Star Scrapbook: Emilia Cirker

Emilia was the sixth finalist eliminated on Food Network Star, Season 11. Relive the memorable moments from her time on the show.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Emilia's Journey

The sixth finalist eliminated from the competition, Emilia, a culinary instructor, battled herself perhaps just as much as any rival in this contest, as she struggled to fully and genuinely portray her personality in presentations. In the end, a too-risky performance in which she mimicked her rivals cost her the title.

First Impressions

"Stepford." That's how Matthew described Emilia on Day One of the competition. From then on, she tried to justify her fun-loving attitude with how she came across. "We need warmth," Giada told her. "People are going to be really surprised," Emilia said later. "I am lovable and funny as hell."

The Welcome Outdoors

After a day of work in the studio, the finalists headed to Triunfo Creek Vineyards for the Week 1 food festival, and Emilia could hardly contain her excitement. "All the nerves I had that were screwing up my camera challenges completely disappeared the moment I started cooking," she wrote in her scrapbook. 

Self-Awareness

"Down in the dumps is an understatement," admitted Emilia after watching her video with the cast and Selection Committee at the food festival. "That wasn't me at all." Bobby, too, wished for more from her, as he said, "I kept thinking to myself, 'Please smile.'"

Happy Birthday

Believe it or not, Emilia's birthday fell on the same day of the premiere episode's elimination, and lucky for her, she survived into Week 2, so she didn't have to face defeat on her birthday. Her celebratory treat of choice? "I want a birthday flan instead of cake," she wrote.

More of the Same

The struggles Emilia experienced in the earliest episode continued into Week 2. In the leftovers challenge she spoke of her "spice class" point of view, but ultimately she was still seemingly rigid in her delivery. "You still didn't smile enough," Bobby told her. "I want you to have fun."

Time As the Enemy

Unfortunately for Emilia, the problems only worsened in the second episode's baking challenge, as she ran out of time and had just moments to set up her station and plate her polenta cake. "My bakeshop is totally an abomination," she admitted. "I want to smile. I want to be warm, but my disappointment is showing." The judges, too, realized her errors, as Bobby noted, "This is a bad choice today."

A Change in Delivery 

Though Emilia's dish of Thai mussels may have been the eighth and last plate selected for tasting in the social media trends challenge, her offering was nevertheless sampled by Bobby and Giada in the Episode 3 Mentor Challenge, and Bobby found it simply "really good." Her presentation was strong, too, much to her delight. "My presentations are getting better and it feels amazing," she said.

Teamwork

It was girls versus boys in the Star Challenge dinner party with guests Sunny Anderson and Geoffrey Zakarian, and it was up to Emilia to deliver an incendiary dessert. "What the boys don't understand is that we work really well together," Emilia wrote in her journal. Sure enough, the Committee was indeed pleased with the ladies' decision to theme their dinner. 

Making Strides

"Flawless," Geoffrey said after watching her present the torched mango-meringue Napoleon, which wowed him with its flavor. In her journal she sketched a plated version of the dessert and jotted down what elements she'd need for each component.

Seeking Spice

At the July 4th cookout, Emilia made do with a last-minute ingredient switcheroo that left her with chicken thighs. She was focused on selling her spice point of view with tandoori-inspired skewers, but the judges are disappointed that it lacks the necessary boldness. "I want more flavor from the tandoori chicken," Bobby said. "When you advertise something as spicy, it should be spicy."

Taste and Describe

It was all about pairs in Episode 5 when finalists swapped their favorite ingredients with a partner's choice ingredients, then tasted and described the dish their teammate made. Though Emilia was conflicted as to how critical she should be of Arnold's scallop-harissa dish, she said, "I came to win" and spoke honestly about how she felt. "I think you describe all the components beautifully," Giada told her afterward.

Better Together

The teamwork continued in the Star Challenge at Los Angeles' Patina Restaurant, where the cast worked in pairs to fuse their culinary points of view on a single plate. "So I just got paired with Jay and I couldn't be happier," Emilia wrote. "Today is going to be awesome." And indeed it was. The Committee was wowed by her performance with Jay, and guest judge Anne Burrell said, "They did seem like they were having a good time."

Pizza 2.0

In what would ultimately be Emilia's final week of the competition, she was tasked with making a pizza with "kicked-up flavors," according to special guest Duff Goldman, and for her that meant a samosa-inspired pie with chocolate sauce. While the panel appreciated the flavor in Emilia's pizza, her presentation showed her reverting back to her old teacher-focused ways. "Here's a tip: Loosen up, girlfriend," Michelle joked.

Risks Not Rewarded

It was Emilia's wish to take a risk in the improv challenge, which is how she ended up imitating and mocking her fellow finalists during a live demo. Bobby admitted that "it got a little uncomfortable." And Susie explained, "I felt slightly abused by her."

Emilia's Exit

"You took big risks. I admire that. But unfortunately to us it came off as mean-spirited," Bob told Emilia before she learned that she'd be leaving the competition. "I know that I took a big risk, and you know what, this sucks. I wanted to be the last chick," she said, reflecting on her elimination.

One-on-One with Emilia

Hear from Emilia in her first exclusive exit interview to learn her thoughts on the contest and what's next.

Go Behind the Scenes

Get an insider's look at the making of the show, and see how the cast spends its time between takes.

Photos: Behind the Scenes of Food Network Star, Season 11

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