Top Moments from All-Star Academy, Season 2

Relive photo highlights from the cooking competition, and find out which home cooks were eliminated in each episode.
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Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Episode 1: Eager Mentors Pushing the Boundaries

"Are you the 10th contestant?" Andrew asks Alex, who starts cooking side by side with one of the home cooks, all tasked with cooking with lunchbox ingredients. "You've got to get to know someone," she says. "Pick up something again and you'll be banned from the kitchen," Robert warns her. Aside he says with a grin: "I love messing with Alex."

Making a First (Not the Best) Impression

"We didn't have any pimento, so I used harissa instead," Monica says, making a pimento cheese and bacon lettuce wrap. "I've never seen that," says Alex, skeptically. "What the hell were you thinking?" Curtis exclaims about the spice level after taking a bite. "What a weenie," Monica says. Robert, however, likes it.

An Unorthodox Way of Cooking

"I don't think any of us thought this plate would be successful," Andrew tells Lynn, who had a markedly messy cooking station while preparing her pork chops. "Me too," Lynn agrees. "You have an interesting use of kitchen equipment," Alex tells her, subtly suggesting that Lynn's method of chopping apples in a coffee grinder was not the best choice. Curtis later admits to thinking, "Please don't end up on my team."

Watch the Highlight: Season 1 Highlights

Putting the Cooks Under Pressure

"This home cook makes tortillas from scratch," Alex says, impressed with Lee's California-style taco. She tries to find out who he wants for his mentor, but Lee doesn't budge: "I'm not quite ready to tip that hat yet," says Lee. But Alex keeps pushing Lee's buttons until Andrew butts in and tells him: "Just because she asks it doesn't mean you need to answer it."

The Tables Turn on the Mentors

The mentors reveal the cooks' rankings one by one. Anna comes in first place and chooses Andrew over Alex. "We feel like the students getting picked for dodgeball," says Alex, who worries she's going to get chosen last, but when Lee comes in seventh place, Alex gets her first student. Lynn gets eighth place and is automatically placed on Curtis' team. In ninth place, Monica is sent home.

Rivals Playing for the Save

Guest professor Carla Hall reveals to the mentors that they must also compete in a lunchbox challenge for a chance to win a Save Card. "There's nothing in here that sparks creativity," says Curtis, who feels he needs to win it more than anyone else. "I don't want to fail my students," says Alex, who Carla picks as the winner of the Save Card after tasting her biscuits. "I'm going to take her down," says Curtis.

Episode 2: Gastronomic Geography Lesson

For their first challenge in the Academy, the two home cooks on each team have to fuse their cultural backgrounds into one dish. "I've got this nailed," says world traveler and eater Andrew, who feels the other mentors might underestimate him and his all-girl team. Zoe and Anna plan on making duck arepas for their Texan-Venezuelan dish, but the twist is that the teammates have to cook tag-team style.

Pulling Down the Team

"You've got to move a little faster," Robert hollers at his mentee Jermaine, who's trying to assemble the stuffed lamb loin for his and Natasha's Creole-Jamaican dish. "I'm realizing his skill set is not the same as mine," says Natasha. Unfortunately, the lamb doesn't cook in time. "I'd rather be eliminated than serve raw food," says Robert, so only Natasha's crab cakes end up plated.

First Win: Both a Blessing and a Curse

"Because you chose to wait late in the game, they're underdone," guest professor Aarón Sánchez says of the shrimp in Team Alex's Southern-Cali surf-and-turf dish. Guest professor Debi Mazar skips tasting the shrimp entirely. "My mind, at this moment, is thinking about what I need to cook for elimination," says Lisa, but luckily, she and her teammate Lee win. "I've got a target on my back now," Alex says of garnering the first win.

When Mentoring Turns Into Hovering

"The only thing I know about Thai food is what I eat," Robert reveals after he assigns Team Curtis the cuisine in the Elimination Test. Curtis gives the same assignment right back to him. All four home cooks must now cook a Thai dish to stay in the Academy. "Lynn's going to need a lot more help than Dain will," Curtis says. But even after close coaching, Lynn’s pad Thai turns out salty. She ends up in the bottom with Team Robert's Jermaine, who overspiced his curry. Lynn is sent home.

Episode 3: Baking As Art

With the winning advantage from last week, Alex chooses to go up against Team Robert in guest professor Duff Goldman's dessert challenge. "I think that Jermaine has no idea how to bake, and I intend to take advantage of that," she says. Robert, however, disagrees. "Would Alex like us to be blindfolded?" Andrew asks Duff about the extent of her advantage. "You should try winning sometime, and then you'd see," Duff tells him point-blank.

Presenting a "Fall Down" Cake

"It's very chaotic and Alex is yelling a lot," says Lisa, who's getting nervous under the pressure. While setting up a mixer for her cake batter, she breaks the bowl. Later Alex hits the SOS button when she sees Lisa frosting her cake while it's still warm. "We're definitely going to the elimination round," Alex says after inspecting the cake. "It looks like the dog got hold of it," Duff comments.

Tyrannical Mentoring

"We have to collaborate," Curtis says of his strategy for his only remaining mentee. But when Dain starts plating the components for his blackberry and goat cheese mousse, Curtis micromanages him. "Don't put it on and move it," Curtis tells him. And when Dain does just that, Curtis flies off the rails. "If I tell you it, listen to me," Curtis yells, and the arena goes pin-drop silent.

Watch a Highlight: Season 2 Highlights

Going from the Bottom to the Top

"If my dish is the dish that sends us to the elimination challenge, Natasha's probably going to murder me in my sleep," Jermaine says after Duff calls his cake "dense." Luckily that doesn't happen, as Duff finds Natasha's sweet potato bread pudding "dope," naming it his favorite dish. Robert happily proves Alex wrong and gains an advantage for next week.

Playing the Save Card

"I'm going to use my card," Alex announces after going into the elimination challenge. "Better I only work with one person and make one really good dessert," she says of her reason. "I actually found that Lee's dish was a little bit more successful than Lisa's," Duff says after Alex chooses to save Lee. "Good to know now, Duff," says Alex.

A Surprise Elimination

"It's every woman for herself," says Zoe as she, Anna and Lisa head into the elimination challenge. "I don't think that I should be here to begin with," says Anna, who's feeling neglected with Andrew giving Zoe most of his mentoring time. Duff finds Anna's madeleines dry, but he loves Zoe's churros. Although Andrew thinks little of the dessert Team Alex's Lisa made, Duff likes it the best. Duff sends former front-runner Anna home.

Episode 4: Teaming Up Teams

Guest professors Katie Lee and Jeff Mauro reveal the teams must pair up to cook one ingredient three ways in their math lesson. With last week's advantage, Robert chooses Team Andrew. "I'm more tough love, and Andrew is a softer version, a very softer version," says Robert of his choice. "Cuddlier," Andrew corrects him. Left with Team Curtis, Alex feels it's a good match: "Curtis is really mean, and so am I."

Time Is of the Essence

"Get it on a flat tray," Robert yells at Jermaine, worried that his mentee's jerk chicken won't cook in time. "I got it," says Jermaine, but Robert doesn't like hearing that. "I'm used to people listening and saying, 'yes, sir' — and doing it," says Robert. Luckily, Katie praises the dish: "I felt like I was in the Caribbean," she tells him. "If we end up in that Elimination Test, I know it's not my fault," says Jermaine, feeling his dish was the best.

Differences in Opinion

"I am looking at another elimination challenge," says Natasha, who believes her lack of experience cooking with plantains, the ingredient Robert chose, puts her at a disadvantage. Her tostones don't turn out well on her first try, but they're better on her second try. Unfortunately, Katie doesn't think so, calling them burnt. "Absolutely not," says Robert, intervening to protect his cook. "I totally disagree."

Cooking with Concerted Effort

"Dain is juicing all the peppers for everybody, and Lee is grilling the peppers for everybody," Alex says of the two teams' successful collaboration in cooking with the assigned ingredient. The guest professors award Dain the win and Curtis an advantage. Lee and Lisa are safe. "Dain and I have now hit our stride," says Curtis on the strong relationship he and his mentee have forged. "The rest of these mentors better be real careful."

Judging Down to the Ingredient

For the Elimination Test, Andrew's and Robert's cooks can use only seven ingredients in their dishes, with the opposing mentor choosing one of them. "Jermaine starts off in a bit of a mind-boggle," says Robert, who keeps having to redirect his cook's mistakes. But Robert thinks the dish comes out "pretty good." Katie, however, feels the mango Andrew assigned Jermaine tastes like an "afterthought." The guest professors name Zoe and Natasha safe, and they send home Jermaine.

Episode 5: Too Nice of a Guy

Guest professors Scott Conant and Geoffrey Zakarian reveal that the mentors will cook for a chance to bring back an eliminated cook. With an advantage from last week, Curtis can assign the items for the challenge, but he lets his fellow mentors choose for themselves. Taking cheese, Curtis decides on a sweet Parmesan cannoli filled with parsnip puree. "That's a clever guy," Scott tells Geoffrey. "I told you he wasn't just good looks." Curtis is flattered.

Elevating Nuts to the Next Level

"Why would you pick the trail mix?" Curtis wonders when Andrew chooses it for the snack-time challenge. "I can cook anything," Andrew says. Unfortunately he burns his sheet pan of nuts for the brittle component in his curry and has to start over. "The best part about a trail mix has to be the texture, and you captured that," Scott tells Andrew, who scores the win and chooses to bring Anna back.

Return of the Prodigal Cook

"I was just getting used to having Andrew all to myself," says Zoe after Anna's return. But before Anna can get comfortable, the guest professors announce that the next round is the elimination test. "I'm going to take as much of Andrew's time as I can to make sure my dish is the best," Anna says. Beating her pork with a mallet, Zoe says she's doing it "in the name of Anna" when she realizes Anna's playing hardball.

Premature Celebration

Robert presses his SOS button to check on Natasha's chorizo-stuffed chicken breast. "If the chicken's raw, we're going home," he says, very concerned. After cutting into one chicken breast, Robert screams with excitement, believing it's cooked through. But after time is called, the two realize the stuffing might have needed more time. After trying the dish, Scott and Geoffrey corroborate it's undercooked.

Executing Another's Vision

"I think that this is not the right way to go," Dain says of Curtis' vision for a beer snack of a gratineed pretzel served with pear mustard and a mug of beer. But Dain puts his trust in Curtis and follows through with the dish; when it comes time to taste, the guest professors question the pretzel's utilization. "As tasty and delicious as this is, is it enough?" Scott asks. "That's what we'll have to weigh."

An Uncomfortable Elimination

"If your cook is eliminated, you will be going as well," Geoffrey tells Robert and Curtis, who each have just one cook left in the competition. Scott reveals Anna had the best dish, and Zoe, Lisa and Lee are all safe. That leaves Natasha and Dain up for elimination. "I don't want to leave the Academy just yet," says Curtis. Unfortunately, his cook, Dain, is eliminated. "I'm just absolutely devastated," Curtis says.

Episode 6: Musical Mentors, Doubtful Duos

With an advantage from last week, Andrew chooses the dishes all the cooks will have to reinvent in the science test. For Anna he picks chicken pot pie and for Zoe, carnitas burrito. But guest professor Adam Richman reveals that the chefs will have to mentor another team, leaving Alex to coach Andrew's cooks. "It's going to ruin our flow," says Zoe of the twist. "We don't know each other well enough to trust each other," says Alex, unsure of Zoe's carne asada direction.

Discovering the Diamond in the Rough

"I'm a just little nervous because the sense of urgency isn't there like Robert," Natasha says of her new, low-key mentor, Andrew. "She doesn't know the difference between fast and slow," he says, trying to break her of the frantic behavior. After helping her plate, Andrew has a realization. "She's the best cook in this competition — and that scares me," he says. Adam loves Natasha's ravioli take on lasagna so much that she ends up winning the challenge, and Team Robert is safe.

Mama Mentor Guarding Her Brood

"The longer we're together, the harder it is to imagine us breaking up," says Alex upon rejoining her team. Because Andrew won with Natasha, he gets to exclude Zoe from the elimination challenge, leaving Anna, Lisa and Lee to each cook a dish representing earth, fire, wind and water. When it comes to the fire element, Alex steps in to flambe Lee's sauce. "He seems really afraid of the burning alcohol," she says, worried for his safety.

Breaking Up the Family

"From a technical standpoint, I think it's really, really excellent," Adam says of Anna's skate dish, and he names hers the most successful, leaving Lisa and Lee in the bottom two. Alex is left speechless after Adam announces that Lisa is safe to continue in the competition, but Lee is going home. "I can't collect myself," Alex says. "Sometimes the teacher doesn't know what to say."

Episode 7: Win and You're In

The four remaining cooks face three literature-themed cooking rounds, with the winner of each earning a spot in the finale. With last week's advantage, Robert and Natasha choose romance for their challenge. "I'm giving her stuff that's so far advanced even professional chefs can't do it," Robert says of the seafood dish he and Natasha conceptualize. "It didn't meet my expectations," guest professor Richard Blais says. "It exceeded my expectations." Natasha secures the first finale spot.

Fierce and Ferocious Wordplay

In the second round, Andrew's cooks face a wordplay challenge, with Zoe picking "fry," "spicy" and "shrimp" as her terms. "Watch your back," Zoe tells Anna, and the two go neck and neck for the second spot. "I love Anna, but little sister's got some skills up her sleeves," says Zoe. Losing Andrew's attention to Anna while making a slaw for her Korean fried shrimp, Zoe improvises, creating flavors that impress guest professor Haylie Duff. Zoe has the winning dish and therefore earns the finale spot.

An Unforeseen Situation and a Surprise Return

After sitting out the first two rounds due to illness, Lisa, unfortunately, decides it's best to withdraw. "It's important for me to be responsible for my health and my well-being," she says. "I need to pass the baton along." That means Lee rejoins the competition. "I can't tell you how honored I am to be back," he says, readying to cook in the final test for a chance to earn the last finale spot. "He's going to be back full force," worries Team Andrew's Anna, who knows what it feels like to return.

A Newfound Confidence

"Anything but the pheasant," says Alex when she hears Lee wants to cook with the game poultry for the challenge, which has the cooks using only ingredients that begin with the letter P or F. "Starts with a P, sounds like an F," Lee says, confident he can do it despite never having cooked the bird. "Why not go for it," Alex says after Lee convinces her it's the right move. "I don't want to let her down," he says, putting in all he's got. Upon tasting it, Richard calls it "an incredibly refined dish."

Outcooked for a Second Time

"The only person that can blow this for us is us," Andrew tells Anna as she goes into battle. But he worries her duo of flounder and pollock is too challenging: "The two fish cook at different temperatures." Unluckily his prediction proves true, as Richard finds the pollock overcooked. "On any given day, both could be winners," Richard tells the two teams before announcing Lee has won the last spot. "This was about as close as it could get," Richard tells eliminated-cook Anna.

Finale: The Mentors, Masters of Their Craft

"Mentors, you'll be cooking for an advantage for your cooks," guest professor and returning mentor Curtis Stone reveals to the final three teams. The mentors will have to elevate the humble meatloaf. Curtis stops by to see what Robert's up to. "I don't talk to the master when he's in his dwelling," Natasha says. "We have this unwritten rule: Natasha doesn't speak to me when I'm cooking," says Robert, who needs to concentrate to try and win the advantage for Natasha.

Making the Most Out of Meatloaf

"While meatloaf is an American classic, and I respect it, I really don't know how to reinterpret it," says Alex, whose biggest challenge is elevating a dish she doesn't like. When she attempts to sear the meatloaves on a sheet pan, everything goes up in flames. "All the work I've done is for nothing," she says, fearing her dish might taste like kerosene. "I'm going for umami," Alex tells Curtis as he tastes her creation. "I'm saying, 'Oh, Mommy,'" says Curtis, who loves the flavors and awards her team the advantage.

The Golden Ticket to a Win

For the first elimination challenge, the teams go back in history to the Academy's first day: Everyone must cook from the same lunchboxes. "I really want to see how far you've come," Curtis says. Lee's advantage is a golden lunchbox of upscale versions of those same ingredients. "This is definitely an upgrade, but that also raises expectations," says Lee. "I'm not going to let Alex down," he adds, cooking a Serrano ham-crusted chicken breast. "You've set the bar really high," Curtis says after tasting Lee's dish.

Down to the Details; Departing the Academy

"What I made in Week 1 is not going to win me $50,000," says Zoe, who makes individual veal roulades and souffles. "The last thing I want to do is let Robert down," says Natasha, who cooks duck. But, unfortunately, she burns the skin and doesn't render out all the fat. Curtis gives the win to Lee and puts Natasha up for elimination, along with Zoe, whose veal was slightly overcooked. Curtis sends Natasha to the next round. "I already lived out my dream," says Zoe as she and Andrew depart the Academy.

Putting It All on the Line

"Make us the very best dish you possibly can that shows us who you both are today," Curtis tells the two cooks. "I want to stay true to where I'm from," says Natasha, deciding on elevating shrimp and grits. "I need to make sure that she slows down and thinks methodically," says Robert of his goal. "It's just really personal for me," says Natasha, who's still anxious getting all her components together. When Robert tries to give her a tip on making grits, she sets him straight: "I love you, Robert, but lay off the grits."

From Underdogs to Top Dogs

"We're scrappers," says Robert, feeling he and Natasha have fought their way to the end. "When you're knocked down and you stay down, then you fail, and I refuse to fail," says Natasha. Curtis characterizes Natasha's dish as a "carnival ride," thinking it could have been simpler, like Lee's scallop dish. In the end, Curtis announces Natasha has won the $50,000. "There's no excuse ever in life to not try and achieve your goals," Natasha says of the lesson she's learned.

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