Top Moments of Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen, Episode 2

Go on set with the cast, relive episode highlights and find out which finalist was sent home.

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

Old School Meets New School

Baking is the name of the game in the Episode 2 Mentor Challenge, but the finalists don't enjoy the luxury of modern equipment such as weight scales and electric mixers. "This is stuff my great-great-grandma used to use," Chris notes. The remaining six rivals must use these decades-old tools to create a baked good inspired by their own culinary identity — and then present it in a one-minute video intended for Food Network's Snapchat Discover audience.

Made It, Barely

After struggling with an especially old hand tool, Michele takes advantage of an egg beater from Penny's station to create the whipped cream to go alongside her hand-held blueberry pies. It's the pies, though, that cause her — and her fellow finalists — the most stress, as she's waiting for them to finish baking until the last-possible moment. "Everybody in the kitchen at this moment is, like, yelling at me," she says after her rivals urge her to plate the pies. "No, that extra time might make them more golden brown," Michele notes, explaining her reasoning to keep them in the oven until she can't any longer.

Quiche Concerns

Just like last week, Chris is unsure of his Mentor Challenge dish, this time an undercooked quiche with apples and onions. As he begins his presentation, he reminds himself: "Normally when I make this dish, I use poached pear. During this demo, I have to say poached apple." But the stress of the moment gets to him and he flubs the words, naming pears instead of apples. "That was a disaster," Tyler tells Chris simply. "You're inconsistent."

Making Strides

Dom knows he needs a solid performance to redeem himself after last week's downright epic on-camera flop complete with a curse word, and indeed he delivers with a particularly memorable video. "That's the best you've ever done," Tyler praises Dom. And as for his blue cheese-stuffed crespelle? Valerie deems them "killer," though she and Tyler wish Dom's focus had been on baking more.

Two Times the Triumph

Valerie asks "to see that fun Penny," and sure enough, Penny delivers with a much-improved performance that wows the judges. "This is the Penny I really want to hang out with," Valerie tells her. Her Mediterranean-inspired tart also impresses the panel, and the joint successes means that she claims the win in this challenge and will earn an advantage come the Star Challenge.

Advantage: Penny

Tensions are high between Penny and Matthew in the stew room following the Mentor Challenge, so when Penny's advantage means that she decides how much cooking time her fellow finalists receive in the Star Challenge, she's quick to give Matthew the least amount of time, just 30 minutes, in a 45-minute challenge to re-create classic diner eats. "I want to see Matthew crash and burn today," she says.

Martita-Style Stroganoff

Gifted 39 minutes to cook from Penny, Martita wastes no time reinventing her diner dish: beef stroganoff. She plans to put a "Mexicanized" spin on the dish, including opting for ground beef instead of the usual steak and serving it with rice, not noodles. "Totally on brand," Tyler says of her choice of rice. Her presentation, however, is lacking, as she runs out of time. "Get to the recipe and sell the food," he advises her.

Mixed Results

According to Chris, "You can make any food a party food by making an hors d'oeuvre out of it." He puts that mantra to work in his updated Salisbury steak by serving the meat in two-bite potato rounds. For the judges, though, such an offering misses the appetizer mark — Tyler calls it "a little messy for an hors d'oeuvre. But they're pleased with his presentation skills. "You were even funny," Tyler tells him. 

Talking Tuna

Despite having as much as one-quarter of his cooking time reduced, Matthew manages to finish his 2.0 tuna melt in time — and he even puts his own spin on it with the addition of poblano peppers, something Tyler says is true to Matthew's POV and "very Southwest." Once again, though, it's Matthew's communication that leaves something to be desired. "I was getting the idea," Valerie explains. "I just wish you'd been a little bit more concise."

Pork Chop SOS

"One, two, three, four. Where the … is my other pork chop?" Dom asks frantically as he attempts to plate the fifth and final piece of meat for his smothered pork chop offering. Little does he realize that he's dropped it on the floor, but lucky for him, he's prepped an extra just in case. In true Dom fashion, though, he delivers a weak presentation, and this time he finishes his speech with almost half of his time remaining. He finishes the minute with a ramble, and Tyler explains to him, "These are things that in a professional environment, like, people just aren't really going to put up with."

Liver Is Lacking

The full 45 minutes of cook time Penny enjoys can't help her come presentation time, and when she begins introducing her liver and onions dish, she suddenly stops talking. While the judges commend her for moving past the misstep, they're less forgiving of the overt iron flavor in her liver offering, which, just as Matthew predicted, could have been avoided had she simply soaked it first.

Looking for a Front-Runner

"No one is running away with this competition," Tyler tells the group at evaluation, adding that there's not one standout among the cast. All six hopefuls are up for potential elimination after only mediocre showings this week. "If you guys want to have a real shot at continuing your comeback, you have to deliver the entire package," Valerie tells them.

Penny's Farewell

Despite her Mentor Challenge win this week, Penny's combined presentation-and-food flops in the Star Challenge mean she's heading home this week, unable to make a full comeback. "She took a huge step back with this presentation, and I did not like the liver and onions at all," Valerie tells Tyler during deliberation. "Deja vu. Eliminated, again," Penny says, reacting to her loss.

Go Behind the Scenes

Browse insider photos to see what the cast and mentors are up to between takes on set.

More: Behind the Scenes of Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen

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