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Russell Jackson

An underground chef from San Francisco, Russell, was the second runner-up in the competition, ultimately falling in the finale after an 11-week journey.

Photo By: Sarah Shreves/Creel Films ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Radical Thinking

Although his culinary point of view turned to sinful eating alone, Russell began the competition as "the dissident chef" who liked to cook with decadent ingredients. After watching his pitch tape, however, Susie urged him, "Just have some fun, man."

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Top-Selling Burger

Russell wowed the crowd at Burger Bash with a decadent-sounding burger complete with several of his culinary sins. He garnered 15 tokens — the most among any of the competitors — from the audience, and after tasting his burger, the judges deemed it their favorite of the day.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Between the Bun

Each finalist was given a journal to use during the show, and Russell filled his with recipe ideas, reflections on the competition and notes for future challenges. Here he illustrated the intricacies of his winning Burger Bash creation, which featured a lamb and beef patty on a sesame bun with what he called the "Key: Bacon, Onion, Bourbon Marmalade."

Rooted in Sin

Although he was working with a mystery ingredient — arrowhead root — in Episode 3, Russell didn't hesitate to call on his culinary sins in order to let the product shine. He fried it in bacon fat and featured it with a pecan pesto, but Bobby told him, "I would have liked to have seen more arrowhead root as part of the dish."

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Russell vs. Chopping Block

Faced with a Chopped-style basket of beer, hot dogs, peanuts and cotton candy, Russell simply pureed the ballpark-classic ingredients with tofu and featured the mixture in dumplings. Guest judge Alex told him, "I really loved your energy," but she wasn't sold on his dish, given the way he offered it. "You don't need all the bells and whistles to capture our attention," Bobby added. "You are the bells and whistles."

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Big-Screen Debut

Working with Lovely and Nikki on Team Western, Russell starred in a Western-themed movie trailer touting his group's themed menu. This challenge proved to be a struggle for him, as his Spaghetti Western was a flop with the mentors and focus group alike, and Giada told him after his performance, "You've definitely caught our eye."

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Hazards of the Job

Russell suffered an on-set injury while cooking at the movie theater. Although it wasn't serious enough to send him to the hospital, he needed a medic to bandage several fingers before he could continue competing.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Lights Out

Giada surprised the finalists with unexpected curve balls while they taped live demonstrations with guest co-host Terrence, and when the set went dark on Russell, he simply adapted to the obstacle. "I love working in the dark," he joked. "You did recover very well," Giada told him.

Photo By: Nathaniel Chadwick/Creel Films ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Saved by a Throw

Russell avoided week 5 elimination, thanks to his strong performance in a throw to commercial break during the 4th of July Live challenge. Having seen glimmers of star power within him, Alton told Russell, "It was your throw to that commercial that showed us the person you can be."

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Sweet Meets Savory

For the product pitch to market executives, Russell made Bacon Candy, thick-cut bacon lacquered with a sticky glaze. "It's something you don't find often, and that would give them a reason to buy it," Giada told him.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Helpful Advice

Russell jotted down a few "Notes to Live By," among them this about dishes: "How it was inspired and why it ties to my POV."

Narrowing Focus

At the culinary auction, Russell put a made-over bacon-egg sandwich up for grabs, but elements of it were disappointing to the mentors. More so than his dish, however, his multiple points of view proved to be problematic. "There's the revolution that you're going to lead, and then there are sins," Alton told Russell. "You must now pick one, because they're making you look confused."

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Team Pizza

It was Russell's job to introduce his team's field piece on Vito's Pizza, but while doing so, he attempted to work in talk of "a culinary sin," something with which the mentors weren't impressed. One Hollywood Reporter critic, however, said of him, "I think that he's got a cool presence on camera."

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Losing the Connection

Tasked with both presenting a dish and sharing a tip, Russell delivered a pleasing rib eye, according to Alton, although his performance lacked overall, given his inability to establish eye contact with the camera. "Looking off to the side at your eye level," Alton explained to him, "makes it look like you're looking to somebody for an answer."

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Risotto Done Right

The team at Phil Trani's asked for a healthier version of the restaurant's spinach chicken, and Russell provided, serving one of the most successful dishes of the day. He prepared a spinach-wrapped chicken breast and served it alongside lemon-scented risotto, the recipe for which he scrawled in his journal.

Brainstorm Session

Before pitching to the network his ideas for a future show, Russell imagined potential titles, including My Culinary Sins, which "shows overall highlights of my list of culinary sins." The network was ultimately sold, however, on Guilty Pleasures, wherein, "I'm bringing my bag of sins along," he explained. "I'm actually cooking dishes and giving it that sinful twist."

Guilty Pleasures

Russell met up with Guy Fieri on location at Bennett's Ice Cream to film his pilot, and although Russell struggled with the opening segment, he managed to finish the video strongly. He took to the kitchen at Bennett's to turn out bacon-bourbon ice cream, and Guy told him then: "This is definitely where you excel. You're real comfortable in the kitchen. That's evident."

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Reflections

At the finale, Russell looked back on his time in the competition fondly and admitted that he was confident that he'd eventually earn a spot in the finale.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

End of the Journey

Despite having survived 10 weeks of competition to earn the opportunity to film a pilot and a spot among the top-three finalists, Russell ultimately fell to his rivals early in the finale when Bob revealed that he'd garnered the least number of votes.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

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Browse exclusive snapshots of the finalists and judge-mentors on set, plus learn insider trivia about the show from Food Network's culinary team.

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