The finalists shoot 30-second screen tests to explain what they are all about, which are then screened at a VIP event in Los Angeles in front of a Hollywood crowd. Mentors Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay surprise the finalists when an eliminated contestant from a previous season also joins the competition, then Valerie Bertinelli and Tyler Florence help decide who will be the first to be sent home.
Cooking Channel's Haylie Duff and Rev Run join as guest judges, and first, Haylie helps Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay determine which pair of competitors should earn an advantage based on their culinary travelogue report. Then, Rev Run challenges the finalists to mash up two different cooking styles into one dish and compete in the food world equivalent of a rap battle! In a surprise twist, two finalists are sent packing.
The finalists pair up to shoot a promo for their version of a show called "Family Road Trip!" Whether their destination is camping, the state fair or even Grandma's house, their promo and dishes had better impress Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay and the guest judges, Food Network Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Maile Carpenter and actress Ali Larter!
First, the finalists try their hand at delivering a trendy remote food report for Entertainment Tonight hosts Kevin Frazier and Nancy O'Dell. Then, as the finalists take over the kitchen in an upscale hotel and prepare a special tableside dining experience, they are tested on how well they can handle curveballs thrown at them by YouTube sensation Hannah Hart and Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
Chef Robert Irvine shows his love of NASCAR and the inevitable tailgating that comes along with it as he challenges the finalists to create a dish worthy of a world-class tailgate party! Then, Robert and fellow guest judge Katie Lee help Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay decide who is sent home.
Duff Goldman joins Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay as the finalists take their culinary prowess to new levels with "edible art." Then, Rhett and Link, hosts of the wildly popular YouTube channel "Good Mythical Morning," challenge the finalists to take a spin as a guest on their show. Each finalist participates in their very own "Will It?" segment, pairing unlikely ingredients and asking questions like "Will It Jell-O?" and "Will It Cookie?"
First, special guest judge Lorraine Pascale helps Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay determine the best dish made from frozen foods. Then, it's time for one of the most festive trends -- a tiki party! In teams of three, the finalists create an island-inspired menu, then take the stage for a team food demo to a crowd of party-goers. Anne Burrell joins as guest judge to help pick the best tiki team.
The finalists join forces to create a five-course meal composed of nothing but indulgent, over-the-top, guilty pleasure dishes. Each finalist gives a presentation of their course, describing their unique take on the dish and all its guilty glory to Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay, and guest judges Alex Guarnaschelli and Trisha Yearwood.
For the next challenge, the finalists are each assigned a different holiday party -- St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mardi Gras, New Year's Eve, or Easter -- and take turns planning and hosting their own holiday special. Tia Mowry and Donal Skehan, hosts of Food Network Star Kids, are on hand to help Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay taste the food and judge the holiday specials.
It's down to three finalists, but there's a surprise in store when an eliminated contestant reenters the competition after winning Star Salvation on FoodNetwork.com. The final four then battle it out with former finalists helping as their sous chefs. Food Network Star winner Aarti Sequeira joins to help select the final three to shoot pilots, which they then film with help from another winner: Guy Fieri!
One ousted rival will rejoin the competition, but only if he or she can survive a six-week journey on Star Salvation, hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli and Eddie Jackson.