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Danushka Lysek

Before beginning the competition, Danushka said, "I'm not like anyone that's on the Food Network," and she was indeed correct about that. This brutally honest, no-nonsense finalist struggled to connect with the audience, and it ultimately ended her dreams of stardom.

Let Loose

Giada worked with Danushka during her first Mentor Challenge, in which the finalists had to film 60-second pitch tapes for network executives. Giada encouraged her to "lighten it up and smile," but despite that advice, Danushka couldn't shake her tough exterior when presenting her private chef point of view.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Ballpark Basics

"Why do I have to be beside the mad scientist?" Danushka wondered about Russell, after he created a foggy cloud with a smoking gun. Unfortunately for her, she found herself cooking next to him again in the Chopped battle.

Prep Buddies

Danushka wasn't thrilled to be working next to Damaris, either, on account of the latter's tendency to talk to herself while cooking. "Damaris is yapping away," Danushka said. "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

Setting a Precedent

Neither the focus group nor the judges were wowed by Danushka's premiere performance, and she placed among the bottom-three finalists in the first week. Little did she know then that she'd end up making a habit of that, finishing among the least-successful contestants each week she was on the show.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

A Lighter Moment

When Food Network executive Susie Fogelson first met Danushka, she encouraged Danushka to let down her guard, telling her, "Find your version of warmth."

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Losing the Audience

"I went up there and I was myself a hundred percent. This is who I am. Take it or leave it," Danushka said after her performance at Burger Bash. Despite her confidence, she flopped with the focus group, which wasn't drawn to her discussion of being "svelte," Bobby told her later at evaluation.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Playing With Food

By week three, Danushka seemed more comfortable on set, even jokingly posing with a lime during the Mentor Challenge, although her food quality and performances left much to be desired by the Selection Committee.

All Smiles

Danushka flashed a rare smile at fellow rival Damaris as the two competed in week three's food-authority challenge with uncommon ingredients.

Mystery Dragon

In what would be her final Mentor Challenge, Danushka opened the bag to reveal dragon fruit as her mystery ingredient.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

When Boredom Strikes

While most Chopped competitors have little time to spare, Danushka told the Selection Committee she experienced "boredom" during the challenge. Guest judge and regular Chopped panelist Alex Guarnaschelli could hardly respond, explaining: "Someone has time to be bored? I don't even know what to say about that. Quite frankly, I need a minute."

Saying Goodbye

"You literally perpetuate an I-don't-care, I-don't-want-to-be-here attitude. That's a problem," Alton told Danushka during her final evaluation. In the end, the Selection Committee considered it enough of an issue to send Danushka home after just three weeks of competition. "Strike three, I'm out," she reflected afterward. "I can't tell these people enough that I really do want to be here."

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Go Behind the Scenes

Browse exclusive snapshots of the finalists and judge-mentors on set, plus get insider trivia about the show from Food Network's culinary team.

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Meet the Other Season 9 Finalists

Meet the other finalists from Season 9 of Food Network Star.