious, and presents it as comfort food. Kelsey makes a gratin but doesn’t cook it all the way and Susie thinks she comes off as phony. Jeffrey portrays his sophisticated soul food with bland home fries, and he’s a little awkward on camera, too. Nipa made curried potatoes, and shares how her mother made the dish for her while she was growing up. She seems bored though, and has lost her sparkle.
Aaron shows off his bold and beautiful theme with a baked potato that is so good Bobby wants to put it on his menu. Shane removes the attitude from French cooking with a soup, which he shares was the first dish his mother taught him to cook. Unfortunately, Bob thinks it has the consistency of library paste! Good presentation, bad taste. Shane’s running about even.
Jennifer makes mashed potato pizza, to fit her theme of kid friendly and fast food. Jennifer describes it as low carb, but the dish is potatoes on a pizza crust! Lisa does a great presentation in 20 seconds, but doesn’t have anything to fill the rest of the time.
The Main Challenge
“We have some branded products from some Food Network stars,” Bobby says. “They were actually able to put a piece of themselves in a jar.” The challenge? Create a food product, put it in a jar, and distribute it to 50 food buyers and a very special guest. They’ve got 30 minutes to buy the ingredients. Nipa takes all of the cayenne pepper for her peanut seasoning, but Aaron needs it too. Basil balsamic orange marmalade is Lisa’s dish, and she has one hour to make it. She’s feeling ambitious!
Shane is making cherry cognac steak sauce, and Adam is making a barbecue rub. He couldn’t find any wood chips to smoke with, so he’s taking a tip from Good Eats and using corn cobs. He’s the MacGuyver of the kitchen! Kelsey is making All-In-One sauce, and she’s going to serve it up on some sloppy joes. Aaron’s trying to make do with jalapeno, but he longs for cayenne. Nipa mixes cayenne and sugar… and that’s it. Did she really need to clean out cayenne at the store? I’m not sure Nipa’s even trying anymore.
The buyers have arrived, and get right into tasting. Adam’s corn smoked chicken is a hit, and Susie loves Aaron’s vinaigrette. Nipa’s spice mix is a little too simple, and the judges like Kelsey’s mixture. Shane is not a salesperson, and can’t answer questions about cost. Lisa’s a marketing pro, though, and tells the buyer how she would package it and what to serve it with. Jeffrey has a seasoning mix, but the buyers hate it. They think the home cook could make a better version all by themselves at home. Jennifer’s nervous presenting, as usual.
Martha Stewart walks in, the queen of branding home products. Kelsey instantly regrets choosing sloppy joes as her sample, because she doesn’t think she can impress with such a lowly dish. “You’re missing a little salt,” Martha tells Shane. She finds Nipa’s product to be spicy and misleading. “You’re a good salesman, Jeffrey,” she says, despite finding his seasoning mix too mild. Lisa loves Martha, and Martha wishes her luck without revealing whether she likes the sauce.
Jennifer has a white cream pasta sauce, and Martha smiles at her. Aaron gets a quick lesson about apple cider vinegar from The Stewart, but she likes the dressing. Kelsey is a chatterbox, and is embarrassed to serve her mix. Adam decides to sing to Martha, because blues and barbecue go together. He breaks out a harmonica and gets down. She laughs and it’s a hit.
Martha’s not just there for food, though, she’s also judging. She deems Shane okay, she likes Lisa, and finds Aaron pleasant. She doesn’t like Nipa and finds Jennifer boring. Jeffrey’s seasoning is bland, and Kelsey is too perky with bad food.
Shane is called out for his thick soup, but Bob Tuschman liked his sauce. “I’m not seeing passion from you,” he says, though. “You’ve got to show it. It’s now or never.” Bobby’s glad that Adam managed to cook the food this time, but they don’t think his barbecue rub was different enough. Susie tackles Jennifer next. “What you were saying was not making sense,” Susie says. Lisa’s up next. Bobby wonders why she didn’t fill the time with a personal story, and Lisa starts to cry when she finds out that Martha liked her sauce.
Nipa claims she is ready to take criticism this time, but Bob wonders why she has no energy. No one liked her product. Aaron made bacon wrapped potatoes, which Susie liked, but she was disappointed that she didn’t get a personal story. The judges loved his vinaigrette, though. Jeffrey gets nailed by bland home fries, boring camera presence, and lackluster seasoning salt. Kelsey is sad to hear that her gratin was a flop, but Susie thought her sloppy “janes” were good. Her pitch was over rehearsed. “It’s verging on almost annoying,” Susie tells her.
Adam did the best job with the potato challenge. Lisa had the bestpresentation and best product, according to the buyers. Martha thinks Aaron was the best, and all three are safe for the week. Nipa and Shane are told to be more passionate, but they are safe. “You seem a little down,” Bobby tells Kelsey. “I’m passionate about food on television!” Kelsey starts crying. “I really do love it!” she says. She gets to stay by merit of her raw talent. “Jeffrey, you’re coming off as one dimensional,” Susie says. “Jennifer, you are always apologizing for your food,” Bob tells her. Jennifer gets to move on, and Jeffrey’s going home.
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Photos courtesy Food Network; potato photo courtesy Ba’Gamnan.