Food Network Star, Season 11: Top Moments of Episode 8

Get an inside look at the finalists' challenges and relive memorable moments from the eighth 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

The Bro Show

With Michelle's decision to quit last week, just five guys are left this week, and their camaraderie seems stronger than ever. This week's test is all about building their brands, which they'll need to demonstrate by putting themselves in a box — a dinner delivery box, that is, which fans could purchase to make a meal at home. While Dom's relatively clueless about where to start, Arnold's thrilled to begin work on his "global brand."

The First Fumble

Even-keeled Eddie has delivered fairly consistent, strong performances in the past; in this Mentor Challenge he falters, first with gray shrimp and later with a dull presentation. "My shrimp is not going to get the crust that I want," he admits, aware that his seafood isn't ideal. "What do you love about Caribbean that's going to make us love Caribbean?" Giada asks him, explaining that he needs to sell his brand more.

An Improvement, Finally

If Eddie's having a bad day, then Dom's having the best day; he delivers a succinct, engaging presentation of his breaded chicken cutlet and salad, and Bobby praises him, saying, "That was a huge improvement!" Dom can't contain his excitement, dancing in the kitchen and saying, "For the first time in this competition, I really feel like I belong in the room."

Big Plans

"A home cook can receive in a box Arnold Myint," Arnold says of his plans for this challenge, excited to take the first steps to establish his "global brand." But when it comes to presenting, he fails to explain that entertainment-focused brand; it’s only after Arnold details the concept, after the video airs, that the judges fully grasp how his chicken lettuce wraps fit into his idea, and Bobby's not keen on their taste.

Seeking Redemption

After last week's weak taco offering, Alex knows that he needs to deliver a strong dish, and fast. Sure enough, he succeeds, with a stellar Middle Eastern-inspired burger that incorporates his brand: "a world of flavors between two slices of bread." Giada says: "It's smart. It's very smart." And Alex says proudly, "I needed this so much." He earns an advantage, come the Star Challenge.

Holidays with the Stars

Thanks to his win in the Mentor Challenge, Alex is able to pick first among the available holidays for the holiday-themed special challenge, which tasks the competitors with creating a themed dish and filming a video with a key tip. He selects 4th of July for himself, saying, "This is the perfect holiday for sandwiches."

A Fright-Night Feast, Kind Of

While the other holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas, July 4th and Valentine's Day — are seemingly simple to represent through food, Halloween proves challenging for Eddie. "I know I want a big piece of meat with a big bone in it," he explains, settling on a bone-in pork chop, to mimic a bony skeleton, and a bloodlike pomegranate-laced sauce. The key for him will be to convey these explanations in his video.

Turkey Day Sans Turkey

Though his Thanksgivings growing up were untraditional — spent hunting with his family — Jay uses that uniqueness to his advantage by preparing boudin-stuffed quail, not a classic turkey. "I'm going to demo the actual stuffing of the boudin into the quail," Jay explains. "It gives me a chance to talk about boudin, to bring this into Louisiana." 

A Star Returns

At the end of their prep time, who else surprises the finalists in Food Star Kitchen than someone who knows this hallowed arena well? Damaris Phillips, the winner of Season 9, is on hand to offer her been-there-done-that advice and direction to the rivals as they film their pilots. "I don't get starstruck, but for some reason, my mind is a loss," Arnold says after Damaris walks in.

"Two Steps Back"

Fresh off his much-needed improvement in the Mentor Challenge, Dom says he "took two steps back" while taping his Christmas-themed video after running out of time while searching for a spoon. "Be comfortable," Damaris advises him. "Get your spoon ready, because you have to get to that taste."

Ingredient Explanations

On his roses-clad set and wearing a bright-pink shirt, Arnold delivers the romanticism of Valentine's Day with a couple of the holiday's most-traditional dessert flavors: chocolate and raspberry. But Damaris warns that his presentation may be difficult to understand if he doesn't fully explain a few of the oddball words.

Mixed Results

"I am the most unhunting guy I know, and yet he still brought me into his world," Bob explains of Jay, pleased with the rival's Thanksgiving presentation. The Committee is pleased with the stuffed-bird tip, but Bobby notes: "I wanted more. When he says 'fantastic,' we have no idea what it actually tastes like."

A  Positive Among the Negatives 

It turns out that while Dom is deemed "scripted" by Bobby, he indeed talks about the taste of his dish, a fish stew to serve on Christmas Eve, better than his rivals did. Susie wonders, however, if that's enough to save him this week.

Rounding Out the Bottom

Like Dom, Eddie and Arnold are also in the bottom this week. While Eddie's story about his dad was "charming," according to Susie, the judges missed his dish's relevance to Halloween. Arnold, however, presented an appropriately Valentine's-esque dessert, but just as Damaris warned, his use of potentially unfamiliar words like "framboise" and "ganache" without explaining them could ostracize an audience.

Dom's Goodbye

After an eight-week journey to potential Stardom, Dom's sent home after one too many camera struggles. "There's no magic here. We know that you can cook," Bobby tells him. "But these gentlemen next to you, they're all good cooks too. And they're all really good in front of the camera." Before leaving, Dom joins the rest of the guys for a quick huddle, and they throw their hands in a circle, chanting, "1, 2, 3, boys!"

Photos: Star Scrapbook: Dom Tesoriero

One-on-One with Dom

Hear from Dom in his first exclusive exit interview for his reflections on his performance.

A Second Chance at Stardom

Though Dom's been eliminated, there's a chance he could rejoin the competition. He and the other previously eliminated rivals are off to battle in Star Salvation, a six-week Web-exclusive contest hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli and Jeff Mauro. At the end of the journey, one finalist will be allowed back into the Food Network Star race.

Watch: Star Salvation

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

Want More Food Network Star?

Check out Food Network Star headquarters for more photos, plus exclusive interviews, top video clips and insider coverage of the competition.

More: Food Network Star

More from:

Food Network Star

Next Up

Food Network Stars As Kids

Browse photos of your favorite stars as you've never seen them before.

Get Cast: How to Be on Food Network

Check back here regularly for information on how to become a contestant on Food Network shows, send in questions, request recipe rescues and more.

Star in Training

The Next Food Network Star winner Aarti Sequeira takes us through the making of her new show, Aarti Party.