Star Scrapbook: Kenny Lao

Kenny Lao was the third finalist eliminated on Food Network Star, Season 10. Relive the memorable moments from his time on the show.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Kenny Lao

The third finalist eliminated from Season 10, New York City-based Kenny is the owner of a string of fast-casual restaurants, and he used that concept as his point of view during the competition.

Initial Thoughts

Each finalist was given a journal to use during the contest, and Kenny filled his with notes about the challenges, takeaways from judges' comments and lists to help him prepare for the tests. Here he jotted down a reminder to "tell stories" and work on delivering "focus."

Could Be Better

Kenny first introduced the mentors to his fast-casual perspective on the Hollywood back lot on day one of filming. After delivering a disjointed presentation, Bobby told him, "You missed an opportunity."

True to Form

"My point of view is fast and casual, and tuna tartare is the perfect dish because it's super easy-peasy," Kenny explained of the tuna tartare he made for the Hollywood premiere party. He added a bit of crunch to the dish with from-scratch potato chips and topped each with a creamy guacamole.

In Kenny's Words

"I'm not a chef, but I love eating chef-quality food. I am impatient and busy," Kenny jotted down. These notes proved to be the basis of his plan for presenting during an early challenge.

Mixed Results

Kenny wasted no time in beginning his presentation, as he hurried toward the podium. E!'s Ross Mathews told the Selection Committee that Kenny "owned it" on stage. Kenny's tartare, however, fell short, as Alton explained: "I'm seeing a guy that can sell me food, but I haven't tasted anything that makes me think he can cook some food."

Gravy Flop

When it was Kenny's turn to lead Alton through the gravy-making portion of his chicken-fried steak recipe in week two, he missed an opportunity to strut his culinary proficiency, as he mistakenly added raw cornstarch to a hot liquid. Reflecting on the misstep, Kenny spoke to himself: "Let me just give you some advice, Kenny. Learn how to make gravy this Christmas." 

Faulty Mechanics

Kenny had "a command of the camera," according to Bobby in his first video demo, but the situation quickly turned sour when Kenny struggled to light his stove and ultimately ran out of time while making sea bass. He wasn't able to plate any food and initially blamed the error on broken equipment, not his poor timing. "Two of my burners weren't turning on," he noted, much to the disappointment of the judges.

Second Chances

Although he faced potential elimination as one of the bottom-three performers in week two, Kenny survived after he took responsibility for the mistakes that led to his inability to finish his fish. "That shows a real ability to learn and an ability to grow," Alton told him.

A Rare Respite

In what would be his final challenge — the Cutthroat Kitchen-style battle — Kenny managed to escape sabotage and was free to create the breakfast dish of his choosing with no hindrances. "I decided to make a breakfast trifle; it's kind of like a parfait. The elements of the breakfast trifle are pancakes, eggs, bacon, some sort of a fruit compote and a creamy aspect."

Breakfast Tragedy

Despite his best intentions, Kenny admitted that his dish turned out "so ugly," and judges Bobby and Jet Tila weren't wowed by the results. "That's a lot in a glass," Bobby said. And Jet agreed, noting that Kenny's presentation left something to be desired as well. "As a person, you have this amazing energy, but none of that really told me anything about your POV."

A Final Exit

After three weeks of hard-fought competition, Kenny ultimately said goodbye to the contest, as he was let go on account of inferior food. "You had no sabotages, and the dish was a train wreck," Alton told Kenny, who's forced to say goodbye. He reflected on the contest and said, "I think that cooking is a long game, and when you mess up — it's just like life — you're going to get a chance to do it better later."

One-on-One with Kenny

Read Kenny's first exclusive exit interview to learn more about his thoughts on the competition and plans for the future.

A Shot at Salvation

Kenny's off to Star Salvation, where he'll battle a returning fan favorite, plus a previously eliminated finalist from the series. Watch Episode 3 to see how he fares.

Go Behind the Scenes

Browse insider snapshots of the finalists and mentors to find out what went down on set when the cameras weren't rolling.

More: Behind the Scenes of Food Network Star, Season 10

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