Let's meet this season's ten hopefuls:
Brett August (NYC)
Debbie Lee (West Hollywood, CA)
Eddie Gilbert (L.A.)
Jamika Pessoa (Atlanta)
Jeffrey Saad (L.A.)
Jen Isham (Orlando)
Katie Cavuto (Philadelphia)
Melissa d’Arabian (Keller, TX)
Michael Proietti (City Island, NY)
Teddy Folkman (Alexandria, VA)
In addition to the TV contract, the winner will also be featured in Food Network Magazine and get a top spot at the Food Network NYC Wine & Food Festival. And this season, the show's in HD.
Also this season, you folks at home can go online to foodnetwork.com to vote on who you would like to see eliminated each week, as well as voice your opinion on who you think should be the big winner this season. You can also enter a sweepstakes by doing so.
The Selection Committee's the same it's always been.
Opening Challenge: The ten contestants must help cater a 16th Anniversary party for the network at Butter Restaurant in NYC that will have 75 guests, including "Access Hollywood" and some Food Network personalities, including last season's winner, Aaron "Big Daddy" McCargo, Jr. The contestants are divided into two teams:
1. Teddy, Jamika, Brett, Jen & Melissa
2. Eddie, Michael, Katie, Jeffrey & Debbie
Each team has a $1,200 budget and five hours to finish the food. Here it is:
Brett (Captain): Beef tenderloin w/ red wine sauce and butternut squash soup
Teddy: Herb and truffle-fused potato gratin
Jamika: Floribbean Shrimp Cocktail w/ Mango Jicama Slaw
Melissa: Apple tarts w/ caramel drizzle
Jen: Green beans w/ walnuts and grape tomatoes
Debbie (Captain): Crab cakes w/ spicy mayo
Michael: Five-spiced tenderloin w/ pickled vegetable slaw
Katie: Beef, pomegranate & orange salad w/ sauteed Swiss Chard
Jeffrey: Achiote Grilled Zucchini w/ Red Chili Citrus Mushroom Ragu
Eddie: B.L.A.S.T. Bowl (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Sprouts & Tomato) & jelly-filled Beignets
The Green Team serves their food first. Brett looks very unprepared when their presentation gets underway. The same can be said for Teddy, but Jamika looks like she did well. Also doing very well with her presentation is Melissa. Teddy later talks some smack with the restaurant's executive chef, Alex Guarnaschelli.
According to the judges, Bob's liked Melissa's apple tarts the best. They liked Jamika's slaw but not her shrimp. Jen's veggies were average, Teddy's potatoes were raw and Brett's beef tenderolin was unappealing.
Now, for the Red Team. Debbie starts off with a great presentation, but Katie's is much less so. Michael does fantastic on his presentation since he was funny, Jeffrey was decent and Eddie was sub-par.
The judges then say the crab cakes of Debbie weren't perfect, but they loved their flavor. Aaron said Michael's tenderloin was very spicy. Jeffrey's zucchini was very well received. However, Katie's salad was deemed too safe, and the bacon was the only thing that could be tasted in the B.L.A.S.T. Bowl by Eddie. Additionally, Eddie's Angel Food Cake was disasterous; this was what this team was most worried about while everybody was being catered.
The top three contestants are Jeffrey, Michael & Melissa; the winner of the season's first challenge is...
The opening bottom two consists of Eddie & Jen. Eddie Gilbert totally bombed out with the cake; does he get another chance?...
...YES. That means Jen Isham is the first contestant eliminated. But we hope to see her back soon to help out somebody in one of the later challenges.