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Ippy's Voyage to Paradise

Philip "Ippy" Aiona came to New York City from his native Hawaii, where he's the executive chef of his family's restaurant, to compete on Food Network Star. He came close, but just missed the opportunity to make a pilot for Ippy's Voyage to Paradise.

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

Star Journal

Upon arrival in NYC, the finalists were given Food Network journals to use for challenge planning and reflection. Ippy filled his with outlines and sketches of his dishes as well as staple recipes that he jotted down from memory.

Cooking Chops

Right out of the gate, Ippy proved his cooking chops. This mushroom salad that he prepared for the season's first challenge was one of the judges' favorite dishes of the day.

Always Smiling

Ippy's laid-back, lovable nature allowed him to instantly bond with his fellow Team Giada members. Though he was serious about cooking, he always seemed cool as a cucumber during challenges.

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

Food-Tour Prep

The second episode brought Team Giada to Arthur Avenue to lead a food tour of this iconic Italian-American neighborhood. Ippy jotted down questions he'd ask the owners of Arthur Avenue Trattoria to get inspiration for his dish and presentation.

Mentor Guidance

Though he was raised in Hawaii, Ippy shares some heritage with his mentor, Giada. His mom is an Italian from New York and their family restaurant where he works is Italian.

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

Italian Inspiration

Inspired by his mom and Arthur Avenue, Ippy turned the classic eggplant Parmesan into an inventive eggplant Parmesan zuppa. In his journal, he explained the thought process behind the dish.

Soup Success

Ippy's zuppa was a big hit with the tourists on the bus, the judges and Giada. "All the flavors of eggplant parm are in here," she said. Team Giada took home a win for the challenge.

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

Made-Over Dish

The Fashion Week challenge was a struggle for Ippy: "I'm probably one of the worst-dressed people in this competition!" he joked. He was able to make over Salisbury steak into a beautiful dish, but his runway presentation didn't impress the judges.

On the Bottom

"He cooks with such precision. I've had enough of the laid back. I want him to be more memorable," Susie said. Ippy ended up in the Producers' Challenge and prevailed against Eric from Team Bobby.

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

Planning Ahead

Between challenges, Ippy tried to plan ahead by jotting down recipes from memory for desserts and batters in his journal. He wanted to have these ready in his back pocket should the opportunity arise to use one, since thinking on your feet is tough in rapid-fire challenges.

Close Team

Team Giada bonded over the course of the competition and it was difficult to see any teammate go home. Ippy, Yvan and Martita watched anxiously as Linkie competed in the Producers' Challenge that ultimately sent her home.

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

Hawaii to NYC

On the U.S. map at the back of his journal, Ippy circled his home state of Hawaii and starred New York City, where the first leg of Star took place.

Miami Sunshine

Ippy was thrilled to make the move from New York to sunny Miami. "I always say, you bring a Hawaiian to the sun and he'll shine!" he said, and proved it when he charmed Paula Deen and won the first challenge in South Beach.

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

On the Spot

The second Miami challenge didn't go as well for Ippy, and he ended up in the Producers' Challenge against Martita. Each of them had to unveil a dome and launch into a 60-second camera presentation about the ingredient underneath. Ippy's off-the-cuff story about oranges (or the tangerines in his backyard) saved him for another week.

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

Ippy's Promo

In the last hurdle before pilots, the last six finalists standing each filmed a 30-second promo for their shows. "The key to this is keeping my energy up and connecting with the camera," Ippy said. "I gotta nail the last take. Hopefully it gets me a pilot."

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

Emotional Farewell

Ippy's promo was well-received, but teammate Yvan beat him out for a spot in the finale. It was an emotional night for everyone, but Ippy kept smiling. "Thank you, guys. You brought the small-island boy to the big city and brought out things I never knew I had."

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