Food Network Star, Season 11: Top Moments of Episode 2

Get an inside look at the finalists' challenges and relive memorable moments from the second episode of Food Network Star, Season 11.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

"What's for Dinner?"

Episode 2's Mentor Challenge is the first time the finalists must cook in Food Star Kitchen, and on the menu today is an answer to the oft-asked question, according to Giada, "What's for dinner?" They have 30 minutes to transform everyday leftovers and refrigerator staples, like spaghetti, a roast chicken and eggs, into impressive meals that will be judged by the mentors as well as Season 5 winner Melissa d'Arabian.

A Foiled Plan

Michelle's confident that if she's able to snag the leftover chicken, she'll be able to turn it into a successful chicken noodle soup. But sure enough, Emilia and Sita grab it instead, and Michelle's left with what she calls "pork chop surprise." She adds: "Now my chicken soup is pork chop soup. I've never tried any sort of dish like that before." 

#CulinaryMashUp 

"My go-to dinner at home is fried eggs with some hot sauce," Matthew notes, using his own meal routine as inspiration for this dish of fried eggs and vegetables. In his presentation, he drops the social media POV and focuses on a fusion of Southwestern and Asian ingredients, as well as on stories of his family. "You were a lot more focused today," says Giada. Matthew says later, in true online speak, "Hashtag feels good."

Last-Minute Crostini

After rummaging around in the refrigerator, Rosa stumbles upon a single leftover protein: steak. "It's crostini time," she says, using the beef as a topper for toasted bread. Bobby deems her offering "imaginative," and Giada likens it to "an open-face sandwich," though they and Melissa warn Rosa to tone down her too-silly presentation for fear of her not being taken seriously.

Been There, Made That Before

"This salmon might as well just have been my leftover salmon," Jay says of his refrigerator ingredient, pre-grilled salmon. He turns it into a hash, something he prepares regularly, and delivers it in a shining video. "Flawless presentation," Melissa tells him, but Bobby and Giada task him with improving even more. "We want to discover something new about you every single time you come up here," Giada notes.

Quiet on Camera

Dom's confident that his sauce of "salsa fresca" will reinvigorate leftover spaghetti, but when it comes time to present the dish, he freezes, delivering long pauses to the camera. "It doesn't have to be poetry, because that's not who you are," Bobby says to Dom, explaining that rehearsal isn't always the key to success.

Where's the Bread?

For Alex, fried rice is a common midnight meal after shifts at the restaurant, so the dish is a natural for him in this challenge. But since he's billed himself as the one with a sandwich POV, the mentors wonder why he didn't make that instead. "I'm cooking sandwiches all day long," Alex explains, "and so [the fried rice] is the kind of stuff I eat with dinner."

Bakers Beware

It's baking day in Food Star Kitchen, and for the Star Challenge, finalists must put savory spins on classically sweet desserts, which panics more than a few of the hopefuls. On top of that, their dishes will be judged by esteemed pastry chefs, plus no-nonsense Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli.

Rue vs. Rue

No matter the competition, preparing multiple dishes when the challenge asks for only one isn't a good idea; it gives judges the opportunity to judges both plates against each other. Unfortunately for Rue, she (along with many other competitors before her) fall into the trap of making two dishes, and sure enough, the Committee finds one to be more successful than the other. "The custard alone was maybe enough," according to Alex.

Better Together: Dessert and Decor

Although he stumbled in presenting during the Mentor Challenge, Arnold makes up for that with an over-the-top display to showcase his meatloaf cupcakes, which Bobby says "is a really cool concept." He's later named one of the winners of the challenge and automatically advances to next week's competition.

Missing When It Counts

"It is vital that I impress these pastry chefs," Matthew admits going into the challenge. But no matter his confidence in his greens-filled galettes, the Committee finds the dish jumbled, and Alex wonders about his persona. "I find it a little bit hard to connect with Matthew," she says. He's named one of the bottom performers this week and faces potential elimination.

Cheat Day Out, Stories In

Given the feedback he's received from the Committee, Eddie says he's dropping the "cheat day" POV so that he can "focus on my story," which inspired his chili-stuffed cornbread muffins. This turns out to be a stellar decision, as the panel appreciates his story and Alex finds him to be "a real charmer." He, too, is a winner of the day and is safe from elimination.

A New Dom

Not only is Dom's pasta-stuffed pie deemed a smashing success, but his presentation also shows growth for him, as he finally feels more comfortable and less nervous in his skin. "I really feel like I broke through an incredible personal barrier today," Dom says with a smile.

Double the Struggle

Emilia experiences severe time issues as she works to finish not only her dish but her display as well. "My bake shop is totally an abomination," admits Emilia. Unfortunately, the Committee members feel similarly, as Bobby says of her dish, "This is a bad choice today." Because of her struggles, she ends up in the bottom three this week.

Baked Basket Ingredients

Sita, too, lands among the bottom three this week, as the flavors of her cupcakes turned shepherd's pies missed the mark. "This tastes like a dish on Chopped," notes Alex. "It tastes like someone was constrained by a certain set of ingredients."

Could Have Been Safe

Given Sita's missteps, she's very nearly sent home, but in the last-possible moment, she's saved from elimination because of her rival Matthew, who's not afraid to show his confidence with a smirk during elimination. "That reaction is the determination of who should go home," Giada whispers, before ultimately announcing that Matthew would be leaving.

Photos: Star Scrapbook: Matthew Grunwald

One-on-One with Matthew

Hear from Matthew in his first exclusive exit interview to learn his thoughts on the contest and what's next.

Go Behind the Scenes

Get an insider's look at the making of the show, and see how the cast spends its time between takes.

Photos: Behind the Scenes of Food Network Star, Season 11

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