Photo courtesy of Food Network
So far this season, the Food Network Star candidates have gone to the movies, served up burgers to foodies, and went live for Independence Day.
This week, they will be facing three high-powered food executives in a Shark Tank-like episode.
But before they present their products to these high-powered culinary VIPs, they had to impress this year’s selection committee: Alton Brown, Giada de Laurentiis and Bobby Flay.
Who rose to the front of the pack? Whom did the “sharks” eat? Read on to find out…
Once the trio introduced the challenge to the Lucky Seven, everyone had one hour to create two of their best products. The finished products would then be critiqued by the mentors before being presented to three high power executives from Kraft, Kellogg, and Target.
For his product, Chad Rosenthal chose to market his famous Big Boy’s BBQ Beans. His pitch fell apart despite Kraft Foods’ Jane Hilk stating that the beans were sweet and the title was appealing. Senior Vice President of Marketing stated that the packaging looked like a Sloppy Joe mix instead of a can of baked beans.
Stacey Poon-Kinney invited the executives to join her in the Vintage Kitchen to try cayenne butterscotch. While she had a great product, Stacey missed a beat in her presentation because she missed a line. Target’s Director of Food Product Development, Amanda Irish, stated that it was unexpected but delicious. Meanwhile, Ms. Hilk stated that Stacey’s presentation was boring.
Chris Hodgson’s usual high energy was missing this week. It could not have come at a worse time as he presented his smoked apple ketchup. Amanda thought that Chris was not authentic and the former Great Food Truck Race participant missed an opportunity to talk about his grandfather’s smokehouse and orchard.
Food blogger Nikki Dinki had problems making her two sauces and it showed when she faced the mentors. While they preferred the roasted tomatillo and pepper sauce to the eggplant sauce, Alton stated that she needed to have three products ready to have memorized for the committee. She should have listened to Nikki because even though she had a great pitch, the food blogger failed to answer the questions that the committee presented to her.
Since the first week, underground chef Russell Jackson has been in the Bottom three times. When he created his Bacon Candy for the trio, they were immediately impressed with the product. Unfortunately, while the executives were charmed by Russell’s presentation, they did not think that it was actually bacon candy.
Culinary school instructor Damaris Phillips tried to follow in Stacey’s footsteps by presenting her bourbon, peach and ginger jam. But, unfortunately for the Southern cuisine queen, it came out like a robot and Giada had to stop her presentation. Amanda stated that she thought Damaris was reserved, which surprised the Selection Committee because she was the opposite of Amanda’s declaration! Once Damaris showed her true personality, all three executives including Kellogg’s Sandy Uridge thought that the jam was very good and she did not need to change a thing.
Pie king Rodney Henry was warned by the Selection Committee to keep his presentation simple. But did he listen to their advice? Absolutely not! He performed a little song that no one understood and divided the room. The executives smiled and laughed, while all three members (especially Alton) cringed. Jane stated that she loved his crust, but Amanda thought that Rodney’s strong personality would overshadow his products.
At the end of the session, the trio stated that Damaris, Russell and Stacy won the challenge. This left several frontrunners (Chad, Chris and Nikki) at the bottom of the pack. After declaring Nikki and Chad safe, the trio surprised viewers by saving Rodney and eliminating fan-favorite Chris from the competition.
You can follow Chris’s attempt at redemption as he faces off against former teammate and reigning queen of Star Salvation, Lovely, on Food Network’s website.
Next week, the Final Six will be tested on their culinary vocabulary and the candidates’ food will go up on the auction block!