Despite making small strides in her culinary output, Sita, a culinary teacher from New York, was ultimately sent home after three weeks in the competition, as she failed to live up to the expectations of the dinner party challenge. Browse these photos to relive her time in the contest and see exclusive snapshots inside her journal.
In her first-ever pitch to mentors Bobby and Giada, as well as the other competitors, Sita spoke of her POV, which combined classic Italian and soul-food flavors. Her fellow rival Jay deemed her "fiery." Bobby told her, "You have really good energy." But Giada stressed, "I still don't really know what soul food and Italian together is."
The premiere's Star Challenge took the finalists out of the kitchen and into the outdoors at Triunfo Creek Vineyards, which Sita couldn't help but marvel at. "If God created this incredible mountain, then surely he can get me through this food challenge! And he did," she wrote. She called her first-ever dish for the judges an "Italian Soul Mac n Cheese."
"Today is the 1st elimination day and I'm sure we're all antsy about which will be going home," Sita scrawled as she awaited premiere evaluation. Though Bob Tuschman noted her "earthy, generous, momma-in-the-kitchen quality" in her video presentation, her macaroni and cheese wasn't a hit. "The herby crunch topping overpowered any of the tastes below it," Bob admitted.
It was all about transforming leftovers in Episode 2's Mentor Challenge, and while Sita struggled with the food portion of the presentation — "I don't think that this crossed the bridge into Alfredo," guest judge Melissa d'Arabian told her — she began her video on a high note. Unfortunately, however, that didn't last, as she suddenly stopped talking. "It's like I'm having an out-of-body experience," she explained.
In Episode 2's baking challenge, guest judge Alex Guarnaschelli said that Sita's cupcake-turned-shepherd's-pie tasted "like someone was constrained by a certain set of ingredients," and unfortunately Sita's presentation didn't help her in that round. "Wow, that girl can talk," Giada said of Sita's lengthy explanations.
While Sita's chicken and waffles on a stick was indeed one of the eight dishes the mentors chose to taste, they weren't pleased with its inconsistency: Bobby's plate featured some of the sauce, but Giada's did not, though she was able to sample Bobby's. "It makes a world of a difference with the sauce," Giada explained. "The chicken is just dry."
For Sita, it was all about the need for smell in the dinner party challenge, as she was tasked with bringing stink to her entree. While Bobby and Giada, as well as guest judges Sunny Anderson and Geoffrey Zakarian, found the dish to be one of the strongest on the team, they were quick to note that it wasn't stinky.
"We rocked it!" Sita wrote, proud of her team. The ladies delivered a sensually themed performance, with Sita calling it "a classy sassy presentation." The judges, too, were pleased with their decision, as Sunny told the group at evaluation, "You guys did a really good job of theming out your meal for us."