The Next Food Network Star, Episode 2 Recap

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The second episode of The Next Food Network Star aired last night and it's safe to say we're still smitten with Lisa Garza. We were nervous we'd starting hating the "firecracker dynamo" contestant with her razor-cut hair and super-bronzed cheeks. But she whipped out her head bandanna and prepared crostini-style French toast with honey crème fraîche on a moving train, with the boldness we expected her to, and we're still fans. So are the judges, who handed her the get-out-of-jail-free immunity status at the end of the episode.

The challenge took place on a New Jersey rail line, where teams of three had to prepare three-course brunch plates with ingredients (bread, cheese, and meat) acquired in previous trivia rounds. Each round took place at a different New York shop (Amy's Bread, Alleva Dairy and Esposito's Butcher). First to screw up its momentum, the Green Team (Jeffrey, Kelsey, and Kevin) guessed wrong on the bread question. "For white flour, what two parts of the whole wheat grain are removed?" They nervously answered "hull and husk" (correct answer: germ and bran), which had Jeffrey hopelessly rolling baguette dough for way too long.

Speediest of all, the Gray Team (Aaron, Adam, Jennifer) was thanking its lucky stars that Adam had worked at a Spanish restaurant and knew that Iberico pigs are fattened with acorns. "Never in a million years would I guess they'd ask me about the diet of Iberico pigs." It was a random fact-plucking Jeopardy situation, and they were in luck. Over at the Blue Team, Nipa took forever getting ready, making everyone late, but she redeemed herself by recalling what brown ingredient makes pumpernickel brown. (That would be molasses.)

Once the teams collected their bread-cheese-meat combos, they charged to the Whippany, New Jersey, train station only to find an arms-crossed Robert Irvine standing before the rail line, introducing the task. Inside, judges Bobby Flay and Food Network execs Susie Fogelson and Bob Tuschman were waiting with forks, as were a few cars of normal people eaters for extra peanut gallery comments.

Highlights from the Competition

  • Kevin tries to make a case for crostini's sexiness to his teammates
  • Adam rushes to cut stuck-together sunnyside up eggs after stubbornly swearing this was the best egg format. Eaters later considered it an undercooked, inedible yellow river of yolk
  • Adam argues for a train robbery–themed entrance, but Aaron responds, "Oh, hell no." The act ends up winning them major creativity points from judges
  • Lisa is pissed that she has to whip cream by hand in less than three minutes, thanks to her teammates, who left two plates sans garnish
  • Nipa's infamous hissy fit, during which her lips were intensely red and glossy

When judgment day came at the end of the episode, Nipa was all attitude queen as judges asked if she was still enthusiastic about the show. She gave the silent treatment first, then admitted she "feels different." The dialogue turned into a therapy session with judges comforting Nipa, promising her that she's so unique and beautiful and had all the qualities of a Food Network star. But that wasn't enough. Nipa rubbed some dry (fake?) tears, then walked out. "Sorry, I can't do this anymore." Awk-ward.

During the commercial break, she must have ruminated her hissy fit, and apologized to judges and contestants. In the final elimination round, it was down to her and Kevin, but Nipa's previous monologue, asking for forgiveness while tying in her immigrant story about moving to America as a five-year old, must have helped. Kevin was cut. Maybe it was his insistence on the sexiness of crostini, figs, and mozzarella that turned off judges.

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