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"Stage 7: From Four to Two" - April 16
 
The final four are in their kitchen whites. Carissa thinks food is sexy. Guy has been working with food for 25 years. My wife and son let me do this. "2nd place is the first loser." Reggie said "food is my life. I am just having a good time." Nathan is always upbeat. "Being outside makes me happy. I never get sick. I love teaching people how to cook."
 
Mark asks, "How would you handle intense pressure?" To answer that question, we welcome back the host of "Good Deal", Dave Lieberman. Dave explains there are 2 tables, one table where you can only visit once, and one where you can visit as many times as you like. However you can only take 8 ingredients and you have 5 minutes to decide. Everyone chooses their ingredients and Dave is about to explain the challenge when Mark interrupts Dave and drops a bombshell. He tells everyone to move one station to the left. So now, you have someone else's ingredients to work with. (That was harsh.) And now to the challenge:
 
CHALLENGE: USING THE INGREDIENTS IN FRONT OF YOU, YOU WILL HAVE ONE HOUR TO COMPLETE AT LEAST 2 DISHES. YOU WILL DEMO THE DISHES IN FRONT OF THE SELECTION COMMITTEE. YOU HAVE 6 MINUTES.
 
Everyone was a little shocked at their ingredients, but they got through it. We see the prep and the eventual countdown. We see the final 4 head to Studio B and Guy is first. He needs to tone it down a notch. He does a FILET WRAPPED IN BACON W/A GINGER AND POMEGRANATE REDUCTION with a VEGETABLE SCALLOPED POTATO w/CARAMELIZED FENNEL. He sacrificed plating for tempo. Flay said it was "controlled chaos. And the food tasted good." Susie said it was a really nice job. Guy said it was his best demo.
 
Carissa is next...she needs to improve on time. She does a "simply French" ROASTED CHICKEN and an ASPARAGUS FRICASSEE. Flay liked the dishes. Susie liked the "Simply French" concept. Bob said you "need to sell the dish through personality." Carissa said she has a lot of work to do.
 
Reggie did a shrimp dish with CREAMED CORN W/WARM BEAN SALAD. He said the challenges are getting harder. Flay said his start was good, but he got a lil lost. He said it was 85%. But "85% may not be good enough." Reggie is concerned.
 
Nathan felt confident. He did a RED SNAPPER "en papillotte" (in paper) Guy said Nathan's educated tone might be "cocky". He misinterpreted the directions. He felt really good, but dropped the ball at the end. Flay said he puts way too many ingredients in every dish. "If you didn't put as many ingredients, you might have gotten to the end." Susie said " Don't be as ambitious." Bob said it was like a boring cooking class.
 
The next day, we are going to the Food Network Space at Chelsea Market. The next challenge will be a "meet and eat."
 
CHALLENGE: YOU WILL PREPARE AN APPETIZER TO PRESENT TO THE EDITORIAL STAFF OF TV GUIDE. THEN YOU WILL DEMO A SIGNATURE DRINK AND DISH FOR THE TV GUIDE PRESS. YOU MUST PROMO THE SHOW AS WELL.
 
The appetizers are being presented at individual table. Nathan liked that so he can talk to the press. Reggie did ARUGULA IN CHEESE CUPS. Nathan did a PORK TENDERLOIN CROSTINI. Carissa did SHRIMP PUFFS. Guy did CHICKEN AVOCADO EGG ROLLS.
 
Reggie is first and introduced by Carrie Welsh of the Food Network. He does a CHICKEN POT PIE and a RASPBERRY LEMONTINI. Carol Dittenbrenner of TV Guide called Reggie a "Warm Blanket". Michael Ausiello called him "entertaining". Lisa Welch said he did well. During the demo...Susie whispered.."He's so delightful." Bob responded "I agree. He's so engaging and comfortable." But Reggie is upset he didn't promote the show. He knows he is going to get penalized for it.
 
Carissa is next. She plugs the show right away. She did a DOUBLE DOUBLE BACON QUICHE. She thought the press was a little tough on her. But it didn't phase her. The press was laughing at her retorts. She did her MOM'S SPICY BLOODY MARY. She called her demo a "tribute to Mom."
 
Nathan is up next. He did a CHICKEN PAILLARD W/OLIVE TAPENADE. Guy said he "forgets more than I will ever learn." Michael wanted to see more personality than teeth. His drink was "VANILLA ROUGE." He put down Reggie a little bit when asked about his competition. He felt he was among friends.
 
Guy is last. He did his GRAPE APE BOWLA first and then his non-sushi JACKASS ROLL. He promos the show right away. He rolled with the questions. They were "Nothing compared to the cracks he gets at work." One press member said, "He warmed me over". Guy asked the question, "Can they see me next to Rachael Ray and Paula Deen?" The press were impressed by all of the finalists.
 
But it's elimination time.
 
Reggie's evaluation is first. Susie liked his performance at the meet & eat but didn't mention the show. Flay liked the food, but didn't finish the demo. He needs to be organized at the stove. Bob said Reggie had his mojo back. He was entertaining to watch, but his jokes were overworked. Reggie didn't think so, but we see clips that he may have.
 
Nathan is next. Flay said 14 ingredients on a crouton is way too much. You are confusing complexity and sophistication. Susie said the press liked him, but you stepped on your teammates to get yourself over. He said he didn't (but we see clips that he did). Bob said he had good looks and healthy, but you start stories and not finish them.
 
Carissa is next. Susie said she brought her A game to the press. Flay said he loved her food and she can really cook. Carissa was shocked that Flay loved her food. Bob honestly thought she wouldn't be here at this stage of the game. He tells her not to stop moving forward.
 
Guy is last. Susie said he knocked it out of the park with the press. Flay loved his prioritizing(getting the press drinking first and on his side.) Bob said he handled the pressure demo like a seasoned pro. "But are you the right guy for us? We don't know yet."
 
Bobby Flay keeps CARISSA.  Bob keeps "a guy named GUY." And Susie calls Nathan and Reggie both "stars to us". But she keeps REGGIE and NATHAN LYON is the 5th out on the show. He said "I totally understand. Being eliminated is difficult and but I left knowing the three people left are very good. I am the most fortunate person that you know."

 "From 4 to 2"--Part II
 
We are down to the final three and we review the eliminations of Jess, Beth, Evette, Andy and Nathan.
 
Guy is blesses to have his family by his side meaning his wife Lori, son Hunter and new son Ryder coming in 3 weeks.
Carissa was taught by her mom that it is "not ok to lose."
Reggie is proud to be part of this process.
 
The Van rolls past the Food Network studio. Reggie jokes about the voiceover "and the finalists didn't know where they were going!" Reggie said the show should be called "The Next Food Network SURPRISE!"  They joke about where they are going like Dave Lieberman's house, but they head uptown and go to the CBS Early Show studios.
 
This is the next challenge:
 
CHALLENGE: YOU ARE GOING TO DO AN EARLY SHOW SPOT WITH THE HOST JULIE CHEN. YOU HAVE 6 1/2 MINUTES TO PREP A 3 COURSE ROMANTIC MEAL. THE SELECTION COMMITTEE WILL BE WATCHING IN THE CONTROL ROOM.
 
Guy Fieri is first. He does GUIDO'S ARTICHOKES, HAVANA PRAWNS AND GINGER POACHED PEARS. Chen asked about the pear and Guy had no clue about the pear. He wanted to make up a new name for it. Guy said through his mind was "the scary Bobby Flay face" when he forgot it. Bob said it wasn't his best performance. Guy knew he could have done better.
 
Carissa is next. She was ready to go. She did a CREAM OF PUMPKIN SOUP WITH GRUYERE CROUTONS. She asked her to ladle the soup in and Flay said "She got her involved." She did a PORK TENDERLOIN WITH ASIAGO CHEESE AND PROSCIUTTO. She knew her timing was off. Her dessert was PEACH COBBLER. She didn't plate everything and it was a "mishmash".
 
Reggie was last. He first did a MESCALINE GREEN SALAD WITH FIGS AND PEARS. Flay said "Great Description. Next was a GRILLED TUNA STEAK W/WARMED WHITE BEAN SALAD. Last was Fruit with two sauces which you can "feed to each other!" Bob said once the camera light was on he hit it out of the park.
 
Julie was asked about each finalist. Carissa had hearty food, Guy had a clear script and Reggie was charming. They asked her who would she send home, and she starts to respond...but we don't see it on camera. 
 
On the van ride home, Guy knew there was an elimination, Carissa was stunned there was one.
 
Bob said "They each could  have a shot, but we only can pick 2." Flay called it the toughest elimination so far.
 
Reggie's last evaluation is first, Bob said he hit it out of the park, but you have to dole out the schtick a little less. Flay said his food has to have the same sass as him. Susie said he didn't promo the show. Reggie said the message is clear.
 
Carissa is next. Susie also didn't like that she didn't promo the show. Flay said the food was mouthwatering. Bob said this was a teeny step backward. She didn't get her footing and she said she needs to be "more me".
 
Guy is last. Susie felt that Chen was a willing host to your co, but you didn't get her involved as much as you should have. Flay said that you need to have the "total package. An artichoke with Mayo didn't suit you." Bob saw Less Guy that ever before...it was "Mini-Guy".
 
So who makes into the FINAL 2 and get to shoot their own pilot? Bob picks GUY FIERI as the first finalist. And we hear Bobby Flay's pick(after a long intro praising both chef and their styles along with a commercial break) of REGGIE SUTHERLAND. CARISSA SEWARD is gone. Carissa kicks herself for not being better at the times when she needed to be. Bob said they really struggled with the decision. Reggie felt for her. Guy said the way she handled herself was classy and shows that is an incredible woman. Carissa says she let herself down and disappointed in herself.
 
They meet in Studio A. Reggie said this was the real deal. And to help with their pilots...they meet the "Deen" of Southern cooking...Ms. Paula Deen herself. Reggie was beside himself. Guy would love to hang with her and talk food. Reggie said "I love watching her and hearing her voice throughout the house."

Paula jokingly beats Reggie up about his show concept and talks to Guy about his show. Paula says "You have to take that camera and look at it as your friends. You  have to be true to who you are and what you are. Paula makes a Tomato Tart for them. Guy said she is intoxicating. And in this commercial Guy and Reggie joke that they talked to the other finalist and said "you should vote for me". (Cute.)
 
Reggie is first. We see the selection committee watching. We see Reggie walk through with Harriet Siew and rehearse with the producer. His pilot segments are shown which is called "Reggie Sutherland is Simply Spectacular." He cooks a ROAST BALSAMIC CHICKEN w/ FENNEL and a "RASPBERRY POPPED TART". He felt he did the best he could...and the crowd applauded.
 
Guy is next. He calls his show a combination of "Jackass/American Chopper and Emeril". We see his rehearsal and walk through. And then we see COOKING OFF THE HOOK with Guy Fieri. He does his TEQUILA TURKEY FETTUCCINI and "BREATH MINT PIE." The Pilot is "60% of who I am. I hope I can evolve and get the chance to do it."
 
Paula said Guy is a cross between Mario and Emeril. But Reggie is Unique. "Both of them have star quailty." And as we toast the finalists...it's up to you!
 
Go to foodnetwork.com through April 20th at 9AM and vote for Guy or Reggie (once per day) and you can text 36636 and put Reggie or Guy in your text. Next week, we find out who becomes the Next Food Network Star!
 

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