July 06, 2008 09:33 PM by Lisa Stauber
The Next Food Network Star is one step closer to fame and fortune, at the halfway point of the competition. “Five are gone, and five are left,” Shane says, and this week the Final Four will be chosen.
The contestants must create a meal, and demonstrate it on camera in four minutes. Rachel Ray shows up via video monitor, and tells them they’ll be cooking on the Rachel Ray Show.
The First Challenge
“My biggest challenge on Rachel Ray show will be to let my personality shine through,” Lisa says. Her food is good, but they’ll be feeding a troop of girl scouts. For the first challenge, they must consult with their new buddy and create a recipe that the kids will love.
Lisa mentions that her eleven year old has a sophisticated palate, but she better keep mainstream tastebuds in mind. “Have you ever had horseradish cream?” she asks her Girl Scout. I smell trouble!
Kelsey wants to make a recipe so kid-friendly, the girls can make it by themselves. She and her young partner discuss fruit salad. Adam lucks out, and his Girl Scout likes barbecued chicken. Shane’s still a youngster himself, but he’s not connecting with his Brownie buddy. She finally tells him that she likes ham. Just ham.
Kelsey ends up choosing a big breakfast meal. Shane decides on chicken cordon bleu coated in rice cereal. Aaron’s making a broccoli and burger pizza, while Adam goes with barbecue chicken in a pita pocket. It’s a recipe straight from the restaurant he used to own.
“I believe that food does not have to be dumbed down for a kid,” Lisa says. She’s decided on herbed couscous and steak with horseradish sauce.
Kelsey asks Lisa a question, but Lisa doesn’t want to be too helpful to her competitors. “Peoples real colors will shine through,” Kelsey says.
The Cooking Challenge
Rachel gives the cooks some tips on cooking in front of a live audience. The judges are watching remotely, and will see things from the TV audience’s perspective.
Aaron starts out by making his friend wash her hands, and turning his back to the audience in the process. He has fun with the pizza dough, though, and fills out his four minutes perfectly. “The pizza’s good!” Judge Bob Tuschman says.
Kelsey’s turn is next, and she puts Rachel to work making scrambled eggs. She gives her very detailed instructions on cooking, and then sets her little buddy to work, too. “Kelsey hasn’t cooked anything,” Judge Susie Fogelson says.
Shane’s up, and he jumps right into cooking. Unfortunately, he ignores his Girl Scout and then forgets her name. Rachel takes over talking to the girl and explaining what ratatouille is. “This is really good,” Bob says. “I still don’t get comfortable from him,” Susie notes.
It’s Lisa’s turn, and she’s in a fabulous outfit. Lisa claims Haley loves horseradish with her steak, and puts her to work making the sauce. Haley’s going to try new things with the couscous, and then Lisa freezes up. She gets overwhelmed and then starts smiling and cooking, but not speaking. Rachel jumps in for damage control, and Lisa recovers. “It’s a little heartbreaking, because she started out so strong,” Bob says.
Adam’s the last demo, cooking up chicken in pita pockets. He’s worried. “My organizational skills leave something to be desired,” he says. “Anything less than perfect, and I’m gone.” He’s comfortable with Rachel and the live audience, and finishes early. “We’d be happy to have this on our website,” Rachel says, and promises to publish his recipe. “It was easy to watch,” Susie says. “It’s actually pretty tasty!”
Rachel announces that the four finalists will be going to Vegas, and sends the contestants on their way.
No one feels safe on this one. “Even though I did well today,” Adam says, “I feel like it might be too little, too late.”
The judges like Aaron’s pizza, and fault him only for turning his back to the audience. “It was a joy to watch,” Bob says. “You worked it like a pro.”
Adam’s barbecue chicken pita was a hit with the judges, and they liked how comfortable he seemed on camera. “The question remains, how much does he know about food?” Bobby wonders.
“Kelsey, I noticed you gave Rachel one of the most important things to do,” Bobby says. “I’m seeing you as very young still,” Bobby says.
“The food was delicious,” Bob tells Shane. He takes Shane to task for ignoring his buddy. “There’s a little bit of joylessness.”
Lisa is questioned about her adult menu. “It felt like you steamrolled her,” Bobby says, noting that the Girl Scout didn’t have much say in the food. They definitely noticed her nervous silence on set. “Any environment you’re in, you’ve got to get it together when it really matters,” Susie says.
Aaron’s safe, and going to Vegas. Adam’s going to be joining him, leaving the girls and Shane in the elimination room. The judges make them give a sound bite as to why they should be the next star, and then send the contestants out while they talk. They finally come to a consensus, and eliminate Shane.
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