Sara Bates recaps episode 6 for season 9!
I hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July weekend! Here we are again, it’s another week, and we are down to 7 finalists on Food Network Star.
The show opened up with the mentors talking to the finalists about the importance of communicating their culinary point of view, or brand, to the viewers. For the mentors challenge tonight, the finalists had one hour to cook samples of two possible products. The products were food items that could be jarred, bottled or put into a box, and it needed to be something they could sell to their audience.
The finalists needed to show why they believed in these products and how they represent them and who they are. They pitched their ideas to the mentors who provided feedback. Based on that feedback, they selected the best product and pitched that product to 3 high powered executives: one from Kraft, one from Kellogg and one from Target.
Chad decided to make BBQ Baked Beans and a Memphis Dry Rub Seasoning. Alton liked the beans “a little.” He said that Chad had a better chance with the beans rather than the rub because there are so many rubs on the market. Nikki made two sauces – a roasted pepper and tomatillo sauce and an eggplant and spinach sauce. The mentors all agreed that the color of the eggplant sauce was not appetizing and they really didn’t like the flavors either.
Rodney decided to make two versions of a pie kit – a spinach and cheese quiche kit and a mixed berry pie kit. Alton really liked the quiche. Chris made smoked apple jam and spiced sweet corn bisque. The bisque was very spicy, but the mentors liked the flavors of the jam, although it was more of a ketchup than a jam.
Russell created a bacon candy and a chocolate bourbon chili ice cream. Giada loved the bacon candy and said it was unique. Damaris made grilled peach and chili pepper jam and whiskey honey vinaigrette. The dressing wasn’t cooked so the whiskey was very strong. The mentors loved the jam. Stacey created a gluten and dairy free cookie and cayenne butterscotch. The mentors didn’t like the cookie at all but loved the butterscotch.
Once the finalists decided on which product to move forward with, they spent time with a graphic artist and worked on packaging for their products. Finally, they were all ready to present their products to the execs.
Chad’s “ Big Boy’s Beans” were confusing to the execs. The clear jar was meant to make the beans look pretty, but they really looked liked sloppy joes. Stacey stumbled during her butterscotch presentation, but did well overall. The execs didn’t feel like Chris’s pitch came through clearly, but his ketchup tasted good. Nikki couldn’t answer the execs questions clearly, and her sauce was too chunky.
Russell‘s sinful bacon candy tasted great but didn’t come off as candy. The execs called him endearing and authentic. Damaris’s ginger and peach jam was well received and the execs loved the labeling. Lastly, Rodney sang a song and played guitar during his presentation. The mentors and execs felt that his strong personality overshadowed his pie kit. The execs loved the taste of the crust but hoped it would taste as good when it came from the jar.
The mentors took all the feedback from the execs and talked about how the finalist did overall. Damaris was restrained, which was unusual for her, but the execs loved her product. Stacey needed to be more spontaneous instead of scripted, but the execs loved her product and packaging. Russell made his food revolution fun but the bacon candy was questionable as a “candy.”
The mentors announced that Damaris, Stacey and Russell did the best during the challenge and were all safe. That left Rodney, Chad, Nikki and Chris. Although they both had a few missteps, Chad and Nikki did well enough to move on. They were both safe.
The bottom two were Chris and Rodney. Bobby discussed his concerns over Chris moving backwards instead of forward. Rodney missed the point and didn’t actually explain his product. So who went home? Who would you have sent home? The mentors felt it was Chris’s time to go home. I didn’t agree, but I guess that’s why I’m not a mentor! I would have definitely sent Rodney home before Chris, just because I think Chris has more potential.
On the next episode, the final six will put their food up for auction. Enjoy your week and we’ll talk again next weekend!