By Anne Feldman
Week 3 on the Next Food Network Star: It may be hot in the kitchen, but our “One Hot Mama” Orchid was cool as a cucumber, smoothly stirring up some classic spice in her Camera Challenge entrée, ‘chili with Hershey’s chocolate.’ Not only was it deemed a sweet and savory success, Orchid once again wowed the judges with her megawatt charm. “Your smile could light up the entire Los Angeles valley!” said judge Bob. Chalk one up for Orchid!
Challenge two, decadent dessert creations for none other than food Network stars Dinner Impossible host and Hilton Head Island resident Robert Irvine along with Duff Goldman of Baltimore’s famous Charm City Cakes, and Ace of Cakes fame. Team Duff’s group of six women looked to have an easy edge, with pastry skills and experience. Each team had to create six individual sweet creations, and two team desserts with the challenge of serving for 200 people. Not an easy crowd, expectations are high when it comes to Food Network Star desserts.
Chef Robert’s team was composed of the men and Penny, Orchid’s “nemesis” from last week, who created an outstanding saffron and coconut rice pudding, sublimely compared “to a trip to the Middle East on a spoon.” Yet, overall Penny was found to lack a sense of joy, and the team as a whole wanting in star personality. Their desserts, on the other hand, took clear center stage and they handily won this challenge.
While Chef Duff’s team desserts, brownies with mint ice cream and lemon lollipop cakes, did not wow the judges, Orchid’s brilliantly conceived chocolate chip pecan pie with graham cracker bacon crust won raves. Chef Irvine loved the saltiness, and marveled at her creation and her persona, “She never stopped smiling and having fun the whole time through.” There it is – signature Orchid warmth – our girl radiates it! Bob agreed, “It’s so natural to her, to just beam. She makes everyone feel like a million bucks.”
Star qualities, our girl Orchid’s got them! Orchid’s been a voting fan-favorite from the very beginning. Last night judge Suzie challenged her to go further. “If I went down the list of what qualities a star possesses, I feel like I could check off almost every box where you’re concerned.” She also cautioned her to keep growing. “To be special you need to find your groove, and keep evolving.” We say, keep going in your own special Orchid way!
We’re now down to 11 contestants. Alicia was cut Sunday night and the heat is on. Next week star chef of the south, Food Network host Paula Deen will be onboard as the show cooks for ABC’s hit show “Cougar Town” with Courtney Cox.
Go Orchid – we believe in you! Orchid is still a top of the charts fan favorite and you can vote for her online on the Food Network website.