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Star Scrapbook: Daniela Perez-Reyes

Daniela Perez-Reyes was the first finalist eliminated on Food Network's Food Network Star, Season 9. Flip through her personal photo journal to relive the most-memorable moments from her time on the show.
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Daniela Perez-Reyes

It's not easy being the first finalist eliminated from the competition, but Daniela handled her exit gracefully. During her brief time in the competition, this Peruvian-born chef de cuisine impressed the Selection Committee with her authentic potato bite, but she struggled to work the camera successfully.

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Camera Shy

In the first Mentor Challenge, the finalists had just 30 seconds to record pitch tapes that detailed their culinary points of view. Daniela was clear in her goal of the competition: "I would like to teach people about my culture and my country." But she struggled to find the words to describe that in front of the camera. "Take a deep breath," Giada advised her. "You know what to say."

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Game Plan

For Daniela, the decision to create a Peruvian-inspired potato bite was a simple one, as the challenge tasked the finalists to put their personalities into their dishes. "I am making a very traditional Peruvian dish, Papas a la Huancaina. It takes potatoes ... and then it comes with this cheese-chili sauce," she explained. "This dish is so representative of my culture and my country."

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Photo: Eddy Chen ©

Focus Group Flop

The dials controlled by the focus group revealed that Daniela's pitch fell short with the fans, who ultimately rated her performance in the red after watching her pitch tape.

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