Exit Interview: Double Elimination Marks the End for Another Food Network Star Finalist


With only 11 short weeks to ready finalists before a winner will be chosen, the Food Network Star beast is such that week after week, hopeful competitors will fall, faced with the crushing disappointment of elimination. We'll be bringing you the first exclusive exit interviews with the ousted finalists as they're sent home.

We're about to break down the ins and outs of the latest episode and reveal who went home, so if you've yet to watch the show, read no further until then.

In the first of two mash-ups this week, finalists had to work together in teams to create travelogues at Grand Central Market in Los Angeles, and Melissa and Ana got off to a rocky start at Madcapra. They struggled to sync up their timing while showcasing the restaurant's falafel and didn't wow the judges. So when it was time to throw down against Ana and present her culinary mash-up of cheeseburgers and paella, Melissa was determined to go big. And she did.

Her spirited rhyme and mic drop were indeed entertaining, but she struggled to describe her dish, so much so that almost the entire crowd went to Ana's station instead of hers. In the end, not even Melissa's food could save her from this week's double elimination, as her rice-laced meatball was a miss for both mentors and Rev.

Read on below to hear from Melissa in her first exclusive interview after learning of her elimination, and find out what she thinks of the mentors' thoughts of her point of view. Plus, hear from Aaron, who was also sent home this week.

What three words best describe how you're feeling right now?

Melissa Pfeister: This really stinks.

What was your initial reaction in hearing that you were being sent home tonight?

MP: Shocked

Do you stand by your last-cooked dish and presentation, or do you agree with the judges' feedback?

MP: Absolutely. I thought it was the best presentation of the night.

Do you think the judges missed something about either your presentation or your food? Please explain.

MP: I disagreed with them that a show about healthy eating is hard.

In your own words, how would you explain to fans at home what this competition is really like?

MP: It is intense, emotionally and physically trying, and difficult. Ten times harder than it looks like on TV.

What one piece of mentor feedback will you always remember and keep with you?

MP: Being told about the challenges of doing a healthy eating program. What is hard is on your own starting a healthy baked goods business, putting your money into it, and all because you want to help people eat healthier and feel better. Those things are hard. Talking about healthy foods and eating and what I am most passionate about and love the most is not.

What's your proudest moment of the competition?

MP: My performance with Rev Run

What were your most-favorite and least favorite challenges, and why?

MP: It's hard to work with a "partner" that only sees her own perspective and thinks that's the right and only way to do it.

Which element of the competition were you least expecting, be it good or bad?

MP: I wasn't prepared for any of it.

What's the best piece of advice the mentors or Committee members gave you?

MP: Just to be you and give it your all, which I did, and then I got eliminated.

Fill in the blanks with your fellow finalists' names:

_____ is the class clown. Yaku

_____ is the quietest. Joy

_____ are the most-daring. Many of my fellow finalists

_____ have the best recipes. Many of my fellow finalists

_____ is going to win this competition. I can’t answer 'cause it was supposed to be me.

How did you handle the nerves of working with Bobby, Giada and all of the special guests?

MP: I'm meant to be a Food Network Star and to be OK on television. That's where I love to be.

How would you and your fellow finalists spend your downtime between challenges?

MP: Trying to relax

Which special guest or mentor were you most excited to learn from in this contest, and why?

MP: I loved Haylie Duff because I'm a girls’ girl, like her.

What do you want fans to remember most about you?

MP: I have never been culinary trained. I learned to cook on my own, and that turned into my greatest passion and love. Even though I was going against professional chefs who have been trained and do this for their daily lives, I still went for it because I do think people want to eat and be healthier, and I know I can rock a show to help.

What's next for you?

MP: Making my Naked Feast healthy, gluten-free baked foods business a nationwide success.

Who are you rooting for now?

MP: Rob, Yaku, Jernard, Joy, Tregaye, Erin, Damiano, Martita and Monterey