Next Food Network Star, Season 6: Behind the Scenes of Episode Nine's Finalist Challenge

The Final Four must duel it out in an intense round of Iron Chef America. The previous four contestants are brought back as the finalists' sous chefs. Guest judges include real iron chefs: Cat Kora, Mori Moto and Michael Symon.

This Episode's challenge: Iron Chef America

Iron Chefs Michael Symon, Cat Cora, Masaharu Morimoto and Bobby Flay join Bob and Susie in judging this week's Iron Chef challenge.

Trading Places

The Iron Chefs are excited be on the judging side as they critique the finalists on their Iron Chef performance.

Peace, Bobby!

Michael reminds Bobby that there is no need for competition between the Iron Chefs. It is all up to the finalists on this special addition of Iron Chef America.

"You are Going to Have to Walk Through the Fiery Furnace That is Iron Chef America!"

The commentator of IRA, Alton Brown, intimidates the finalists with his rundown of their upcoming competition.

This is My Cup of Tea

Herb is excited to face an Iron Chef Challenge because he sees it as an athletic competition that enables him to get a one up on his competitors.


Alton brings out the previous four contestants and reveals them as the sous chefs for each of the finalists.

Mixed Emotion

The finalists seem to have a wide array of feelings about bringing a former contestant on as their sous chef.

Let the Games Begin!

Alton announces that Aarti and Herb will be the first to face off, using shrimp as their special ingredient.

It Just Gets Better and Better!

Herb is even more excited about the competition after he finds out he will be working with shrimp. The Energy Chef loves cooking with this ingredient because it is "low in fat and high in protein."

The Tortoise...

The judges worry that Aarti won't finish in time because of her cool and calm manner, but Aarti prefers taking her time and thinking her dishes through.

And the Hare

Herb, on the other hand, is wound up like the Energizer Bunny and prefers getting his dishes started ASAP.


Aria gets a little too comfortable with Alton, cracking jokes with him before doing her bit before the camera.

Round Two!

It's time for Aria and Tom to battle it out and this time the special ingredient is BACON!

Not too Pleased

Tom and Aria aren't too excited about working with bacon as their main ingredient.

An Endless Amount of Ingredients

The competitors are stocked with a huge variety of ingredients to tie in with their special ingredient.

Happy to be Back!

Unlike her chef, Aria, Serena is happy to see bacon as their special ingredient and delighted to be a part of another episode of The Next Food Network Star.

Hard at Work

Aria gets busy preparing her French Toast "Tacos" that will be the first dish she serves to the judges.

A Live Audience

The judges sit back and watch as the finalists race against the clock to prepare their dishes or work hard with Alton to commentate on the action.

Every Detail Counts

Herb watches and listens intently to Aria's plan so that he can impress Alton and the judges with his abilities as a commentator.

Watching Your Every Move

The guest judges take their jobs very seriously as they watch the contestants' performances and decide who's cut out to be the the next Food Network Star.

Bobby Doesn't Miss a Thing

While Susie is chatting with the guest judges, Bobby is making sure he sees everything that is going on during the competition.

Alton, You're an Odd One!

Alton decides that his microphone is better fit pulled over the top of his head than hidden from sight. If that's what you prefer, Alton, go for it!

A Seasoned Veteran

Bobby has worked his way to the top and now he sits in the judge's chair and decides who has the skill be a fellow Food Network Star.

Lovin' Life

Bob puts on a happy smile as he prepares for another round of serious judgment calls.

A Softer Side

Cat loosens up for the contestants and provides wonderful constructive criticism for the Star hopefuls.

A Happy Camper

Besides having to eat Aria's diner food and Tom's rubber Bacon Steak, Masaharu is all smiles about being a guest judge.

One Tough Cookie

Michael plays it tough while judging the contestants. Lucky for Aarti, her dishes were the best he has had in Food Network Star history.

finalist,tom pizzica,presents his dish to judges

aarti sequeira frozen as she awaits decision

alton brown gives stern warning to finalists

aria kagan,appears crazed on set of challenge

"finalist,aria kagan,eliminated by judges&quo

finalist,aria kagan,uncertain during commentary

susie fogelson looks unimpressed with finalist

finalist,tom pizzica,gives commentary on challenge

aria kagan and tom pizzica, react to sous chefs

iron chef,cat cora,looks intense before challenge

alton brown ready for next food challenge to begin

previous finalists are sous chefs for final four

iron chefs discuss food challenge for finalists