The 12 Most-Memorable Moments from Food Network Star, Season 12

This year's competition saw unprecedented action and shocking drama. Relive the most-unforgettable events.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Martita Makes 13

The Season 12 cast could hardly believe it when Martita Jara, a former Season 8 finalist, joined the ranks of this year's competition after besting other returning rivals on Comeback Kitchen. While some weren't pleased to have yet another finalist in the mix, others took the news in stride.

Culinary Rhymes and Moves

At Rev Run's throwdown, the finalists didn't hold back in their attempts to win over the crowd. Both Melissa and Joy delivered shocking lyrics in their raps, while Jernard broke it down with an impressive dance in his presentation. "I'm putting the 'butt' in 'rebuttal,'" he said.

Italian-Style Camping

S'mores, hot dogs, chili — all usual suspects at a campfire cookout, right? But what about gnocchi with homemade pesto sauce? That's what Damiano prepped during the Week 3 Star Challenge, in which he and Erin had to promote a Family Road Trip camping excursion. "So, when you went camping, you had gnocchi?" Bobby asked him, dumbfounded. And indeed that was the case.

More: Food Network Star, Season 12: Top Moments of Episode 3

The Nickname That Won't Die

While Ana introduced her salmon dish to Bobby, Giada and VIP guest Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Monterey was on hand to be what Ana deemed her "designated nut girl." Throughout her tableside presentation, Ana kept referring to her as "nut girl," and hardly anyone could keep a straight face about that.

More: Top Moments of Season 12

Jernard Gets Uncivilized

Following a lackluster presentation in Week 4, Jernard kicked off the culinary-hacks challenge in Week 5 with "martini-shaking barbecue sauce." After that, Bobby told him to "get uncivilized," and sure enough, he delivered. Come the next Star Challenge, he spoke of taking shots with his wife, Keena, and rubbing her feet.

More: Top Moments of Season 12

Unfortunate Combos

When the guys of Good Mythical Morning showed up with the Wheel of Mythicality, the finalists were forced to pair seemingly disparate dishes like octopus and mac and cheese in a series of Will It tests that ultimately challenged their creativity — and patience. For Joy, who was saddled with a Will It combo of kimchi and bread pudding, the test was almost too much to take. "Anybody want my kimchi?" she asked jokingly after receiving the assignment.

More: Top Moments of Season 12

A Shocking Exit

Come Week 7, Ana landed on the bottom — the third time so far in the competition — and yet she was ultimately safe again, while Joy, a fan-favorite finalist, was sent home, following her and Ana's demo at the tiki party. After that decidedly emotional elimination, Ana admitted to looking past her remaining rivals' judgement of her and setting her sights on the future. "The other finalists, they're shooting daggers at me," she noted. "The reason that they're upset — it's finally dawned on them. I'm real competition. I'm a real threat to them."

More: Top Moments of Season 12

Tough Words to Hear

Baker Erin was pleased to be making the dessert course in a guilty pleasures-themed dinner for the mentors and guests Alex Guarnaschelli and Trisha Yearwood, and she was confident in her chocolate chip cookie offering. But what she thought was decadent enough for the challenge turned out to not be so, according to the mentors. "When I think about a rich chocolate dessert, I'm thinking, like, so rich in chocolate that, like, you can feel, like, the pimples coming out on your face. That was not the case there at all," Bobby told her. She defended her dish to Bobby, telling him, "I gave you the best dessert that I was able to give you."

More: Top Moments of Season 12

Family Reunions

There was no shortage of tears in Week 9 when each of the final-four finalists were surprised with a family member showing up in the Mentor Challenge.

More: Top Moments of Season 12

Guess Who's Back

After surviving all six weeks of Star Salvation, a web-exclusive competition hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli and Eddie Jackson, and besting seven of his fellow fallen rivals, Yaku scored a chance to rejoin the Food Network Star competition in Week 10. He shocked the three competitors who were still standing, especially Tregaye, his longtime pal in this contest.

More: Star Salvation

From 13 to 3

After 10 weeks of competition, ultimately three hopefuls earned the coveted opportunity to film pilots for their would-be shows on Food Network. Damiano, Jernard and Tregaye took to Los Angeles-area eateries to tape their pilots with help from director and past Food Network Star winner Guy Fieri.

More: Food Network Star, Season 12: Top Moments of Episode 10

Food Network Gets Fleek-y

Tregaye, a self-described "queen of food fusion," became Food Network's newest Star in an emotional finale surrounded by her fellow finalists and the mentors. She was immediately overcome with the news of her victory, dropping to the ground for a few moments while attempting to regain her composure.

Go Behind the Scenes

See what the mentors, finalists and crew are up to between takes by checking out insider photos from the set.

More: Behind the Scenes of Food Network Star, Season 12: Part 2

Want More Food Network Star?

Check out Food Network's official Star headquarters for more insider coverage of the competition, plus exclusive mentor interviews, behind-the-scenes photos and winning recipes.

More: Food Network Star

More from:

Food Network Star