Food Network Star, Season 10: Top Moments of the Premiere

Get an inside look at the finalists' challenges and relive memorable moments from the premiere episode of Food Network Star, Season 10.
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Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Stars in the Making

In true Hollywood fashion, the finalists arrive on a famed movie back lot on their first day of filming, and immediately they get down to business with their first Mentor Challenge. Bobby, Giada and Alton task them with delivering a brief pitch that answers Alton's question, "What is unique about you?"

Old Habits Return

In the past, Sarah's performed in pageants, so it's no surprise that she inadvertently closes her pitch with a show of kisses, which the mentors note is unacceptable. Plus, Bobby adds, "This is your second go-around [on Food Network Star], so we're expecting big things from you."

A Culinary Western

Although his pitch is "a little unfocused" according to Giada, Lenny intrigues the mentors with his past. "Do you know how interesting it is to mention that you've actually been a chuck-wagon cook?" Alton asks him. "That credibility is very important."

Going Global

"You have an interesting story, which I'd like to hear a lot more about," Bobby tells Aryen after she wows the mentors with a story about her internationally focused point of view. "If you've got an ability to adapt cuisines and bring things into our kitchen, then I think you could be onto something," Alton adds.

Better-for-You POV

Donna's message is a clear — healthy cooking — but the way in which she conveys that perspective can be improved, the mentors tell her. "You can't hit people over the head with the healthy thing," Giada advises her.

Strutting Their Stuff

For the first time in the competition, the finalists take to Food Star Kitchen to prepare party bites for that night's Star Challenge. Each rival has 90 minutes to make a dish that showcases his or her personality before presenting the plates to an audience of 100 fans, plus Food Network's Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, as well as E!'s Ross Mathews.

Picking a Path

After Alton tells Reuben that there are several points of view he could explore — Cuban cooking and weight loss among them — Reuben ultimately decides to focus on the authentic cuisine of Miami. "I'm changing my initial point of view because Alton Brown was a little lost as first," he explains. His presentation impresses the Selection Committee, but his food? "I'm not so in love with the meat itself," Bobby says.

Missing the Link

Emma utters the dreaded phrase "farm to table" during her pitch, and Bobby recommends that she find something else to describe her perspective. Although she skips that line at the party, her presentation this time around isn't much better. "It's sort of boring," Susie notes. And as for Emma's open-face grilled cheese, Alton explains, "It's not that it's bad; it's that it doesn't connect."

Recognizing a Development

"The idea works; the execution wasn't well done," Giada says of Chris' dish, a combination of lamb and sour cherries. While his food leaves more to be desired, the Committee finds his presentation strong, which Chris reflects on afterward: "I don't think it was perfect, but I was a complete turnaround from this morning," noting his severe stumble during the pitch.

Mixed Results

Most finalists stop and engage the press set up next to the red carpet, but Kenny heads straight for the podium and begins delivering his message of fast-casual cuisine. "He owned it," Ross remarks. But Alton adds, "I'm seeing a guy that can sell me food, but I haven't tasted anything that makes me think he can cook some food."

Unsure of Stardom

"Christopher was not completely comfortable," Bobby explains to the Committee after watching Christopher's performance. The Louisiana-based chef prepares boudin balls to honor New Orleans, and both the mentors and fans enjoy their flavor. "I could have a whole plate of these things," one partygoer remarks.

Two Times the Trouble

Although the Selection Committee finds Donna's healthy point of view a welcome message, they're left confused by her presentation. "There was a slight awkwardness and oddness to Donna," Bob notes, and the group agrees that her too-bitter BLT is a miss as well.

Advice, Heeded

"Smile. Your ticket's right there," Giada says to Luca after his pitch, and at the party that night, he indeed let his smile shine. Even better for Luca, his dish of beef tartar receives rave reviews from the committee. "Overall I think it's delicious," Giada explains.

Making Strides

Given that her pitch is deemed unmemorable and predictable, Nicole has embraced a seafood point of view. During her party presentation, she calls herself "your Food Network Star de la mar," and she wows the panel with her story of growing up in a family of fishermen. 

Solid Start

Despite her tears during her presentation, Loreal leaves a mark on the Selection Committee. Ross says she's "so real." Bob is pleased with her dish of pound cake, as he explains, "She cooks with finesse; everything has just like a hint of every flavor." She, Nicole and Lenny are the top performers this week.

Early Exit

Sarah, Donna and Emma place among the bottom three this week, but ultimately it's Donna who's sent home just one week into the competition. "You had a great message," Giada tells her. Looking back on the experience, Donna explains: "I'm disappointed in myself. I missed a really big opportunity here to get my message out there in a really quick way."

More: Star Scrapbook: Donna Sonkin Shaw

One-on-One with Donna

Read an exclusive interview with Donna to learn her thoughts on the competition and hopes for the future.

The Fight for Star Salvation

Watch Episode 1 of Star Salvation to see Donna face off against fan favorites Chad and Martie.

Want More Food Network Star?

Check out Star headquarters for behind-the-scenes photos, exclusive interviews and insider videos.

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