The ninth finalist eliminated from the competition, Alex made his mark on the judges as well as fans and his fellow finalists as being a passionate traveler and a solid cook. But when it came to Alex's presentations, Bobby said that the rival's final presentation left the panel bored, and that ultimately cost him the contest.
Each finalist was given a journal to use during his or her time in the competition, and Alex filled his with reflections on the challenge and recipe ideas. Here he penned a drawing of the first dish he presented to the judges, a chorizo-pork belly sandwich. "Bread, bread, bread!" he wrote. "Get something crispy and chewy."
Breaking down the process of concocting a crab cake, Alex said this was "easy," noting simply after only a few steps, "Boom — done!" Unfortunately for him, the judges didn't get to taste his crab cake sandwich; in a challenge meant to whet the mentors' appetites through a food photo, Alex covered up the critical middle of his sandwich, and all that's visible was the bun.
In true roller coaster fashion, Alex's performance at the Week 3 Star Challenge — the dinner party with Geoffrey Zakarian and Sunny Anderson — was both successful and a flop. While his "waiter"-like presentation wasn't impressive, his raw appetizer, a crudo with tuna, was far more successful. "I like the coconut there," Bobby said of the ingredient's presence in Alex's dish.
Come Episode 4, there was no question that Alex's chicken sandwich wowed the panel at the July 4th cookout, but the way he described it, using unfamiliar terms and several Japanese words — left something to be desired. Plus, his presentation took up so much of his team's allotted time that Eddie was forced to cut him off in order to talk for just a few seconds. "We know a lot about Japan at this point and nothing about Eddie," fellow teammate Arnold noted.
Alex forfeited his beloved Chinese five-spice powder and accepted Dom's favorite ingredient — ricotta — instead in Week 5. In keeping with his sandwich point of view, he used the Italian cheese in what he called a "smoked salmon tea sandwich" in his journal. Here he drew photos of the sandwich's cross section, showcasing its layer of cucumber, salmon and ricotta.
The Star Challenge at Patina Restaurant was all about delivering fusion and harmony on a plate, and Alex and Eddie indeed delivered, both in their banh mi sandwich and in their performance while working on the same team. "This is like a bromance banh mi," guest judge Anne Burrell said.
At the comedy club in Episode 6, Alex delivered a performance that was surely memorable — though perhaps not for the best reasons. His use of inappropriate curse words shocked the judges, and he ran out of time mid-demo. "I literally did nothing that they asked me to do," Alex admitted. Once again, though, his food was a success, especially considering its oddball requirements: chicken livers, caramel squares, the color blue and dinner.
In Week 7, Alex presented a speedy brunch item — "chipped beef on toast," he said — in honor of his late father, who had an affinity for the dish. But no matter how touching his story was, the judges couldn't look past the plate's unpleasant presentation. "When I think of brunch, I think of something a little bit prettier," Giada told him.
In keeping with the portable-eats theme of Week 7, guest judge Richard Blais tasked the finalists with working in teams to dish out food truck offerings, and Alex and Dom paired up on the taco truck. They were set on taking their concept of Hot Slap Tacos quite literally, by slapping each other across the face as they dug into whole jalapenos with abandon. "It's insanity, but it's a funny concept," Bobby said.
Week 8 proved to be a strong showing for Alex, as his Middle Eastern-inspired burger in the Mentor Challenge, as well as his brand-in-a-box presentation was well-received by Bobby and Giada. "I needed this so much," he said proudly. He won that challenge, which earned him an advantage in the next Star Challenge.
Thanks to Alex's success with the burger in the Mentor Challenge, he was able to select first which holiday he wanted to work with to produce his special episode. He chose 4th of July, explaining, "This is the perfect holiday for sandwiches." Once again that week, Alex wowed the Committee with his presentation, as Susie Fogelson noted, "Rip the top off the Jeep, ice-cold beers — I wanted to go."
In what would ultimately be Alex's final week in the competition, the theme of the day was live television, and he was challenged to demo a one-pot date-night dish with guest judge Catherine McCord. "It's a disaster," Alex said after a bumpy performance that caught him running out of time.
No matter his strength in the kitchen, and the fact that the judges were pleased with his ramen's taste, the panel said goodbye to Alex on account of his inconsistent deliveries. "This is hard for me to say to you, but we got bored," Bobby told him. "We weren't learning anything about you or we weren't learning anything about the dish. It just didn't have any rhyme or reason."