Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen, another chance at stardom, episode 1 recap


The dream of becoming a Food Network Star is still alive for these former chef-testants. This season’s Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen gave seven chefs another chance at stardom.

Before the newest season of Food Network Star begins, seven former chef-testants tried to gain another chance at stardom. Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen puts these chefs skills to the test again. From best flavors to strong point of view, all aspects of a food television personality are put to the test.

Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen, photo from Food Network

The Food Network aired the first episode of Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen on Sunday, May 22. The chef-testants seeking redemption were judged and mentored by Tyler Florence and Valerie Bertinelli. While these chefs have potential, they lacked the total package.

Can they overcome their Achilles heel?

On the first episode, Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen each chef-testant discussed their Achilles heal or the flaw that hurt them in their first turn on television. For the first challenge, each chef had to create an egg dish to show their growth. Eggs are blank slate. Making this humble ingredient that star is the key to success.

Most chefs took quite different approaches to the challenge. From an Asian inspired hard boiled egg to a frittata. One sauce, a hollandaise, was seen in two dishes. While flavor is always the most important factor, each chef had to address their Achilles heel.

Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen, photo from Food Network

Half of the chefs made great strides to address their previous downfalls. Jamika was the winning chef with her dessert, mango mojito pudding. She had a bright, bubbly personality on screen while also creating a flavorful, Caribbean inspired dessert. The dessert flavors were bright and bold, which matched her personality. The first challenge put her on the path of a comeback.

Matthew has been a polarizing character on this series. While he cooks well, his personality and approach can lack focus. This challenge shows he showed great focus and was quite watchable.

Unfortunately, the former rock-n-roll turned dad chef, Josh, had the least successful dish. He attempted a frittata, but the dish is actually a cream cheese omelet. It was over cooked and lacking. Plus, his personality was lacking. With flaws in flavor and personality, Josh was on the bottom.

Another chef not quite ready for redemption was Emilia. Her international egg dish, a tokengeg, was too salty. While she gets points for originality, the dish wasn’t successful. More concerning was her presentation. She tried to soften her brashness, but she almost became a wet blanket. Her comeback is on shaky ground.

Retro desserts make a comeback.

After transforming the modest egg, the chef-testants took on desserts. Many savory chefs hate dessert challenges. Honestly, chefs and pastry chefs can be very different. Some cross over, but different skill sets help these chefs.

Pastry chefs deal with exact measurements. Have you ever seen a cake that hasn’t risen? Someone didn’t measure correctly. Pastry chefs balance science and art in their cooking.

Savory chefs have some more room for creativity. A dash here or a glug there can add needed flavor to a dish. The measuring isn’t always necessary. Savory chefs have a more nuanced approach to cooking.

In the episode’s second challenge, the chef-testants took on classic desserts. These classic desserts are making a comeback in the dessert world. Each chef-testant must re-invent these desserts. The desserts, like the chef-testants, seek culinary redemption.

Flavor always trumps gimmicks.

The classic desserts on the menu include eclairs, strawberry shortcake, bread pudding, and toaster tarts. But, the challenge wasn’t just baking. The chef-testants had to create a one-minute Instagram video too. Success happens when they can both bake and talk on camera. Some people succeeded and others failed miserably.

On the top were Tamika, Matthew and Rob. Tamika’s pineapple shortcake added tropical flavors to the classic dessert with some spice too. The combination brought out layered flavors. Her presentation was also spot on.

Matthew made a twist on a lemon meringue pie. This ice cream pie was creamy, tart and sweet. With a delightful meringue and salty pretzel crust, the dessert was a home run. His presentation was on point too. Matthew has his game ready for this season.

Rob’s twist on a dessert is a favorite, dessert on a stick. Who doesn’t love eating food on a stick? The bread pudding on a stick was flavorful, but a little difficult to eat on a stick. His presentation wasn’t the best, but the stick factor saved him.

Comeback is over for one chef.

While no winner was named in the retro dessert challenge, Rob, Matthew, Joy and Tamika all moved onto next week. A few chefs weren’t as successful in both desserts and presentation.

The chef-testants who failed were Emilia and Josh, just like the first challenge. First, Emilia couldn’t clearly discuss her dish on camera. The long, rambling explanation of everything but her dish was horrible. The one-minute video was part infomercial part website plug. But, her dish was yummy.

Josh also failed this challenge. His eclairs, made with rice flour, were flat as a board. His video was boring and flat too. The use of rice flour was the biggest downfall. His lacking personality was the biggest factor. Josh was sent home from the competition.

Next: Stephanie Izard is the new Iron Chef

Six chef-testant remain with a chance of a comeback. Who will have the chance to return to the Food Network Star competition? Turn in to the next episode and see.