Food Network Star, Season 12: 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 12.
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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.

On the Road

Finalists are getting out of the kitchen and going on location for the Mentor Challenge this week. The mentors send them to Los Angeles' Grand Central Market to create travelogue videos with a teammate at a food stall at the market.

Working Together, Barely 

Ana and Melissa are partnering in this challenge, and before they even arrive at Grand Central Market, Ana says, "I'm not sure how this is going to work out." And sure enough, she has reason to worry. At Madcapra, a falafel stand at the market, the ladies struggle to agree on a presentation plan and execute their lines in sync, which results in a choppy video. "It's rough," Giada tells them.

Missing the Moment

There's no doubt that Aaron and Rob work well together while showcasing Wexler's Deli. "It's like a yin-and-yang thing," Rob explains. "The good-looking guy and Aaron." But their one-minute presentation goes quickly, and they don't have time to taste the pastrami sandwich they've described. "There was no payoff," Giada tells the guys. "I wanted to see a sandwich, and I wanted to see you eat."

Success in the End

Martita and Erin are confident they'll be able to accomplish a solid video at Sticky Rice, but when it comes time to tape, Martita blunders her lines, and they're under pressure to succeed in the final take. They manage to pull it off, so much so that guest judge Haylie Duff commends them, "I literally laughed out loud." Martita and Erin's video and Damiano and Joy's from La Tostaderia are deemed the best of the day.

Mash-Ups 2.0

The mash-ups continue into the Star Challenge, but this time the finalists must fuse old- and new-school dishes. And instead of working together with their Mentor Challenge partners, they'll be facing off against them. "Friend becomes foe," according to Bobby. And who better to oversee this challenge with the mentors than Rev Run, no stranger to musical mash-ups, of course.

Familiar Territory

"I mash up for a living," Tregaye explains, excited to be able to put her expertise to work. She and Yaku must combine chili cheese dogs and sushi. "I don't like raw sushi, but I like how it looks, so that's where I'm going to go with it," Tregaye notes of her plan to feature chili cheese dog fixings and rice a la sushi inside a tortilla roll.

Comfort Food Goes Greek

Macaroni and cheese is meeting the gyro at Monterey's and Jernard's stations, but Monterey is quick to say, "I'm not about to compete with a Southern man when it comes to mac and cheese." Her solution is to focus on the gyro element of the dish and prepare grilled lamb with spaghetti on the side.

All About the Delivery

At the throwdown, it's up to each person in all pairs to sell the audience — Rev's (very extended) family — on why his or her mash-up bests the competitor's. "You're about to go head-to-head in a verbal battle," Rev tells them, much to their shock. "

Dancing Does It

Jernard says it best: "I'm putting the butt in rebuttal." After giving what he feels is a strong 30-second opening presentation, he uses his rebuttal to simply dance, and soon he's got the crowd and mentors in stitches. Monterey, meanwhile, "wasn't sensual at all," Giada notes, explaining why Monterey's missteps in presentation led to the crowd favoring Jernard more. And as for the dishes, Jernard's succeeds in delivering the gooey richness you crave in a mac and cheese.

Self-Defeat

While Martita fails to showcase the pad thai in her pad thai-meatloaf mash-up, her presentation is far stronger than Erin's, as the latter can't look past the known flaws in her unfinished dish. "It's so hard to sell something that you're not confident in," Erin admits. 

When Entertaining Isn't Enough

"Hey, Ana, I'm about to crush you," Melissa says. And sure enough, Melissa's presentation, complete with rhyme, swagger and a mic drop, is enough to entertain Rev's family. But she fails to describe her cheeseburger-paella mash-up, and that's enough to send the crowd to Ana's table. Ana's shrimp-and-rice dish is superior to Melissa's and garners the most visits, as Melissa's rice-laced meatballs leave much to be desired. "You could talk the talk, but you better walk the walk," Rev advises.

Missing Balance

"He killed him. He's too likable," Bobby says of Rob's outshowing of Aaron, who struggles to deliver a cohesive presentation of his pho-inspired fried chicken. Sure enough, the crowd agrees with Bobby, and more people end up at Rob's station to taste his take on fried dish. While Bobby admits that Aaron's "chicken is cooked nicely," it doesn't best Rob's, according to Giada. "Rob's dish is a lot bolder," she declares.

She Did What?

"Joy shocked the world," Bobby says after watching her performance in which she busted out a risque rhyme to describe her clam chowder-taco mash-up. But despite Joy's daring presentation, Damiano edges her out, as the ladies are downright smitten with his suave accent. Both of their dishes are successful, and much to everyone's surprise, Damiano, ever the Italian, has an affinity for Mexican food.

Bringing Their Best

Both Tregaye and Yaku present memorable performances — Yaku going so far as to act as "your conscience," he says — and impressive mash-ups. Yaku's Deep-Fried Chili Dog Sushi leaves a particularly strong impression, as Bobby says, "I wouldn't have done this as well."

Making the Cut

This week marks a double elimination, which means only 10 of the 12 finalists will advance to next week's Episode 3. The person in each pair who attracted the most visitors is deemed safe; Joy and Yaku are also pardoned on account of their "superior cooking," according to Bobby.

Tough Words

Melissa, Monterey, Erin and Aaron round out the bottom four this week, and that outcome isn't sitting well with Aaron. He attempts to plead his case to the mentors and describe the supposed merits of his dish, but Bobby and Giada aren't looking to argue. "It's complete BS," Aaron says in the stew room. "My dish was great, you know? I tasted everything, over and over and over."

Time for 2 to Go

Ultimately it's Melissa and Aaron who are sent home this week, on account of Melissa's lackluster dish and Aaron's weak presentation. For Aaron, this end doesn't sit well, and he offers a bold closing statement to the mentors: "Suck it."

One-on-One with Aaron

We checked in with Aaron after his elimination. Hear what he had to say about the competition and learn his thoughts on the remaining finalists in an exclusive exit interview.

One-on-One with Melissa

We checked in with Melissa after her elimination. Hear what she had to say about the competition and learn her thoughts on the remaining finalists in an exclusive exit interview.

Go Behind the Scenes

See what the mentors, finalists and crew are up to between takes by checking out insider photos from the set.

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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