'Food Network Star' Recap: Wolfgang and the End of an Era
'Food Network Star' Recap: Wolfgang and the End of an Era
Matt Click
Matt Click
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Last week, we lost a real contender in Orchid Paulmeier. But life, and Food Network Star, continues. I'm actually looking forward to tonight's episode. Again, it's only an hour. And we have a double elimination! Will Penny go home tonight? Will Mary Beth make a penis joke in front of Wolfgang Puck? Let's find out together.

Join me, won't you?

Our episode begins with Whitney on the phone again. And this time it's with ... her boyfriend. I am crushed. But you know what, it's OK. I'll get over it. I won't get between you and your boyfriend, Whitney. I have the class to step aside.

Signature Styles

Bobby Flay says this will be the toughest Camera Challenge yet. Each finalist must prepare their signature dish and then give a two minute demo on how to prepare it. Bobby will be going by each of their stations and giving them one thing to work on for their demo. (You know, it's nice to see Bobby back in action on this show -- where the hell has he been for the last three weeks?)

Bobby tells Susie she needs to focus on teaching. Jeff needs to be warmer and more personable. Jyll needs to surprise the judges. Whitney, like Jeff, needs to be warmer. Mary Beth has to work on making her dish, and her presentation, unique. Bobby tells Penny she needs to be more likable (HA GOOD LUCK). Vic needs to be an expert. Bobby tells Chris he needs to focus.

Jyll's idea of a surprise is screaming at the camera (she must be taking lessons from Chris). Whitney does well, and rolls with Bobby's feedback. Chris talks a mile-a-minute through his demo, to the point where he sounds harried and out-of-breath. Bobby says, "He is so frustrating to me sometimes." Yeah, join the club, Flay.

My boy Jeff is up, but he doesn't do so hot. In trying to be warmer, he loses all of his energy. Mary Beth doesn't do a great job of following the judges' advice either. Susie focuses on teaching, but kinda forgets to tell us what we're making. Penny is crashing and burning on her magical trip to Istanbul. The judges still don't find her likable, but confess that her food might save her another week. Vic takes up two minutes listing ingredients.

Whitney wins the Camera Challenge!
She'll get an advantage in the Star Challenge.

And don't forget, two people are going home tonight. Could we bump that up to four, maybe? No? OK, fine. I'll settle for two.

Dinner for Puck

Bobby stops by the finalists' pad and informs them that they're going to be hosting a dinner party that night. The guest list includes Bobby, Giada DeLaurentiis, Bob Tuschman, Susie Fogelson and Wolfgang Puck. The addition of Puck sends everyone into a tizzy. Each finalist will be responsible for one dish.

But here's the twist: they can't go shopping. They have to use whatever the producers left for them they have in the house.

As the winner of the Camera Challenge, Whitney gets to pick two people to do the decor. Mary Beth and Penny both volunteer, so Whitney picks them. Why do Mary Beth and Penny keep partnering up? Has it not sunk in yet that they hate each other? She also gets to pick the order of the courses. The order goes Jeff, Vic, Mary Beth, Penny, Jyll, Whitney, Susie and Chris. (Note: Chris hates preparing dessert, so he keeps whining about it.)

Chris is going to make a cake. Remember a few weeks ago when Chris tried to make a chocolate cake like three times and ruined it every time? Oh, nevermind, they're flashing-back to it anyway. Yeah, nothing good can come of this. I'm predicting this will be Chris' last week.

Chris is now freaking out because the oven his cakes are baking in was turned up to 450 degrees. He calls sabotage, and he's "not even joking," you guys.

Mary Beth and Penny head to the store and there's Sabrina Soto from Design Star, here to plug her show help them pick decorations for their dinner party. Back at the house, Chris is still freaking out about the oven and tries to put Jeff in charge of making sure it doesn't get tampered with again. Whitney tells him to move on. Mary Beth just takes her food out of the oven so Chris will stop having his little tantrum in the middle of the kitchen.

Jeff forgot to put his headband on! He goes, "OH NO" and everyone thinks he cut his hand off or something. But he just whips the headband out and he's in business. I know I say this a lot, but I like Jeff. And I hope he wins. And I hope Whitney dumps her boyfriend and dates me. Just kidding. But seriously.

The judges arrive, with Wolfgang Puck in tow.

Jeff's salad course goes over really well, and the judges dig his presentation too. Vic's appetizer goes over equally well. Mary Beth's soup is little too spicy for the judges. Penny's shrimp dish is well-liked. Jyll made a risotto, but Wolfgang Puck goes, "This is not a risotto." And then he takes Jyll into the kitchen and shows her how to really make a risotto. Dear God, this is so awkward. She takes it in stride, though, to her credit.

Whitney's meat course is up. As always, the judges love her food, but question her ability to emotionally connect with the audience. Susie prepared a cheese plate, and it's the best plate yet, by far. Chris' cake bombs, and he just stands there and awkwardly apologies about seven times.

Yeah, Chris is going home tonight.

Eight Walk In, Six Come Out

Judgment time. The judges ask Susie about her past, to see if she has any good sob stories that would help the audience connect with her. Her father died while she was in culinary school, and his final wish was that Susie would graduate. As she's standing there crying, it cuts to Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, and I swear I see dollar signs in their eyes.

They ask Jyll about her cooking lesson with Wolfgang Puck, and she almost cries, but digs her fingernails into her hand to stop the tears. Uh, is anyone else really creeped out by this? Jyll has almost taken on a Stepford Wives-esque persona at this point.

Does anyone else get the sense that Bobby Flay just hates Chris? He's just constantly frustrated with him. It cracks me up.

Susie, Jeff, Whitney and Vic are safe.
I could not have picked a better top four.

The bottom four are Jyll, Mary Beth, Chris and Penny.

Chris is going home!

Mary Beth is safe. Jyll is safe.


I am in total shock right now. Penny was rumored to win! Penny was the Destroyer! You know what, this totally makes up for Orchid leaving last week. We lost Chris and Penny tonight! Thanks be to the Food Network gods!

Next week, our top six head to New York, where they'll film with Rachael Ray (ugh, does anyone even watch her anymore?). Mary Beth will make another wiener joke. And we won't have to deal with Penny or Chris anymore.

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(Image courtesy of Food Network)