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The Next Food Network Star: Rachael Ray

July 06, 2009 12:23 AM by Cindy Adams


In this episode of The Next Food Network Star, the contestants get the chance to cook on live television, where some shine like a star and others lose their luster under the bright lights.

Everyone started out with confidence as they headed to the first challenge. They were greeted by Bobby Flay at The Next Food Network Star kitchen, who told them they had to complete their first cooking demonstration for the camera in 2 minutes.


Rachael Ray greeted them from a television screen and told them they had to cook adult ingredients and make it kid-friendly.


Jeffrey and Jamika were both given tofu; Melissa and Michael got brussel sprouts; and if those ingredients weren’t bad enough, Katie and Debbie had to try and make squid appetizing for kids! Good luck ladies!

Katie made calamari fruit salad with quinoa; Debbie created a dish with baked calamari with yams; Jeffrey threw together spaghetti with tofu chicken nuggets; Jamika cooked corn and tofu; Melissa whipped up mashed potatoes with brussel sprouts; and finally Michael the madman made brussel sprouts with grilled cheese in The Next Food Network Star kitchen.

Judging these dishes with somewhat gross ingredients were a panel of 3 kiddies, Bobby, and Rachael.

Katie did okay, but later the judges told her she looked condescending on camera. Her line that eating makes her think about a rainbow probably pushed them over the edge.


Debbie, who is usually really smooth, kept forgetting things and had some technical mishaps with her ingredients.


Melissa was at ease, but she totally miscalculated the time.

Michael was his kooky, crazy self and the kids liked his style, but watching him was so uncomfortable because he kept repeating himself over and over and over.


As usual, suave and smooth Jeffrey did great; but Jamika, who has a rocking personality, was off her game when she ran out of time. She totally forgot to cook and Rachael reminded her of that. In fact, after the presentations, Jamika was the only contestant who got any type of negative feedback.


The next challenge was the contestants’ live debut on the Rachael Ray show! Instead of making adult food into kid-friendly food, they had to take kiddy food and turn it into adult fare.

They were put into teams of two and Katie and Debbie had to transform chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese into an adult meal. They made a baked shrimp macaroni and cheese with three cheeses, which looked so rich and so yummy! They also made baked chicken breasts.

Michael and Melissa were given tomato soup and grilled cheese, and turned this kid-friendly dish into grilled cheese skewers and tomato soup with bacon lardoons.

Jeffrey and Jamika got hot dogs and baked beans and were really banging heads on how to make their dish an adult meal. Finally, they decided on chorizo and shrimp hot dogs over rice and beans. Neither was happy with this incarnation.

Mike and Melissa were the first to meet Rachael Ray on the live set and were ready to cook. As the judges watched backstage, they began to do their thing in the 5 minutes allotted. Melissa was uncomfortably frenetic and Michael was unusually silentâ⬔just standing there with a big weird grin on his face. Awkward!


Debbie and Katie were up next and Debbie was great as usual. The only issue the judges had with Debbie is she keeps bringing up her Korean heritage when cooking, but she never elaborates and the audience doesn’t get to learn anything more about her. This was frustrating for Bobby. Katie was okay, but when she was cooking, she forgot to look at the audience. The two worked great as a team and each gave the other equal time to talk.


Jeffrey and Jamika on the other hand worked horribly together. Jeffrey totally talked over Jamika, who uncharacteristically froze. This was really hard to watch, since Jamika is usually miss personality! She was looking down most of the time and not doing anything. Urgh!


At elimination the judges admonished Katie for not engaging the audience and hated her dry as the desert chicken.


They thought Debbie was a natural on camera, but want to know more about her heritage when she brings it up.


Melissa really bummed the judges out because they want her to have fun and present with authority when on camera.

Food Network Reality TV Shows, The Next Food Network Star |

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