Welcome back to Food Network Star, where the food is occassionally delicious and the drama is always awesome. Last week, "Balls on the Roll" happened, and it was awkward, for obvious reasons. This week, it's "mid-terms" and our contestants are cooking for Wolfgang Puck, so what could go wrong?
We open with Penny droopily hugging a coffee mug (maybe the first thing I can relate to her about), Jeff brushing his teeth and Chris fiddling with his hair. This montage brought to you by Too Freaking Early. Whitney is on the phone to her boyfriend, looking perfect and beautiful, per usual. Her boyfriend tells her that she IS uptight (thanks babe) but she can be fun too. She proves this to us by weirdly jigging her way to the Escalades as they leave for the Camera Challenge. Methinketh she needs more than a dance in her heart, no?
Bobby Flay welcomes everyone into the kitchen and says that they're halfway through the competition, so it's time for mid-terms. Everyone says "oooooh" nervously and nods seriously like we all did in college during mid-terms, amirite?! No, just me? OK.
For this Camera Challenge, each finalist is making a "signature dish" and then taking two minutes in front of the camera to cook and teach and be likable and tell a story and be an expert and I am completely exhausted just writing this out.
They must be as short on time as usual, because no one (except for Chris, of course) is freaking out. Whitney is cute, offering tastes of her gazpacho and Vic is happily grunting about as he cooks, like the manly teddy bear he is.
Penny (the Middle Eastern Meanie) is talking about how she needs to be warmer and friendlier and I really want to believe her. I'm also distracted by the 50 lb. necklaces she wears. Isn't her neck tired?
Jyll was instructed to "surprise" the judges. So she LITERALLY decides to yell at the camera "NO! DON'T CHANGE THE CHANNEL!" and it's weird. Whitney says that her gazpacho is for her sorority sisters and with that teensy-weensy itty-bitty piece of information, the judges love her. That was easy. Chris says "Bobby says I'm doing too much, but I know I can teach a ton of stuff in two minutes". Predictably, Bobby is right and Chris is wrong. Jeff is the Sandwich King and while he's not over-the-top like usual (yay!) he's also boring as crap (boo!). Maybe over-the-top was better. Homegirl MaryBeth is making spaghetti and meatballs and it's boring and I feel bad for her. Susie demos how to make a tortilla. Bob tells her to think logically and she hilariously looks like he just told her to tame a dragon. Penny takes us on a trip to Istanbul and we get lost somewhere there. She was so focused on being mean and competitive for the first six weeks that being "likable" is the hardest challenge yet. Vic gives a two-minute long run-down of ingredients.
Whitney wins! She hops in place and grins and it's cute.
Vic, MaryBeth, and Susie are playing pool. Jeff wishes Bobby Flay was the pizza guy, but instead he's here to tell them that they are cooking for the selection commitee and Wolfgang Puck and that they have to use whatever food is in the FNS mansion. If this was the Bachelor Pad, they would be so screwed. Luckily, they have more than Corona and chocolate frosting (not for cooking! haaaaa) so they're good.
MaryBeth and Penny are going to go shopping for the decor together. MaryBeth says that they've had their differences, but shopping bring all women together. Amen to THAT, sista. Whitney is a fantastic team leader. She's calm, organized, nice to everybody and has a vision of the dinner as a complete whole. I'm liking her more and more, also, she is SO pretty and I'm super jealous of her hair.
Jeff says they have the "most basic pantry ever". Homeboy has never seen my pantry, obvy.
Chris is freaking about making sure the oven is set to 350. He's making a chocolate cake without a recipe, (that he's already failed at once) so I'm pretty sure that the oven temperature is the least of his worries.
Everybody working together in the kitchen looks ridiculously hard but actually fun. They like each other! No one is being dramatic or mean! Ponies and buttercups!
Oh... wait. Chris is hollering about his oven temperature again. (sigh) It was such a nice moment of getting along. I had high hopes. Whitney says "let's not talk about the oven anymore", and I love her even more.
MaryBeth and Penny "run into" Sabrina Soto from HGTV in Target. Why isn't she ever hanging out at my Target with decorating tips? That was lucky. MaryBeth and Penny have fun together at Target and I'm starting to like this, new nice version of Penny.
Whitney tries to help Jyll with her risotto, but Jyll is so perky perfect that she isn't really accepting advice. Whitney rightly says it's not her place to butt in.
The table is SO pretty. It probably helps that it's on a million-dollar outdoor patio of a Los Angeles mansion. It's the little things. You know.
Anyhoodle, Jeff starts off the dinner with his salad. When they ask about the Sandwich King POV, he says that soup is a sandwiches' best friend, but sandwiches' first cousin is salad. Ahh haha! The judges lurve his funny.
Vic makes something I cannot say. It looks yummers. He's funny and likable.
I love MaryBeth. She is so articulate and funny and I just love her. Unfortunately they don't like her soup.
Panny makes a shrimpy thing and says Bon Appetit in Farsi. Why wasn't she this nice all along? It's like a genuinely nice Middle Eastern Momma took over her formerly jerkwad body. I don't know what to do, because I've hated her for six weeks.
Jyll makes a risotto. Wolfgang tells her that "this is not a risotto" and takes her back to the kitchen for a cooking lesson. Bless her liddle heart. She is mortified and trying to smile and my heart stops for her. Wolfgang says that she gets an "A" for keeping her smile, but Giada and Susie want TEARS. This is REALITY TEEVEE, peeps. GIVE US EMOTION, Jyll.
Whitney's roasted chicken looks fabulous. Susie's cheesey cheese looks wonderful and she is so cute.
Chris says here's my dessert, it basically sucks. Then he says "I would die to make you a risotto" which goes over like a lead balloon.
ELIMINATION TIME! Giada and Susie apparently didn't get their soaps this week, because they are THRILLED with the teary-teary-dramz. They make Susie talk about her life and family and she cries. I'm totally tearing up too, I'm sortof ashamed to say.
Jyll cries. Penny looks dead inside. Her medallion necklace is still choking her. Because it was bothering me so much, I took a picture of my teevee so you can see it for yourself:
Jyll, Chris, MaryBeth and Penny are all on the chopping block. Penny hasn't been nice, MaryBeth's food has been meh. Chris is a frat boy. Jyll doesn't cry enough, appparently.
Chris is going home. He bro-hugs everyone, even the chicks. Vic says "brother for life" in a Game of Thrones-y, serious way. Jyll and MaryBeth are safe and they hug Penny as though they really are sad that she's leaving. I kinda am too, honestly. I liked this new, nice Penny. Jeff points out that the drama is gone, so only the contenders are left. Oooh baby.
Next week they are headed to NYC to hang out with Rachael Ray and hear MaryBeth talk about bones. Can't wait! See you then!