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"Stage 3: If Anything Can Go Wrong, It WillA Semi-Homemade Challenge" - March 26
 
Last week, Jess Dang succumbed to the pressure and became the first one to be eliminated. What will happen this week as the contestants are now whittled down to 7?
 
Guy says that the trip to the Studio was intense. Reggie lightens up the Green Room with his Chewbacca impression.
 
Everyone enters Studio B and talks to the 7 remaining contestants. He explains that one of the things that people have to do to promote Food Network shows is the SMT, or Satellite Media Tour. Various Food Network personalities including Alton Brown, Mario Batali, Bobby Flay and others explain what it is. Local TV stations interview the Stars and have to do the same dish 15 times in a row within a one to three minute time span. You have to get the message across and it is very challenging. Batali calls it an "adrenaline rush".
 
Carrie Welch, Director of Public Relations explains to the remaining 7 that they are going to an SMT to live reporters across the country.
 
CHALLENGE: Do a satellite media interview with reporters. You have demo a dish for the reporters and promote "Next Food Network Star II". What the contestants don't know is that the selection committee and the producers are pulling a double prank whammy on them. Prank #1 is that the interview isn't "live"--it's being done in the upstairs studio with CBS Saturday Early Show hosts Tracy Smith and Russ Mitchell as the "reporters". They are given fake names. Prank #2 is that the demo is going to be fraught with problems with both technical and kitchen issues set up by the Food Network. The selection committee will be watching to see how the contestants handle the pressure.
 
Reggie is up first. He does a GRILLED SALMON HASH. His problems included a bad rasp on his zester and audio interference in his IFB. He just barreled through. Bob thought he was "antagonistic". Reggie was let in on the joke and can watch the other demos as they get done. He called it "fun and happy time".
 
Before Evette even started the demo, Russ played an unhappy "sports reporter". She did a SPINACH, BACON AND POTATO OMELET. Her problems were Japanese interference on her audio and Russ trying to hit on her while the demo was going on.
 
Andy did POACHED EGGS WITH GOAT CHEESE. His eggs weren't poached, they were hard boiled. He also had audio interference. Flay thought he "rolled with everything". Bob thought he "ignored the host".
 
Carissa did a FRENCH TOAST CREME BRULEE STICK. Her name was mispronounced, the lights kept going out and her cooled milk actually was boiling hot. Flay calls her "the Yummy Chef" due to her overuse of the word "Yummy". Mark let her in on the joke.
 
Beth did CREAMY SCRAMBLED EGGS. Russ calls her "Carissa" many times and the cream she was supposed to use was curdled.
 
Nathan did BRAISED APPLES AND VEGETABLES. Russ was very rude to him and he had audio interference.
 
Finally Guy did a LA MARGARITA FRITTATA. Russ took a cell phone call during the interview. Guy called this demo "good practice for the real thing."
 
After the "interview" Stacy and Russ complimented the finalists on how they did under pressure.
 
Next, the finalists are back in their kitchen whites knowing there is another challenge on the way. Bob explains that something you have to develop as a chef is a culinary "point of view". "What part are you going to own?" People like Giada De Laurentis, Rachael Ray and Paula Deen all had food philospohies that developed from who they were. Then more Food Network Stars explain their food philosophies. Then Mark introduces the star of "Semi-Homemade" Sandra Lee.
 
Lee explains her food philosophy from the Cordon Bleu to home cooking and her "70/30" philosophy and takes questions from the 7 contestants. Everyone loves her. This leads to the 2nd challenge of the episode:
 
CHALLENGE: YOU WILL HAVE 45 MINUTES TO CREATE A DISH THAT PRESENTS YOUR CULINARY "POINT OF VIEW". YOU WILL HAVE TO PRESENT THE DEMO WHICH LASTS 5 MINUTES IN FRONT OF THE COMMITTEE. SANDRA LEE WILL GUEST JUDGE. YOU WILL USE THE SAME FOOD PANTRY. YOUR POINT OF VIEW WILL BE SHOWN THROUGH PASTA.
 
Everyone explains their culinary point of view and we see the 45 minutes go by in a flash.
 
We go to the demos with Sandra as judge.
 
Reggie goes first with his MACARONI BLANCO W/SAUSAGES. He did comfort food plated in a chic way. Susie called it "serious comfort food. Sandra loved him, but thought he was a bit scattered.
 
Carissa's philosophy is strictly "French". She did a PAPPARDELLE NEST W/PANCHETTA, MUSHROOM AND ONION. When she had to do the swapout, the pasta wasn't there. So she stirred her uncooked pasta, cooked it as long as she could, and plated the crunchy pasta. She thought she covered it "pretty well". She knew it was her fault about the swap out and is kicking herself. Flay thought the pasta could have been cooked longer. Susie cut her some slack and said "they weren't pros yet." Sandra called her "a little hyper."
 
Guy did a FULL FLAVORED BIRD. Guy said timing was the hardest part. Sandra said his energy and flows works for him.
 
Evette did a PRETTY IN PINK PENNE PASTA. It was a "Latino-American infused dish". She thought she talked too fast. Sandra thought she should slow way down. Bob couldn't taste what was in it. Susie thought the sofrito wasn't interesting. Bobby joked that they were "sofrito experts now."
 
Andy felt vulnerable in this area. He did a SHITAKE RAVIOLI w/BROWN BUTTER SAUCE. He likes to work with Brown Butter. He thought his demo went very well. Sandra thought he was nervous in the beginning but hit his stride later in the demo.
 
Beth did a SPICY PASTA PRIMAVERA. Sandra thought it was way too instructional. She felt like she wanted it to be over.

Nathan did an OPEN FACED LASAGNA. He felt very comfortable in front of the camera. When he is cooking his true nature comes across, Sandra said he was a pleasure to watch. She wanted to hear more about his niece(which he mentioned in the demo), and this was his to lose. This made him feel amazing.
 
Elimination and evaluation time. Reggie said that walk is tough. Carissa says everyone thinks it "might be me".
 
Evaluations first:
 
Guy--by Bobby Flay. He felt lost in his demo half way through. You need to connect more and keep that in mind.
Nathan--by Susie Fogelman. In the Media Demo, she felt he was rude and angry to the reporter. You need to Relax and roll with the punches. But the Sandra Lee Demo was warm and we need to see more of that in the future.
Evette--by Bob Tischman. She hasn't changed since the beginning of the competition. She knows what she is, but the taste of the dishes are not great. She needs to step up her food game.
Carissa--by Flay. The "Yummy Chef". Her Smile Lights Up the room. But her talk in the demo wasn't really saying anything. They liked the flavor of her sauce, but she needs to check her stations all the time. She admits her mistake again, and thanks the judges.
Beth--by Susie. In the Media Demo, she was interesting and quick witted. But in the demo, she was way too quiet and needed a lot more energy. She needs to bring it out more. Beth doesn't know if this fits her.
Reggie--by Bob. He feels intimate to the viewer. But the SMT was very rough, and blew it. He thought he was unflappable, but he found out Reggie can be flapped.
Andy--by Flay. When you cook, you smile. In the SMT, he didn't smile. And in the Demo he didn't cook right away. He forgot to do what he does best.
 
So who stays and who goes.
 
Susie calls ANDY  and GUY to stay. Bob calls CARISSA and REGGIE to stay. That leaves EVETTE, BETH AND NATHAN.
Bobby calls NATHAN to stay. And in the final two, he says there were 2 different styles and it was a tough choice but EVETTE stays.
 
Which means that BETH RAYNOR of Sausalito, CA is the 2nd candidate eliminated from the competition. She said that she realizes this may not have been for her, and this experience shows that maybe I can find something I want to do. The remaining 6 toast her as we end this episode.
 
Next week, teamwork lessons from Season 1 winners Dan and Steve. Also, Giada De Laurentiis does a multiple dish challenge!
 

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