Food Network Star 2012: Episode 9, Deliciously Unpredictable Demos

Are wanton rappers related to gangster eggs?

Are wanton rappers related to gangster eggs?

Hello, I am Zin! Tonight someone from Team Giada will go home, right? We know that, yes? They have not even pretended to shake things up! I think it will be Ippy, I think they gave him the $20,000 last week and now they will dump him for the low-energy thing because they love Martita for reasons I do not understand (maybe she brings in the Latino demographic?) . I suppose it could be Yvan but I do not think so.

The episode starts off with Nikki reading an invite to the SoBe Wine and Food Festival, and everyone acting like they just got there – except, is that not where they were last week? I am so confused! Giada is wearing a longer dress, so she does not look like a malformed child – it is very confusing!

The challenge is to do a three minute live demo of their signature dishes! The mentors talk to them to warn them about their weaknesses so they can fix them. What they are not told is that each presentation will be rigged so they will find themselves dealing with an extra problem that addresses their specific weakness! Except the Food Network sometimes has a different idea of what problem should be addressed than I do!


The funniest part is during prep when Alton is doing a walk-through and talking to his team trying to get them to anticipate problems that might come up and Justin walks away at one point! Alton just raises his voice so he will hear him but it is pretty evident Justin thinks he does not need advice!

Alton thinks the problem with Justin is that he can come off as cool and standoffish, so they throw in unplanned audience interaction: hecklers! This is one of the more appropriate problems, I think; I suspect he gets snippy and dismissive more than we have been allowed to see! Though he did seem truly upset to see Emily go home, so who knows, I just get a “cooler than you” vibe from him. I wonder if they will make him fix his teeth when he gets a show. Everyone seems so focuses on his lips they do not mention his teeth, which are ok for everyday but they are pretty bad for a TV person! It is strange what we come to think of as “normal”!

He makes won ton nachos with minced pork and pico de gallo. His objective is to come across as good natured and warm, not like a smart-aleck. His presentation starts with something about moving to Brooklyn and his parents worrying about wanton rappers, so he is cooking wonton wrappers! I love a good pun, but this pushes it! A guy from the audience asks how much hair gel he uses, and he says, “Enough,” which is a pretty good answer. And it makes me think, for the first time, he is something like Marcel from Top Chef with the hair and the attitude. He also reminds me a little of Mark Zuckerberg! I do not think that is a good thing!

Then the heckler asks, “How long have you been cooking?” and he answers, “About one and a half minutes” which is pretty good! He says the wontons look like a purse minus the strap, and of course they are so small there is no way the audience can see them, I could not see them either! The guy asks “What if my kids do not like Mexican food?” (which would be a great opportunity to suggest substitutions, but he does not take it) and “How do you know so much?” He says “I went to college” and at this point he seems bored with the game and in “ignore the jerk” mode but I do not really blame him! I am sure they all have to deal with this in live appearances but I am also sure they give them some training in how to handle it!

He is a little worried because he got a little snippy. He did, but it could have been much worse! Susie thinks he got a little smart alecky, but he makes smart food that is thoughtful and delicious! I think that as long as he did not swear or throw something at the guy, he was going to be ok! And a couple of his responses, like the time, were kind of funny! His food does not seem all that rebellious, he seems to be making pretty standard stuff now. Using wonton wrappers as chips is not really that innovative!


She has never done a live demo before (what is wrong with these people, why do they not practice with the PTA or church groups or at a neighborhood party because they know it is going to happen!), but she thinks it is important that she not over-rehearse so she can seem natural! She makes grilled lamb chops with veggie escabeche (pickled veggies) and red pepper jelly.

Bobby says she is too practiced and rehearsed so they are rigging the blender to throw her. It does throw her! I remember a clip of Bobby from his first segments on the ancient TV Food Network, when his blender or food processor did not work! He kept fiddling with it trying to get it to work IIRC! She kind of stops dead and starts rambling and never gets to plate her food but runs out of time!

Bob is disappointed; he thought it was the least challenging problem, but the big issue was that she did not seem to be having fun at all! Bobby says she seemed intimidated! But they like her dish a lot! We know she can relax, though, because Team Bobby is not going to lose anyone today, it will be someone from Team Giada to even out the teams.


He makes an oyster dish with pomegranate seeds and sea urchin which seems a little hoity toity for Food Network but I guess for the SoBe food festival you can get away with that! He knows he has trouble with his speech pattern and has to be engaging.

Giada says because of his speech issues his audio will go out (which has nothing to do with the “upspeak,” technically known as “high rising terminal”) and he will have to project! He makes “love bites” of fried oyster like he does for his girlfriend (which will disappoint all those people who have been searching for things like “Yvan Food Network Gay”) and tells people not to be intimidated by oysters, and the sound equipment shrieks and dies! A guy brings him a hand mike but he realizes he can not cook and hold a mike so he yells, “Can I talk to you guys like this?” He does very well! Giada starts screaming “Yes yes yes” like Meg Ryan in that lunch scene! I have a feeling she is taped later doing these cheerleader things because otherwise it would be ridiculous!

Bob is impressed, he was flawless and had big fun energy, the problem made him better, he was a rock star! Susie is very pleased, it is an elegant and sophisticated dish, the most they have seen from him so far!


He makes pink miso sauce – he says it is a combination of penne alla vodka from his mother and miso soup from his father – with seared scallop. He tells Giada the scallops are frozen so he is drying them on a towel, and everyone who watched Spike from Top Chef screw up frozen scallops and get blasted by Rick Tramonto for using them is screaming, “No, Ippy! Do not use frozen scallops!” Of course we do not taste them, they might have been as mushy as when Spike did them!

Giada says he has issues with low energy so they are going to see how he reacts to the audience talking and walking out! That is mean! He yells, “Hey, guys, we did not even get to the main course!” with his arms wide open, it is pretty funny actually, then he thanks the rest of the audience for staying. He tells the audience their scallops will usually be frozen (all Top Chef people are groaning) and goes “Bam!” which is awful! But I thought he did pretty well considering, that has to be a horrible experience to have half your audience walk out on you!

Bob thinks he got thrown and he was angry;I did not see angry! I will check when I see the episode again, but I thought he was puzzled! But someone from Team Giada has to go home tonight and since Yvan did really well they have to figure out how to position it for Ippy vs Martita! At this point I was sure Ippy was done, even though I did not think he did so badly at all!


Martita also says she has never done a live demo before! She makes sweet pork chili rellenos and rehearses stories about making them for her girlfriends!

Giada says her problem is storytelling and she relies on certain ingredients, so they are going to switch ingredients on her! I have not noticed this ingredient thing, it has always been the story telling! This story telling thing is nonsense, if they want storytellers they should hire storytellers, not cooks! They switch the poblanos (large green chilis) out and put in little red chilis, and she gets a little discombobulated, though she gets it all in about charring and steaming in a plastic bag (I was taught paper, but I guess it would work either way) to get the skin off.

Giada is giving her frantic cues but she is just dribbling on, not saying much. She never tells her story, she just sort of stumbles through it! Bob asks where was the spark? She did not seem fun or charismatic! Giada says she is a master of her ingredients, and I am not so sure that is the case either. Susie says it is not a form she thrives in, which sound pretty bad for Martita! Is this a fake-out, or is she really going to be in jeopardy of going home?


She makes what she calls “Fish in a bag” which is pretty nice, later she says it is grouper. She is surprised that fish has bones! “This fish has bones in it!” she cries in dismay! But Justin helps her remove the bones! Alton says she has control issues so they will misplace some items. That is crazy, she has timing issues! Since when does she have control issues? That has never been mentioned before!

She starts her demo – she says “it is fish en papillote but I call it Fish in a Bag” which is smart, it shows she knows what she is talking about but is still friendly and not pretentious – and discovers “I seem to have misplaced some items.” Pretty much everything is missing from her station! She has one fish fillet and that is it! She comes around to the front to show the paper folding technique (which is not like Alton Brown does it, but he does not point out the half-circle method). She is happy! Bob is happy! She is unflappable! Bob and Alton agree, She Could Not Be Flapped which was the promo last week! They also like the fish but they still do not say what kind it is! Hey, fish is fish to the Food Network!


She is making Clams Mimi, named after her dad (her dad?) which seems to be something like Clams Casino. Bobby says she has timing problems (she has a problem being natural when she is worried about time, which is not really the same as timing problems) so they give her false time cues – after the 2 min mark she gets 5:30 then 4:30 and she has no idea what time she has left, so she wraps up with one minute plus and just talks! And she is wonderful, just talking about digging for clams and quahogs and spurting water and when they say five seconds she just stops! But I think she did great even with the extra 5 seconds! And she was so great when she forgot about being right and just talked! But she is worried because she did not say half of what she was supposed to say – still she talked about Mimi and about clam digging and I thought she did great! Then again I like Michele! I am not sure I would be interested in watching a program by her, but I think she is the most easy-going and watchable person.

Bobby thought she did great, too! Oh, good! Susie thought once she started to have fun she was adorable! Bob loves the food!

The Lineup: Martie and Yvan were stand-outs! I do not get the Martie-love but I never have! Ippy and Martita are up for elimination which is the easy way to make sure the teams come out even! Martita was not happy they took the chilis away from a Mexican! I am glad she said that and not someone else! Bob felt the audience disappear from her, which is odd phrasing as usual. Bob needs to study language I think! Ippy got thrown by the audience talking and leaving – well, of course he did! I thought he was funny, but Bob says it did not come off that way. I think it did! Ippy is toast!

Producer Challenge:

With no rehearsal, they will uncover an ingredient and talk about it for sixty seconds. I am thinking it is going to be something awful like tripe or chicken intestines, something from Chopped! Maybe Violet Mustard! Ippy is sad there is no cooking!

Ippy uncovers a bowl of oranges and he is tossing oranges around and talking about the tangerine tree his neighbor had, how he would steal tangerines and hide and he would make “bug juice” from it – I forget, he said what was in it but I do not remember. I think he did well, even though he talked about tangerines instead of oranges and I am not exactly dying to make bug juice. But he did tell a personal story and it was kind of cute! I would rather he showed me how to make poi or build a fire pit but this is the Food Network after all! Bob says he did not get thrown and was thinking on his feet, he made an instant connection and told a personal story! Susie points out the juice has tangerines, not oranges, and finds out it is a dip which he never said! Susie is laying the groundwork for cutting him!

Martita: she gets oranges too! She talks about squeezing them and adding tequila. She does not tell any story. Susie says she had no personal connection to the ingredient, and she starts talking about her father picking oranges – shades of Suzie from last time with her father picking cherries to send her to culinary school so she could be pigeonholed into making tacos! Bob says her seams were showing and he could see the cracks! Eww!

They are gathered around a new table – the vagina table is back in New York, here it is a table with a square glass insert. What is it with the inserts in tables, do they sell them at Target or something?

I do not think it is even close, in both cases Ippy was much better, but I know how much they like Martita. Susie has not seen enough star in Martita to believe, though she has a lot of natural warmth and a bubbly personality, and Bob likes her food; they love his POV but he is inconsistent and Bob is still worried about his energy level!

Martita goes home! Wow! I am so surprised! I really thought I was going to be mad but they actually paid attention to what was in front of them!

Next week: The Penultimate! They will shoot a promo for their show, and three of them will be eliminated! Presumably one from each team! Then the viewers will have a week to vote for a Winner!

My guesses:

Right now it is between Justin and Martie and everyone else is just there. If they pick one from each team, that means only one of them will continue and it is very odd, since they are so different, but I think they will go with Justin! He is just more dependable and he is from New York! It does not matter who else is in the final three, but I guess it will be Yvan and Michele. If they do not force the team issue, it will be Justin, Martie, and Yvan!

But I am never right about these things!

Oh, and I do not believe for one minute that the viewers really have a say in picking the winner! I never believe it, not for AI or any other program (except maybe The Sing-off), any time a show – money – is at stake, they make sure the winner is the one they want, no matter how they have to do it.

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