The Next Food Network Star, Episode 3 Recap: The Kelseybot


Top left: Kelsey yucks it up for Martha. Top right: Kelseybot explains her potato dish. Bottom left: Kelseybot turns on the waterworks. Bottom right: The judges aren't having any of it.

I have to admit, I haven't been paying that much attention to this show. I missed the first ep completely and only really caught up on the second one via Erin's recap last week, along with some online videos of the action.

Even most of the way through this episode, I was like, OMG, will it ever end?!?

But then, in the last five minutes, all became clear. I am now a devoted follower. As long as Kelsey remains on the show, that is.

I cannot get enough of her robotic, forced delivery. It is just insane. It's equal parts Rachael Ray (fast and cheap eats) and Ron Popeil (wide-eyed robotic peppiness) with some Home Shopping Network thrown in for good measure.

Like, check out her delivery after the Mini Challenge, which was to present "your culinary point of view," as expressed via the humble potato. It appears after the jump, along with spoilers, of course.

Link: Rachael Ray + Ron Popeil = Kelseybot [RedLasso]

Isn't that insane? The judges are totally right. It's like she's doing a parody of a Food Network celeb. She'd be right at home on SNL.

The two other notable contestants in this round are Lisa Garza and Adam. Adam because he rocks his "on-camera" explanation of what his dish is all about:

Link: Adam Breaks It Down [RedLasso]

And Lisa is notable because she went in worried she was going to talk too much but instead talks for only 15 seconds of her allotted one minute time, leaving 45 seconds of awkward dead air.

The Main Challenge

The main challenge is the "Food Product Challenge." The contestants have to "put themselves in a jar." Basically by creating a self-branded, packaged food item that expresses their culinary POVs. The contestants have to make, package, and distro their products to 50 food buyers from food stores all across the country. They have one hour.

Not much goes on here, and the prep work is pretty boring. Most of the contestants are pretty boring, I think. You really don't get a feel for any of them, except for, say, Lisa Garza, Adam, and Kelsey. Anyway, they finish, the food prep, and now they have 30 minutes to get their presentations ready. By the way, I love that all their packaging is basically just a boring sans-serif font on an orange label, slapped on a jar. They're really going to have to use their BS skills to sell the products, because the packaging ain't cutting it. The buyers and the judges mill around the "booths."

And, crazy! Martha Stewart arrives. If anyone knows how to become a brand it's her.

Lisa seems to redeem herself a bit from her disastrous start with her sharp marketing skills. The buyers seem to like her, and Martha digs that Lisa's namechecking a sustainable farm in Iowa.

I can't wait to see how Kelsey does with Martha. And, I get my wish:

Link: More Ronco than Rachael [RedLasso]

OMG. Adam goes nuts with a song. WTF is he doing? But then I get myself out of the Top Chef mindset, where it's all about the food, and into the NFNS headspace, where entertainment value is key. And I think Adam has been the most entertaining this episode. From his oversharing at the beginning to his helpful smoking-meat-with-corn-cobs advice to his harmonica antics, singing a blue song for Martha.

Who's Safe

Adam wins safety via the potato Mini Challenge. He really did do the best in personalizing the story behind the dish (video above), even though you get the feeling that everyone liked Aaron's honey-scallion-bacon-wrapped potatoes the most. (I'm kinda craving those things right now myself.) Lisa wins immunity via the packaging challenge. Aaron wins special Martha-based immunity because she liked his vinaigrette.

The Elimination

OMG. Kelseybot is in overdrive. The minute she says "Um, I really am so passionate about ... " Oh, nevermind. I can't even describe it. All I can say is that the girlfriend and I were both watching this part and burst out laughing when Kelsey went into her spiel:

Link: Kelsey Breaks Down [RedLasso]

Halfway through this ep, she annoyed me so much I was hoping she'd get the boot. But the scene above clinched it for me. I'm hooked. I'll keep tuning in each Sunday to see if Kelsey ever says anything sincere or natural.

Oh, I suppose you want to know who got booted. Obviously not Kelsey.

Jeffrey got canned. He just didn't make a compelling product or really sell himself. I can't say I'm disappointed. I only wish they could kick off two at once, because Jennifer's about as dull as dirt, too. But she does the whole "cooking with kids" thing, which is popular and might save her hide yet again.