‘Food Network Star’ recap: Strike three, Danushka’s out


“Food Network Star” fans, take note: You can disrespect the audience, but not an Iron Chef.

Danushka appeared before a live audience last week -- they were stand-ins, of course, for the viewers at home who would theoretically watch the “Food Network Star’ on TV.

And she bombed.

She made fun of people who enjoy chomping into a big, sloppy burger, and then suggested that they instead go for petite sliders -- and likened the little bite to her own lithe, blond-model frame.


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Somehow, she survived that and evaded elimination.

This week, she said she was determined to make the judges love her -- by showing them that they’re all wrong about her.

But during the brilliant “Chopped”-style challenge, in which she had to transform, among other things, ball-park food including hot dogs and cotton candy, her true nature emerged.

She rolled her eyes, admitted being bored by the challenge and then snapped back at her nemesis, Damaris (who, as luck would have it, had a spot on the judge’s panel) Not model behavior, especially with Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli in attendance.

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Alton Brown put Danushka in her place to telling her that the entire show is just one big audition -- the camera is always on. He also said that the I-don’t-care-I-don’t-want-to-be-here-anyway demeanor was reflecting harshly back on her.


“Nice chat,” Guarnaschelli told A.B.

From there, you could hear the clock ticking. It’s possible that the judges could have sent Russell home because, after all, Danushka did actually improve a bit this week and there’s still the makes-for-good-TV thing.

And Russell ... what is with that guy? He seems to have everything going for him: Intriguing look. Sensational POV (assuming he could actually explain it in a single sentence). But he is completely in his head instead of just being himself in front of the camera.

Danushka was a train wreck who made you want to watch the pile up. Russell is turning into a train wreck who makes me want to turn away because I feel bad for him. Cringe. Cringe. Cringe. He might need to be put out of his misery.

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What else did we learn?

--Chris instantly, magically became more likable when he let down his guard and told everyone about his recovery from drug-and-alcohol addiction. I had zero interest in him before. But anyone scrappy enough to battle back from addiction now has my undivided attention. That delish-looking buttermilk chicken dish didn’t hurt either.

--The Pie Guy is more than a one-note pastry chef. Nice!

--Damaris was polished and authoritative as a judge, and her criticism seemed on point. She might be on the wrong side of the table.


Is it me, or did it seem like everyone missed the point of the expertise challenge? No one seemed to tell the audience what the ingredient was all about -- they just prattled on about how they used it.

Will you miss Danushka? Did you miss Giada?


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