Russell As a Haiku and in Defense of Danushka — Justin’s Rebel Recap

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Finalists Viet Pham, Russell Jackson and Chris Hodgeson in as seen on Food Network Star, Season 9.

Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

It’s the second week of a live-action job interview. Eleven contestants pile into their Buicks and head to the mansion where Gone with the Wind was filmed. I couldn’t help but see the irony, as one more of the contestants will be gone with the wind by day’s end.

Bash:

1. Informal: A heavy, crushing blow.

2. Slang: A celebration; a party.

Yes, someone got crushed last night, and to the rest, it was a party.

  • Lovely’s turkey burger sounds great until she gets to caramelized onions, which Alton Brown schooled me on way back in the day. “If you aren’t cooking them for 45 minutes to an hour, then you aren’t caramelizing them.” This has me nervous, but the shocking footage found in the “Watch It Again” section below is what really had me petitioning for Lovely’s tribunal at the Burger Hague.
  • What is starting to intrigue me about Chad is not about barbecue, but the nifty things he thinks of. When was the last time you saw a latke on Star? Topping a burger with a fried green tomato? Genius! I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Finalist Nikki Dinki presenting at the Star Challenge "Burger Bash" as seen on Food Network Star, Season 9.

Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

  • Hey, Nikki: Want a good veggie burger? Black beans, mushrooms and soy sauce. The perpetually sunny Nikki doesn’t seem to perceive this end of the veggie spectrum and is chuckin' all sorts of squashy and cabagge-y-lookin' things into the mix.
  • The burger for the burger purists is what Danushka wants to make. I can vibe with that, but sliders? More like sigh-ders. Cute, yes, but to me, a burger should be wider than your mouth to truly be a burger.
  • Andres is making a Cuban burger, which will teach young men that cooking is as masculine as growing a beard. Read that sentence again. RIP.
  • I was really hoping Chef Clark Kent (Viet Pham) would fly around the Earth so fast that time reversed so Nikki could rethink what she put in that veggie burger.
  • Damaris does a highly mockable, gif-worthy shimmy as a sales tactic, which sinks like the oven temperature every time you open the door. If she’s a teacher, she should teach. Turn off the karaoke interpretive dancer, and turn on the educator. We’ll see.
Threat of the Week: Russell
As a haiku:
Seven sins sugar
Fat bacon liquor they are
All dishes include

Russell is the threat of the week because of maths. Yes, maths. You don’t have to be really smart to figure out the formula to solve the following: How many dishes, all guaranteed to be fundamentally delicious, can Russell create using the combinations contained in his seven culinary sins? If you were Alton, you could figure out the permutations, as well. As we all know, permutations and combinations, mathematically speaking, are not the same thing. Regardless, if Russell becomes cheerful, heaven-forbid jolly, I pity the fool who bets on Russell’s demise. He was one with his POV this week, and I have seen the light: The sinner shall rise.

Cue the scary music: Andres, Nikki and Danushka are up for elimination. Remember when I said that the first person to weaponize the information contained in the Dial of Doom would be the next Food Network Star? Andres could have been that man. The mentors told him in advance, and, worse, he knew exactly what was going to get him in the green. But like a man who prefers strawberry to grape, it just wasn’t his jam. Andres didn’t want to talk about weight loss. I get it, it’s personal, it’s humbling, but the bottom line is, he's a walking testament to his own power — and that could have taken him far.

The moral of the story: Nobody will judge a star for being remarkable. Spread your remarkability and you’ll inspire others to be remarkable, as well.

Finalist Danushka Lysek in as seen on Food Network Star, Season 9.

Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

In Defense of Danushka

Everybody calm down for a second and quit hatin' on Danushka. She’s captivating! “As watching water boil,” you might say. Look closely, Danushka's pretty funny when she isn’t talking to the focus group or to a pitch-tape recording camera. When she’s talking to the viewers and judges, she’s actually got a great dry sense of humor. It’s when she “performs” that it gets bizarre. If she would talk to the focus group like she talks to fans or the mentors, she could be pretty darn entertaining. Who really has the gall to give Flay the “I’m watching you,” eyes? I thought that was freaking hysterical and worthy of salvation. Feel free to tweet me your feelings.

Watch It Again Moments
  • Chris seemingly claps and smiles watching Giada grill Viet about “how he’s gonna sell it.”
  • As Alton says, “21 minutes,” you can see Lovely pressing the burger into a hot grill, which, in most burger laws, is punishable by banishment.
  • Damaris’ hip-shaking while she's cooking cuts into Chris' eating-raw-meat moment only to have it fall out of his mouth!
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