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Food Network gives fans a glimpse into the upcoming ninth season by outlining this year's changes, introducing the new finalists, and showing some behind-the-scenes clips.
Twelve new finalists make their way to Food Network's Los Angeles kitchen and meet their mentors. Tonight is about introductions. They will be introduced to the camera, they will introduce themselves to the committee with their first dishes and pitch tapes, and they will introduce themselves to the newest element of the competition—and perhaps the most controversial ever, since it depends on the dubious taste of the public—a focus group made up of Food Network viewers.
Mentor Challenge: Film a 30-second Pitch Tape
Star Challenge: Cook a Dish Using the Unforgettable Potato, Then Present It To the Selection Committee and Focus Group
The finalists visit Culver Studios' Mansion House, a Hollywood landmark, but sightseeing isn't on the menu. They must create the best burger they've ever made and do a live demo for 100 burger lovers who will decide by vote which of them must go home.
Mentor Challenge: Create a Burger for Burger Enthusiasts
Star Challenge: Give a Two-Minute Demonstration of Your Burger
Tonight it's food expertise theme and a reality show within a reality show. The finalists use mystery ingredients to compete for a huge advantage in the Star Challenge. The rest compete in a Chopped-like competition where they must demonstrate their creativity and adaptability by creating delicious dishes from impossible ingredients.
1. Make a dish from a mystery ingredient
2. Present dish with authority to Alton and Bobby
1. Make a dish from the four ingredients in your basket
2. Present dish to the focus group
Tonight the finalists take on changes at movie theaters. They must divide into teams and create a menu and a movie trailer for a focus group at a luxury theater.
Mentor Challenge: Serve Theme Meals to Movie Goers with Sophisticated Palates
Star Challenge: Film a 60-Second Movie Trailer That Promotes Your Menu
Live events present a whole different set of challenges, and tonight the finalists will confront them head on. First up are live cooking demos with changes thrown at them during the demo. Then they will help out with an interactive event that includes advising home viewers on party tips and recipes.
Mentor Challenge: Present a Sandwich in a Live Demo
Star Challenge: 4th of July Live!
The finalists will be tested on creativity and their ability to effectively hawk goods tonight. Each one must develop, make, package and present a product that encompasses their cooking style and chosen brand.
Mentor Challenge: Create Two Food Products That Represent Your Point of View and Develop Your Brand
Star Challenge: Pitch Your Chosen Product To an Expert Focus Group
Tonight the finalists work on demonstrating points of view, and presentation skills. First up they must describe a dish in a way that tempts the home viewer. Next, the finalists must create a dish that promotes their view to a focus group - a foodie club. Then their dishes are auctioned off to the foodies after they present the dishes.
Mentor Challenge: Describe Bobby's Dish Compellingly without Crutch Words
Star Challenge: Create a Distinctive Dish That Shows Why You Should Be a Food Network Star; Put Dish up for Auction
This week the finalists endure a Mentor Challenge With an evil twist. Next they demonstrate their food patter. It will take a high level of creativity and spontaneity for one of the two teams to prevail on this challenge about saying nothing and everything. The finalists must pull stories from their own lives to make the food - a pizza or donut - relatable and attractive to viewers. Meanwhile, the winner of Star Salvation returns to the main competition.
Mentor Challenge: Make and Describe an Italian Dish in a Way That Makes the Mentors Hungry
Star Challenge: Create, Write, Produce and Direct a Food-Based Field Story
Tonight the finalists are tested on their fix-it skills and food vision. First the finalists will raid the Food Network Kitchen pantry, then Robert Irvine (Dinner: Impossible, Restaurant: Impossible) asks them to help turn around a failing restaurant's menu. Each finalist will be given an outdated or unsuccessful dish to update and make spectacular enough to not only please the current clientele, but also attract new business.
Mentor Challenge: Cook a Tasty, Well-Balanced Dish from Home Pantry Ingredients
Star Challenge: Give a Restaurant's Classic Dishes a Culinary Makeover
It's show time. Each of the four remaining finalists must now design a show that realizes their culinary points of view and that will appeal to the Food Network viewers. The elimination will greenlight three of the four finalists who will then make their pilots under the direction of Guy Fieri (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives), season two winner of The Next Food Network Star.
Mentor Challenge: Pitch Two Potential Pilots to the Mentors
Star Challenge: Film Your Pilot, Then Pitch It To the Network
All the finalists and the selection committee gather for a recap of the season, including new behind-the-scenes footage. Then the winner is announced as chosen by viewer votes.