Tag Archives: Food Network

The Food Network Star Pilots On Their Own

JABS_Martie-Yvan-Michele-Justin_s4x3_lg-300x225The Next Food Network Star show has boiled down to four finalists. These four got a chance to make a (very short) pilot, more of a pitch reel than anything, that shows off their intent with a show. One of these will basically become an actual Food Network show, or the host will be shuffled off into another area of the channel, or off the channel completely.

Hey, not everyone can pull a Guy Fieri level of success out of nowhere.

Food Network Star (as the series has been called since shortening the title in recent years) has been a popular piece of entertainment, and successful enough on Food Network that they’ve run it for the better part of a decade, having made shows out of most of the winners and finalists.

It’s preceded by drama, conflict, and such.

I have no interest in that.

The four finalists of this season have produced short pilots, posted online. Fans are able to vote for who they like, and help shape the face of Food Network’s future. Undoubtedly, people will be voting for the personality they have liked over the course of the season.

What happens when you watch the pilots purely on the capability of the pilot? Who has the truly better pilot? Which is the better show?

My New England from Michele focuses heavily on New England, as the title suggests. After a short trip to Ed’s Lobster Bar, she produced what she called “New England in a Bowl”, an oyster-heavy dish with corn and, thankfully, chorizo (a nice smokey sausage that needs to be in more dishes). While Michele is interesting, her concept of a show (checking out how others made a dish, and then making one herself) seems to work, but her personality and, honestly, appearance, seem very reminiscent of Guy Fieri. One Guy Fieri at times is too much for the network, so two might be overkill. Additionally, the concept is self-limiting; by focusing purely on New England, there has to eventually be a point where nothing new can come about.

Family Style features Yvan in a purely cooking setting. He focuses on cooking dishes for (and with) the family, and produces a sweet corn macaroni and cheese dish… which sounds particularly horrifying. While the macaroni and cheese portion of the dish looks amazing, especially with bread crumbs on top and baked in the oven, the inclusion of canned sweet corn is slightly scary. He suggests it as part of his budget background, and it’s a neat bit of character, but it’s a personal choice; you’ll never see sweet canned corn in a dish in my house, let alone a cabinet. While Yvan has a great personality, his brother that assists with the cooking is obviously not ready for TV, and the family remains at the end are little more than set decorating.

Martie With The Party brings the incredibly-southern Martie to the forefront, focusing on her crafting dishes that are great for parties; they’re easy to make in bulk, they’re great finger food or small dishes, and most people will like them. She makes a pickled citrus shrimp, which could either be amazing or horrible; if you’re not meant to eat the lemon slices in the dishes, and they’re just there for flavor and appearance, then all the better. Martie seemed a little forced in her storytelling, and I’d be surprised to find out that any of the people shown in the party segments were actually her friends.

Rebel With A Culinary Cause is the dual-sided beast at the end of the stream. Justin is easily the spiritual successor to Alton Brown for the network; where Alton looks generally into the hardware involved with cooking (and the science of cooking things), Justin looks into updating the flavors and presentation for a new age, something he repeatedly points out. The weakest moment of this pilot is where Justin literally sits and watches an episode of Good Eats to explain the origin of the Caesar salad; while it’s an interesting trick, it screams laziness of the host. Still, Justin’s personality shines throughout the pilot, and it’s the most unique of the four.

While something like My New England could run for one season, Marite with the Party wouldn’t survive even that long. Family Style plays it safe but solid, but the real highlight is Rebel With A Culinary Cause.

"Wedding: Impossible" Ignores The Dinner, Restaurants

Spinning out of the Robert Irvine-hosted Restaurant: Impossible and Dinner: Impossible, Irvine is the star of a wedding special. Well, his wedding and his fiancee share the spotlight. Without a Michael Symon in sight to steal the spotlight away, Irvine’s got, well… a fair amount of time to set up his dream wedding for his fiancee, TNA Wrestling professional wrestler Gail Kim.

He likes to smash restaurants down.

She likes to smash wrestlers.

It’s a match made in Heaven.

Near the end of this season of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and Gail Kim starred in a special episode of the series, Wedding: Impossible, showing their marriage and the weeks leading up to it, how Robert juggled planning a wedding while doing the show, and so forth. Since this is on Food Network, you’d think there’d be a fair amount of focus on the food, and since it’s part of Restaurant: Impossible, there’d be a focus on how to actually pull off the reception, in a stretch.

Robert handles most of the wedding organization, but has two assistants setting up the food and the general decor of the wedding. Repeatedly commented on, Gail notes that he’ll be a “Groomzilla”, and that she has no real control over the wedding. She does set up the rehearsal dinner, and flies in Robert’s sister as a surprise.

Throughout the production, Food Network “celebrities” join Irvine in setting up his wedding. Masaharu Morimoto prepares sushi for the event (and sings a Japanese fisherman song), and Guy Fieri is a groomsmen in a blindingly-pink shirt. Marc Summers (Unwrapped host, producer, but forever unable to hide his Double Dare days) and other Food Network personalities are all in attendance, and “celebrity chefs” Beau MacMillan, Michael Chiarello, and Elizabeth Falkner are all in attendance. Why the quotations? I had to look up who they were; I’ve heard OF Chiarello, but that’s the extent. MacMillan apparently co-hosted one seasons of Worst Cooks in America. Falkner is “known for her sugar art”, according to Wikipedia.

If you want wedding tips, cooking tips, or the like, you’ll not find them here. While his other Impossible ventures have had a fair amount of usable knowledge in them, simple cooking tips and ideas from Dinner: Impossible and general good business practices from Restaurant: Impossible. Any wedding tips from Wedding: Impossible are hidden under a mess of how much Robert loves his daughters, how the couple met (on screen during Dinner: Impossible), and how much of an impossible taskmaster he can be at times, such as (hammered throughout the show) how he demands the tablecloths to lack any sort of crease.

There are a few glances of actual food in the special. Falkner makes a laundry list of cupcakes, Morimoto cuts up octopus that’s still alive, and the main courses do look appetizing, but don’t go into this special expecting anything that would be indicative of Food Network. It’s Food Network stars celebrating each other, not actually focusing on food or how to sell it. You can watch the special on Food Network’s site, but be warned if you wish to skip through to find a certain bit: you’ll repeatedly hear how Glidden can make anyone a painter, how rheumatoid arthritis can ruin lives, and Larry the Cable Guy takes Prilosec OTC.

This problem is indicative of the whole special. Even if you found a dish in the special that you’d like to try, it’s as if Food Network actively tries to prevent you from getting to it, but instead shows you how you can fight off heartburn from it with Prilosec.