Counting Down the 7 Most-Memorable Moments of Season 11 (So Far!)
From one finalist's oddball first impression on Day One of the competition to another rival's unprecedented decision to quit, Season 11 of Food Network Star had no shortage of jaw-dropping moments — or unforgettable personalities. Ahead of Sunday's brand-new episode, in which the top-three hopefuls will film their pilots, look back at the most-memorable events.
After screening the food truck teams' social media promo videos, the judges could hardly contain their laughter. "It's insanity, but it's a funny concept," Bobby said of Dom and Alex's Hot Slap Tacos concept, which saw the guys unabashedly slap each other across the face and dig into whole, raw jalapenos.
The girls were set on delivering a sensual performance at the Week 3 dinner party, and indeed they delivered, presenting a themed menu of sultry dishes. Michelle took that idea one step further by not-so-subtly flirting with Geoffrey Zakarian, one of the day's guest judges. "Suddenly I'm telling Geoffrey Zakarian I'm on a yacht for two with him. I mean, I don't even know what I'm saying," she explained later.
Fusion, harmony and love — those were the goals of the day in the Week 5 Star challenge at Patina Restaurant, where the rivals worked in pairs to create a mash-up of flavors on the plate. But for Michelle and Dom, their impetus to work together was anything but lovely. She was frustrated that he commandeered the food, and he wasn't pleased that she was outspoken in the presentation. "That was painful to watch," Giada admitted of their performance.
Emilia was set on taking a big risk in Episode 7 — and indeed she did, but it didn't get the reaction she'd anticipated. After Emilia mocked her fellow finalists on stage in front of a live audience and the whole Committee, Susie Fogelson said, "I felt slightly abused by her." Ultimately Emilia's actions, which Bob Tuschman found to be mean-spirited, cost her the competition.
Even before Matthew took his place in the spotlight for his first-ever pitch to the judges, the rival made a lasting impression on both Bobby and Giada, as well as on his fellow rivals. He called Emilia "Stepford" after her presentation, and he was quick to poke fun at Dom's New York accent.
For the first time ever, one finalist chose to leave the competition early: Michelle quit after seven weeks in the contest, citing her family as a key reason why. "My head is with my kids. My head is with my family," Michelle revealed.
After besting his fellow hopefuls and showing dramatic growth in his presentations, Dom proved that he was worthy of a second chance at Stardom and would re-enter the Food Network Star competition. "The best thing I can take away from Alex and Jeff is to believe in myself and know that I can do this," Dom reflected afterward.