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Saturday, 31 of October of 2020

The Next Food Network Star – “Cooking For Eva Longoria”

Well, that was something.

I wasn’t crazy about this episode. It felt a little a lazy, from the Camera Challenge (a re-tread of an earlier challenge, though it does serve a purpose) to the kind of silly Star Challenge (dish inspired by an emotion). This episode was pretty “Meh.” across the board, which leaves me with little to say about it beyond the rather surprising dismissal. And by “dismissal” I mean the fact that Giada isn’t going to be on the show until the finale. That’s four episodes with my precious Italian goddess. Why are they doing this to me? WHY?!

So we’ll get the big thing out of the way: I was pretty surprised that the committee sent Brad home. I thought for sure that Aria or Aarti were on the way out, especially since they seemed keen on Brad’s Culinary Quest idea (I like it, too, much  more so than Aria’s family style show). I’ll agree that Brad has been struggling to find an on-screen presence for himself, and I don’t think that this has been due to his lack of a CPOV. Rather, I think Brad just picked the wrong day to have a bad day in the kitchen.

With that said, a dismissal this late in the game isn’t a bad thing. I suspect that the suits will keep Brad in mind for a traveling show (like Kid in a Candy Store or Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives) that will showcase his journey as a chef, as well as highlight some restaurants that aren’t normally showcased on Food Network.

Still, no Giada for four week. I don’t know if I can make it.

Chances of each as we move into the final four:

  1. Tom: With a compliment like “Nothing short of genius” in regards to his food and his presentation this week, Tom may have a shot at winning this thing. I feel like they’ll have to find a way to balance his goofy and affable nature and his clear expertise (this tuna duo looked, and apparently tasted, delicious).
  2. Aarti: I know I said I thought she was on the way out, but I suspect if she won, she’d get over her confidence issues. Indeed, her confidence was shattered by a lack of ideas what to do for the challenge, not because she doesn’t have faith in her abilities. That lack of ideas is what put her in a weird position, and I think that, if planning her own show, she’d have a better sense of to do each week.
  3. Herb: Functioning like a dark horse, Herb seems willing to slowly build up his CPOV and his dishes over time, which has served him really well. Unlike Aria who plateaued too early, Herb is hitting his stride right now. I just think it may be a bit late, especially given Tom’s surge.
  4. Aria: She really has to bring it. This competition has been hers to lose since the first episode, and while I think she’s survived based on demos and approach to food, she hasn’t managed to exploit her approach or her food in such a way that she’s got this in the bag. She needs to figure it out, and now.

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