Star Scrapbook: Eric Lee

Flip through a Food Network Star finalist's scrapbook for an up-close-and-personal look at journal entries.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Team Bobby's Star Chef

Eric Lee, a former winery chef, said goodbye to Team Bobby in Episode 4. He was one of the most impressive cooks in the competition, but his presentations didn't measure up. Susie Fogelson summed it up back in the first episode: "I know I want him to be my chef; I'm not sure if he's my star."

Eric's Journal

During his four episodes, Eric filled his Star journal with notes, presentation prep and musings on his POV.

Handcrafted

Eric came into the competition with a defined POV: "Handcrafted." He wanted to make everything from scratch and followed through in each of the dishes that he presented. When it came to the food, Eric didn't have any misses.

First Challenge: Restaurant Impossible

The first challenge of the season put Eric and Team Bobby right in their element. These kitchen veterans named their restaurant The Tasting Space and Eric's contribution — lasagna with both pasta and ricotta made from scratch — is outlined here in his journal.

Go Big or Go Home

The mushroom lasagna took Eric down to the wire in the kitchen, but it was worth the effort: The judges and mentors loved it. Unfortunately, Eric's presentation didn't fare as well: "I spent the whole day focusing on the food. I have no idea what I'm going to say."

Wine Country Inspiration

Eric quit his job at a winery to compete on Star, but he hoped he could incorporate his 11 years of wine country experience into his POV. On the opposite page, he scrawled a motto for Team Bobby: "I get by with a little help from my chef friends."

Early Win

Team Bobby took home the first win of the season in the Restaurant: Impossible challenge. Bobby's strategy of picking experienced cooks seemed to be paying off: "It's my thought that if they can cook, I can teach how to cook on TV." For Eric, this would be a struggle.

On Assignment

The next challenge brought the teams out into New York City to lead food tours of iconic neighborhoods. Team Bobby headed to Harlem, where Eric took notes at his assigned location, Savoy Bakery.

Harlem Inspiration

To put his own spin on the Danishes from Savoy, Eric decided to make an entirely handcrafted sweet cheese turnover with espresso caramel. "The technique was exquisite," said Bobby.

Presentation Prep

Eric had confidence in his pastry, but not as much in his presentation skills. In his journal, he wrote out a rough script for what he'd say on the bus tour. It was one of his best performances and kept him safe from elimination.

Last Chance

When a lackluster presentation in Episode 4's Fashion Week challenge landed Eric in the bottom, he found himself up against Ippy in a Producers' Challenge that didn't involve any cooking. Bobby knew this would be difficult for Eric and advised him to make his presentation personal.

Refining the POV

When he had downtime in the stew room, Eric continued to work on his POV. He wrote out an opening promo for his Handcrafted show.

Planning Ahead

Eric made a list of items that he could make from scratch in future challenges — everything from vinegars to tofu. Had he stuck around longer, we might have seen some of these ideas in action.

Mentor-Mentee

Bobby made a strong case for Eric in the pitch room, but the judges decided that Ippy should be the one to stay. Eric was disappointed but thankful for the experience of working with Bobby: "It is just incredible how great of a mentor he is." Bob Tuschman told Eric that he was one of the most talented chefs they'd ever seen on Star.

Tight Team

In four short episodes, Team Bobby formed tight bonds. "I love you guys so much," Eric told his teammates when he returned from the pitch room. "I put so much into this and sacrificed so much to be here. If I could change one thing, I would have chosen dishes that didn't push it all the way to the wall in terms of time. I let my ego get the best of me."