"Food Network Star" 2014 continued June 8 on the Food Network as the 11 remaining hopefuls went head to head for a shot at taking the season 10 title in the episode entitled "Please Try This At Home." By night's end, another contestant was shown the door just two weeks into the competition.
The show opened as the contestants arrived at the Food Star Kitchens and were greeted by judge Alton Brown. The affable chef noted the importance of being a good teacher in the kitchen, and explained that they'd be showing off their chops by verbally instructing him to create one of two simple dishes, either green bean casserole or chicken fried steak. The contestants took turns and experienced varying degrees of success as they worked Alton through the process of preparing each dish.
The task wasn't without contestant-on-contestant drama. The season's first moments of tension arose when private chef Sarah Penrod, who was knocked for being too pageant-y during week one, angered Christopher Lynch by telling Alton to do away with his diced onions, and when Aryen Moore-Alston took chuckwagon cook Lenny McNab's suggestions from the observation deck and claimed them as her own.
Post-task, Alton tabbed the best performers of the bunch, praising Sarah's organizational skills and Aryen's "culinary chops," which once again inspired the ire of cowboy Lenny. He dismissed them, and told them that he'd be joined by fellow "Food Network Star" hosts Bobby Flay and Giada DeLaurentiis upon their return.
Soon after, the contestants trooped back into the kitchen, where Alton, Bobby, and Giada revealed the week's big challenge. They were given 15 minutes to create "a tasty, tempting dish" using a set of typical household ingredients. But it wasn't just about preparing a good dish: they were also told that there would be a camera recording their "every move" as they worked, and that they needed to show their presentation abilities. As they headed off to begin the task, Sarah likened her experience on the show to "the Food Network Hunger Games."
With the contestants out of the room, the surprise guest, chef Alex Guarnaschelli, entered to join Giada, Bobby, and Alton. Alex's task was to be the home viewer, and she cooked alongside each contestant, following only their instructions.
Lenny was up first with his Waldorf crab cake. All three panelists loved his dish, and Alex found him funny and appealing as a host. Aryen followed with a feijoada that Bobby called bland and Giada flat-out said she didn't like at all, and then butcher Loreal Gavin put together a brunch salad. Although Alex called her instructions "easy to follow" and the judges appreciated the dish, they found her presentation way too laid back. Reuben Ruiz sped through his preparation of scallops al ajillo, drawing criticism for both the talk and the dish itself.
Nicole Gaffney followed. She drew praise for her kitchen tips, but Giada worried that she didn't seem to be having fun. Caterer Chris entertained but ran out of time while trying to prepare his pork apple fennel wonton wrap and failed to plate any food. Executive chef Luca Della Casa left the judges screaming "look up!" as he created his seared tuna on wild rice. Emma Frisch worked hard to improve on her lackluster performance during the previous task. She created a shrimp penne pasta that the judges enjoyed, but Giada criticized her voice as too "monotone" at times.
Christopher came next with his roasted chicken breast on romaine salad. Alex chided him for not giving quantities to viewers as he cooked. Sarah struggled through her presentation of her unromantic turkey burger and mashed potatoes, and Alton slammed her for not sticking to her date night theme, but Giada praised her time management.
Finally, disaster stuck for Kenny Lao when he talked too long before starting to cook and then his burners refused to light, leaving him without a plate to share. Even worse, he argued with the judges when they criticized his performance.
The next day, the contestants joined Alton, Giada, and Bobby for judgment. The trio addressed each hopeful, offering up criticisms as well as praise for each based on their challenge performances. The panelists were impressed with Kenny for owning up to his mistakes during the challenge. Lenny earned top honors for his effort. Also passing safely to week three were Nicole, Emma, Aryen, Sarah, Loreal, Christopher, and Reuben. Left to face potential elimination were Luca, who failed to look at the camera during his demo, and Kenny and Chris, who both failed to plate their dishes.
As the contestants worried back stage, the judging trio mulled their decision. While they appreciated Kenny for owning his error and praised Chris's engaging presentation, they worried that both men hadn't finished their dishes. Alton and Bobby were concerned over Luca's lack of exposure to the camera.
With a final decision in mind, they called Kenny, Luca, and Chris back into the room for the reveal. Kenny was saved to cook again, and based on a perceived lack of skill in front of the camera, Luca became the second contestant sent packing from season 10.
Who will be the next hopeful eliminated from "Food Network Star" 2014? Tune in on June 15 for episode three to find out.