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We’re down to the final three and so, of course, that means we’re NOT down to the final three. Those who’ve been watching online may have been following the Star Salvation episodes on FoodNetwork.com. The winner of that series was revealed to be…
No. How the hell’d that happen? I haven’t been watching this online show so clearly Star Salvation was more about cooking food, which Dom could do, and completely nothing to do with presentation. So… the final four were given 45-minutes to cook the “dish of their lives” and they got to choose among the eliminated finalists to join them: Rosa, Christina, Rue, Sita, Matthew, Emilia, Alex. By random draw the finalists chose their Sous Chef for this competition, and it started with Eddie (who chose Alex), then Dom (Matthew), Jay (Emilia) and finally Arnold (Rue). The remaining three were sent home… again. And then they were off!
Eddie (with Alex) – spiced meatball with ginger carrot puree.
Jay (with Emilia) – fried catfish and crawfish Etouffee.
Arnold (with Rue) – lamb sausage with tabbouleh.
Dom (with Matthew) – Agnolotti Bolognese.
The biggest news during this cooking segment was Dom. Personally he struggled to make the pasta, which he claimed both that he’d cooked more than any of us had eaten and that he’d waited the entire competition to do. And of course Matthew was a concern: Dom suggested he use just half an onion but, as he walked away, Matthew revealed to us viewers that he felt it necessary to use fully four onions.
Once the food was cooked and the sous chefs sent on their way, the finalists were instructed to then shoot “the video of your life to go with it,” which will be evaluated by Bobby, Giada, as well as the executives from Food Network, Bob and Susie. They were given 1-minute for one take.
At this point, I really need for Dom to (reliably) mess this up. For the past few episodes we’ve been headed toward a Jay/Eddie finale and so Arnold’s best chance for a miracle is this upcoming Pilot challenge. The Star Salvation challenges, while impressive, should’ve suggested to viewers like me – who didn’t watch any part of them – that an overlooked competitor who, say, slipped through the cracks during the season had fought his or her way back into the competition and should have really enlivened this segment up. When the hosts announced that one was returning earlier this episode, I sat in front of my TV whispering “Rue. Rue. Rue. Rue” because it was forgone. I don’t know about you, but she seemed like the one exiled contestant who had a solid personality, in the sense that she knew already what her potential Food Network TV show would be all about (remember all those Jamaican dishes?). Seemingly the one who could compete with Eddie’s Caribbean flavored pilot – I’m guessing – and Jay’s no-brainer at this point New Orleans/Cajun styled TV show. Much as I’d love to see Arnold win, “cooking at home” isn’t wowing me, neither is whatever Dom might come up with these next 45 minutes. That is, if he’s the one who makes it through to the Top 3.
After a commercial, the finalists each took their turn before the judges. Arnold went first where, after the first 30-seconds, the presentation “took a turn,” according to Giada. He said he was intent to slow down after last week’s criticism but both Bob and Susie agreed he’d lost the spark and joy that they had seen previously. So, uh… he’s pretty much in a catch-22 here, a human pinball for the criticism from multiple guest judges.
Judges found Jay’s presentation “flawless” according to Bob. Food was “a very good dish. Excellent.” For his presentation, Dom overcame an early stumble to impress everyone from the judges to his co-finalists. Judges loved his food as well. Giada was glowing, clutching the pearls, as he walked away. Though Eddie’s presentation was really quite bad, with too much background talk and not enough references to the food, the judges glossed over it and rushed to the food, which they also found lacking, that it wasn’t as spicy or hot as it had promised.
This really was a nail-biter. At this point, it was clear that Jay would hands-down make it to the Pilot segment of this episode. Everything else was up in the air. Dom was not exceptional, except when compared to his previous performances, and both Bobby and Giada clearly (for some reason) love him. Though he changed it up a bit, Arnold did not markedly improve his presentation skills, though the food was well done. And Eddie, who like Jay should’ve been a no-brainer, provided lackluster presentation and food. I’m sure Bob and Susie were thinking, “Ok, let’s call it a day right now. C’mon down, Jay! You’re the next Food Network Star!”
With the finalists all lined up in front of the judges, we all heard the news. Jay was awarded a pilot, hands down the winner of this challenge. The judges then went down the line, outlining the good and bad points of each’s food and presentation, before awarding a pilot next to…
No. And, for Arnold fans, let’s be real: there’s no way Eddie’s food was that bad. And I think even he saw the writing on the wall.
Bobby: “Arnold… I’m sorry you’ll be leaving us today.”
He was gracious, of course. Y’all, I’d have been pissed.
Arnold: “this has been such a magical experience. I got to cook for almost the entire gamut of food network chef celebrities, and I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from the selection committee. I mean, it’s a dream, so I’ll keep being Arnold and I’ll keep doing this until I get my moment.”
One can’t help but wonder if Suzy Wong was intended to make an appearance during his proposed Pilot. Inserting a drag queen into “cooking at home” doesn’t seem entirely logical for a TV show, but you can’t help but wonder only because there were subtle references to this drag personae way back during the first couple episodes this season. In fact, it’s was an essential element of Emilia’s takedown (breakdown!) the episode when she was sent home.
Ah, the shame of it all.
Susie: “Jay, Eddie, Dom. Each one of you has won the opportunity to shoot a pilot for the show that you would do for Food Network.”
Bob: “So for your pilots the three of you are headed to New York City where a special guest will meet you there to direct you.”
Once in New York, the finalists met one-on-one with Rachael Ray who literally directed their pilots. The remaining twenty minutes or so in this episode were spent with clips from the recording of the pilots of the three finalists. No drama, a few blips here and there, nothing noteworthy. And then… an invitation to join them and the hosts and (it appears) the entire cast this season for the finale next week!
FOOD NETWORK STAR recap: "Live TV" (season 11 episode 9)
FOOD NETWORK STAR recap: "Dish of a Lifetime and Pilots" (season 11 episode 10)
FOOD NETWORK STAR recap: "We Have a Winner" (season 11, episode 11, finale)
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.