Food Network Star, Season 9: Top Moments of the Finale

Get an inside look at the finale of Food Network Star, Season 9.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Star Among Them

Joined by their fellow cast members, Russell, Damaris and Rodney arrive at Food Network's headquarters in New York City for the finale taping. They start the day as three anxious hopefuls, but ultimately only one will earn the title of the next Food Network Star.

Initial Thoughts

Damaris is noticeably anxious on set and on the verge of tears at times, especially when Giada asks what a win would mean to her family. Looking back on the competition, Damaris reflects that she was initially intimidated by the talent of her fellow hopefuls.

Happy to Be Here

Seemingly at ease with the situation unfolding around him, Rodney says he is simply glad to be among the top-three hopefuls. He tells the committee he prepared for the day by donning discreetly Pie Style pants, which include a monogram of "Pie Style" on the bottom hem of the left leg.

Pie Pants

A friend of Rodney's made these pants for him, and it is only fitting for the Pie Man to wear them on this day.

Welcome Criticism

Although he placed among the least-successful finalists five times total, Russell admits to being confident that he'd eventually earn a spot in the finale. He also notes his appreciation of the mentors' support and guidance, as it was they who saw potential star power in him.

Season 9 in Review

The reunion-style setting of the finale allows for reminiscing between the contestants and mentors, including looks back on some of their most memorable moments of the competition, like Lovely's return to the competition after besting six rivals in Star Salvation.

From a Fan

Grant, a viewer from Atlanta, joins the finale via Skype and asks Russell a question about how the latter chose between pursuing his culinary sins as a point of view and abandoning the culinary revolution. Russell responded simply that those sins are part of what defines him as a chef.

Dial of Doom

This season saw the addition of one critical piece of the competition: the Dial of Doom, a phrase coined by Stacey. These focus group-controlled devices forced the finalists to learn how their performances affected fans, which is why Stacey explains that it was important for her to keep her rating as high as possible.

Battle Wounds

Fans and fellow finalists alike know how passionate Nikki was about her dreams of stardom, so it was no surprise that when she left the competition, it was a particularly emotional goodbye. She reveals during the finale, however, that she took home two mementos from the competition: scars on her hand and arm.

Still Laughing

"It was even better the second time," Giada says through laughs after watching the making of Team Romance's almost-too-hot-for-TV film, starring Chad, Viet and Damaris.

First Moment of Truth

Although the winner is revealed later, Bob announces halfway through the episode which of the final three competitors is the second runner-up.

Dreams Dashed

Ultimately, Russell's Guilty Pleasures pilot failed to strike enough of a chord with at-home viewers, and he's revealed to be the first of two fallen rivals of the day. Although he's of course disappointed in the outcome, Russell accepts the decision gracefully.

What Is Pie Style?

After an entire season of hearing Rodney speak of “Pie Style,” the mentors ask him once and for all to define it, and he answers simply, "It's a way of life."

Speaking Out

Perhaps the most controversial competitor this season, Danushka returns to the finale with the same no-nonsense attitude with which she left. Damaris met Stu, a fan from San Francisco, via Skype, after the panel asked if she would like to say anything to her naysayers. "I don't know those people; I don't care what they think," she quipped.

Never a Dull Moment

In a look back at Damaris' road to the finale, the cast watches a video of some of her top moments in the competition, moments like the 4th of July Live demonstration and the Burger Bash shimmy that made her both laugh and look away from the screen.

What If?

The finalists turn the tables on the mentors by posting questions for them. Alton, Bobby and Giada are asked who among them would have won had they competed on Food Network Star. "I would be the first out the door," Bobby jokes, before admitting that Giada would likely prevail, something with which Alton agrees.

Tense Moments

In the final seconds before Bob announced the Season 9 winner, Damaris and Rodney lock hands as they wait to learn their futures.

A Star Is Born

The on-screen billboard spinning with the faces of Food Network superstars like Robert Irvine, Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray ultimately stops to reveal Damaris' image, and Bob reveals her to be the newest Food Network Star. She's immediately overcome with smiles as she realizes her life has been forever changed.

Gracious Runner-Up

The Pie Man's dreams to make Pie Style a household show ultimately end when he learns that he will not be the next Food Network Star. After the announcement, Rodney’s quickly met with hugs and words of encouragement from the mentors and his fellow cast members.

One of Them Now

Immediately after learning that she is indeed the newest Food Network Star, Damaris is inundated with congratulations from the network and the mentors, including Alton, the mentor she has deemed the most intimidating.

First Interview with Damaris

The Star Talk blog was on the set of the finale and chatted with Damaris about her momentous win just seconds after she officially became part of the Food Network family. Watch an exclusive video to hear what she had to say.

Go Behind the Scenes

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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