Unlike reality show cooking competitions in which it's all about the food and one bad dish can send a front-runner packing, The Next Food Network Star is more about on-air personality -- and that ain't anything that's gettin' fixed overnight. That said, this season looks pretty clear cut, so let's just cut to the chase, shall we?
Brad, you're too stiff. Brianna, you're kinda fake. Paul, you're an angry man. Tom, you don't care. And Bobby Flay, how you're a judge of warmth and personality on TV remains one of the great mysteries of the Food Network.
Five more episodes? Please.
Now here's this week's foodie TV schedule so you won't miss a thing. For cable channels, check your local listings.
Monday (June 28)
Cake Boss: "A Princess, A Pirate & A Perplexing Arch." Buddy feels the pressure when Mary, his toughest critic, asks him to make a pirate-theme cake for her twins' birthday party. Also: an over-the-top cake is made for a casino opening. 9 p.m., TLC
The Best Thing I Ever Ate: "Burgers." Food Network stars reveal their favorite burger joints. 9 p.m., Food Network
Inedible to Incredible: "Long Suffering Husband." A busy mom has no idea her family can't stand her cooking, from her dry lasagna to her questionable cranbrosia. "Funky Chicken." The host helps a woman who loves to entertain lighten up her rich and heavy dishes. 10 and 10:30 p.m., TLC Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: "Farm to Table." Stops include a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C., where the sauce is made from scratch; a sandwich joint in Midway, Kentucky, that uses homemade bread; and an eatery on Georgia's St. Simons Island serving Cajun coastal favorites. 10 p.m., Food Network
Tuesday (June 29)
Hell's Kitchen: Chef Ramsay shows his temper -- to a patron -- during the dinner service that follows the episode's first challenge, in which the contestants make deli sandwiches. The losers' penalty: make peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Then Ramsay shuffles the teams, and the new teammates face their first challenge: reinventing a wedding menu for a 50th anniversary party. 7 p.m., Channel 10, FOX
Cupcake Wars: "Ace of Cakes 100th Episode Celebration." "Ace of Cakes" star Duff Goldman is a guest judge when four bakers work with wacky ingredients to create cupcakes that celebrate the 100th episode of his show. 9 p.m., Food Network
Chopped: "Green Apps and Lamb." The chefs must use mint liqueur and canned fish in their appetizers; lamb in the entrées; and an unfamiliar grain in their desserts. 10 p.m., Food Network
Wednesday (June 30)
Throwdown With Bobby Flay: "Pineapple Upside Down Cake." Cookbook authors Marilynn and Sheila Brass ("Heirloom Baking") are the challengers in a pineapple upside-down cake bake-off. 9 p.m., Food Network
Man v. Food: "Richmond." The host visits Caliente restaurant in Richmond and tries to tackle the "Stupid Wings" challenge that requires him to down eight jumbo wings drenched in a sauce that's notoriously spicy. 9 p.m., Travel Channel Top Chef: Washington D.C.: "Capitol Grill." It's a dessert storm when the remaining chefs must create a pie from scratch. Later, the contestants are charged with grilling up a classic picnic for Capitol Hill interns. Jonathan Waxman is the guest judge. 9 p.m., Bravo
Dinner: Impossible: "Mission in the Mud." The weather doesn't cooperate when Robert has to cook an elaborate gourmet meal outdoors using camping equipment. 10 p.m., Food Network
Thursday (July 1) Rachael Ray: "Summer Recipes With Celebrity Chefs." Rachael prepares summer recipes in Chicago with TV chefs Art Smith, Rocco DiSpirito, and Rick Bayless. 4 p.m., Channel 5, CBS
Good Eats: "Yes We Have No Banana Pudding." Banana pudding is made. 8:30 p.m., Food Network
(Season 9 Premiere!) Ace of Cakes: "100 Episodes of Cake." The Charm City Cakes crew reflects on the first 100 episodes of "Ace of Cakes" in the Season 9 premiere. Also: a complex roller-coaster cake is constructed. 10 p.m., Food Network
Saturday (July 3)
Mexican Made Easy: "Hot Times, Cool Foods." Marcela makes Caprese salad with a Mexican twist. Also prepared: chilled avocado soup and tilapia serviche. 9:30 a.m., Food Network
30-Minute Meals: "Eternal Summer." Fish-and-corn chowder and English-muffin grilled chesses are served. 10 a.m., Food Network
Paula's Best Dishes: "Garden Soirée." Prepared: salmon-and-corn cakes with mango tartar sauce; pecan-crusted pork-tenderloin crostini with balsamic-strawberry sauce; and mini chocolate-key-lime pies. 11:30 a.m., Food Network
Cooking for Real: "When in Sunset Park." Prepared: beef-stuffed cubanelle peppers; corn salad with Latin spices and herbs; and cheese-and-guava pockets. 12 p.m., Food Network
5 Ingredient Fix: "Summer Garden." Lobster-corn crème brulée, served with heirloom-tomato salad, and minted-cherry pudding. 12:30 p.m., Good Network
Sunday (July 4)
Grill It! With Bobby Flay: "Burgerlicious." Bobby Flay makes burgers with goat cheese, lemon-honey mustard and grilled steak fries in a citrus aioli; a viewer makes turkey burgers with paprika aioli along with insalata-Caprese kabobs. 10:30 a.m., Food Network
Guy's Big Bite: "Totally Time for Tomatoes." Peruvian lomo saltado, served with tomato soup and fried green tomatoes with horseradish cream. 11 a.m., Food Network
Big Daddy's House: "Summer Lovin'." Grilled turkey burgers topped with sweet-pepper mayo are served, along with chorizo-stuffed jalapeños with sweet-corn puree, and iceberg wedges with buttermilk-blue-cheese dressing. 1:30 p.m., Food Network
Iron Chef America: "Symon vs. Okuwa." Makoto Okuwa, a former sous chef to Masaharu Morimoto, enters Kitchen Stadium for the first time as a challenger and takes on Michael Symon. 10 p.m., Food Network
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