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Food Network Star Power Rankings: Match.Com Presents A Feast Of Switcheroos

It was a night of switcheroos on last night’s Food Network Star. First, in the preliminary challenge, each contestant brought their signature ingredient, expecting to cook a dish that explained their POV, those gullible bastards. Emilia brought harissa paste, naturally. It’s almost like she’s f*cking with me at this point. Please, educate us on this North African spice blend you picked up on one of your frequent vacations, bougie white woman.

Only, the judges pulled the old SWITCHEROO at the last minute, and instead of cooking their own ingredient, each contestant had to cook with someone else’s. What’s the black southern guy going to do with grape leaves, lol! (Answer: Treat them like collared greens, obviously).

Then when they were about to present, SWITCHEROO again! Rather than presenting their own dish, the contestants had to judge someone else’s. Rue won that challenge with her “deconstructed venison pot roast,” which she made with Jay’s ingredient, venison tenderloin. (This week’s important culinary tip: if you have to cook some lame lean cut of meat, braise it and add a gravy. You can never go wrong with gravy.) BUT LOOK OUT FOR THE SWITCHEROO AGAIN! Because despite her initial triumph, Rue ended up getting eliminated at the end of the show. Phew, I’m dizzy from all these 180s.

But first, there was the elimination event, where the contestants were broken up into teams of two to cook for “an exclusive Match.com stir event.” As Giada put it, “we’ve separated you all into four pairs of compatible cooks.”

Translation: “We have stuck you and a fellow bee into a jar which we will then shake vigorously in the hopes that you sting each other to death.”

Disappointingly, only two competitors (Dom and Michelle) actually fought, and only Michelle threatened to quit the competition out of anger, which must’ve been a real bummer for the producers. “We may not see Michelle ever again,” said Emilia, before the commercial break, which was as long as Michelle’s retirement lasted. The producers seemed to compensate for the relative lack of Drrrrama, however, by giving Giada an especially low-cut top to wear to the judges table. And that really tied the show together, I thought.

This Week’s Thing That Made Me Ashamed To Be Watching The Food Network

This week’s challenge was a blatant product placement tie-in with Match.com, so it’s tempting to pick on that, but honestly, this was one of the more successful of FNS’s sponsor partnerships. It actually fit into the show and didn’t take away from the cooking, unlike some others I can recall. Anyone remember the year they partnered with a cereal company? Gee thanks, guys, I really wanted to learn how to cook Cookie Crisp Crusted Arctic Char, I’m sure that will come in handy someday.

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