Last night’s episode of Food Network Star brought a hearty cheer from many a viewer, when, at the last possible minute, controversial contestant Matthew Grunwald was eliminated from the competition. We saw the three judges actually vote on the three chopping block contestants, and, at first it was Sita who was going to go home.
But, then, the judges called those three contestants back in–and Matthew couldn’t keep his infamous smirk from his face. And so Giada actually whispered to the other judges if she could change her vote. And, just like that, Matthew Grunwald’s Food Network Star quest game to an end the abruptness of which was better suited for Game of Thrones.
There had been a fair amount of speculation that Matthew would stick around for at least another week, simply because he made for good ratings: Viewers loved to hate him. He was the only contestant on whom there seemed to be a unanimous opinion. Naturally, then, Twitter exploded with glee after Grunwald got the boot:
#MatthewGrunwald is the asshole millennial all those articles are about.
— Melissa Waters (@melthinksdotcom) June 15, 2015
— NJReviewer (@NJreviewer) June 15, 2015
Glad that Matthew child is gone from #FoodNetworkStar. Knowing how to cook isn’t everything–attitude is. Now I can enjoy the show again.
— Michael D. Brooks (@mdbrooks41) June 15, 2015
— michelle west (@mwagone) June 15, 2015
— Dei (@ViveLeChat) June 15, 2015
#FoodNetworkStar just watched on DVR, I have never been SO happy to see someone get booted as I did seeing hashtagboy go bye bye!!!!
— Becky Berry (@Becks543) June 15, 2015
For his part, Matthew Grunwald did seem somewhat contrite in his Food Network Star exit interview. The network shared the interview on its Food Network Star blog today, and, while Grunwald still sounded rather like the muddled millennial some of his Twitter detractors feared, he also acknowledged some mistakes on his own part. When asked if he would change anything about his bizarre final dish, Grunwald said yes:
I think my dish needed to be simpler. I think that the flavors were there, but I was trying to do too much and it was chaotic. It was like a hurricane of flavors, when it just needed to be, like, a single raindrop. I think I should have really focused my food to my point of view. I think I not only needed to simplify my point of view but also my cooking.
As for the importance of point of view, Grunwald also admitted his could have used a bit more focus–even after he ditched the infamous Hashtag Strategy:
I think the hashtag, that’s still something I enjoy, but it’s not, that’s just another aspect of who I am. That’s not the core. That wasn’t the root and the trunk of the tree. That was maybe some of the branches….I think I was being too [concerned with the] strategy, and I was thinking too much about how I was going to reach a fan base. I think I was taking the back-of-camera approach, whereas with flavors of the Southwest—I had been cooking flavors of the Southwest my whole life. I don’t have hashtags attached to that. I have memories with my family and my friends and experiences that correlate with a dish, which is really what I think it boils down to.
He also discussed the rather sizeable age gap between himself and the rest of the contestants. Matthew Grunwald is 22, the vast majority of Food Network Star‘s contestants are between 28 and 35, and Grunwald said the difference was something that affected him:
I did feel a little bit of an age gap, yes. And I think it was kind of a two-way street, especially since I came into this so competitive. I think that they were just expecting me to come into this and be like the boy next door, and then they got this, like, vicious lion that needed to be a little bit tamed.
So: The contestant everyone loves to hate is officially gone. Now that that’s over with, who are you rooting for? Who are you rooting against? What’s your strategy for watching future episodes of Food Network Star?
(Photo credits: Food Network)