Well, that was totally predictable. I don’t particularly mind seeing Aaron win, since he was one of three contestants whose shows I might have watched (Adam and Shane were the other two), and I think that what he does poorly (relate to the camera) can be taught, especially if his problem is nerves. The only thing that I dislike about Aaron is his butchering of the language – things like subject-verb agreement are not really optional in my book – but he’s likeable and I’m interested in his food.
If Lisa said “za-ba-YONE” one more time, I was going to punch the television. She referred to it as an Italian sauce, but the Italian word is zabaglione, four syllables with a defined “L” sound in the middle. In Italy, it’s also more likely to be a dessert – it’s egg yolks, sugar, and dry Marsala, whisked to the ribbon stage over simmering water – rather than a savory sauce. The savory version is the French sabayon, without a “z” in sight. If you can’t pronounce it properly, fine, just don’t over-enunciate it every damn time you say it. My wife was watching with me, and when I finally said, “Why the hell is she pronouncing it like that?” my wife’s response was dead-on: “Because she’s a snob.”
Adam was great on camera, as usual, but beer-can chicken isn’t all that special a dish, and it’s a little bit white-trashy. I didn’t walk away from his pilot feeling like there was a real show there. And by the way, McCall was a ringer, right? She talked like she was reading lines off a script.
I wish they’d shown a little more of the behind-the-scenes stuff with Gordon Elliott, either more of the “pitch” meetings or more of the directions he was giving the talent during the tapings. And it’s a pretty bad job by FN to say that Aaron’s show (“Big Daddy’s Kitchen”) will air in one week, when we all know that that final episode was taped ages ago, and when his show is nowhere to be found on any FN schedule. I’d like to at least give one episode a shot, but odds are by the time it comes around I’ll have forgotten all about it.
Unrelated note … my wife also likes the analogous HGTV series Design Star, and I watched their last episode with her on Sunday. (The winner is chosen by audience vote, rather than by judges, so there’s one more episode coming where they announce the winner.) One of the two contestants, Jen, painted horizontal stripes on the wall in two close but not identical shades of beige, and kept calling it an “architectural feature.” I liked the way the walls looked, but what the heck is an architectural feature? Why is that a good thing? You can’t drop jargon into a show aimed at a lay audience. I wouldn’t go on ESPNEWS and start talking about a back-side collapse or a hook or stab without either explaining it further or substituting a more accessible term. I’m not saying Jen shouldn’t win, but I was surprised that none of the judges criticized her for her use of the industry vernacular.