Behind the Scenes of Food Network Star, Season 11

Get an insider's look at what the mentors and the cast are up to between takes when the cameras stop rolling.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Episode 11: Finale Funnies

No matter the tensions and stresses filling the room — especially for the final three hopefuls sitting in the front row — the group came together for a signature funny-face photo during a break in filming.

Spotlight On: Jay

Jay caught the eye of the photographer on set and shot him a pointed finger between takes.

Together Again

Part reunion, part emotional reveal, the finale allowed for plenty of catch-up time among the previously eliminated hopefuls.

Mentor Check-In

As the moments until the big reveal ticked away, Bobby chatted with the finalists to see how they were feeling on this all-important day.

The Making of a Deliberation

In what would ultimately be the most-important deliberation of the season, the Selection Committee considered Dom's, Eddie's and Jay's pilots, as well as the rivals' readiness for Stardom.

Waiting and Goofing

The scene was set to introduce the brand-new Star, but that didn't stop Dom from showing off his funny side by flashing a face to the photographer.

Meet the Newest Star

Simply elated and overcome with emotion, Eddie dropped to his knees after he was revealed to be Food Network's newest talent.

Big-Ups

Though Eddie may be a food Star now, it's clear he was once a football star, as he had no problem using his trained muscles to pick up Bobby when the mentor came in for a congratulatory hug.

Peer Congratulations

Just 11 weeks ago, they began their journeys together in Food Star Kitchen, and now a Star has risen among the 12 hopeful finalists.

Together Again

Though they were rivals in the competition and on Star Salvation, Rue and Emilia proved that their friendship surpasses the contest.

Bros for Life

Jay and Dom may not have earned the coveted title of Star, but they were nothing but admiring of Eddie's accomplishments.

Episode 10: Look Who's Back

Fans at home and Dom's fellow finalists weren't the only ones who were happy to see that Dom had returned to the competition; even mentors Bobby and Giada were pleased when Dom walked in.  

Together Again

This is the first time these finalists have been together since Week 2, when Matthew was sent home, and they were indeed happy to work together again.

The Ultimate Deliberation

In what would come to be one of the most-important decisions of the competition, Bobby, Giada, Bob and Susie came together for a careful chat about which three finalists were most worthy of taping pilots for their would-be Food Network shows.

Getting to Know Him

Before Jay headed into the kitchen at Sweet Chick, he and Rachael discussed his culinary point of view and their vision for his pilot.

The Greater Scene

At Mighty Quinn's Barbeque, Rachael watched Eddie's taping unfold both in person and on a monitor, so she could assess how his presence came across on camera.

Director's Notes

With her folder full of notes in tow, Rachael checked in with Dom to offer last-minute advice as he worked on his pilot at John's.

Episode 9: Flashes of Funny

While Bobby's attention appeared to be just off to the side of the stage, Giada was in the moment, unable to keep from laughing as she took in the scene before them.

A Set Within a Set

Not only were the cast members set up in Food Star Kitchen, but they were also just steps away from a transplanted set of The Kitchen, complete with that series' signature blue paint color and extra-long kitchen island to accommodate the multiple co-hosts.

First, a Selfie

Even the judges take selfies! Bobby and Katie came together for a quick snap before they got down to the business of evaluations.

Bros for Life

Though Alex may have just been sent home, he walked out of the kitchen arm in arm with his fellow rivals, with whom he's bonded over the last nine weeks.

Episode 8: Mentor Chat

Between takes of the culinary-brand Mentor Challenge, Giada and Bobby caught up to dish on their perceptions of the rivals' performances so far.

Setting the Scene

With a hero camera straight across from the table, bright lights overhead, and Bobby and Giada watching from the side, the stage was set for the rivals to film their brand pitches in one-minute presentations. 

The Bro Show

For the first time ever, the final five rivals are all guys, and their camaraderie is almost palpable as they work alongside each other.

A Star Returns

This is the very same set where Damaris competed on Food Network Star just two years ago; now she's back, this time as an esteemed guest judge, not a hopeful vying for a shot at Stardom.

What's in a Smirk?

Pleasant surprise? Disapproval? We may never know the meaning behind Bobby's smirk, which he flashed while watching the holiday presentations unfold.

Episode 7: Too Much to Handle

The judges could hardly keep their composure while watching Alex and Dom's hilarious taco-truck promo video, Bobby so much so that he was brought to his feet.

Just Say "Action"

Taking his place and staying focused, guest judge Richard Blais readied himself for his next take.

A Video Within a Video

While the teams shot social media-ready promo videos, the rest of the Food Network Star crew was on hand to shoot the taping sessions, essentially producing videos within a video.

Keep Clear

The scene was set to welcome the crowd of partygoers for the food truck throwdown.

Episode 6: Quick Chat

Time may have been tight in the last few minutes of the Star Challenge, but that didn't stop Jay from dropping by Alex's station for a quick check-in as Alex worked on plating his chicken liver sandwich with blueberry-caramel sauce.

Laugh Out Loud

When David Alan Grier is in charge at the pop-up comedy club, you can be sure this is what will happen: a bunch of belly-aching laughter.

Episode 5: Checking In

After time had been called in the Mentor Challenge, Jay paid Alex a friendly visit to the latter's station to see how he fared in putting ricotta to work.

Giddy Reaction

While Rue may have won the advantage for her stellar use of venison, her rival Emilia was quite excited for her.

On Location

No longer in Food Star Kitchen, the finalists, Selection Committee and crew headed downtown to Los Angeles' Patina Restaurant.

Tight Squeeze

Cooking in the kitchen at Patina Restaurant meant that space was at a premium, with the teams crowding close together in order to take advantage of every bit of available space. 

What's So Funny?

Joined by Anne Burrell and the chef of Patina Restaurant, Joachim Splichal, Bobby and Giada took in the finalists' paired presentations, and it seems like the group was quick to share friendly laughs on set.

Up-Close Cooking 

As Emilia worked on an element of her and Jay's dish during the critical 15-minute prep period, a cameraperson was right alongside her, capturing the moment.

Episode 4: Shining Sunlight

Good thing the crew members came prepared with a giant screen — they needed the reflector to block the harsh sunlight from the Committee members' faces in the bright afternoon.

Catching Up

When the judges weren't watching the teams' presentations on stage, they were busy chatting with each other — and enjoying the process with a few laughs along the way.

Episode 3: Smile for the Camera (Phone)

In keeping with the episode's trend of taking photos, Sunny and Geoffrey posed for a quick shot behind the scenes — though it wasn't likely posted on social media.

Happy Dance

After a rocky start in the competition, Dom surely redeemed himself by winning this week's Mentor Challenge — and he couldn't help but show his excitement.

Up-Close Action

It takes multiple cameras to capture each element of the competition, from cooking and presenting to the final moments of evaluation.

Focused Approach

Of course to make this show, the cameras must film each of the finalists as they cook. But this photo shows just how close the camera must get to the rivals and their stations in order to capture the intricacy of their prep work.

Pure Elation

It was girls versus boys in the five-course-dinner Star Challenge, and here a few of the girls came together to celebrate a successful prep job on their plates.

A Helping Hand

The guys, too, were a supportive bunch, as they didn't shy away from pitching in to help each other put the finishing touches on their dishes. 

Episode 2: Ready, Set, Run

Look out, mentors! The finalists wasted no time starting on their leftovers-inspired dinner dishes, rushing the refrigerators in the hopes of scoring their sought-after ingredients.

The Camera Setup

In front of Sita — and every other finalist during the Mentor Challenge — are multiple cameras in an effort to capture not only her demonstration but also the judges' reactions.

Funny Foods

The Committee members couldn't help but crack smiles during one particularly amusing moment of filming.

Capturing the Hilarity

No stranger to Food Star Kitchen, former Star guest Alex Guarnaschelli returned to guest judge the Star Challenge, and she, Bobby and Giada, were quick to laugh together on camera.

Balancing Act

To save precious prep time, Michelle and her fellow rivals learned how important it was to stock up on necessary ingredients from the refrigerator and pantry at one time, saving themselves from making multiple trips.

Say Cheese

Rue caught the eye of the camera during a brief break in filming and flashed her smile.

Judgment Awaits

This shot captures the seeming calm in Food Star Kitchen before the Selection Committee and pastry chefs visited each finalist's station to sample their baked dishes.

All Available Space

Tasked with not only baking a savory item but also dressing up their stations, the finalists were juggling multiple demands during the 90-minute challenge, so it's no surprise that their stations turned a bit cluttered as time went on.

Heated Film

The camera operators aren't shy about putting the lens right near rivals' prep stations, even if that means near the stove.

Flour Power

It was a field of flour at Matthew's station as he worked on the dough for his baked element.

Every Angle's Covered

With multiple cameras on hand to capture every moment of the action, extra space in Food Star Kitchen isn't always guaranteed.

Secret Scrawl

Taking his role of judge-mentor seriously, Bobby jotted down final thoughts as he, Giada and Alex deliberated who would be sent home.

The View from Here

The photographer wandered behind the judges' desk for a shot at what the Committee members see as they look out into the tense arena.

Episode 1: A Star's Spotlight

Although Bobby surely had no need to prove himself in the spotlight, he couldn't help but step inside during a break between takes.

Photos: Food Network Star, Season 11: Top Moments of the Premiere

Photographing a Camera

This is one view a camera operator would see as he or she looks on and films a scene.

Quick Hello

Arnold and Sita caught each other's eyes as they waited for the initial introductions from the mentors.

First Meetings

Not only was the spotlight challenge the finalists' first time introducing themselves to the mentors, but it was also their first opportunity to size up their competition, so they were quick to listen intently on how they pitched themselves to the Committee.

Honest Reactions

Though many finalists struggled to convey themselves on camera, most didn't have a problem relaying their true personalities as they chatted with their fellow cast mates and the mentors.

On Location

Moving beyond the studio and filming on location in the Malibu mountains was no small undertaking for the crew. But the scene surely provided a gorgeous backdrop on a warm California day. 

Up-Close Cooking

Emilia learned quickly that cooking in a culinary competition is a lot different than cooking in an at-home kitchen. Not only is there a set time on the clock, but camera operators aren't shy about getting their lenses up close and personal with your prep work as it's coming together.

Re-Creating a Kitchen

The first cooking challenge took the finalists out of Food Star Kitchen and into the outdoor elements at Triunfo Vineyards, where the competitors had everything they needed to prepare their dishes, from smoking-hot grills and saute pans to a stocked pantry and utensils.

Working with Daylight

The bright light of the day proved tricky for the crew members as they worked to offset the shadows cast on Giada and Bobby by the sun.

Finishing Touches

Even in the midst of the chaos that comes to define the final few minutes of prep time, Rue took extra care to make sure that her Mozambican shrimp were camera-ready.

A Tense Arena

This is the view the finalists faced as they learned their fate of the first episode's elimination. With the dramatic lighting and wide-open space, it's no surprise that the competitors were anxious during evaluation.

Want More Food Network Star?

Check out Food Network Star headquarters for more photos, plus exclusive interviews, top video clips and insider coverage of the competition.

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