If you’ve been following along on this season of Food Network Star, you know that I was eliminated on Episode 3 last Sunday evening. What a sad and devastating moment that was! In this week’s Food Network Star recap, I’ll share my thoughts on the episode, the mentors’ feedback and my recipe for Crab Rigatoni.
We were challenged with creating summer bites for young tastemakers at a party venue in LA. I was stoked! My plan was to do a play on my Lobster Mac & Cheese, but instead to use sweet crab meat and make bite-sized Crab Mac & Cheese Bites in a miniature muffin tin. I couldn’t wait to get started and I knew this dish would be a slam dunk.
My excitement was short-lived, as the mentors quickly revealed other plans.
If I’ve learned one thing about myself during this process, it’s that I don’t enjoy confusion. It’s not that I can’t be flexible, but when you are competing for the dream job of your life, it’s nice knowing you have a plan in place and feeling confident to carry it through. Also, individual challenges are certainly more desirable in these situations because you have a lot more control. I like to be in control. HA! Now everything has changed…not only is it yet ANOTHER team challenge, but the dish I had in mind? Gone out the window. I must re-imagine my original dish of Crab Mac & Cheese Bites to fit the party theme in my trunk.
I am on Team Pasta Fest with Katie and Jess. My original dish has PASTA in it already! For the past two weeks, Giada has told me that I’ve skirted the challenges and that’s the last thing I want to be accused of this week. Therefore, even though my original dish would have fit this challenge perfectly, I cannot possibly move forward with it. I want the mentors to know that I’ve done everything I can to re-imagine my dish and to meet this challenge. I’m between a rock and a hard place.
I decide to make a simple tomato sauce with a little kick from the fresh jalapeno to pair with my sweet crab meat and rigatoni. Once I had a new plan, I was happy with the direction my dish was going. That was one chaotic and hot kitchen!
Katie and I are both take charge personalities, and we both wanted to take charge of different things at different times. I wasn’t as concerned with planning out exactly what we were going to say, as much as making sure I had all my ducks in a row for my portion of the demo.
Our demo began and the mentors seemed happy with my inclusive approach. At least, that’s a positive! I introduced myself and tried to relate to the audience by letting them know that being here had been a lifelong dream of mine. I wanted the audience to know what I did in the food world and why I was relevant. After all, the whole reason that any of us are here is to have our own show on the Food Network! Let me just say, the last thing I had in mind was sharing my resume. Besides, there’s a great deal more to my resume than being a food columnist. Ha! Unfortunately, it came across disconnected, and if I could go back and do it again, I would obviously change things. Katie and Jess were a little harsh here…but I’ll forgive them. 😉
I can’t tell you how sad I was to hear Tyler Florence say he didn’t want to finish my dish. It was my first time meeting him, and the last thing I wanted to do was be a disappointment. My sauce needed more time to simmer and cook down and I simply didn’t have enough time. Bless Bobby’s precious heart…he liked my crab meat.
When Giada announced my name as the finalist eliminated, I was utterly crushed, railroaded and heartbroken. I felt like I had so much more to give, like I was just getting started and like it wasn’t my time to go. I share more thoughts on my elimination on social media. Connect with me there, and remember, the season isn’t over yet! Keep tuning in to Food Network each Sunday at 9 PM. It may not be the last time you’ll see me! Thanks for all your positive feedback and support as I’ve lived out my dream before your very eyes. I am so grateful for this experience and all it’s taught me.
Watch my Instagram video on Episode 3:
Watch my Facebook Live video on Episode 3:
Some Kinda Good Crab Rigatoni
Make my Crab Rigatoni at home! Crab is a rather expensive ingredient, so feel free to substitute any protein you like, such as shrimp, ground beef or even chicken. Share your creations with me on social media using #SomeKindaGood.
- 1 pound box Rigatoni, cooked according to package directions
- 1 (28-oz) Can of Tomato Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked clean of shells
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup fresh parmesan cheese grated
- 1 bunch fresh basil, chiffonade or sliced into ribbons
Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and saute onion and jalapeno until fragrant, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and stir until just browned, about 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce and reduce heat to medium-low. Season to taste with plenty of salt and pepper, stirring occasionally. Let simmer 20-25 minutes. In a medium bowl, toss crab meat, pasta, cheese and tomato sauce together until all the noodles are coated evenly. Plate each dish and finish with a grating of fresh Parmesan and a sprinkling of basil. Enjoy with Italian bread and a garden salad to round out the meal.
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Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a freelance writer, entertainer and food enthusiast who writes and speaks about her love of good food and the Coastal South. Watch her compete on Food Network Star this summer, Sunday nights at 9 p.m. Rebekah is the longtime Statesboro Herald food columnist and host of SKG-TV on YouTube. A Georgia Southern University alumna, she also attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. To learn more, connect with Some Kinda Good on social media, or visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.