Behind the Scenes of Food Network Star, Season 12: Part 2

Get an insider's look at what the mentors and the cast are up to between takes when the cameras stop rolling.
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Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Patrick Wymore

Photo By: Patrick Wymore

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Finale: Mentors and Pals

These powerhouse judges were all smiles as they prepared to announce Food Network's newest Star.

Waiting for the Top

With nearly all of the season's other finalists on hand, the group waited to welcome the top-three hopefuls — Damiano, Jernard and Tregaye — to the finale.

At the Wheel

With Tregaye and Jernard in the car, Damiano rolled up to the studio as the finale kicked off.

The Brink of Stardom

With dramatic lighting and an oversize screen, the stage was set for the announcement of the newest Star.

Tense Moments

Before the winner was announced, the mood on set was filled with both anticipation and nervous energy.

Silly Sides

After 11 weeks of competition, the finalists let their guards down enough to give the photographer their best funny faces.

Jewelry On Fleek

Tregaye showed off her rings and perfectly pointy nails to the mentors.

Reflecting and Reminiscing

As the finalists looked back at both the highs and lows of the contest, they couldn't help but laugh at some of the funnier moments of the season.

Best Buds

It's no secret that Tregaye and Yaku became pals during the competition, and here they flashed friendly smiles as the season came to a close. 

Keeping It Real

Giada and Bobby posed for the photographer during a break in shooting.

Fancy Feet — Kind Of

Martita, Ana and Joy showed off their special-occasion heels, while Rob joined the party with his flats.

In Good Fun

Don't worry. Monterey was only pretending to strangle Rob here.

Pure Shock

Tregaye couldn't help but fall to the ground in pure elation after seeing herself revealed to be the next Food Network Star.

Hearty Congratulations

Tregaye's fellow finalists were quick to shower her with congratulations after she accepted the title of Star.

Mentors' Last Words

Both Bobby and Giada offered Tregaye final words of encouragement as she prepared to join the Food Network family. 

Selfie Time

Both Yaku and Martita snapped selfies during the post-reveal celebrations.

Making Her Mark

There's no doubt about it: Tregaye left a lasting impression on the judges and fans this season.

Episode 10: Look Who's Back

Yaku shocked the top three when he joined them for one final face-off after earning Star Salvation victory.

More: Food Network Star, Season 12: Top Moments of Episode 10

Together Again

Not only did Yaku join Damiano, Jernard and Tregaye, but nearly the entire cast showed up as well, ready to be sous chefs for the final four.

Showcasing Silliness

After 10 weeks of competition, this group isn't shy about letting loose on set together.

Important Pick

Yaku fished in the bag to pick out the previously eliminated finalist who would ultimately become his sous chef.

Reference Point

Damiano jotted down a quick recipe for one element of his dessert so Rob could check in on it at any point.

Camera Coverage

As Yaku chopped sausage for his soup, a cameraperson captured each slice from opposite the table.

Meat Matters

Jernard let his sous chef, Aaron, a master of meat, work on prepping pork chops.

Culinary Partners

Pressed for time in the cooking period, Yaku had no chance to check in on Havird; just a quick glance jogging by the prep station would have to be good enough.

Important Prep

Monterey got to work on shucking the corn that would ultimately be featured in Tregaye's savory cakes.

Tabletop Sweets

Damiano went to extreme lengths — and heights — to execute the pulled sugar for his cake.

Game-Changing Video

When it came to filming their last Star Challenge presentation for Bobby and Giada, the finalists were focused on (and some were nervous about) the camera right in front of them. 

Mentor High-Five

After 10 weeks of guiding this year's finalists to this all-important penultimate episode, Giada and Bobby indeed deserved a hearty high-five.

High Energy

There was no shortage of action in the kitchen during the last cooking challenge as the finalists used each minute to prep their dishes.

Shocking Sight 

Could it be that Damiano's penchant for pastry has rubbed off on Rob?

Crucial Moments

With just minutes left on the clock, Giada and Bobby looked on as the final four put the finishing touches on their last dishes of the competition.

Taking It In

Giada couldn't help but catch a quick whiff of Jernard's lobster-studded macaroni and cheese even before he plated his complete dish.

The Remnants

After time had been called on the cooking portion of the challenge, the finalists left their stations, the prep tables still full of their now-finished work.

Feeling the Yaas

True to her signature style, Tregaye had to drop a "yaas" mention in her pilot.

Laughs All Around

Neither Aarti, Bobby nor Giada could control the giggles during one particularly humorous moment on set.

Photobomb

A Bobby photobomb is a good photobomb.

Candid Reaction

Tregaye could hardly believe what she was watching as she saw the playback of her video.

Pals Till the End

As Damiano and Jernard claimed the first two pilots, the third one would go to either Tregaye or Yaku, who were close friends during the competition.

Unexpected Performance

No one could have predicted that Jernard would flip out — literally — after he was told he scored the chance to film a pilot.

Pure Elation

Tregaye, Damiano and Jernard were simply overcome with relief and excitement upon learning that they'd clinched the three pilot spots.

Familiar Face

As Tregaye had competed on Guy's Grocery Games in the past, she was thrilled to see Guy on the set of her pilot.

Careful Attention

Guy watched the scenes unfold from the monitor to gauge Tregaye's on-camera presence.

Multiple Angles

With a narrow entryway at Harold and Belle's, where Jernard filmed his pilot, the camerapersons weren't far from Guy and Jernard as they worked on the competitor's pilot.

Working Well

Jernard was out to prove that he has the chops to be just like Guy, and indeed these two found a natural rapport while working together. 

Land Here

See that mark of white tape by Damiano's feet? That was there so he'd know where to stop walking and land at the counter to pick up the pastry he'd be sampling.

Director's Tips

Damiano was sure to listen intently as Guy offered sage wisdom about filming.

Episode 9: Date Check

The final-four hopefuls could hardly wait to get to the calendar to see which food holiday they'd be celebrating in the Mentor Challenge.

More: Food Network Star, Season 12: Top Moments of Episode 9

Better When Buttered

Jernard was pleased to have received Hot Buttered Rum Day, as he said he'd prepped the dish before.

Critical Moments

With just moments left to finish their offerings, the finalists raced to plate each element of their dishes, especially Ana, who was ultimately unsuccessful in plating her dulce de leche.

Well-Lit

See the tangle of lights hung high atop the finalists' workstations? Those are just a few of the lighting instruments that keep the cast, mentors and set decorations looking sharp on camera.

Star Searchers

The Food Network Star mentors were joined by Donal Skehan and Tia Mowry — the future mentors of the first-ever season of Food Star Kids — for both challenges this week, and the group wasn't short on laughs.

Family Reunion

It was an emotional moment for Tregaye as her husband, Selwyn, surprised her by walking into the kitchen.

Mother-Daughter Duo

Ana was immediately overcome with tears upon seeing her daughter Beba for the first time in weeks.

Lovely Embrace

Jernard's emotional reunion with Keena evidenced the pure love this self-described "love chef" has in his life.

Best Bros

Damiano welcomed his brother, Massimiliano, to the studio with a hearty hug.

Close Communication

The crew positioned a monitor right by the judges' table so the panel could see the fan questions coming in for the finalists — and whether or not the competitors answered them. 

Top Honors

As Jernard accepted the win in the Mentor Challenge, his rivals Ana and Damiano looked on with smiles.

Friendly Sidekicks

No matter where the finalists are in Food Star Kitchen, chances are there's a cameraperson or two nearby to capture the action.

Progress Check

Damiano took a quick peek at the sliced side of a tomatillo to gauge its color.

Taste Test

Tregaye didn't hesitate to sample an element of her dish as she put together her collard greens and black-eyed peas during the Star Challenge. 

Taking It In

After time had ended on the cooking portion of the challenge, the rivals took a moment to survey the dishes they'd be presenting to the judges.

Up Top

The guys went in for a high-five after finishing the prep work on their Star Challenge dishes.

Begin Anew

For each of the four holiday celebrations in the Star Challenge, the demo kitchen on the side of Food Star Kitchen was overhauled with new decorations to keep with the theme. 

Fighting the Flames

It only looks like Damiano's skillet is out of control. Turns out, he had a handle on the blaze the whole time.

A Moving Presentation

At her party, Tregaye told a story about her grandmother's penchant for collard greens on New Year's Eve, and the sentiment was so familiar to Tia that the guest judge welled up on set.

Party Crew

It took multiple cameras to capture the wide range of action in each finalist's presentation.

Crucial Decision

It was in this moment that Bobby and Giada deliberated who among this week's hopefuls would ultimately advance to the penultimate episode of the competition.

Episode 8: Hands-On Mentoring

Bobby gave one finalist's pan a quick shake while he made the rounds in the kitchen.

More: Food Network Star, Season 12: Top Moments of Episode 8

Bringing the Cheese

What's a Philly cheesesteak without gooey cheese, right, Jernard?

Lunch Break

Damiano got hungry during the challenge and took a bite of what else but the enchilada that was before him.

Counting Down

The mentors had their eyes on finalists' prep work as the clock ran out at the end of the cooking period.

The View from Here

Bobby and Giada watched the mentors' presentations both in person and on the monitor placed before them.

Quick Hello

While Bobby looked on ahead, Giada caught the eye of someone to the side and offered up the peace sign. 

Stark Set

True to the theme of Guilty Pleasures, the finalists shot their own tales of guilty pleasures in front of a blank background.

Taking It In

Giada showed off a smile as the action unfolded on set.

Seasoning in Action

Damiano didn't hold back when salting his clam sauce to be served with homemade pasta during the Guilty Pleasures dinner.

Hurried Work

The finalists used every available moment to work as they prepped their dishes for the mentors. 

Elegance Reimagined

The mentors and guest judges Alex Guarnaschelli and Trisha Yearwood converged at a table in the Food Star Kitchen, but you'd hardly recognize the place, as it had been transformed into an elegantly adorned space with dramatic lighting.

Top-Down Heat

Damiano helped Ana warm the sauce atop her hot brown sandwiches with a hand-held kitchen torch.

Table for Four

With the mentors at the table, the crew set up around them to capture the meal.

Fast Friends

After the challenge, Alex and Trisha caught up on set.

Drama, Achieved

Come evaluations and elimination, Food Star Kitchen turns into a nearly dark arena where the tension is almost palpable.

Spotlight On: The Mentors

Bobby and Giada commanded the judges' table during a particularly tense evaluation.

Episode 7: Off-Limits

With traditional fresh ingredients and various dry goods in the pantry forbidden from use, the finalists, each tasked with making a baked dish, had no choice but to resort to the freezers.

More: Food Network Star, Season 12: Top Moments of Episode 7

Foreshadowing

While working next to each other in the Mentor Challenge, Joy and Ana couldn't predict that they'd be working as teammates in the upcoming Star Challenge.

A Full Freezer

Tregaye wasn't shy about collecting multiple products from the freezer in order to pull off her bread pudding.

Keeping It Fun

All three mentors were engaged and energetic when it came to dishing out feedback to the finalists.

Cool Sips

The finalists were all too eager to taste their tropical cocktails.

Taking It In

After time was called at the end of the Star Challenge cooking period, teammates Erin and Jernard came together to look at their finished trio of dishes.

A Tiki Paradise

Food Star Kitchen was transformed with Hawaiian-inspired decor, including bright floral arrangements, palm trees and straw embellishments.

Setting the Scene

Even the mentors were wowed by the elaborate setup for the tiki-themed Star Challenge, which included greeting each finalist with a bright lei.

Time Matters

Anne Burrell delivered the all-important time calls during the Star Challenge, which kept the competitors on track.

A Side View

With bright lights overhead and the mentors and partygoers looking on, Joy and Ana took their places on set for their demo. 

Keeping Them Laughing

The panel was hit with a giggle fit after watching a particularly funny moment in a demonstration.

Looking Away

Bobby couldn't help but turn away from the stage during an especially awkward demo moment.

Tense Moments

With only six finalists left in the competition, every elimination is a game-changing moment. 

More Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Browse more insider snapshots from the first half of the season.

More: Behind the Scenes of Food Network Star, Season 12: Part 1

Want More Food Network Star?

Check out Food Network's official Star headquarters for more insider coverage of the competition, plus exclusive mentor interviews, behind-the-scenes photos and winning recipes.

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