Top Moments of Food Network Star, Season 11: Star Salvation

Browse memorable challenges and shocking twists featured on Star Salvation, hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli and Jeff Mauro.
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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

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

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

Round 6: The Final Rival

Just in time to enter the final battle for redemption, Alex joins Dom and Rue on the journey to salvation, and Dom's worried about the skills Alex is bringing to the contest. "Alex is my homeboy. He's also a fierce competitor. This is not going to be easy," Dom says.

The Last Moments

"Your final challenge is all about lasts," Alex reveals, adding, "last chances, last impressions and the last food you will cook on the path to salvation." She and Jeff give the finalists a single minute to dish on what they'd want for their last meal ever, as inspired by One Last Bite, a Web-exclusive series on FoodNetwork.com; the rivals have just 25 minutes to prepare that dish. "This could potentially be the most-important dish of my life," Rue says.

Burned, in a Good Way

"What I'm trying to convey to these judges is that this is my last bite, and I want it to be their one last bite too," Dom says. He's working on scottadito-style lamb chops, Italian for "burned fingers," which the chop bones look like — and which you may endure when quickly eating them. Dom's making a cauliflower puree to go along with the meat, though he's initially concerned about its thin texture.

A Clear Agenda

For Rue, her last meal comes down to the comfort of poached salmon, which she transforms with the help of rich butter and lemon. She knows that she needs to be focused in this round, as she explains, "The moment I explode into my usual running around, I'm going to make a mistake."

Sandwiches for the Master

It's no surprise that sandwich aficionado Alex opts for a sandwich as his final bite. He talks of a "cheese toasty sandwich" inspired by the dish he digs into in London. He's layering three cheeses with onions and leeks between golden buttery bread, but Rue wonders how he's planning to pull off a sandwich for the Sandwich King himself, Jeff. "He has no room for error," she explains.

Mixed Results

While Alex and Jeff agree that the flavor of Dom's lamb chops is wowing, Alex can't look past the fact that Dom used what she calls "inedible words," like "unbelievable" to describe the dish.

Seafood Sensation

 "I thought this was the nicest dish you've made in the entire competition," Alex tells Rue, praising her fish topped with spiced Brussels sprouts. As for Rue's video, Jeff notes, "You stuck to the crutch words and you just kind of drove them home, like, 'delicious' and 'buttery,' we heard a lot."

Sandwich Success

Finalist Alex has managed to impress the Sandwich King with a well-executed sandwich, so much so that Jeff tells him, "This is something I would wait in line for." While judge Alex wishes that the finalist hadn't used those "inedible words," she's pleased with his "genuine, real enthusiasm" in the presentation. 

The Moment of Truth

After a six-week journey that saw finalists both falter and shine, Alex and Jeff must decide who among Dom, Rue and Alex is most worthy of rejoining the Food Network Star competition.

Salvation, Achieved

After besting his fellow hopefuls and showing dramatic growth in his presentations, Dom proved that he was worthy of a second chance at Stardom and would re-enter the Food Network Star competition. "The best thing I can take away from Alex and Jeff is to believe in myself and know that I can do this," Dom reflected afterward.

Round 5: The Italian Perspective

Dom was ousted in Episode 8 not because he couldn't hold his own in the kitchen — in fact, Bobby deemed him the strongest chef of the group — but because his camera chops were too weak. Now in the race for redemption, he'll have to learn to deliver a solid presentation once and for all if he wants another chance at Stardom.

Embrace the Unexpected

In this week's challenge of "a culinary curve ball," according to Jeff, finalists have only 25 minutes to use the ingredient in their mystery bag and let it shine on the plate. The rivals then have to present that dish and a corresponding tip in a one-minute video blog. "Prove to us that you're comfortable with the ingredient, like you've been using it for your entire life," Alex tells them.

A Sweet Mystery

While Emilia and Dom are familiar with their products — squash blossoms and rosemary lavender, respectively — Rue's stumped by hers, sorghum. "I have never cooked with sorghum. I'm at a huge disadvantage with this challenge," she reveals. Nevertheless, after tasting it, she's set on working it into a chili con carne.

Recurring Mistakes

Just like she did last week, Emilia's chosen to use her mystery ingredient — squash blossoms — in several different applications, this time fried, roasted and fresh in a salad. But Alex questions whether that's too much to take on. "I am so far down the rabbit hole that if I changed courses, I was just going to throw myself completely off kilter," Emilia explains of why she's continuing with her original plans.

Pasta POV

"It seems like you're really working on your presentation skills," Alex says to Dom; he tells her and Jeff, "I'm doing the best I can." As for his ingredient, rosemary lavender, he's starring that in a pasta carbonara, steeping the herb in the cream sauce. 

The Same Problems

Emilia's story about growing up picking squash blossoms from the family garden is apparent in her salad's presentation on the plate, according to Alex. But the judge isn't keen on Emilia's triple use of the squash blossoms, which she'd warned Emilia about earlier. "You don't end up exploring it comprehensively. You end up a little bit confused," Alex tells her.

Safe for Now

"If you really want salvation, I need you to open up a little bit," Alex says to Dom. "I know you can do it, but ticktock." While Dom's carbonara wows the judges, they still question his ability to master the camera. Despite his nerves onscreen, Dom's safe this week, as Jeff tells him, "Your cooking saves you."

Mapping It Out

While Rue manages to introduce the sorghum effectively by describing it as "syrup with a touch of coffee," she once again delivers "geography lessons," according to Jeff, after speaking of Texas toast, southern Africa and Zimbabwe. Still Alex admits she's "nuts about this dish."

A Fallen Hopeful

After a three-week journey to potential salvation, Emilia's dreams are dashed as she's sent home once and for all. "Maybe I didn't do the best I could have today," Emilia reflects afterward. 

Round 4: "An Unprecedented Event"

While the past three Star Salvation episodes have begun with the remaining finalists welcoming a new rival, Alex explains that "an unprecedented event" took place in the on-air competition: Michelle chose to quit the contest, so she won't be coming to Star Salvation. Jeff tells Emilia, Rue and Matthew, "By the end of this next challenge, your numbers will thin from three to two."

Focus On: California

FoodNetwork.com's series Local Flavor celebrates the best ingredients available in a specific place, and in keeping with that idea, the judges challenge the rivals to cook with a beloved ingredient from California — the avocado — which Jeff reveals in impressive fashion. It's all about ingenuity and newness as they work to transform the avocado.

Watch: Local Flavor

Familiar Flavor

"I am so excited. Avocados are such a staple of Arizona flavor," Matthew says, confident that he'll be able to let this ingredient shine — and keep it within his POV. "I'm going to totally transform the texture of this avocado," he explains of his plan to bread and deep-fry the avocado.

Avocado Meets Cake

Emilia is quick to take a risk in this challenge, and she admits to the mentors that she's never before made this microwave pudding cake before, which leaves Alex concerned. "This is not the place to do something for the first time," Alex says.

Local to Rue

In a last-minute decision, Rue swipes shrimp from the refrigerator and features them alongside grilled avocado and a peanut-butter avocado dressing. While Jeff isn't keen on the presence of peanut butter, Alex is pleased that Rue's presentation spoke to the localness of avocados in Rue's own life. "You connected it to where you're from and your roots," Alex tells her.

Meeting the Requirements

"You're a really great cook, but are you answering the question you're being asked?" Alex asks Matthew at tasting, once she and Jeff have sampled Matthew's BLT-inspired plate. The judges wonder if he's done enough to transform the avocado, and Matthew admits: "My great food — that card has already been played. And I think time is really running out."

Safe by Transformation

Though the judges commend Emilia for her willingness to take a risk in making a microwave cake, Jeff says simply, "It kind of tastes like it was made in the microwave." She's ultimately deemed safe this week, and Jeff praises her, saying, "You implemented avocado in a unique way."

An Emotional Goodbye

Despite Matthew's strong cooking chops, the judges can't excuse his inability to meet the requirements of innovation, and he's ultimately sent home. He's overcome at learning that his chance for Salvation has concluded and simply drops to the ground. "It's so painful getting eliminated twice. I didn't think this was going to happen," he says through tears.

Round 3: The Makings of Sauce

Emilia joins the race for redemption in Week 3, and Alex and Jeff have raised the stakes just in time for her arrival with a two-part challenge, the first being a test of taste. It's up to each competitor to taste a mystery sauce and identify as many of its ingredients as possible.

Settling for Chicken

With seven correct ingredient IDs, Rue earns the advantage heading into the cooking portion of the challenge, so she picks first from all of the ingredients for the three she'd like to use in her dish. "I decide to go for the ingredients that I use most in my cooking," she says, selecting ginger, habanero and garlic, which she wants to use in a piri piri sauce. But because Matthew's quick to grab the shrimp from the refrigerator, Rue's forced to use chicken instead for a protein.

A New Nicoise

Working with soy sauce, honey and Dijon, Christina sets off to make a nicoise salad, but with only a few minutes left to cook, she realizes that the beef — a key ingredient, as it features a soy sauce marinade — is severely undercooked. "The only option I have is to use the ends where it will be more done," she explains.

Better Than Before

"I think there's some great technique here," Alex says, praising Matthew of his shrimp-pineapple salad, though she's worried his three mandatory ingredients — fresh pineapple, pineapple juice and star anise — aren't the star of his plate. Nevertheless, Jeff's pleased that Matthew's presentations are improving. "The minute you mentioned your grandparents, you softened, which was an improvement over last week."

Answering the Why

While the judges are quick to commend Emilia on the flavors in her Indian-inspired greens, they're left questioning her culinary point of view. "I just don’t know why do you cook Indian food," Alex explains to her, and Emilia surely understands her error. "Leaving out the whole point of why I cook Indian food was a really bad call on my part," she admits.

The Same Mistake

In her presentation, Christina tells the panel that she's forced to take traditional nicoise, a favorite of her daughter's, in a new direction on account of the ingredients available to her, and the judges aren't pleased. "This is something we've mentioned to you already," Alex tells her, "about accentuating the positive and not focusing on what you don't have." Additionally, they struggle with Christina's undercooked beef and time-management skills when speaking.

Mixed Results 

In true Rue fashion, she delivers a spirited performance, Alex telling her, "Your energy and your exuberance is really — I can feel it." The judges, however, wish Rue would have offered a more approachable understanding of her piri piri, as not all viewers would understand that. Plus, Alex isn't sure if Rue's taken full advantage of her fresh products. 

Christina's Exit

Rue and Christina face potential elimination tonight, but ultimately it's Christina's who's sent home. "Imagine if I just shut off the TV," Alex says to Christina, explaining the severity of her struggles with time. In a teary reflection, Christina says, "I may be going home, but my daughter still is my No. 1 fan." 

Round 2: Rue Joins the Race for Redemption

With her elimination from Food Network Star behind her, Rue sets her sights on Star Salvation.

Watch: Star Salvation

For the Love of Food

It's all about romance this week, as Alex and Jeff task the rivals with putting their love of cooking on a plate, but that's not all. "You have one minute to explain why the dish you created, all the choices you made, are the reason why you fell in love with cooking," Alex tells them.

Fish Fiasco

While Matthew's sure of his plan to make a beurre blanc inspired by his mom's penchant for butter and cream, he can't decide which fish to feature alongside it. "I think you should make some choices and stick to them," Alex warns him. Sure enough, he selects salmon, and it's lauded by the judges as the best plate of the day. Nevertheless, Alex tells him of the importance of mastering his decisions: "If you don't know it, I don't know if I want to know you."

Sweet Sensuality

"I have such a passion for my first love, which was a hazelnut spread," Rosa admits giddily of her affection for the beloved chocolate-hazelnut spread. While Alex compliments her for opting for "universal love flavors" in her dish, the judge wonders, "Did you cook?" as Rosa simply plates fried wontons with mascarpone cheese and fresh strawberries.  

Making Strides

Christina knows that the roux she made for her soup is too thick, but she explains, "If I try to thin this out, it's going to affect the flavor, and I'm not sure I'm willing to compromise that." After tasting, the judges indeed notice that consistency problem, as Alex tells her of the "textural issue" at hand. Despite this, though, Jeff tells her of her presentation, "I think you were an improvement over last week."

The Whys and Hows

On Food Network Star, Bobby and Giada had asked Rue to let them in on specifics of her southern African culture, and here Jeff and Alex are looking for something similar from her. "What we didn't get was how to eat the food and how that is the true love, eating with your hands," Jeff tells her, adding that the dish of beef stew and cornmeal left something to be desired as well, as "the meat was chewy."

The End of the Road

According to Alex, the elimination has come down to "a photo finish," and while Christina and Rosa are nearly neck and neck in their showings this week, Rosa will ultimately be going home. "It just wasn't enough to show your cooking chops," Jeff tells her of the dish, though he admits that she's "very engaging."

Round 1: Welcome to Star Salvation

Just when the ousted finalists think their quests for Stardom have ended, Alex and Jeff give them the chance to redeem themselves. Over the course of six weeks, eliminated rivals will face off in culinary and camera challenges in the fight to rejoin the Food Network Star competition. In the premiere battle, the first four rivals sent home are back again.

Watch: Star Salvation

Of Anxieties and Vegetables

Christina's new to Food Star Kitchen, having been eliminated in Week 1 after an on-location challenge, so she's unfamiliar with the setup in the arena — and it shows. "Shaky hands," she says nervously, as she works to prep vegetables. Like Matthew, she, too, is back with a new POV: "elevating veggies," she explains.

Seeking Soul

For Sita, it's all about one key ingredient in her taco: soul. "Nothing says soul food like spicy and fried chicken," she says, explaining that she'll dress up her fried-chicken-stuffed tacos with a creamy hot sauce.

Trouble with Tomatoes

Rosa wastes no time in getting started on her chicken Parmesan-inspired tacos, but her plans for a classic tomato sauce go awry when Sita snags the cherry tomatoes, forcing Rosa to simply offer sliced tomatoes. Ultimately Alex is pleased with the finished product. "Absolutely everything you chose in your ingredients belongs together," Alex says.

A New Man

Matthew was previously ousted for a failure to focus his presentations, but today he delivers a structured performance about his chorizo-topped tostada — though it may be a bit too well-said. "It's ringing a little bit shtick-y and polished," Alex tells him. Matthew's food, however, is a solid success, as Alex explains, "This is flawlessly constructed."

Dead Air

Not only has Christina never before cooked in Food Star Kitchen, but she's never presented either, and it shows. She finishes speaking well before time is up, and according to her, "there's nothing." When it comes to her taco, however, it's far stronger, and Jeff praises her: "Just that kiss of crispy prosciutto adds that crunch that all good tacos need."

The First to Fall

At evaluation, Alex tells Sita, "You've got stuff in spades that people can't learn how to do." But unfortunately Sita's weak culinary chops prove to be an issue. "The ingredients seemed divided, and with that, so did your point of view," Alex explains before ultimately announcing that Sita would be leaving the contest.

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