Food Network Star, Season 7: Behind the Scenes of the Finale

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges and relive all the highlights of the Food Network Star Season 7 finale.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Leanna Creel/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Leanna Creel/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Leanna Creel/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Leanna Creel/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Top 10 Moments of the Finale: 1. The Sandwich King Is Crowned

Jeff Mauro wins a new gig: Host of his own cooking show, Sandwich King, on Food Network.

2. Sandwich Prince

Jeff's family, including his son Lorenzo, is waiting in the wings. "When he turns three, I'm going to get him his own meat hammer!" Jeff joked in his pilot.

3. Vic's Early Exit

Vic made huge strides in the competition, but tough competitors Jeff and Susie edge him out in a surprise Camera Challenge.

4. Someone's Going Home ... Now

Giada excitedly welcomes the final three — and then announces that only two of them will be making pilots of their shows.

5. Adrenaline Rush

Despite the extreme stress of this curve ball, the guys and Susie manage to have fun in the kitchen making the "best dish of their lives."

6. Guy's Back!

The director of Jeff's and Susie's pilots is none other than superstar Guy Fieri, who is intimately familiar with the Star finale, having won it himself in Season 2.

7. Spicing It Up

Susie is psyched to receive Guy's tips: "Guy's very helpful. He's been doing this for a long time. It's great to hear his advice."

8. Hitting His Sandwich Stride

Jeff struggles at first and then finds his groove: "For my final cut, I just need to deliver. It's the show I was meant to make."

9. Tough Critics

A focus group will screen the two finalists' pilots — and little do they know, it's made up of all of the eliminated finalists. "Be brutal, be honest. I trust you guys," says Jeff.

10. So Close

Susie sheds a few tears, but holds her head high after hearing Jeff's name called out as the winner. "I'm proud of us," she says.

The Play-by-Play

We've covered the Top 10, but there were many more emotionally charged moments in this season's finale. Here, the final three are thrown one last curve ball: Only two of them are making pilots.

Best Dish of Your Life

For her "best dish," Susie immediately thinks carnitas. "I have a great story about my dad," she says. "Anyone that listens to this is automatically going to fall in love with my dish."

Susie's Carnitas

Susie is right: The judges do fall in love with her pork carnitas. "I wanted to be with your family in the backyard with the copper pot," says Bob.

Get the Recipe: Carnitas with Spicy Pickled Vegetables and Cactus Salad

Back to His Roots

"I finally get to make what I want," says Vic. "I want to show that I'm the true Mama's Boy. I have a great story about this dish."

Vic's Zuppa de Pesce

Vic is so caught up in his family story that he forgets to talk about how he made the dish, an Italian seafood soup.

Fun in the Kitchen

Jeff may seem relaxed, but he's focused on the food: "This is the most important sandwich I'll ever make."

Jeff's Eggplant Parm

Giada says Jeff's deconstructed eggplant Parm — his dad's recipe — is one of her all-time favorite sandwiches, ever.

Judges Dig In

The selection committee loves all three dishes, which makes their decision of who will go home early all the more difficult. "The question is going to be their camera presentation," says Bob.

Farewell, Mama's Boy

"What I've learned here and all the love that’s been given to me — it's such an honor," says Vic. "This is what I needed. I found myself. Vic Moea will be back."

Hugs All Around

"He's rough around the edges, but I think he will charm the pants off of everybody because he's so lovable," says Giada.

Guy's Pep Talk

After a long day, Jeff and Susie are back in the studio, ready to film their pilots. "This is the make-it-or-break-it point," says Guy. "How are you going to deliver everything you learned?"

Rough Start

Jeff is up first. "All of a sudden it hits me," he says. "This is it. I have never been this nervous on any challenge thus far. I'm sick to my stomach."

Nailed It

After some words of wisdom from Guy, Jeff regains his confidence and knocks his final take out of the park.

Jeff's Pilot Recipe

Jeff makes a braciole sandwich inspired by cooking with his mother as a kid. "He really has passion about his food — the food's good, it's all there," says Guy.

Get the Recipe: Pammie's Braciole Sandwich

Guy's a Fan

"You were in a zone! I forgot we were even doing this. Awesome!" Guy says after they've wrapped Jeff's pilot.

Start Strong, Susie

Next up: Spice It Up with Susie. "Remember: stories, smile, stick to task," says Guy.

Finding Focus

Susie also gets the jitters at first: "I feel a little scattered. I'm not making that connection with the camera. I'm not feeling like myself."

Susie's Pilot Recipe

She soon hits her stride and sails through the demo of her sopes dish with chorizo refried beans.

Get the Recipe: Sopes with Chorizo Refried Beans and a Tangy Slaw

Another Star-Worthy Performance

"Susie is so excited about the kind of food she does," says Guy. "I like her food, I like her energy, I like her smile. I'd want to watch her."

Screening Time

The selection committee announces that some additional guests will attend the screening: "We like to watch with the focus group to find out what the average viewer thinks," says Bob.

A Familiar Audience

Soon, all of the eliminated finalists enter and Susie's pilot comes on the big screen. "I'm speechless!" she says. "I'm looking at the screen thinking, that's me!"

Judging the Competition

The final two are asked for feedback on each other's pilots. "I wanted you not to be great, I'll be honest," Jeff tells Susie. "You were great."

Waiting

The tension mounts as Food Network president Brooke Johnson speaks to Jeff and Susie: "One of you, tomorrow morning, you'll be starting your new job. Don't be late," she jokes.

The Winner of Food Network Star Is ...

Jeff Mauro is crowned the Sandwich King.

Welcome to the FN Family

"This moment is beyond anything I could ever expect," says Jeff.

Gracious Defeat

Susie congratulates Jeff and his wife, who was waiting in the wings.

On Top of the World

"I came here with an immense love for sandwiches and that carried me through this competition," Jeff reflects. "Now I can entertain millions of people while giving them knowledge about the world's greatest food."

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