In Week 1, Erin deemed herself "a baker by blood," and in her first-take cold open, she spoke of "making something delicious to bring back some precious memories that you grew up with." After watching her second attempt at a cold open at the movie theater, Bobby said he found her to be "very genuine."
Erin and Martita landed at Sticky Rice inside Grand Central Market for their on-location travelogue in Week 2, and naturally their chemistry was a match. "I literally laughed out loud," guest judge Haylie Duff told them. Along with the team of Joy and Damiano, Erin and Monterey earned top honors in this challenge.
Unfortunately for Erin, the success she experienced in the Week 2 Mentor Challenge didn't carry into that week's Star Challenge, as she failed to plate the sauce for her mash-up of meatloaf and pad Thai, and that misstep led to a lack of confidence in her face-off against Martita. "It's so hard to sell something that you're not confident in," Erin admitted.
In the Week 3 Star Challenge, Erin and Damiano — the two bakers among the cast — teamed up to film a promo for their would-be road trip video focusing on a trip to the campsite. The judges were not only pleased with their performances on camera, but also wowed by their dishes. Damiano's gnocchi was indeed an oddball pick for a camping trip, but Erin's choice of a s'more-focused treat was successful. "The cookie has wonderful flavor to it, and I think it's incredibly inventive," Bobby said.
After VIP hotel guest Jesse Tyler Ferguson requested a no-chocolate dessert, Erin was forced to rethink her plan for a white chocolate mousse to end her team's Spa Escape menu. She had jotted down ingredients for a White Chocolate Mint Mousse Trifle but ultimately ended up crossing out the page, once she swapped out the chocolate for almond paste.
"I am not confident in this dish, so all that I can do is hope that my story captivates them," Erin said of presenting to Jesse and the judges. Though the mentors weren't wowed by the dish — Jesse noted, "Everything just seems to sort of swim in the base" — they did appreciate her story of spa days spent with her mom.
When it came time to present her bratwurst offering at the tailgate with Robert, Erin did her best to collect herself, but she failed to note her penchant for baking, much to the mentors' disappointment. Her beer-simmered brats, however, were successful, as Robert said, "That's tailgate food, but it's a level above."
There's no doubt that Erin delivered on the artistic element of the challenge with Duff, but her meatloaf-turned-cupcake offering was a bit dry, according to the mentors. Her presentation, too, was less than ideal, as the judges called for more spontaneity. "Some spunk," Erin said, noting where she needed to improve.
Erin was determined to bring more life to her presentation in the next challenge, in which she presented her Will It combo of quesadillas and sardines on a Good Mythical Morning segment with Rhett and Link. She took command of the situation immediately by asking to rearrange their seating on set, but she didn't do enough to convince them of the flavor pairing. "By the end of it, I just don't think you did a great job at selling the sardine quesadilla," Giada told her.
No sooner did Erin get excited at the prospect of a baking challenge in the start of Week 7 than she learned it wouldn't a straightforward task. In place of fresh ingredients, she and the other finalists could work with only frozen goods from the freezer (in addition to baking must-haves like flour and baking powder). Nevertheless, she handled the challenge in stride, explaining, "This is going to test out our creativity."
"I think that was actually the best you've ever done," Bobby told Erin after she delivered a personal story about being bullied as a child in the introduction of her frozen-food-focused cupcakes. Despite the presentation success, however, her dessert was lacking, as guest judge Lorraine Pascale admitted, "I don't know how fluffy the inside of the cake is."
It took a bit for Jernard and Erin to find their rhythm in working together both in the kitchen and onstage during their six-minute demo at the Week 7 tiki party, but soon enough they managed to develop a natural partnership on camera and succeeded in delivering a winning presentation that earned them the top spots that week.
Erin's final week of the competition started out an anxious one for her, as she wasn't confident in her take on classic Louisiana-style jambalaya. "I am so nervous that I am physically shaking," she said at the prospect of presenting her rice-topped hot dog. Sure enough, the mentors weren't sold on her story either; as Giada told her, "It doesn't feel unique to you."
Thanks to Tregaye, Erin managed to score the dessert course in the guilty-pleasures dinner she and her fellow finalists would prepare for the judges in that week's Star Challenge. She was set on doing a chocolate chip cookie-based offering that included both ganache and mousse. Her fellow finalists weren't convinced of its decadence, but she explained, "What's so over-the-top about this dessert is chocolate."
Just as the other finalists predicted, the judges didn't consider Erin's dessert the indulgent masterpiece she hoped it was. Bobby told her at evaluations, "When I think about a rich chocolate dessert, I'm thinking, like, so rich in chocolate that ... you can feel, like, the pimples coming out on your face. That was not the case there at all." She wasn't pleased with that feedback and told him: "I sell thousands of those cookies. Thousands of them. And I make that ganache almost every day, and it was extremely rich."