We’re back with an update on the third installment of Season 11 of Food Network Star, where we’ve been cheering on DC hometown Chef Alex McCoy, one of 10 contestants to compete in this episode.
Alex again survived to fight another day, avoiding elimination in this reality show contest, where chefs must demonstrate some cooking chops as well as camera skills. In avoiding elimination, Alex kinda slipped up in one challenge and then bounced back in a second challenge, which has been a bit of a pattern for him recently!
This third episode of the 11th season was called “Trendy Dinner,” and Food Network Star hosts Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis explained that their television network sometimes focuses on trendy or flashy food. So for the first challenge, the chef contestants faced the task of making photo-worthy food that would compel them to taste it from the picture, following the trend of young diners posting picture of their meals on social media.
Alex answered the challenge with crabcakes, giving some love to our area state of Maryland. But to remind folks he’s “the sandwich guy” in the competition, Alex made crabcake sliders — specifically, crabcake sliders with sambal remoulade and rocket radishes.
And the crabcakes looked terrific! Until Alex capped them with the buns, obscuring the yummy crabcake from view.
Contestant Eddie Jackson, who has generally been doing very well in the competition to date, nailed the problem with Alex’s sliders on the head succinctly.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. Alex made a critical mistake because you can’t see the inside of his sandwich, so for all we know, it could be air between two pieces of bread,” Eddie told the camera in a side interview.
Bobby and Giada announced they would choose only eight of the 10 dishes to sample, based on their pictures alone. They passed over two dishes, and unfortunately, one was Alex’s crabcake slider!
“We did not choose this dish because we didn’t know what it was,” Bobby said.
The second challenge in this episode was far more complex. The hosts determined the 10 contestants would break into two teams and cook a meal following trendy dishes identified by co-hosts of Food Network show The Kitchen — Sunny Anderson and Geoffrey Zakarian.
Guest host and judges Sunny and Geoffrey identified a popular trend among foodies for unusual tastes or “anti-comfort foods,” with interesting flavor profiles and textures, asking the two teams to complete full meals consisting of the following:
- Raw appetizer
- Slimy soup
- Burnt salad
- Stinky entree
- Incendiary dessert
Alex ended up on a team consisting of the five men, which paired off against a team of five women. He took the assignment of producing the raw appetizer, which was a good choice for him given his many adventures in Asia.
Alex rose to the call with a crudo, a raw fish dish with acid and oil. He used tuna, radish, coconut oil, sea salt, blood orange and yuzu in his crudo.
He didn’t feel he had a good story with which to present the crudo, however, so when it came to his turn, he delivered a pretty straightforwawrd restaurant-speak explanation of what the chef hosts were going to eat.
Generally, the men’s team went into their presentation as a group realizing they didn’t have a theme, so they decided they would wing it, which hurt them in the end. However, the judges felt the men made stronger food overall, and Alex’s appetizer received compliments on how good it tasted.
As we have noted previously, Food Network Star Season 11 also features another DC-area contestant — food blogger Emilia Cirka. This was Emilia’s best episode to date. She wowed the Bobby and Giada with mussels in red curry for her photo challenge. And she made a winning incendiary dessert in the form of Spicy Mango Napoleon with Meringue. It was dipped in fiery chilly and torched meringue, and the judges universally loved the dish.
Ultimately, Alex (and Emilia) survived the challenges and avoided elimination from this round. Our blog is supporting Alex for the win, and you can support him as well by voting for him in the fan vote competition for Food Network Star.
Watch the full episode on YouTube: