Top Moments of the Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen Finale

Go on set with the cast, relive episode highlights and find out which finalist was crowned the winner.
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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

Countdown to a Comeback

The third and final week of the competition kicks off with a game-changing Mentor Challenge: Valerie reveals that one of the remaining five finalists will head home at the end of it. The name of the game in this test is social media, and the competitors must not only demo their recipe for Sunday eats in an eight-minute live stream, but they also have to interact with fans and answer their questions.

Making Strides

Ever the Italian chef, Dom showcases a dish of pasta and meatballs, which, to no one's surprise, delivers wowing results. But to the shock of the mentors (and himself), Dom commands the live stream and manages to use all of his allotted eight minutes. Though at times Dom disregards fans' comments, Tyler and Valerie can't deny that he's made strides. "I'm so proud of what I did today," Dom says.

When Confidence Isn't Enough

"I do weekly live streams for my fans," Matthew says, confident in his ability to execute this challenge. But despite his high hopes, he missteps on camera, demonstrating an off-topic technique. Both Valerie and Tyler admit that Matthew's food is impressive, though, and Valerie can't help but tell him, "You're frustrating the hell out of me."

Well Done

Martita's making a frittata and she realizes the high stakes before her. "Most-important frittata of my entire life," she declares. But despite a strong start to her performance, she's faced with nothing to do after completing her demo and Tyler admits, "I'm bored." As for her frittata, it's "a recipe that people will cherish," Tyler tells her.

A Missed Opportunity

"You were sort of a wreck," Tyler says simply to Michele. "On television, people can only go by your words and your presentation, and I had no clue how delicious this dish is," he adds. Despite turning out a showstopping dish of fried poached egg atop asparagus, Michele flops in her live steam.

So Close, but Not Enough

With a reputation of serving underdone food to the judges, Chris takes a risk with his egg casserole, as he knows the puff pastry on top isn't quite ready to be served — and the judges call him out on it. When it comes to his live stream, Valerie finds him to be "a little manic" as he attempts to gain control. Ultimately his comeback comes to an end, and he's sent home just one challenge short of the finish.

Working Together — Kind Of 

For the finale Star Challenge, mentors Tyler and Valerie hold nothing back and are expecting the very best from the finalists. For the first time, the finalists will be working as an ensemble to host their own live program in which they'll demo their individual dishes. Audience members will be outfitted with the dreaded Dials of Doom, and they'll watch and rate the finalists' performances in real time.

A Strong Showing

Though Martita misses the opportunity to introduce the group when she kicks off the program, she includes her co-hosts in kitchen tasks as she works on demoing her "Cool Summer Dish," much to the delight of the panel. "She really does sparkle," Valerie declares. Martita's panzanella salad, too, is successful, as Tyler appreciates the addition of avocado, which stays true to her POV.

The Ultimate Recovery

"And ... disaster," Dom says simply after nearly choking on camera. He manages to recover, though, and delivers solid tips on executing a successful pesto and uses all of his time. "When he's not the nervous guy," Tyler explains, "he's the great guy."

A New England Classic

Michele is quick to pick the theme of "Between Two Buns" for her dish, and she wastes no time prepping her lobster roll, which is a staple on her menu, she explains. According to Valerie: "It's a very good lobster roll. Is it the best I've ever had? No." As for Michele's demo, though, it's less successful. Not only does she fail to interact with the camera for the audience watching at home, but she also wraps up early, using only four of her five minutes.

Rescuing the Dials

When Michele finishes her segment early, it's up to Matthew to pick up the pieces and begin his part quickly. He's delivering a grilled dish — salmon — and his tips are thoughtful when it comes to cooking it, according to the mentors. But he concludes the show ahead of schedule, with about 30 seconds to spare, and the resulting dead air causes the dials to dive. Dom's quick thinking with a toss to FoodNetwork.com saves the show and wraps up the program nicely. "Dom, of all people, filled in blank air time," Valerie notes with a smile.

2 of 3 to Fall

With just one spot open on the Season 12 cast, Valerie and Tyler face the trying task of sending home three of the remaining four hopefuls. Ultimately the panel says goodbye to Michele and Matthew, and now it's up to Martita and Dom to convince the mentors of their worthiness. "Both of you would be really strong contenders for a show on Food Network," Tyler tells them.

Meet the Comeback Champ

"The decision we have to make here," Tyler explains, "is not who's going on to next Food Network Star but who could win it all." Despite Dom's noticeable improvement and downright stellar food, Martita clinched the win, as Valerie described her as "a natural."

Chatting with Martita

Hear from Martita in an exclusive winning interview to get her thoughts on the competition and what's ahead for her on Food Network Star, Season 12.

Go Behind the Scenes

Browse insider photos to see what the cast and mentors are up to between takes on set.

More: Behind the Scenes of Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen

Want More Comeback Kitchen?

Check out Food Network's Food Network Star headquarters for more insider coverage of Comeback Kitchen and the Season 12 competitions, including behind-the-scenes photos and exclusive interviews with the mentors.

More: Comeback Kitchen

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