Food Network Star, Season 8: Behind the Scenes of Episode 9

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges and relive all the highlights of Food Network Star Season 8, Episode 9.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Star on Stage

With only two weeks to go until someone is crowned the next Food Network star, it's time to hit the big stage. "Cooking demos are popular draws at the South Beach Wine & Food festival," Alton explains. "Today, a lot of fans are coming to see a food demo by you."

Seven Remain

Each of the seven remaining finalists will present a three-minute live demo of their signature dish. "Remember, you only get one take," warns Bobby. "This might be your last shot to show us that you're a star."

Chef Mode

First, it's time to prep their signature dishes. "You guys need to be happier!" Bobby tells his remaining two finalists as they seriously zone in on their cooking. "We're in chef mode," replies Michele.

Counting on Chiles

Martita is making her chiles rellenos. "I've taught so many of my girlfriends how to make this," she says. Giada points out that this is a great story that Martita should tell on stage.

Mentors Mix It Up

The mentors have thrown in a few tricks to see how well their finalists can roll with the punches on stage. "In this kind of environment, things happen. And to make this point, we've made sure of it," Alton tells Bob and Susie. "Each of these individuals will face an unknown hurdle based on weaknesses we know they have."

Disappearing Audience

During Ippy's demo, guests start talking loudly and then begin exiting the stage area. "I have no idea what's going on!" says Ippy. "No matter what happens, you just don't stop the demo." He rolls with it, but the judges can tell that the distractions got under his skin.

Unflappable

When Martie begins her demo, she quickly realizes that many of her ingredients and cooking tools are missing. She barely lets it faze her. "She was unflappable. She could not be flapped!" says Bob.

Charm the Judges

Yvan's microphone is rigged, so it stops working just as he starts his demo. He is able to project and tell a cute story about making oysters, called "Love Bites," for his girlfriend. "This is the guy we've been waiting to see this entire time," Susie says. Then she makes Yvan blush. "In my next life I want to come back as your girlfriend," she says.

Proud Mentor

Giada is thrilled with Yvan's performance. "Giada, your guy was flawless. This challenge brought out the most in him. Big, fun energy — he was a rock star up there," says Bob.

Audience Participation

"For Justin, we're bringing in some unplanned interaction — hecklers," says Alton. Justin tries to respond as politely as possible, but he can't hide that he's annoyed. "He got a little smart-alecky. When he walked off, that's when I knew he was ticked," says Susie.

Chiles Gone Missing

Martita starts her demo and realizes her poblano chiles have disappeared and in their place are round red chiles she's never seen. "I'm quite a bit thrown off," she admits. "You can't take chiles away from a Mexican ... that was my whole demo!" The judges and Giada are disappointed when Martita can't recover. "She's a master of her ingredients. That's what makes me so sad," says Giada.

Time Management

Michele has struggled with her timing, so the assistant director gives her mixed-up time cues throughout her demo. When told that she needs to keep rolling for another few minutes, she starts telling stories and getting comfortable. "Once she started to have a little fun, she was more adorable," says Susie.

Blender Woes

"Nikki comes off as too practiced, too poised. We're going to rig her blender," Bobby explains. It rattles Nikki and she gets lost, running out of time mid-sentence. "She had the least-challenging problem of anyone, but that wasn't the issue. She just wasn't having fun up there," says Bob.

Safe on Team Bobby

Despite their on-stage hurdles, Michele and Nikki are safe this week. They get a high-five from their tough-love mentor.

Team Alton in the Clear

"That was a rough day," says Justin. Bob says Martie "seized the stage," and she's named one of the top two. Justin also learns that he's safe.

Ippy vs. Martita

Yvan is also safe, leaving his two teammates to battle it out in the Producers' Challenge. This puts Giada in a tough spot.

Producers' Challenge

To drive home the theme of the week, the Producers' Challenge is all about thinking fast on your feet. Ippy and Martita will each remove a silver dome to reveal one single ingredient. They'll have to immediately launch into a 60-second camera presentation about the ingredient.

Orange Inspiration

Ippy is nervous because, once again, he's landed in a Producers' Challenge that doesn't involve any cooking. But when he uncovers the dome to find oranges, a story about the tangerine tree in his backyard in Hawaii immediately comes to mind.

Get Personal

Martita gives tons of great tips about using oranges in many dishes and drinks like agua frescas. She fails to work in a personal story, and she realizes only after the fact that she should have opened up about her father working in the citrus fields.

Team Unity

Tensions are high in the outdoor pitch room. "Ippy and I are friends. But that's not going to stand in my way of moving forward," says Martita.

Giada's Pitch

Giada goes to bat for both Martita and Ippy, but no matter what happens, she'll say goodbye to one of her finalists today.

Farewell to Martita

In the end, Bob and Susie decide that it's Martita's time to go home. "We're nine weeks in. I've seen little moments of star, but not consistently enough," Susie explains. Martita gets teary as she says goodbye to Giada and her teammates. "Thank you for everything," she tells her mentor. "Take care of my boys [Yvan and Ippy], because they're rowdy and crazy!"

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