Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hell's Kitchen 2007 Loses Another Chef and Food Network's 2007 Star Begins to Emerge

Here's the weekly review of Food Network's "The Next Food Network Star" 2007 and Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" 2007.

Lots of pics you'll find nowhere else on the Internet and a wannabe cook's review of all the action.

Also we peeked into "The Next Best Thing" and got some notes and pics from the world of celebrity lookalikes.

Pic of the Day
Two dogs and their buddy grown together

Quote of the Day
by Rodney Dangerfield:
...I was such an ugly kid that when I played in the sandbox, the cat kept covering me up.
...I could tell my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and radio.
... I was such an ugly baby, my mother never breast fed me. She told me that she only liked me as a friend.

Web Site Worth the Visit

Created by Aric McKeown, Make Me Watch TV is a great site where you can vote online and "force" Aric to watch any show you want him to. Vote on what shows you want him to watch each night, then click on the Webcam to actually "watch Aric watch" and read his real time comments.

Above web site HERE


+------------------- Bizarre Inventions -------------------+

1. The Tonya Tapper - A personal security steel club named after the notorious skater; suitable for all knee whacking purposes.

2. Sweet Jesus Chocolate - Tasty milk chocolate crucifix candies that ooze red jelly when bitten.

3. Insecticide Pantyhose - Bug resistant pantyhose sure to repel spiders, cockroaches, [and probably dates.]

4. Artificial Spray-On Dirt - For the yuppie whose tired of looking wuss in his luxury S.U.V. This is sure to provide that rugged four-wheeling look.

5. Drive-Through Window at Funeral Homes - For the more somber drive-by.

6. .45 Semiautomatic Telephone - A novelty phone sure to please the darkest sense of humor. The caller must hold the gun against their head to make a call; let the fun begin.

7. Bird Diaper - For Polly when potty training is not an option.

8. Snif-T-Panties - Women's underwear with built in fragrance to capture the right mood; scents include rose, banana, pickles, pizza and, of course, whiskey.

 Posted by Hello

The Caper of the Fried Meatloaf

And yet, the fried meatloaf was well-received by our country's military.

I don't know what it is about these food contest shows but there seems to be a great effort to appeal to the military. Last week "Hell's Kitchen" had the army featured on its show and this week, not to be outdone, Food Network goes the same route.

In fact, all contenders left on the episode which aired 6/24/07 were taken to Fort Dix army base. Also, for some odd reason, Giada DiLaurentiis was back as a selection committee guest. My guess is that the army fellows requested Giada because, well I think she's the most beautiful woman on the planet and hey, I'm a woman. Paula Deen was also a guest Food Network chef on this show but she was not on the selection committee.

The show began with a challenge involving Meals Ready to Eat, more popularly known as MRE's. The challenge was to create a more sophisticated and refined meal from an MRE and with the addition of only prepared ingredients. All contenders had 20 minutes to prepare the MRE and one minute to present their creation. JAG, who is an ex-marine, thought this challenge would be a piece of cake. Only JAG's presentation of his MRE was deemed the worst by the judges and, indeed, JAG performed poorly in this entire episode in which he should have shined.

Montage of Food Network Star 2007-MRE meals

Some of the doctored MRE meals were quite creative. Amy presented a Mexican macaroni and cheese with, amazingly, shrimp toast. JAG came up with a spicy chipolte stew with Manhattan clam chowder. Paul prepared grilled chicken with sweet potatoes and a wild dessert featuring a poppyseed cake with carmelized pineapple and, yes, M&M's. Michael created something he called crispy macaroni and cheese along with a smokey BBQ stew and some cherry applesauce.

Adrien's presentation of a rather plain meal was declared the poorest in terms of taste by the selection committee which included, in this case, members of the military who are experts on MRE's.

The worst presentation was declared to be JAG, who only shouted out the ingredients in his creation, all in a monotone and boring tone that would entice no one to eat.

Paul was declared the most creative in terms of taste and presentation.

Paul, in fact, had a very good week this past episode. This poor fellow, who does come across the TV screen as an engaging and humorous fellow at least as I see it, has had many mishaps in past episodes. On the evening of 6/24/07, Paul shone and handsomely displayed his potential. I'm kind of rooting for Paul to win this thing.

The next challenge of the evening was for the contenders, in teams of two each, to create a "taste of home" for the soldiers. The soldiers voted for their favorite home-cooked meals and the three choices were lasagne, meatloaf and chicken pot pies. With each of these main courses each chef duo was also charged with creating two side dishes and a dessert along with. The chef teams were: Amy and Rory, Jag and Paul, Michael and Adrien.

Each chef duo was also charged with creating a three minute presentation of their feast to an audience of hungry soldiers. Two hours was allowed for preparation of all food.

Jag and Paul were very amusing as this rather odd couple of JAG the ex-marine and Paul the admitted homosexual worked to create their meatloaves. The oven, as it turned out, was not functioning properly and the meatloaves would never be done in time for the presentation. In desperation JAG deep-fried the meatloaves. The air was blue as JAG's expletives dropped down from the sky, making everyone in the surround very uncomfortable.

Amy and Rory worked well on the lasagne together and their presentation was spot on.

Mike and Adrien prepared pot pie and used thinly-sliced deep-fried potatoes as the pie's "crust". Alas they served a dessert that featured frozen fruit.

Below is a short video of JAG and Paul's presentation of their feast to the troops. Their presentation was deemed the best.

Later it was time for the critiques by the selection committee.

JAG was warned about his terrible temper and concern was expressed that his military experience was a handicap this week instead of an asset.

Paul was declared the "best in show" and his smile sure can light up the TV screen. It turned out that the troops loved his and JAG's fried meatloaves!

Michael mentioned Vietnam in his team's presentation and the selection committee wondered why was this necessary. Michael's pot pie topping of those fried potatoes was considered a great success.

Adrien was declared too low-key and the selection committe thought he needed to step up his personality if he wants to stay in this contest.

The selection committee considered Rory a little too superficial and her and Amy's lasagne was not considered all that good.

Amy comes across as rigid or so declared the selection committee.

Michael was sent home this past week.

Montage of Food Network Star 2007-Michael, Paul and Paula Deen

Remaining Contenders in Food Network's Next Star 2007 as of this date:


I think Amy will be next to go home. Keep an eye out for Paul and Rory to end up as finalists in this thing.

Links to prior reviews of Food Network's Next Star 2007:
Food Network Star's web site
6/3/07-The 2007 Search for the Next Food Network Star Begins
The Cover of Bon Appetit
Feeding the NJ Nets Fans
The Fried Meatloaf Caper

Hell's Kitchen 2007-The Taste Test

Chef Ramsey, for a few moments between cussing and swearing, gathered the remaining contenders for the winning chef in "Hell's Kitchen" 2007 and subjected them, female versus male, to a taste test. This challenge required the guesser to be blindfolded and have ears covered while Ramsey placed a food morsel in his or her mouth. Some examples of those food morsels include: lobster, bok choy and seared tuna. It turned out that the girls won this challenge and as their reward they all went out to a restaurant called "Opaque" which serves food, yes it does, completely in the dark.

It seems to me that this entire exercise was a way of promoting that Opaque restaurant but that just my natural cynicism. The fellows were "punished" by having to eat a plateful of the most godawful food God put on this planet. The foodstuff included pigs' tongue, intestines, sweetbreads, perhaps an eyeball or two.

Montage of Hell's Kitchen 2007-crap food for losing guys, Rock struggles to eat and Josh

Folks, for one entire segment of this show aired on 6/25/07 I literally had to cover my ears and eyes as the sight of those guys trying to swallow that stuff, with a few of them almost vomiting, caused me to choke, gag and darn near lose my dinner. Which I was eating at the time, not a good idea.

So far as I'm concerned this scene did not need to be included and added nothing to the series.

The next challenge was in the Hell's Kitchen restaurant. On this night, the customers would be encouraged to fill out a survey and the team, male and female again, that got the most compliments/least complaints would win.

Again the flurry of a restaurant kitchen in action was shown, including lots of swearing by Chef Ramsey. Lookit, I know a restaurant kitchen is hectic, particularly during the rush times. But if you held a gun to my head I'll never admit to some sort of advantage to continuous cussing, swearing and berating of employees as being a good thing.

Below is a small 20 second video of just one tiny scene. Those blips are swear words uttered by God-fearing Chef Ramsey that had to be blipped out by the network. You decide if an entire hour of this wouldn't make your ears hurt.

After all the screaming, crying, angst and suffering, Chef Ramsey again closed down the kitchen and gathered all contenders for a more formal smack down and swearing session. According to the surveys filled out by the customers, most of them were pleased with the quality of the food but 65% would not come back and as Chef Ramsey pointed out, any winner of his or her own restaurant would be out of business immediately with that percentage of customer non-return.

Rock was chosen to pick one contender for elimination consideration while Jen was given that charge for the female team. Even though it was Bonnie who gave such a dismal performance in the female kitchen and Vinnie who messed up loads of expensive meat on the male side, Rock chose Josh for elimination while Jen chose Melissa. It's a bit obvious to me that both Rock and Jen were choosing the opposing contender who would most likely be competition for them. Bonnie is almost a hopeless case while Vinnie was full of himself and couldn't prepare a beef wellington without going through many dollars worth of meat. Even so, Rock and Jen selected the candidate most likely to beat them. Hey, it's not a bad strategy.

Chef Ramsey wasn't buying it, however. Ramsey overrode both Jen and Rock's choices and nominated Bonnie and Vinnie for elimination.

Frankly I don't know what that entire segment was about and it almost seems like a waste of time. Beyond that, Ramsey thought about HIS choices for a bit and after asking Bonnie and Vinnie some questions, he told Vinnie to hang up his apron and head on home.

Montage of Hell's Kitchen 2007-Vinnie and Bonnie

Remaining Contenders for Hell's Kitchen 2007 as of this writing:

I think Rock and Julia got a bit of an edge to be finalists in this thing. I reserve the right to change my mind.

Links to prior reviews of Hell's Kitchen 2007:
Web site for Hell's Kitchen
Amidst Much Cussing, on 6/4/07 the 2007 Hell's Kitchen Competition Begins
The Girls Win Everything Including Fileting the Fish
The Spaghetti Caper
The Taste Test

"The Next Best Thing"

So I tuned in to the new reality show called "The Next Best Thing" on 6/20/07. This is a reality contest that provides a $100 K prize for celebrity impersonators based on three factors in the impersonation: the look, voice and performance. On the night of this review, host Michelle Merkin and the cast were doing auditions in Hollywood, NY and Orlando. Winners would move on to Las Vegas.

I enjoyed this show and below is a montage of some of the celebrity impersonators. Since this is a new reality series it is on a fast track and the grand winner of this contest is due to be announced quite soon if not already.

Montage of winners on

More TV Reviews HERE


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