Top Moments of Food Network Star, Season 14

Expect the unexpected in this no-holds-barred competition for the most-coveted title in the industry: Food Network Star.

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Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Finale: A Star Among Them

After a dramatic eight weeks of challenges and no shortage of emotional ups and downs, Season 14 comes down to this, the entire cast together again, this time at a fancy theatre in Brooklyn worthy of the momentous occasion ahead. Bobby and Giada are ready to announce the next Food Network Star.

High Stakes

Finalists Christian, Jess and Manny sat in the front row on stage, each nervously anticipating the news of who among them would be crowned with a life-changing new title and career.

A Look Back

Before the winner is revealed, though, the mentors look back on the season with a few hilarious clips of now-infamous moments. Remember when Katie talked over Harrison in Week 4 as they watched Bobby and Giada cook? The pair were all smiles as they watched that scene unfold again.

The Return of Yummy

Jason could hardly stand it as he relived his first-ever Star challenge. On the beaches of Orlando, he introduced himself to the mentors as a comfort-food guru … and then he proceeded to repeat the word “yummy” more than a few times. It was awkward to say the least, but it was surely a defining moment for him in the competition.

The First to Fall

Before announcing the winner, Bobby and Giada thin the ranks from the final three to the final two. Ultimately it’s Manny who’s told he didn’t win, though he handles the news with grace and accepts hugs from his fellow finalists.

An Unexpected Outcome

Ready and anxious to find out their fate, Christian and Jess hardly believe it when Bobby and Giada announces the winners of Food Network Star. That’s right — winners. Plural.

Meet the Next Food Network Stars

In a shocking twist of events, both Christian and Jess are crowned Season 14 winners. For the first time in the series’ history, the mentors pick two people to win, and instantly the stage erupts in cheers and congratulations for the victors.

Week 8: Look Who's Back

The top three are no more because Star Salvation winner Jess returns to rock their world this week. Plus, Bobby and Giada bring back the rest of the cast, but not everyone is rejoining the contest; instead four of the previously ousted competitors will work along the final four to be their sous chefs as they work to prepare their final dish for the mentors.

Meatball Mistake

Things are progressing pretty smoothly for Christian and his sous chef, Palak … until he realizes he forgot to add eggs to his meatball mixture. Cue: Panic. He decides to free-style the cooking process when, instead of roasting the meatballs as he normally does, he pops them into the deep-fryer after quickly adding the necessary eggs. Unfortunately for him, the judges find the meatballs dry, despite his quick adaptation to Plan B.

A Lesson in Confidence

There’s no doubt that Amy has made impressive strides this season, not only winning Comeback Kitchen, but surely in the last seven weeks of Star as well. To earn a pilot, she simply needs to let. it. go. and offer an air of self-confidence on camera. And she simply can’t do it. the mentors notice her weakness in her final video, and ultimately at this stage of the contest, that’s enough to send her home.

Pilots: Achieved

Fresh off her win from Star Salvation, Jess earns the coveted opportunity to film her own pilot, much to her relief. Manny and Christian claim spots as well, which means that one of these hopefuls will become Food Network’s newest Star next week. But before then, they head to restaurants in LA to shoot a pilot with their exclusive director.

Step 1: Scream

It doesn’t take director Robert Irvine long to figure out what Jess needs to be her truest self on-screen: a good scream. He tells her to yell and screen before shooting her scenes, and sure enough, that’s just what it takes to loosen up and relax in order to film with ease.

Mission: Description

As a chef and TV personality, Christian surely know what food tastes like. But he’s not doing a good enough job of describing it to the audience. With director Sunny Anderson’s help, though, he learns how to offer a detailed, mouthwatering account of what he’s eating, which is an ideal ending to his pilot.

No Need to Rush

Manny can’t quite shake the notion of having the eyes of dozens of crew members on him as he attempts his opening line, and he feels pressure to get it right — for them. But director Duff Goldman explains that his crew is there for him and that it’s OK to slow down to get it right. After a few takes, he communicates the story he wants to tell and successfully delivers an engaging pilot.

Week 7: Tempers Flare

When both Amy and Manny want to cook a Crunchy Meat dish for the Mentor Challenge live stream, they resort to a quick game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to reveal who gets it. Luck favors Manny this week, which means that he sets off to make chip-crusted chicken, while Amy attempts a quick-fix Bahn Mi. Lucky for her, the dish is a hit, and she wins the round.

Live with Anne

In a true Food Network Star-style twist of fate, the finalists aren’t actually leading the live streams; they’re producing them while Anne heads into the kitchen to follow their cues and demo their dishes. Christian is on a roll as he produces Anne through the segment — until he instructs her to break out the liquid nitrogen, that is. It’s needed in his gelato recipe, which, unfortunately for him, means that dish is neither approachable for the home cook nor shareable.

Production Woes

Palak fails to plan ahead in her demo for Anne, and she saddles the chef with cracking so. many. eggs. on camera. This results in far too much dead-air time, and the mentors aren’t pleased. Palak’s “molten” cake leaves much to be desired too, as it’s too under-baked to be served in the traditional style.

Amy’s Alter Ego

Don’t let Amy’s smile here fool you. She is anything but happy this week—first because she was saddled with Sour Sandwiches, of course, but also come the Star Challenge after having to remake her dish not once but twice. The other finalists recognize her passionate (read: frustrated and borderline angry) attitude, and ultimately the mentors are able to taste it after she serves a disjointed brunch hash. She faces potential elimination this week on account of her lackluster performance.

Ree … Thompson?

Yes, that actually happens. Manny introduces The Pioneer Woman not by her name but by Ree Thompson. It’s incredible awkward for everyone to watch, but Manny powers through the segment as best he can. Though his performance isn’t spot-on, his burger is, so he’s safe another week.

Too Much Fun

Though Palak is supposed to be the host of her show’s segment, she lets Ree take the lead, becoming resigned to Ree’s every suggestion, question and comment. Instead of taking the lead and directing the conversation and movements, Palak seems passive, which isn’t ideal for a would-be host. She lands among the bottom alongside Amy this week and faces potential elimination.

So Close, but Not Enough

With just two weeks to go until a Star is crowned, Palak leaves the competition, though she’s proud of her successes.

Week 6: Family Traditions, 2.0

On Food Network Star, it’s not enough to make a classic family recipe. There must be a twist, of course. This week, each finalist is given a unique task for revamping his or her family recipe. For Palak, that means turning a stew into a sandwich, and for Christian, an Italian pasta into a Thai dish.

Embracing the Fryer, Kinda Sorta

Though Katie has the best intentions for following her direction to fry, things go awry when her lentil patties fall apart in the deep-fryer. She quickly resorts to her back-up plan of pan-frying the dish and thus deletes the Instagram Story videos she’d made detailing the original process. When it comes time to show her videos, the thread of videos doesn’t make sense. Plus, the judges aren’t wowed by her not-so-indulgent salmon-lentil patty offering after all.

Informative and Flavorful

Manny aces the Mentor Challenge with a series of Instagram Stories that are not only fun and funny, but also with a Macaroni and Cheese Egg Roll that leave Bobby wanting (many) more. For the first time this season, Manny earns the win and an advance in the upcoming Star Challenge.

5-Course Seafood Extravaganza

Thanks to Manny’s advantage, he makes a last-minute change in the course lineup, choosing a crab appetizer for himself and saddling Palak with a yellowtail soup. Through it all, Giada and Bobby bring the humor to the competition while on set at Aquarium of the Pacific.

Making Do

Perhaps understandably so, Palak is not thrilled to be working within the confines of yellowtail soup. After all, she’d just completed a challenge in which she had to turn her stew into a sandwich. Though Palak’s soup isn’t a hit, the mentors can’t deny her pleasant personality and presentation. “She was bright and energetic and she smiled,” Bobby declares.

Making Moves

The judges have been itching for Amy to bring more of her personal story to her presentations, and finally tonight she does. She talks her son’s affinity for sharks, which is an ideal complement to the setting at the aquarium. Further, her squid is successful, but Bobby and Giada aren’t keen on pairing it with polenta and carrots.

A Teary Goodbye

Just a few weeks short of the finale, Katie is sent home following back-to-back challenge struggles, including a lackluster clam salad in the Star Challenge. She leaves through tears, though she admits she’s proud of her journey.

Week 5: Movie Magic

The competition has narrowed this week, and the first task at hand is to bring the big screen to life — sort of. The characters from the brand-new movie Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation take center stage as the mentors task the finalists with cooking dishes inspired by all the creative faces in the movie.

Cuts and Time Crunches

Jess is facing a double-whammy of issues this week; not only did she not grab the character she wanted, but she also cuts her hand early in the cooking challenge. Despite the hiccups, she manages to plate up a wow-worthy fruit soup, though the mentors aren’t sold on how it connects to her character.

Welcome, Fran!

First-time Star judge Fran Drescher, who plays the voice of one of the characters in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, joins Bobby and Giada this week to evaluate the finalists’ movie dishes and videos. And of course, she brought the charm with her signature humor.

Strong Move

Despite the limited time in which she has to bake her crust, Amy’s galette is a hit among the judges, and the appreciate the way it relates to her character. She’s awarded the Mentor Challenge win, which earns her an advantage in the upcoming Star Challenge.

It’s (Almost) TV Time

Bobby introduces a trio of would-be cooking shows that groups of two finalists each will cook dishes for in a series of head-to-head showdowns. Thanks to her earlier win, Amy gets to assign the groups and the topics. She picks Cheat Eats for herself but then proceeds to make not-so-guilty tacos, ultimately confusing the Selection Committee.

Highs and Lows

Just as he had in the past, Manny once again struggles to deliver a presentation with clear, concise language. However, his guava-scented bread pudding is decidedly decadent — far more so than Amy’s tacos — so he’s awarded the win on the Cheat Eats team.

Twin Cooking

Katie and Jess work on the Ooey Gooey show, but neither decides to pursue a classic dessert. Instead, somehow, they both make rice scented with coconut milk. While Katie pairs her rice with fresh mussels in a curry sauce, Jess offers her rice on the side, separate from her pork dish and the sauce that accompanies it, much to the disappointment of the mentors. Moreover, while Katie’s presentation is bubbly and fun, Jess’ reads more serious.

Seriously Good Samosas

Even before tasting, Palak hooks the judges with the crunch of her golden fried samosas featured in her video. Turns out, they had reason to look forward to her Stacked Snacks, as the flavor of the samosas is spot-on. She’s given the greenlight to advance to next week, while Christian faces potential elimination after an uncharacteristically lackluster performance this week.

Week-5 Fall

After serious missteps in back-to-back challenges, Jess is ultimately sent home in an emotional goodbye, while Christian and Amy advance to next week’s competition.

Week 4: Welcome to Midterms

Just like in college, midterm season has invaded Food Star Kitchen this week, which means that Bobby and Giada task the finalists with making and presenting a weeknight-friendly dinner. Easy enough, right? Not in this competition, of course. The twist comes when it’s time to judge their performances. This time, instead of a special guest, the finalists themselves take the judges’ table alongside the mentors to self-evaluate their offerings and videos.

Sneak Peek

Before Bobby and Giada get to tasting the competitors’ dishes, Giada takes a quick look at the plates to see what each person has prepped.

Starting Strong

Jess earns high marks not only for her inspired Asian-American twist on a speedy shrimp dinner but also the comfortable manner in which she presents it and the constructive critiques she offers later. For the first time this season, she wins a challenge and thus an advantage in the upcoming Star Challenge.

Turning the Tables

It isn’t often that Bobby and Giada put on their aprons during Food Network Star — they’re already Stars, after all! — but it indeed happens this week. Twice, actually. They each cook dishes in two rounds, and once again, it’s up to the finalists to judge while being led by segment host Jess Cagle. And yes, there’s a trick. Bobby and Giada plan to purposely mess up elements of their dishes, testing the finalists to see if they’ll judge them on the errors.

Dueling Teammates

In Round 1, Manny takes the lead, easily out-shining Amy with his quick, accurate answers to all of the culinary questions posed to him. Plus, he rightly calls out Bobby for breaking the sauce accompanying his steak. Harrison starts strong but slowly gets overshadowed by Katie, who’s determined to rebound after her disappointing Mentor Challenge showing.

High and Low

Jess continues to be on a roll in Round 2, correctly identifying that Giada’s bruschetta bread is burned, while her teammate, Adam, stumbles over his critiques.

All-Important Cook-Off

Bobby and Giada deem Christian, Jess, Manny and Katie safe, which lands the others in a sudden-death cook-off. Half will advance to next week while the other two will face immediate elimination.

Down By Two

Despite strong showings in the past, both Harrison and Adam fall tonight in a pair of shocking eliminations. They and their teammates are overcome by their sudden loss.

Week 3: Go, Team!

The mentors pull the ultimate switcheroo this week when they task the finalists with tweaking their planned party dishes to match their newly assigned party themes. Some take to the new challenge easily, while others struggle to find new ideas in the kitchen. While Amy and Palak quickly adapt to their Moroccan theme, Adam wastes precious time though ultimately makes do.

Talking and Talking and Talking

Because the finalists are working in teams, it’s up to them to split up their time as they saw fit. Harrison kicks off his team’s fiesta party with a demo and a story — and then keeps on going, well into Christian’s and Manny’s allotted time. Because of that, the latter two guys are forced to shorten their moments in the spotlight, and their presentations ultimately suffer because of it.

And Then Amy Blindfolds Someone

Interaction with the audience is great — really great. Amy, however, takes that idea one step beyond the norm, though, when she blindfolds a partygoer and makes him attempt to peel ginger without sight. The guests and judges alike are a bit shocked and confused at what’s going down. She lands in the bottom following this decidedly awkward demo.

Team Non-Bonding

Though Katie goes above and beyond trying to get her teammates to plan their demos, Rebekah and Jess don’t invest the time needed to organize themselves ahead of presenting their pasta-focused party plates. When it’s time to perform, the judges notice Katie’s natural exuberance in front of the crowd, while Rebekah and Jess find themselves up for potential elimination.

A Fallen Hopeful

Following weeks of challenges in which she’s skirted the challenge, Rebekah once again leaves the judges wanting more this week, both in terms of her presentation and her pasta, the sauce on which the Selection Committee finds too raw. She’s ultimately sent home in a teary elimination.

Week 2: Colorful Cooking

The finalists draw colored spatulas not only to determine their teammates but also to assign them a specific color, of which they must prepare a dish to be described in a joint podcast. This is the finalists’ first time cooking in Food Star Kitchen — well, except for Amy and Adam, of course — which means they must get used to a whole new set of equipment and ingredients while cooking against the clock.

Meet the Bickersons

Katie is determined to take control of her team, which means that it doesn’t take long for her to start bossing around Samone as the latter works on the salmon and carrots for their orange dish. Samone isn’t pleased, of course, and it shows in their podcast, when the ladies start talking over each other.

Fun and Informative

As the antidotes to Katie and Samone, the teams of Jess and Adam and Palak and Christian deliver podcasts that are as interesting as they are entertaining. There’s easy banter between the teams, and the judges are pleased with their efforts.

Getting Lost

As the Selection Committee settles in to listen to the podcasts, they quickly realize they have a hard time making out what exactly Manny is saying. He talks so quickly and with such urgency that it’s difficult to discern his description of his team’s purple dish. However, come tasting, the judges are impressed by his and Rebekah’s loaded-nacho-inspired offering.

On Location

The teamwork continues into the Star Challenge when the group is split into two and left to host on-the-ground reports about The ProudBird, a food hall in Los Angeles. Though competitors on both teams experience highs and lows, the dynamics on Jess and Adam’s team are far stronger, since those two were the winners of the Mentor Challenge and were able to pick their teammates.

So. Many. Takes.

With so much to accomplish at The ProudBird in just an hour, the teams are forced to share their on-camera time — which sounds easy enough. Rebekah, however, forces her team to panic as she spends an inordinate amount of time trying to successfully complete her portion. Samone is struggling especially hard with the wait, since she knows she needs to rebound with a winning performance, following her podcast flop.

A Disappointing Loss

Unfortunately for Samone, her presentation at The ProudBird doesn’t wow the judges, and she’s ultimately sent home this week. Looking back on the contest, she acknowledges that nerves got in her way, but she’s proud of her accomplishments.

Week 1: Stars in Training

For the first time in the show’s history, Food Network Star brought the finalists to Orlando for a series of brand-new challenges to kick off its 14th season. After meeting each other on the beach at a water park, the finalists took turns introducing themselves and sharing how they’d turn their signature dishes into park-friendly bites. In true Star fashion, there were the highest of highs and the lowest of lows as the rivals adjusted to sudden Stardom.

Empty Repetition

“Yummy, yummy, yummy.” That was the phrase that Jason repeated over and over again as he attempted to present his comfort food point of view. Bobby and Giada, however, weren’t thrilled with the seemingly empty information he provided, as his introduction they couldn’t get to know him. Because of this, he landed among the bottom this week.

Look Who’s Back … Times Two!

Expect the unexpected, right? For the first time ever, not one but two Comeback Kitchen finalists returned to the competition, shocking their now-fellow finalists with the added competition. Amy and Adam joined forces in the first challenge, opting to cook at the same station.

Plans in Motion

Katie and Christian worked side by side for the first cooking as well, though their experiences prepping their dishes were markedly different. While Christian was mostly calm and confident as he executed his linguini-turned-crostini with clams, Katie was left in a panic as her beef was too rare to serve at first.

Me vs. You

No longer partners working together, the teams of finalists went head to head as they pitched their dishes to passersby, hoping to entice them to try their dish, not their rival’s offering. Rebekah, though easy to talk to, attempted to sell traditional jambalaya as a park-friendly food, though Bobby and Giada agreed that the concept didn’t work. They were frustrated with her unwillingness to meet the challenge, and she landed in the bottom.

Mixed Reviews

Clad in his now-infamous burger jacket, Chris appeared quiet and resigned as he spoke to a passerby at the park. It’s no surprise that the guest chose to taste Samone’s wontons over his burger, which means that he wound up in the bottom as well.

Two Fall First

It’s the nature of the Star beast that finalists have little time to prove their worth to Bobby and Giada, and sure enough, in the first week, two finalists were asked to leave the contest. Both Chris and Jason said goodbye, leaving Rebekah safe to advance to next week’s contest.

Week 4: Welcome to Midterms

Just like in college, midterm season has invaded Food Star Kitchen this week, which means that Bobby and Giada task the finalists with making and presenting a weeknight-friendly dinner. Easy enough, right? Not in this competition, of course. The twist comes when it’s time to judge their performances. This time, instead of a special guest, the finalists themselves take the judges’ table alongside the mentors to self-evaluate their offerings and videos.

Sneak Peek

Before Bobby and Giada get to tasting the competitors’ dishes, Giada takes a quick look at the plates to see what each person has prepped.

Starting Strong

Jess earns high marks not only for her inspired Asian-American twist on a speedy shrimp dinner but also the comfortable manner in which she presents it and the constructive critiques she offers later. For the first time this season, she wins a challenge and thus an advantage in the upcoming Star Challenge.

Turning the Tables

It isn’t often that Bobby and Giada put on their aprons during Food Network Star — they’re already Stars, after all! — but it indeed happens this week. Twice, actually. They each cook dishes in two rounds, and once again, it’s up to the finalists to judge while being led by segment host Jess Cagle. And yes, there’s a trick. Bobby and Giada plan to purposely mess up elements of their dishes, testing the finalists to see if they’ll judge them on the errors.

Dueling Teammates

In Round 1, Manny takes the lead, easily out-shining Amy with his quick, accurate answers to all of the culinary questions posed to him. Plus, he rightly calls out Bobby for breaking the sauce accompanying his steak. Harrison starts strong but slowly gets overshadowed by Katie, who’s determined to rebound after her disappointing Mentor Challenge showing.

High and Low

Jess continues to be on a roll in Round 2, correctly identifying that Giada’s bruschetta bread is burned, while her teammate, Adam, stumbles over his critiques.

All-Important Cook-Off

Bobby and Giada deem Christian, Jess, Manny and Katie safe, which lands the others in a sudden-death cook-off. Half will advance to next week while the other two will face immediate elimination.

Down By Two

Despite strong showings in the past, both Harrison and Adam fall tonight in a pair of shocking eliminations. They and their teammates are overcome by their sudden loss.