Well, a personally busy week last week kept me from chatting about the latest episode of Food Network Star until now, but now I’ve got a bit of time to update the progress of Chef Alex McCoy on the second episode of the show’s 11th season shortly before the third episode airs tonight.
Alex avoided elimination quite handily in the second episode with a terrific display as a “Comeback Kid.” He and the other 10 contestants faced two challenges — making a quick dinner from leftovers and then baking a sweet and savory dish for assessment by top patry chefs.
The chef did pretty well in the first challenge but blew everyone away in the second, in part by carefully listening to the feedback from Food Network Star hosts Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis.
In the first challenge, Alex prepared a fried rice with the ingredients found in the refrigerator offered to contestants. Each contestant, including Alex, presented their meal in a 30-second video. Although Alex did well, Bobby and Giada dogged him a bit for going off theme, as Alex has presented himself as a “sandwich guy.” Alex explained that sometimes he wants something different when he comes home from a day of making sandwiches, and Bobby Flay suggested Alex could simply explain that.
However, the judges actually enjoyed late night fried rice. Bobby said, “I thought it was flavorful; I thought it had spice to it.”
In the second challenge, chefs were given 90 minutes to bake a sweet but savory dish. Taking the earlier feedback in stride, Alex took the challenge to make a savory crepe from Vietnam — a Banh Xeo Crepe. Alex presented it to the panel of pastry chef judges, including Sherry Yard, who got her start with Wolfgang Puck, and Kriss Harvey, who works with Jose Andres.
Alex won the pastry chef judges over with his personality and also hit a home run with his crepe, which everyone considered delicious. Celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli, another guest judge, hailed his sex appeal while fellow contestant Arnold Myint called him “a silent killer” for his seeming ability to come out of nowhere with hit dishes and personal charm.
We’ve been cheering on Alex as the hometown DC representative in this seasons’s Food Network Star, but the show also features Emilia Cirker, an area blogger who has been struggling in the competition so far. She fared poorly in both challenges in episode two, and she came very close to elimination. She continues to come across as very cold and removed in her video presentations, and the judges have found her food so far to be of inconsistent quality, although she has occasionally done well.
Ultimately, Emilia dodged the bullet this episode. Although she was one of the bottom three performers, the other two fared consistently worse, and she remained in the show for now.
Tonight, Chef Alex returns for a third episode of Food Network Star on Sunday, June 21, at 9pm ET on the Food Network.
You can watch Food Network Star, Season 11, Episode 2 on YouTube (although I suspect this isn’t sanctioned by the Food Network):