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The Next Food Network Star: 6/8/08

June 22nd, 2008 · by Cyndi · No Comments

Episode two of the Next Food Network Star is all about speed. Which I suppose is this season’s theme. Not quick cooking (30 minute meals, etc) like in other seasons, but frantic decisions with no time to plan. Not realistic.

This week there was one big challenge broken up into several parts.  The 9 contestants were randomly sorted into groups of 3.  After being woken up at 3am, their day started immediately after being given instructions.  With the clock ticking, they had to shower, dress, eat, and drive off.  To show character I guess, but I really didn’t see the point of it.

Each team visited 3 locations and had to answer a food-related question.  If they got it right, they could choose an offered ingredient and head off to the next location.  If they got it wrong, one team member had to waste time doing boring food prep before getting the ingredient.

The questions were a mix.  I could answer one third to half of the ones shown.  At least the first one was easy: which two components of wheat are left out of white flour? (bran and germ)…the team got it wrong.

The 3 locations were bread, cheese, and meat stores.  Each one had 3 ingredient choices and the teams got to choose in the order they were ready.  It was made out to be a big deal to get the last choice, but really everything was good.

When they finally arrived at the meeting point after the challenge, they found out that the prize for coming in first was simply to go first in the next challenge.  This was supposedly an advantage, though I didn’t see it that way.  Going later meant more time to think about what to cook.

Each team had a mere 45 minutes to plan and cook and plate brunch for 30 people.  On a moving train.  Each of the 3 ingredients from the previous challenge had to be featured, but there was a full pantry of other foods too.  Although I’m not sure this was part of the requirement, I believe each team made 3 dishes, each with one of the featured ingredients, and one team member made each dish.

So…bread, cheese, and meat.  Not really a Cyndi meal.  But sometimes cooking with restrictions means you have to use the foods you normally avoid.  The teams made French toast (2) and bread pudding, various salads (to use cheese or duck), fried eggs, a salmon sandwich (my favorite), and strip steak.

I think I would have made a frittata with cheese and meat and toast with a savory topping.  Or maybe eggs Benedict with the meat ingredient in lieu of the usual ham and the bread ingredient in lieu of the usual English muffin.  Then maybe a side salad (spinach would be nice) with the cheese ingredient.

Not the most exciting of challenges but at least the most boring contestant went home and my favorite (Aaron) was one of two to win the challenge and be featured in a magazine.

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