This week, The Next Food Network Star finally hit its stride. There was drama! There were tears! Unfortunately, just as the show finally became truly entertaining, we bid a fond farewell to hometown favorite Tommy Grella. Truly, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times. Below, some highlights and thoughts from this week.
•The big drama this week came from the also-eliminated Colombe. The episode’s second challenge involved the contestants making stadium food for attendees of a New Jersey Nets game. They had 45 minutes to go shopping and, at the store, Paul left one of his bags behind. The cashier gave it to Colombe, who then left it at the store. Later, when Paul realized he was missing a bag, Colombe straight up said she hadn’t seen it (!!!) before sheepishly admitting that she had, but hadn’t thought to give it to Paul. Paul was angry, Amy confronted Colombe about it, Colombe got an attitude, it was drama drama all around. You would have thought you were watching America’s Next Top Model for a minute there. Awesome.
•In news of our favorite non-local contestant, Paul continues to be adorable and funny. The judges want him to tone down his energy, which we’re worried means “be less gay.” His tagline is “Keep it simple and keep it fabulous.” We would totally watch his show.
•Crazy contestant quotes from this week include: Amy’s “I think that working with chocolate is an important skill for a Food Network star because you’re not always totally familiar with an ingredient that you want to teach somebody else.” We have literally no idea what she is talking about. Amy also informed us that “If you’re a Food Network star, you have a lot of responsibility because people see you as an authority on food.” Indeed. Our favorite moment of the week, however, comes from a forlorn Colombe, standing at the spice rack during the episode’s first challenge: “Where might I find cinnamons? They’re all alphabetized.” We have no further comment.
•Tommy and the very good-looking Adrien spent the week deep in the throes of a bromance. They were BFFs because they both missed their wives and children. When Tommy was eliminated, Adrien cried, remarked “You’re one of the greatest people I’ve ever met, Tommy. Ever!” and vowed to win the whole thing for Tommy.
•The Tommy love didn’t stop with Adrien. During the judging, Bob Tuschman remarked : “I feel like the Tommy we know and love hasn’t been with us this week. … It was a disappointing week in terms of not getting all the Tommy we want. And we want our Tommy!”
•Unfortunately, we realized Tommy was a goner less than two minutes into the episode when they showed an extended sequence of him talking about how homesick he is, which included a heartbreaking shot of him tearing up while on the phone with his wife. His cocoa-encrusted pork tenderloin with squash and banana ravioli didn’t look particularly tasty and he failed to connect with the camera during his demo and his meatball sandwich was too “Grella-sized” to be eaten easily. When he was sent packing, he didn’t seem especially sad. His fellow contestants, on the other hand, seemed fairly despondent. Goodbye, Tommy Grella! We will miss you, Methuen man.