Food Network Star goes glamping with elevated classic camping food


With minimal provisions and a little creativity, Food Network Star finalists must turn classic camping food into elevated glamping dishes. But, one finalist will be left at the campgrounds.

For many families, camping is a fun summer activity. Sitting around the campfire, telling stories and eating some classic camping food. But camping has upped its game. The roughing it part of camping has been replaced with glamping. In this week’s episode of Food Network Star, the finalists take classic camp food and turn it into glamping food.

The episode opens with the finalists, in groups of three, in the car driving to the mountains. During the drive, via video, Giada explained this week’s challenge. The car mates, turned teammates, had to compete in a challenge to turn boring camp food into something Food Network worthy.

Arriving at the campsite, the finalists opened the trunks to reveal their ingredients. With the task to create a family meal, the finalists took canned, limited ingredients and let their creativity go to work. The idea to create a cohesive meal is important. The dishes had to work together and appeal to both kids and adults.

The three teams consisted of: Jason, Cao and David; Matthew, Cory and Amy; and Rusty, Addie and Trace. These teams appeared to get along with each other. Most groups had a clear plan and want to work together.

However, the team of Rusty, Addie and Trace appeared scattered. While Rusty went to work on his fried chicken sliders on cornbread, Trace became frazzled. He had several ideas, but no idea truly parked his interest. After everyone else had already begun cooking, Trace needed to pick a dish and start cooking.

Looking at all the dishes, potato chips were the most widely used ingredients for both a breading and a crunch factor. Having multiple textures in a dish is very important. A one note, or one texture dish, isn’t appealing.

Food Network Star, glamping episode, photo from Food Network

As the judges walked around the campsite, the critiques started. Addie’s potato salad was met with a bland response. They asked Amy whether her potato cake really transformed dehydrated potatoes. They noted Rusty’s cornbread slider may crumble. The commentary predicted which dishes may be successful or fail.

While the judges walked around and tried to throw the finalists off their game, the questions did play a part in the outcome of the challenge. The judges noticed if the finalists learn from the critique. Some finalists adapt from the commentary and others don’t listen. Adaptation can save a finalist from being eliminated.

What’s camping without s’mores?

A twist can happen at any time in Food Network Star. This week’s twist was a dessert element, s’mores. Each team needed to take s’more ingredients, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate, and turn it into a glamping dessert.

Of course, Jason, the Holiday Baking Champion, was ready for this dessert challenge. But, he made the mistake of letting David taste the treat. Allergic to peanuts, an ingredient in the dessert, David had an instant reaction, but recovered quickly. Luckily Jason didn’t kill his teammate with peanuts.

Food Network Star, elevated classic camping food , photo from Food Network

The other two teams go in different directions for the s’mores recreation. Matthew created a chocolate mousse dish. Unfortunately, Addie’s s’mores bark didn’t quite transform the ingredients into a completely revamped dish.

In addition to elevating classic camping food, each team and finalist had to present the dishes and demo a tip. Like previous episodes, the presentation portion tends to separate the top groups from those up for elimination.

The first team, Jason, David and Cao, had a successful demo. Although Cao didn’t clearly describe her dish, the men won over both the judges and the family with their personalities. The star power was apparent with those guys. Even better, both of their dishes and the dessert were spectacular.

The team of Cory, Amy and Matthew did a good job of elevating the classic camping food to glamping food. Cory even worked in the judges’ suggestion of beef jerky into his dish by making beef jerky gravy. Cory does a wonderful job describing the dish and making everyone want to eat the chicken. Unfortunately, Matthew takes over the presentation. Amy needed to have her voice heard. Luckily, her dish spoke louder than her presentation.

Unfortunately, the team of Trace, Rusty and Addie didn’t quite make it to glamping caliber. Trace had a good presentation, but his tomato soup was almost inedible. Addie’s potato salad tasted like it came from a can. Rusty was extremely nervous in his presentation. Knowing that his cornbread was a fail, his presentation suffered. This team was up for elimination.

While all three finalists had failures in this challenge, the judges looked at each finalist’s overall adaptation and growth. Addie had done well in previous challenges. Her lack of camping experience could have hurt her in this challenge. Also, Rusty was doing fine, since he has a big personality and cooks well. He needs more confidence.

Food Network Star, glamping episode, photo from Food Network

Trace was eliminated from the competition. He had problems with both showcasing his personality and culinary authority. The judges, and really a Food Network viewer, want more from a star. Trace could be quite likable, but viewers needed to see him as food authority, not just a nice guy.

Next: Food Network Star experiential dining episode

The campfire is out, the car is packed and the elevated classic camping food episode has ended. The finalists will face another challenge on next week’s episode. Will the front runners start to pull ahead? Turn in next week to find out.