August 15, 2011 06:08 AM by Lori Wilson
Three chefs are left in the season 7 finale of Food Network Star. As Vic, Jeff and Susie prepare to film their pilots for the final elimination, they learn there’s a twist: There is one more competition before the absolute finale. Tonight’s episode whittles the competition down to two finalists. Who goes home with a Food Network show of their own? Keep reading to find out.
The three Food Network Star finalists are tasked with presenting the best dish of their lives on camera. Jeff makes his dad’s eggplant Parmesan sandwich, Vic makes his Italian seven fish soup and Susie goes with her father’s pork carnitas. The judges love Jeff’s sandwich, but Susie wanted him to have more energy in his presentation. Next, Bob is impressed with contestant Susie’s description of her family and judge Susie likes that she rose to the challenge and seized this opportunity. Finally, Vic spends all his time sharing his ‘Mama’s Boy’ story, which the judges enjoy, but Bobby wanted to hear more about the technique he used to prepare his meal.
During the deliberations, the judges feel the food isn’t in question; it’s the contestants’ camera presence that will move them forward in the competition. The judges seem to love all three of them, but decide on Jeff and Susie to film pilots for the finale. Vic humbly takes his elimination in stride by saying he will improve on the areas he’s lacking in. Vic tells the judges they all rock.
The next day, Jeff and Susie meet at the Food Network studio with former Food Network Star winner Guy Fieri, who will direct their pilots. Jeff gets off to a rocky start on camera, as Guy points out he looks like a deer in headlights. During his second take, Jeff says, “Boom” at every move. Guy calls it a crutch word and assures him it’s okay to have a little bit of dead air. Jeff regroups for take three and hits his stride. Guy tells him he was so much in his zone that he forgot what they were there for.
When it’s Susie’s turn, she feels scattered at first while get comfortable in the new Food Network kitchen. She stumbles a bit and notes she’s not making a connection with the camera. Guy gives her a pep talk and she starts over for take two, where Guy notes she’s not really focusing. Taking his advice, Susie uses memories of her father to refocus, which seems to work as she is confident and relaxed. Afterwards, Guy thinks the judges have a tough job on their hands.
Evaluation and Elimination:
Bobby welcomes Susie and Jeff to the final evaluation. They meet the focus group, which consists of the season’s eliminated finalists. After Susie’s pilot is viewed, Penny says she wasn’t engaging, but Chris disagrees. Jyll thinks Susie’s come a long way and is proud of her. Jeff admits he thought Susie’s pilot was great, but he was hoping it wouldn’t be.
Jeff’s pilot is next. Vic only has one word for him: “Wow.” He says he just watched a star on TV. Howie thinks he had too much shtick, but Penny feels Jeff was inspirational and entertaining. Susie states he did a wonderful job.
After the focus group is dismissed, the judges, Bobby Flay, Bob Tuschman, Susie Fogelson, and Giada De Laurentiis deliberate. They think both the finalists have presence and feel Susie has soul, while Jeff is a gifted entertainer. They love Jeff’s point of view, which has been carried throughout the season. The president of Food Network, Brooke Johnson, is brought out to meet her newest employee. Bobby tells Jeff he is the next Food